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Code of Virginia
Title 38.2. Insurance
Chapter 25. Mutual Assessment Property and Casualty Insurers
11/30/2021

Chapter 25. Mutual Assessment Property and Casualty Insurers.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 38.2-2500. Scope of chapter.

This chapter applies to mutual assessment property and casualty insurers as defined in this chapter, and to insurance written by those insurers.

1952, c. 317, § 38.1-658; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2501. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

"Mutual assessment insurance" means property and casualty insurance written by an insurer which has a right to assess its members for contributions and which is licensed pursuant to this chapter.

"Mutual assessment property and casualty insurer" means a company without capital stock that writes only mutual assessment insurance insuring property located in or protecting against losses of members who are residents of this Commonwealth.

Code 1950, §§ 38-523, 38-526, 38-529; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-659; 1954, c. 161; 1960, c. 292; 1962, c. 172; 1974, c. 244; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2502. Mutual assessment insurance authorized.

Mutual assessment property and casualty insurers licensed pursuant to this chapter may write mutual assessment insurance.

1952, c. 317, § 38.1-660; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2503. Classes of insurance that may be written by mutual assessment property and casualty insurers; minimum surplus to policyholders required.

A. Any mutual assessment property and casualty insurer with surplus to policyholders of at least $25,000 may write the following classes:

1. Fire insurance as defined in § 38.2-110;

2. Miscellaneous property damage insurance as defined in § 38.2-111; and

3. Animal insurance as defined in § 38.2-116.

B. Any mutual assessment property and casualty insurer with surplus to policyholders of at least $100,000 may write the following classes of insurance, in addition to those classes enumerated in subsection A of this section:

1. Water damage insurance as defined in § 38.2-112;

2. Burglary and theft insurance as defined in § 38.2-113;

3. Glass insurance as defined in § 38.2-114;

4. Boiler and machinery insurance as defined in § 38.2-115;

5. Personal injury liability insurance as defined in § 38.2-117;

6. Property damage liability insurance as defined in § 38.2-118;

7. Marine insurance as defined in § 38.2-126;

8. Home protection insurance as defined in § 38.2-129;

9. Homeowners insurance as defined in § 38.2-130;

10. Farmowners insurance as defined in § 38.2-131;

11. Commercial multi-peril insurance as defined in § 38.2-132; and

12. Contingent and consequential losses insurance as defined in § 38.2-133.

The liability coverages specified in this subsection may be written only by insurers having a surplus to policyholders of at least $300,000 unless the coverages are fully reinsured.

C. Any mutual assessment property and casualty insurer with surplus to policyholders of at least $800,000 may write the following classes of insurance, in addition to those classes enumerated in subsections A and B of this section:

1. Workers' compensation and employers' liability insurance as defined in § 38.2-119;

2. Fidelity insurance as defined in § 38.2-120;

3. Surety insurance as defined in § 38.2-121;

4. Credit insurance as defined in § 38.2-122;

5. Motor vehicle insurance as defined in § 38.2-124;

6. Aircraft insurance as defined in § 38.2-125;

7. Legal services insurance as defined in § 38.2-127; and

8. Mortgage guaranty insurance as defined in § 38.2-128.

Code 1950, §§ 38-523, 38-526, 38-529; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-659; 1954, c. 161; 1960, c. 292; 1962, c. 172; 1974, c. 244; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2504. Property beyond authorized territory.

A mutual assessment property and casualty insurer shall not insure real property outside the limits of the territory for which it is authorized to write insurance as specified in its charter or bylaws. However, members may be provided liability or other insurance on risks other than real property insurable under this chapter, wherever located. When members own real property near the border of the territory which extends in a contiguous manner beyond the territory, all of the property may be insured if otherwise insurable under this chapter, whether the property is within or without the territory.

Code 1950, §§ 38-526, 38-529; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-661; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2505. Risks limited to those specified in this chapter; personal liability for loss.

No mutual assessment property and casualty insurer shall insure against any losses except as specified in this chapter. Any officer or agent who knowingly or willfully violates or who causes the insurer to violate this provision shall be fined in accordance with § 38.2-218.

Code 1950, § 38-541; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-687; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2506. What laws applicable.

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, and except when the context otherwise requires, all the provisions of this title relating to insurers generally, and those relating to insurers writing the same class of insurance that mutual assessment property and casualty insurers are authorized to write under this chapter, are applicable to these insurers.

The provisions of §§ 38.2-1032 and 38.2-1035 shall not apply to mutual assessment property and casualty insurers.

Code 1950, §§ 38-505, 38-525; 1952, c. 317, §§ 38.1-91, 38.1-662; 1960, c. 289; 1966, c. 580; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2507. Conversion of mutual assessment property and casualty insurers.

A. Any mutual assessment property and casualty insurer desiring to remove itself from the provisions of this chapter and desiring to become an insurer under the provisions of Chapter 10 (§ 38.2-1000 et seq.) of this title may do so by meeting the requirements of Chapter 10. The mutual assessment property and casualty insurer shall submit an application to the Commission showing that each requirement of Chapter 10 has been met. If the applicant does not meet the requirements of Chapter 10, the applicant may submit a plan that includes a schedule for meeting the requirements of Chapter 10. The schedule shall provide for compliance with those requirements within ten years of the approval of the application. For good cause shown, the Commission may grant, after informal hearing, an additional period in order to achieve compliance with the requirements of Chapter 10.

B. If the Commission approves the application, the insurer shall have all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of an insurer licensed under the provisions of Chapter 10 of this title.

C. Upon failure of the applicant to comply with the terms of the approved schedule, the Commission may require the applicant to adhere to the provisions of this chapter.

1986, c. 562.

Article 2. Organization and Licensing of Insurers.

§ 38.2-2508. Incorporation of insurers.

Mutual assessment property and casualty insurers formed after July 1, 1986, shall be incorporated under the provisions of Article 3 (§ 13.1-818 et seq.) of Chapter 10 of Title 13.1, as modified by the provisions of this title. Except as otherwise provided in this title, mutual assessment property and casualty insurers shall be subject to all the general restrictions and have all the general powers imposed and conferred upon those corporations by law. Mutual assessment property and casualty insurers formed prior to July 1, 1986, may continue to operate as organized.

Code 1950, § 38-523; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-666; 1956, c. 431; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2509. Directors; terms; annual meetings; voting; executive committee.

As provided in the certificate or articles of incorporation and the bylaws, the management of any mutual assessment property and casualty insurer shall be vested in a board of at least five directors, each of whom shall be a member of the insurer. Each director shall hold office for one year or for a longer term if specified in the bylaws, and thereafter until his successor is elected and has qualified. Vacancies in the board may be filled for the unexpired term by the remaining directors. The annual meeting of the members of the insurer shall be held as provided by the certificate or articles of incorporation or the bylaws. A quorum shall consist of (i) ten members or (ii) the number of members specified by either the certificate or articles of incorporation or the bylaws, whichever number is larger. In all meetings of members, each member of the insurer shall be entitled to one vote, or a number of votes based upon insurance in force, the number of policies held or the amount of premiums paid as provided by the bylaws of the insurer. Votes by proxy may be received in accordance with the certificate or articles of incorporation or the bylaws. The date of the annual meeting shall be stated in the policy, or notice of the date and location of the annual meeting shall be provided annually. Notwithstanding the provisions of the charter of any insurer, upon a resolution adopted by the board of directors and approved by a majority of its members present in person or by proxy, the directors may be divided into classes and a portion only elected each year. Pursuant to the provisions of § 13.1-869, the directors may appoint an executive committee to exercise the powers and perform the duties set out in that section.

1952, c. 317, § 38.1-667; 1956, c. 431; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2510. Officers.

Unless the certificate or articles of incorporation provides otherwise, the directors shall elect from their number a president. The directors shall also elect a secretary, treasurer, and any additional officers they consider necessary, who may or may not be members. The offices of secretary and treasurer may be held by one person. Unless otherwise provided in the certificate or articles of incorporation, the term of those officers shall be not less than one year nor more than three years or until their successors are elected or selected and qualified.

1952, c. 317, § 38.1-667.1; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2511. How license obtained.

The applicant insurer shall file with and have approved by the Commission its application for the license required by § 38.2-1024 prior to transacting the business of insurance in this Commonwealth. The Commission shall not grant a license to any insurer until it is satisfied that the insurer has complied with the requirements of § 38.2-1024 and has filed with the Commission a statement signed by its president and secretary or two of its directors subject to § 38.2-1304, setting forth:

1. That the corporation holds bona fide applications for insurance of the classes proposed to be issued from 100 or more persons who own property insurable by the insurer under the provisions of this chapter and who desire to become members of the insurer;

2. The names of the proposed members and the amount of insurance subscribed for by each;

3. A statement that the insurer has received from each proposed member the initial fees and assessments required for the insurance requested;

4. The names and addresses of the officers and directors of the insurer;

5. The location of the insurer's principal office in this Commonwealth;

6. The classes of insurance proposed to be written; and

7. The territory within which the insurer proposes to transact insurance.

Code 1950, § 38-524; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-668; 1986, c. 562.

Article 3. Members.

§ 38.2-2512. Who may become members.

Any person having a risk insurable under this chapter who resides in the territory in which the insurer operates or who owns property located in the territory may become a member of a mutual assessment property and casualty insurer and shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges pertaining to membership. Any officer, trustee, board member or legal representative of a corporation, board, estate or association may be recognized as acting for or on its behalf for the purpose of the membership, but shall not be personally liable under the contract of insurance by reason of acting in such representative capacity.

1952, c. 317, § 38.1-669; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2513. Withdrawal and exclusion of members.

A. Any member of a mutual assessment property and casualty insurer may withdraw as a member at any time by giving at least thirty days' written notice to the insurer and paying his share of all losses against the insurer that have occurred prior to the member's withdrawal and which have not been fully reserved or for which surplus is inadequate. Upon this withdrawal the member shall be paid by the insurer any unearned premium, unearned fee or unearned assessment paid in advance.

B. Any member who neglects or refuses to pay an assessment or premium when due may be excluded from membership for that or any other reason satisfactory to a majority of the directors or the executive committee, or as the bylaws prescribe. The member shall remain liable for the payment of any assessments made for losses that have occurred prior to his exclusion, and also for the amounts provided for in § 38.2-2522, if action is instituted within twelve months after the time the assessments become due.

Code 1950, §§ 38-527, 38-537; 1952, c. 317, §§ 38.1-669.1, 38.1-670; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2514. Procedure upon exclusion of member.

If any member is excluded from the insurer as provided in this article, the insurer shall note upon its records the exclusion of the member, the cancellation of his insurance policies, and the date of the exclusion. The insurer shall notify the member by mail of the exclusion and cancellation, and after at least five days have elapsed from the mailing of the notice, the policy shall no longer be effective and all further liability of the insurer under the policy shall cease. Proper notification shall be deemed to have been effected if the notice is deposited with the United States Postal Service and mailed to the member at his address as shown on the records of the insurer. If the bylaws or the policy provide that a member's policy shall be void without any notice if the member neglects or refuses to pay any assessment, that provision shall be valid and the notice required in this section need not be given. Upon the cancellation of the insurance or upon the policy becoming void, the member shall be entitled to receive from the insurer a repayment of an equitable portion of any premium, fee or assessment which was paid in advance.

Code 1950, §§ 38-537, 38-538; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-671; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2515. Insurers to maintain membership of 100 or more; license suspended or revoked if membership not maintained; rehabilitation or liquidation.

Every mutual assessment property and casualty insurer shall maintain a membership of at least 100 persons at all times. Whenever the number of members falls below 100, the insurer shall notify the Commission immediately of that fact. Upon receipt of that notice, or upon information from any source that the membership of the insurer is less than 100, the Commission may revoke the insurer's license, or may issue an order requiring the insurer to increase its membership to at least 100 within a designated period not exceeding 90 days.

If at the expiration of the designated period the membership has not been increased to at least 100, the Commission shall revoke the insurer's license. Upon the revocation of its license as authorized in this section, delinquency proceedings against the insurer may be instituted and conducted as provided in Chapter 15 of this title.

1952, c. 317, § 38.1-672; 1986, c. 562.

Article 4. Insurance Transactions.

§ 38.2-2516. Issuance of policies; bylaws as part of contract.

The directors of every mutual assessment property and casualty insurer shall issue insurance policies requiring the insurer to pay all losses or damages caused by the risk insured against during the time the policy is in force. Payment shall not exceed the amount insured. There shall be attached to or included in each of those policies the portion of the bylaws that constitute a part of the policy contract. Bylaws or their amendments that are not a part of the policy contract shall not affect the policy contract unless they are included as a suitable endorsement mailed or delivered to the policyholder.

Code 1950, § 38-529; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-673; 1954, c. 161; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2517. Policy forms to be filed.

Every mutual assessment property and casualty insurer shall file with the Commission a copy of all policy forms and standard endorsements which the insurer intends to use in the transaction of its business. Mutual assessment property and casualty insurers shall be exempt from the filing requirements of Chapter 3 (§ 38.2-300 et seq.) of this title except for those classes of insurance enumerated in subsection C of § 38.2-2503, where full compliance with Chapter 3 shall be required.

1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2518. Assessment contract.

Each person insured by a mutual assessment property and casualty insurer shall be issued a contract prescribed by the insurer, that shall be uniform among members of the respective classes of insurance written by the insurer. Each member shall agree to pay his pro rata share of all losses or damages sustained, expenses of operation of the insurer, and the maintenance of an adequate surplus to policyholders as determined by the board of directors. Periodic assessments may be collected as advance premiums or post assessments or by both methods. The amount of assessments shall be established by the directors of the insurer.

Code 1950, § 38-530; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-677; 1954, c. 161; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2519. Classification of risks; rates.

Any insurer writing mutual assessment property and casualty insurance may classify the property or risk insured in accordance with the risk or hazard to which the property is subject, and fix the rate of assessment or premium for that insurance in accordance with the classification.

Code 1950, § 38-531; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-676; 1974, c. 244; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2520. Right to limit assessment liability.

Any mutual assessment property and casualty insurer having a surplus to policyholders equal to at least 3 times the average annual losses and expenses of the insurer during the last 5-year period or a surplus to policyholders of at least $800,000 may limit the assessment liability of members. The liability of members for assessment may be limited during any one year to an amount not less than one additional current annual assessment.

1952, c. 317, § 38.1-683.1; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2521. Notice of assessment; how given.

After an assessment is made, the insurer shall give every member subject to the assessment written notice stating the amount of the member's assessment and the date when payment is due. Except where the provisions of the bylaws or the policy provide otherwise, the time of payment shall be at least thirty days and no more than sixty days from the service of the notice. That notice may be served personally, by mail, or by electronic delivery pursuant to § 38.2-325. If mailed, the notice shall be deposited with the United States Postal Service and addressed to the member at his residence or place of business as shown on the company records.

Code 1950, § 38-535; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-684; 1986, c. 562; 2020, c. 216.

§ 38.2-2522. Action to recover assessments; penalty.

Within twelve months after an assessment becomes due, a mutual assessment property and casualty insurer may institute suit against any member to recover any assessment that the member fails to pay. The insurer shall be entitled to recover (i) the amount shown to be due, (ii) lawful interest, and (iii) fifty percent of the principal amount as liquidated damages for neglect or refusal to pay within the time required.

Code 1950, § 38-536; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-685; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2523. Notice of loss and adjustment.

Each policyholder after sustaining loss or damage from any cause specified in the policy shall notify the mutual assessment property and casualty insurer within the time prescribed in the policy. The insurer shall promptly proceed to ascertain and adjust the loss or damage in the manner provided by the policy, law and bylaws of the company.

Code 1950, § 38-530; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-678; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2524. Proceeding when loss or damage exceeds cash on hand.

If at any time any loss or damage to property insured by a mutual assessment property and casualty insurer exceeds the insurer's cash available to pay the loss or damage, the insurer may borrow money in an amount sufficient to pay the loss or damage. This shall be approved by the board of directors or the executive committee. The board of directors or the executive committee may levy an assessment sufficient to repay the loan or to pay the loss or damage, or any portion that is in excess of the cash on hand.

Code 1950, § 38-532; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-681; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2525. Agents licenses required.

Agents representing a mutual assessment property and casualty insurer shall be licensed by the Commission and appointed by the insurer in accordance with Chapter 18 of this title. However, agents whose licenses are limited to those classes of insurance referred to in subsections A and B of § 38.2-2503 shall not be required to take a written examination from the Commission in accordance with § 38.2-1814.

1986, c. 562.

Article 5. Financial Provisions.

§ 38.2-2526. Surplus to policyholders.

A. Surplus to policyholders in addition to the required surplus specified in subsections A and B of § 38.2-2503 may be accumulated in amounts as determined by the board of directors. The surplus may be used for the payment of losses and operating expenses of the insurer.

B. Income earned on any surplus to policyholders may be used to pay losses, operating expenses, or added to surplus.

C. The provisions of this section shall become effective July 1, 1986.

D. Any mutual assessment property and casualty insurer already licensed on July 1, 1986, shall comply with the minimum surplus requirements of § 38.2-2503 by July 1, 1991. Any mutual assessment property and casualty insurer that does not meet the surplus requirements of this section as of July 1, 1986, and is not writing any of the classes authorized in subsections B and C of § 38.2-2503 on July 1, 1986, shall not write any of those classes until the specified surplus requirement is met.

1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2527. Limitation on single risk to be assumed.

A. No single risk shall be assumed by a mutual assessment property and casualty insurer in an amount exceeding ten percent of its surplus to policyholders. Any risk or portion of any risk which has been reinsured in accordance with § 38.2-2528 shall be deducted in determining the limitation of risk prescribed by this section. For the purposes of this section the amount of surplus to policyholders shall be determined on the basis of the last financial statement of the insurer, or the last report of examination filed with the Commission, whichever is more recent, at the time the risk is assumed. Mutual assessment property and casualty insurers licensed on or before July 1, 1986, shall conform to this limitation by July 1, 1991.

B. Until July 1, 1991, the following single risk limits after deducting for reinsurance will apply:

1. No insurer having less than $2 million insurance in force shall insure any 1 risk for more than $10,000;

2. No insurer having more than $2 million but less than $5 million insurance in force shall insure any 1 risk for more than $12,000;

3. No insurer having more than $5 million but less than $10 million insurance in force shall insure any 1 risk for more than $20,000;

4. No insurer having more than $10 million insurance in force shall insure any 1 risk for a sum in excess of 15 cent(s) for each $100 insurance it has in force; and

5. An insurer may insure any one risk in larger sums than prescribed in this section if (i) the excess over such prescribed maximum is reinsured as authorized in this chapter or (ii) the excess may be increased by the extent of twenty-five percent of the surplus of the insurer as of the time the insurance is written.

1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2528. Reinsurance.

Any mutual assessment property and casualty insurer may reinsure the whole or any part of its risks with any solvent insurer licensed in this Commonwealth or licensed or approved in any other state and meeting standards of solvency at least equal to those required in this Commonwealth if the reinsurance is ceded without contingent liability on the part of the reinsured insurer. Any mutual assessment property and casualty insurer having a surplus in excess of $800,000 may accept or assume reinsurance from any licensed property and casualty insurer. Any of those companies may accept or assume reinsurance on risks located within or without the territory in which it is authorized to transact insurance.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the participation of a mutual assessment property and casualty insurer in a pool or other plan among similar companies approved by the Commission for the purpose of spreading losses or providing reinsurance or catastrophe coverage for participants. The acceptance of reinsurance by any insurer outside the territory in which it is authorized to transact the business of insurance shall not be construed to enlarge its territory so as to affect any tax exemption to which it may be entitled.

1952, c. 317, § 38.1-675; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-2529. Unearned premium reserves required.

A. Advance assessments received by mutual assessment property and casualty insurers shall be considered premiums and, except as provided in subsection B of this section, shall be subject to the requirement of an unearned premium reserve computed in accordance with § 38.2-1312. The reserves may be reduced for applicable reinsurance in accordance with the provisions of Article 3.1 (§ 38.2-1316.1 et seq.) of Chapter 13 of this title.

B. The amount each insurer shall maintain in reserves for unearned premium reserves shall be as follows:

1. For calendar year 1987, at least ten percent of the unearned premium reserve as calculated in subsection A of this section; and

2. For each subsequent year, at least an additional ten percent as calculated in subsection A for that subsequent year in order that the full amount of unearned premium reserves shall be established by December 31, 1996.

1986, c. 562; 1994, c. 316.