Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 38.2. Insurance
Chapter 19. Regulation of Rates Generally

§ 38.2-1904. Rate standards.

A. Rates for the classes of insurance to which this chapter applies shall not be excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory. All rates and all changes and amendments to rates to which this chapter applies for use in this Commonwealth shall consider loss experience and other factors within Virginia if relevant and actuarially sound, provided that other data, including countrywide, regional, or other state data, may be considered where such data is relevant and where a sound actuarial basis exists for considering data other than Virginia-specific data.

1. No rate shall be held to be excessive unless it is unreasonably high for the insurance provided and a reasonable degree of competition does not exist in the area with respect to the classification to which the rate applies.

2. No rate shall be held inadequate unless it is unreasonably low for the insurance provided and (i) continued use of it would endanger solvency of the insurer or (ii) use of the rate by the insurer has or, if continued, will have the effect of destroying competition or creating a monopoly.

3. No rate shall be unfairly discriminatory if a different rate is charged for the same coverage and the rate differential (i) is based on sound actuarial principles or (ii) is related to actual or reasonably anticipated experience.

B. 1. In determining whether rates comply with the standards of subsection A, separate consideration shall be given to (i) past and prospective loss experience within and outside this Commonwealth, (ii) conflagration or catastrophe hazards, (iii) a reasonable margin for underwriting profit and contingencies, (iv) dividends, savings or unabsorbed premium deposits allowed or returned by insurers to their policyholders, members or subscribers, (v) past and prospective expenses both countrywide and those specifically applicable to this Commonwealth, (vi) the loss reserving practices, standards and procedures utilized by the insurer, (vii) investment income earned or realized by insurers from their unearned premium and loss reserve and the Commission may give separate consideration to investment income earned on surplus funds, and (viii) all other relevant factors within and outside this Commonwealth. When actual experience or data does not exist, the Commission may consider estimates.

2. In the case of fire insurance rates, consideration shall be given to the experience of the fire insurance business during a period of not less than the most recent five-year period for which such experience is available.

3. In the case of workers' compensation insurance rates for volunteer firefighters or volunteer emergency medical services personnel, the rates shall be calculated based upon the combined experience of both volunteer firefighters or volunteer emergency medical services personnel and paid firefighters or paid emergency medical services personnel, so that the resulting rate is the same for both volunteer and paid members, but in no event shall resulting premiums be less than $40 per year for any volunteer firefighter or volunteer emergency medical services personnel.

4. In the case of uninsured motorist coverage required by subsection A of § 38.2-2206, consideration shall be given to all sums distributed by the Commission from the Uninsured Motorists Fund in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 30 (§ 38.2-3000 et seq.).

C. For the classes of insurance to which this chapter applies, including insurance against contingent, consequential and indirect losses as defined in § 38.2-133 (i) the systems of expense provisions included in the rates for use by any insurer or group of insurers may differ from those of other insurers or groups of insurers to reflect the requirements of the operating methods of any such insurer or group for any class of insurance, or with respect to any subdivision or combination of insurance for which separate expense provisions are applicable, and (ii) risks may be grouped by classifications for the establishment of rates and minimum premiums. Classification rates may be modified to produce rates for individual risks in accordance with rating plans that establish standards for measuring variations in hazards, expense provisions, or both. The standards may measure any difference between risks that can be demonstrated to have a probable effect upon losses or expenses. Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, except as permitted by § 38.2-1908, each member of a rate service organization shall use the uniform classification system, uniform experience rating plan, and uniform statistical plan of its designated rate service organization in the provision of insurance defined in § 38.2-119.

D. No insurer shall use any information pertaining to any motor vehicle conviction or accident to produce increased or surcharged rates above their filed manual rates for individual risks for a period longer than 36 months. This period shall begin no later than 12 months after the date of the conviction or accident.

E. Each authorized insurer subject to the provisions of this chapter may file with the Commission an expense reduction plan that permits variations in expense provisions. Such filing may contain provisions permitting agents to reduce their commission resulting in an appropriate reduction in premium. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require an agent to reduce a commission, nor may an insurer unreasonably refuse to reduce a premium due to a commission reduction as permitted by its filed expense reduction plan.

1973, c. 504, § 38.1-279.33; 1975, c. 155; 1977, c. 415; 1981, c. 243; 1982, c. 226; 1986, c. 562; 1987, c. 697; 1991, c. 104; 1993, c. 985; 1996, c. 250; 2002, c. 145; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.