Settlement standards applicable to all insurers.
(1) Within fifteen working days after receipt by the insurer of fully completed and executed proofs of loss, the insurer must notify the first party claimant whether the claim has been accepted or denied. The insurer must not deny a claim on the grounds of a specific policy provision, condition, or exclusion unless reference to the specific provision, condition, or exclusion is included in the denial. The denial must be given to the claimant in writing and the claim file of the insurer must contain a copy of the denial.
(2) If a claim is denied for reasons other than those described in subsection (1) and is made by any other means than in writing, an appropriate notation must be made in the claim file of the insurer describing how, when, and to whom the notice was made.
(3) If the insurer needs more time to determine whether a first party claim should be accepted or denied, it must notify the first party claimant within fifteen working days after receipt of the proofs of loss giving the reasons more time is needed. If after that time the investigation remains incomplete, the insurer must notify the first party claimant in writing stating the reason or reasons additional time is needed for investigation. This notification must be sent within forty-five days after the date of the initial notification and, if needed, additional notice must be provided every thirty days after that date explaining why the claim remains unresolved.
(4) Insurers must not fail to settle first party claims on the basis that responsibility for payment should be assumed by others except as may otherwise be provided by policy provisions.
(5) Insurers must not continue negotiations for settlement of a claim directly with a claimant who is neither an attorney nor represented by an attorney until the claimant's rights may be affected by a statute of limitations or a policy or contract time limit, without giving the claimant written notice that the time limit may be expiring and may affect the claimant's rights. This notice must be given to first party claimants thirty days and to third party claimants sixty days before the date on which any time limit may expire.
(6) The insurer must not make statements which indicate that the rights of a third party claimant may be impaired if a form or release is not completed within a specified period of time unless the statement is given for the purpose of notifying the third party claimant of the provision of a statute of limitations.
(7) Insurers are responsible for the accuracy of evaluations to determine actual cash value.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 48.02.060
and 48.30.010. WSR 09-11-129 (Matter No. R 2007-08), § 284-30-380, filed 5/20/09, effective 8/21/09; WSR 78-08-082 (Order R 78-3), § 284-30-380, filed 7/27/78, effective 9/1/78.]