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Insurers must transact business in their legal name.
(1) Purpose and Scope. The purpose of this regulation is to adopt a long standing bulletin and a technical assistance advisory regarding the use of trade names, group names, logos or trademarks. The purpose of this regulation is also to set forth requirements to help ensure that a consumer knows the legal name of the insurer they are doing business with.
(2) Pursuant to RCW 48.30.010
, the commissioner has found and hereby defines it to be an unfair practice for an insurer to conduct its business in any name other than its own legal name as required by RCW 48.05.190
. Unless consumers are aware of the insurer's legal name, a consumer's policy rights and legal rights may be compromised. In addition, when consumers seek the commissioner's assistance and are not aware of the insurer's legal name, the commissioner's staff must research it, which unnecessarily wastes the commissioner's resources and delays the inquiry and resolution, posing a risk of harm to the consumer.
(3) When used in this regulation, "legal name" of the insurer means the name displayed on the Washington state certificate of authority issued by the commissioner.
(4) Each insurer must have standards and procedures to ensure that each consumer with whom they conduct an insurance transaction is informed of and can consistently identify the legal name of the insurer. Each insurer must provide the insurance commissioner with its standards and procedures and proof of its compliance upon request. The insurer must be able to show the legal name was provided when issuing policy documents, billing statements, and other written communications regarding policy services, underwriting, and claims and at the point during policy sales transactions when the company is determined.
(5) To assist the commissioner in identifying the legal name of the insurer, insurers' written communications to the commissioner in response to any investigation, inquiry, enforcement matter or examination must include the insurer's NAIC code.
(6) This regulation does not bar the use of trade names, logos, trademarks or group names that identify companies collectively, for brand identification or for general purposes, but an insurer must also provide its legal name in the following situations:
(a) When the specific insurer is known, in negotiations preliminary to the execution of an insurance contract;
(b) In the execution of an insurance contract;
(c) In the transaction of matters subsequent to the execution of an insurance contract and arising out of it.
(7) Violation of this regulation is not a violation for purposes of RCW 48.30.015
[Statutory Authority: RCW 48.02.060
. WSR 11-02-048 (Matter No. R 2010-06), § 284-30-670, filed 1/3/11, effective 2/24/11; WSR 10-12-100 (Matter No. R 2008-11), § 284-30-670, filed 6/2/10, effective 7/3/10.]