Code of Virginia

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Code of Virginia
Title 38.2. Insurance
Chapter 5. Unfair Trade Practices
6/18/2021

Chapter 5. Unfair Trade Practices.

§ 38.2-500. Declaration of purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to regulate trade practices in the business of insurance in accordance with the intent of Congress as expressed in the McCarran-Ferguson Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1011 through 1015, by defining and prohibiting all practices in this Commonwealth that constitute unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive acts or practices.

1952, c. 317, § 38.1-49; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-501. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

"Insurance policy" or "insurance contract" includes annuities and any group or individual contract, certificate, or evidence of coverage, including, but not limited to, those issued by a health services plan, health maintenance organization, legal services organization, legal services plan, or dental or optometric services plan as provided for in Chapters 42 (§ 38.2-4200 et seq.), 43 (§ 38.2-4300 et seq.), 44 (§ 38.2-4400 et seq.) and 45 (§ 38.2-4500 et seq.) of this title issued, proposed for issuance, or intended for issuance, by any person.

"Lending institution" means any corporation, company or organization that accepts deposits from the public and lends money in this Commonwealth, including banks and savings institutions.

"Person," in addition to the definition in Chapter 1 (§ 38.2-100 et seq.) of this title, extends to any other legal entity transacting the business of insurance, including agents, brokers and adjusters. "Person" also means health, legal, dental, and optometric service plans and health maintenance organizations, as provided for in Chapters 42, 43, 44 and 45 of this title. For the purposes of this chapter, such service plans shall be deemed to be transacting the business of insurance. "Person" also means premium finance companies.

1952, c. 317, § 38.1-50; 1977, c. 529; 1980, c. 404; 1986, c. 562; 1989, c. 653; 1992, c. 7; 2001, c. 707.

§ 38.2-502. Misrepresentations and false advertising of insurance policies.

No person shall make, issue, circulate, cause or knowingly allow to be made, issued or circulated, any estimate, illustration, circular, statement, sales presentation, omission, or comparison that:

1. Misrepresents the benefits, advantages, conditions or terms of any insurance policy;

2. Misrepresents the dividends or share of the surplus to be received on any insurance policy;

3. Makes any false or misleading statements as to the dividends or share of surplus previously paid on any insurance policy;

4. Misrepresents or is misleading as to the financial condition of any person or the legal reserve system upon which any life insurer operates;

5. Uses any name or title of any insurance policy or class of insurance policies that misrepresents the true nature of the policy or policies;

6. Misrepresents any material fact for the purpose of inducing or tending to induce the lapse, forfeiture, exchange, conversion, replacement, or surrender of any insurance policy;

7. Misrepresents any material fact for the purpose of effecting a pledge, assignment, or loan on any insurance policy; or

8. Misrepresents any insurance policy as being a share of stock.

Code 1950, § 38.1-52; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-52.1; 1977, c. 529; 1978, c. 441; 1979, c. 324; 1980, c. 404; 1986, c. 562; 1990, c. 265.

§ 38.2-503. False information and advertising generally.

No person shall knowingly make, publish, disseminate, circulate, or place before the public, or cause or knowingly allow, directly or indirectly, to be made, published, disseminated, circulated, or placed before the public in a newspaper, magazine or other publication, or in the form of a notice, circular, pamphlet, letter or poster, or over any radio or television station, or in any other way, an advertisement, announcement or statement containing any assertion, representation or statement relating to (i) the business of insurance or (ii) any person in the conduct of his insurance business, which is untrue, deceptive or misleading.

Code 1950, § 38.1-52; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-52.2; 1977, c. 529; 1978, c. 441; 1979, c. 324; 1980, c. 404; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-504. Defamation.

No person shall make, publish, disseminate, or circulate, directly or indirectly, or aid, abet or encourage the making, publishing, disseminating or circulating of any oral or written statement or any pamphlet, circular, article or literature that is false, and maliciously critical of, or derogatory to, any person with respect to the business of insurance or with respect to any person in the conduct of his insurance business and that is calculated to injure that person.

Code 1950, § 38.1-52; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-52.3; 1977, c. 529; 1978, c. 441; 1979, c. 324; 1980, c. 404; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-505. Boycott, coercion and intimidation.

No person shall enter into any agreement to commit, or by any concerted action commit, any act of boycott, coercion or intimidation resulting in or tending to result in unreasonable restraint of, or monopoly in, the business of insurance.

Code 1950, § 38.1-52; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-52.4; 1977, c. 529; 1978, c. 441; 1979, c. 324; 1980, c. 404; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-506. False statements and entries.

No person shall:

1. Knowingly file with any supervisory or other public official, or knowingly make, publish, disseminate, circulate, or deliver to any person, or place before the public, or knowingly cause, directly or indirectly, to be made, published, disseminated, circulated, delivered to any person, or placed before the public, any false material statement of fact as to the financial condition of a person; or

2. Knowingly make any false entry of a material fact in any book, report or statement of any person or knowingly fail to make a true entry of any material fact pertaining to the business of any person in any book, report or statement of that person.

Code 1950, § 38.1-52; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-52.5; 1977, c. 529; 1978, c. 441; 1979, c. 324; 1980, c. 404; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-507. Stock operations and advisory board contracts.

No person shall issue or deliver or permit agents, officers, or employees to issue or deliver capital stock, benefit certificates or shares in any corporation, securities, any special or advisory board contracts or any contract promising returns and profits as an inducement to insurance.

Code 1950, § 38.1-52; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-52.6; 1977, c. 529; 1978, c. 441; 1979, c. 324; 1980, c. 404; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-508. Unfair discrimination.

No person shall:

1. Unfairly discriminate or permit any unfair discrimination between individuals of the same class and equal expectation of life (i) in the rates charged for any life insurance or annuity contract, or (ii) in the dividends or other benefits payable on the contract, or (iii) in any other of the terms and conditions of the contract;

2. Unfairly discriminate or permit any unfair discrimination between individuals of the same class and of essentially the same hazard (i) in the amount of premium, policy fees, or rates charged for any policy or contract of accident or health insurance, (ii) in the benefits payable under such policy or contract, (iii) in any of the terms or conditions of such policy or contract, or (iv) in any other manner;

3. Refuse to insure, refuse to continue to insure, or limit the amount, extent or kind of insurance coverage available to an individual, or charge an individual a different rate for the same coverage solely because of blindness, or partial blindness, or mental or physical impairments, unless the refusal, limitation or rate differential is based on sound actuarial principles. This paragraph shall not be interpreted to modify any other provision of law relating to the termination, modification, issuance or renewal of any insurance policy or contract;

4. Unfairly discriminate or permit any unfair discrimination between individuals or risks of the same class and of essentially the same hazards by refusing to issue, refusing to renew, cancelling or limiting the amount of insurance coverage solely because of the geographic location of the individual or risk, unless:

a. The refusal, cancellation or limitation is for a business purpose that is not a mere pretext for unfair discrimination; or

b. The refusal, cancellation or limitation is required by law or regulatory mandate;

5. Make or permit any unfair discrimination between individuals or risks of the same class and of essentially the same hazards by refusing to issue, refusing to renew, cancelling or limiting the amount of insurance coverage on a residential property risk, or the personal property contained in a residential property risk, solely because of the age of the residential property, unless:

a. The refusal, cancellation or limitation is for a business purpose that is not a mere pretext for unfair discrimination; or

b. The refusal, cancellation or limitation is required by law or regulatory mandate;

6. Refuse to issue or renew any individual accident and sickness insurance policy or contract for coverage over and above any lifetime benefit of a group accident and sickness policy or contract solely because an individual is insured under a group accident and sickness insurance policy or contract, provided that medical expenses covered by both individual and group coverage shall be paid first by the group policy or contract to the extent of the group coverage; or

7. Consider the status of a victim of domestic violence as a criterion in any decision with regard to insurance underwriting, pricing, renewal, scope of coverage, or payment of claims on any and all insurance defined in § 38.2-100 and further classified in Article 2 (§ 38.2-101 et seq.) of Chapter 1 of this title, other than (i) legal services plans as provided for in Chapter 44 (§ 38.2-4400 et seq.) of this title and (ii) the insurance classified in §§ 38.2-110 through 38.2-133. The term "domestic violence" means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts by a current or former family member, household member as defined in § 16.1-228, person against whom the victim obtained a protective order or caretaker:

a. Attempting to cause or causing or threatening another person physical harm, severe emotional distress, psychological trauma, rape or sexual assault;

b. Engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another person, including following the person without proper authority, under circumstances that place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or physical harm;

c. Subjecting another person to false imprisonment; or

d. Attempting to cause or causing damage to property so as to intimidate or attempt to control the behavior of another person.

Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit an insurer or insurance professional from asking about a medical condition or from using medical information to underwrite or to carry out its duties under an insurance policy even if the medical information is related to a medical condition that the insurer or insurance professional knows or has reason to know resulted from domestic violence, to the extent otherwise permitted under this section and other applicable law.

Code 1950, § 38.1-52; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-52.7; 1977, c. 529; 1978, c. 441; 1979, c. 324; 1980, c. 404; 1986, c. 562; 1993, c. 130; 2001, c. 34; 2013, cc. 136, 210.

§ 38.2-508.1. Unfair discrimination; members of the armed forces.

A. No person shall refuse to issue or refuse to continue a life insurance policy on the life of any member of the United States Armed Forces, the Reserves of the United States Armed Forces or the National Guard due to (i) their status as a member of any such military organization or (ii) their duty assignment while a member of any such military organization.

B. In circumstances where an individual's or family member's coverage under a group life or group health insurance policy or contract was terminated due to such individual's status as a member of the United States Armed Forces, the Reserves of the United States Armed Forces or the National Guard, no person shall refuse to reinstate such coverage, regardless of continuation, renewal, reissue or replacement of the group insurance policy, upon the occurrence of the individual's return to eligibility status under the policy or contract. Such reinstated coverage shall not contain any new preexisting condition or other exclusions or limitations except that the remainder of a preexisting condition requirement that was not satisfied prior to termination of the individual's coverage resulting from such military status may be applied once the individual returns and coverage under the group policy is reinstated.

C. The provisions of this section shall not apply in any instance in which the provisions of this section are inconsistent or in conflict with a provision of Article 6 (§ 38.2-3438 et seq.) of Chapter 34.

1991, cc. 663, 678; 2013, c. 751.

§ 38.2-508.2. Discrimination prohibited.

No person shall refuse to issue or refuse to continue a life insurance policy on the life of any individual solely because of that individual's race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, or sex.

1993, c. 152; 2020, c. 1137.

§ 38.2-508.3. Consideration of Medicaid eligibility prohibited.

A. No person shall, in determining the eligibility of an individual for coverage under an individual or group accident and sickness policy, health services plan or health maintenance organization contract, consider the eligibility of such individual for medical assistance ("Medicaid") from this Commonwealth or from any other state.

B. No person shall, in determining benefits payable to, or on behalf of an individual covered under an individual or group accident and sickness policy, health services plan or health maintenance organization contract, take into account the eligibility of such individual for medical assistance ("Medicaid") from this Commonwealth or from any other state.

1994, c. 213.

§ 38.2-508.4. Genetic information privacy.

A. As used in this section:

"Genetic characteristic" means any scientifically or medically identifiable gene or chromosome, or alteration thereof, which is known to be a cause of a disease or disorder, or determined to be associated with a statistically increased risk of development of a disease or disorder, and which is asymptomatic of any disease or disorder.

"Genetic information" means information about genes, gene products, or inherited characteristics that may derive from an individual or a family member.

"Genetic test" means a test for determining the presence or absence of genetic characteristics in an individual in order to diagnose a genetic characteristic.

B. No person proposing to issue, re-issue, or renew any policy, contract, or plan of accident and sickness insurance defined in § 38.2-109, but excluding disability income insurance, issued by any (i) insurer providing hospital, medical and surgical or major medical coverage on an expense incurred basis, (ii) corporation providing a health services plan, or (iii) health maintenance organization providing a health care plan for health care services shall, on the basis of any genetic information obtained concerning an individual or on the individual's request for genetic services, with respect to such policy, contract, or plan:

1. Terminate, restrict, limit, or otherwise apply conditions to coverage of an individual or restrict the sale to an individual;

2. Cancel or refuse to renew the coverage of an individual;

3. Exclude an individual from coverage;

4. Impose a waiting period prior to commencement of coverage of an individual;

5. Require inclusion of a rider that excludes coverage for certain benefits and services; or

6. Establish differentials in premium rates for coverage.

In addition, no discrimination shall be made in the fees or commissions of an agent or agency for an enrollment, a subscription, or the renewal of an enrollment or subscription of any person on the basis of a person's genetic characteristics which may, under some circumstances, be associated with disability in that person or that person's offspring.

C. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, all information obtained from genetic screening or testing conducted prior to the repeal of this section shall be confidential and shall not be made public nor used in any way, in whole or in part, to cancel, refuse to issue or renew, or limit benefits under any policy, contract or plan subject to the provisions of this section.

1996, c. 704.

§ 38.2-508.5. Re-underwriting individual under existing group or individual accident and sickness insurance policy prohibited; exceptions.

A. No premium increase, including a reduced premium increase in the form of a discount, may be implemented for an insured individual under existing individual health insurance coverage as defined in subsection B of § 38.2-3431 subsequent to the initial effective date of coverage under such policy or certificate to the extent that such premium increase is determined based upon: (i) a change in a health-status-related factor of the individual insured as defined in subsection B of § 38.2-3431 or (ii) the past or prospective claim experience of the individual insured.

B. No reduction in benefits may be implemented for an insured individual under existing individual health insurance coverage as defined in subsection B of § 38.2-3431 subsequent to the initial effective date of coverage under such policy or certificate to the extent that such reduction in benefits is determined based upon: (i) a change in a health-status-related factor of the individual insured as defined in subsection B of § 38.2-3431 or (ii) the past or prospective claim experience of the individual insured.

C. No modifications to contractual terms and conditions may be implemented for an insured individual under existing individual health insurance coverage as defined in subsection B of § 38.2-3431 subsequent to the initial effective date of coverage under such policy or certificate to the extent that such modifications to contractual terms and conditions are determined based upon: (i) a change in a health-status-related factor of the individual insured as defined in subsection B of § 38.2-3431 or (ii) the past or prospective claim experience of the individual insured.

D. This section shall not prohibit adjustments to premium, rescission of, or amendments to the insurance contract in the following circumstances:

1. When an insurer learns of information subsequent to issuing the policy or certificate that was not disclosed in the underwriting process and that, had it been known, would have resulted in a higher premium level or denial of coverage. Any adjustment to premium or rescission of coverage made for this reason may be made only to extent that it would have been made had the information been disclosed in the application process, and shall not be imposed beyond any period of incontestability, or beyond any time period proscribing an insurer from asserting defenses based upon misstatements in applications, as otherwise may be provided by applicable law. Any such rescission shall be consistent with § 38.2-3430.3 regarding guaranteed availability.

2. When an insurer provides a lifestyle-based good health discount based upon an individual's adherence to a healthy lifestyle and this discount is not based upon a specific health condition or diagnosis.

3. When an insurer removes waivers or riders attached to the policy at issue that limit coverage for specific named pre-existing medical conditions.

E. For purposes of this section, re-underwriting means the reevaluation of any health-status-related factor of an individual for purposes of adjusting premiums, benefits or contractual terms as provided in subsections A, B, and C.

F. The provisions of this section shall not apply to individual health insurance coverage issued to members of a bona fide association, as defined in subsection B of § 38.2-3431, where coverage is available to all members of the association and eligible dependents of such members without regard to any health-status-related factor.

G. The provisions of this section shall not apply in any instance in which the provisions of this section are inconsistent or in conflict with a provision of Article 6 (§ 38.2-3438 et seq.) of Chapter 34.

2003, c. 699; 2011, c. 882.

§ 38.2-509. Rebates.

A. Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, no person shall:

1. Knowingly permit, offer, or make any insurance or annuity contract or agreement which is not plainly expressed in the contract issued;

2. Pay, allow or give, or offer to pay, allow or give, directly or indirectly, as inducement to any insurance or annuity contract, any rebate of premium payable on the contract, any special favor or advantage in the dividends or other benefits on the contract, any valuable consideration or inducement not specified in the contract, except in accordance with an applicable rating plan authorized for use in this Commonwealth;

3. Give, sell, purchase, or offer to give, sell or purchase as inducement to insurance, or annuity contracts, or in connection with such contracts, any stocks, bonds, or other securities of any company, any dividends or profits accrued on any stocks, bonds or other securities of any company, or anything of value not specified in the contract; or

4. Receive or accept as inducement to insurance, or annuity contracts, any rebate of premium payable on the contract, any special favor or advantage in the dividends or other benefit to accrue on the contract, or any valuable consideration or inducement not specified in the contract.

B. Nothing in § 38.2-508 or in this section shall be construed to include within the definition of discrimination or rebates any of the following practices:

1. In the case of any life insurance or annuity contract, paying bonuses to policyholders or otherwise abating their premiums in whole or in part out of surplus accumulated from nonparticipating insurance if the bonuses or abatement of premiums are fair and equitable to policyholders and in the best interests of the insurer and its policyholders;

2. In the case of life or accident and sickness insurance policies issued on the industrial debit plan, making allowance to policyholders who, for a specified period, have continuously made premium payments directly to an office of the insurer in an amount that fairly represents the savings in collection expense;

3. Readjustment of the rate of premium for a group insurance policy based on the loss or expense experience under the policy, at the end of the first or any subsequent policy year of insurance;

4. In the case of insurers, allowing their bona fide employees to receive a reduction on the premiums paid by them on policies or contracts on their own lives and property, and on the lives and property of their spouses and dependent children;

5. Issuing life or accident and sickness policies or annuity contracts on a salary savings or payroll deduction plan at a reduced rate consistent with the savings made by the use of such plan;

6. Paying commissions or other compensation to duly licensed agents or brokers; or

7. Allowing or returning to participating policyholders, members or subscribers, dividends, savings or unabsorbed premium payments.

Code 1950, § 38.1-52; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-52.8; 1977, c. 529; 1978, c. 441; 1979, c. 324; 1980, c. 404; 1986, c. 562.

§ 38.2-510. Unfair claim settlement practices.

A. No person shall commit or perform with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice any of the following:

1. Misrepresenting pertinent facts or insurance policy provisions relating to coverages at issue;

2. Failing to acknowledge and act reasonably promptly upon communications with respect to claims arising under insurance policies;

3. Failing to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation of claims arising under insurance policies;

4. Refusing arbitrarily and unreasonably to pay claims;

5. Failing to affirm or deny coverage of claims within a reasonable time after proof of loss statements have been completed;

6. Not attempting in good faith to make prompt, fair and equitable settlements of claims in which liability has become reasonably clear;

7. Compelling insureds to institute litigation to recover amounts due under an insurance policy by offering substantially less than the amounts ultimately recovered in actions brought by such insureds;

8. Attempting to settle claims for less than the amount to which a reasonable man would have believed he was entitled by reference to written or printed advertising material accompanying or made part of an application;

9. Attempting to settle claims on the basis of an application that was altered without notice to, or knowledge or consent of, the insured;

10. Making claims payments to insureds or beneficiaries not accompanied by a statement setting forth the coverage under which payments are being made;

11. Making known to insureds or claimants a policy of appealing from arbitration awards in favor of insureds or claimants for the purpose of compelling them to accept settlements or compromises less than the amount awarded in arbitration;

12. Delaying the investigation or payment of claims by requiring an insured, a claimant, or the physician of either to submit a preliminary claim report and then requiring the subsequent submission of formal proof of loss forms, when both contain substantially the same information;

13. Failing to promptly settle claims where liability has become reasonably clear, under one portion of the insurance policy coverage in order to influence settlements under other portions of the insurance policy coverage;

14. Failing to promptly provide a reasonable explanation of the basis in the insurance policy in relation to the facts or applicable law for denial of a claim or for the offer of a compromise settlement;

15. Failing to comply with § 38.2-3407.15, or to perform any provider contract provision required by that section;

16. Payment to an insurer or its representative by a repair facility, or acceptance by an insurer or its representative from a repair facility, directly or indirectly, of any kickback, rebate, commission, thing of value, or other consideration in connection with such person's appraisal service; or

17. Making appraisals of the cost of repairing a motor vehicle that has been damaged as a result of a covered loss unless such appraisal is based upon a personal inspection by a representative of the repair facility or a representative of the insurer who is making the appraisal. Notwithstanding the requirement that an appraisal be based upon a personal inspection, the repair facility or the insurer making the appraisal may prepare an initial, which may be the final, repair appraisal on a motor vehicle that has been damaged as a result of a covered loss either from the representative's personal inspection of the motor vehicle or from photographs, videos, or electronically transmitted digital imagery of the motor vehicle; however, no insurer may require an owner of a motor vehicle to submit photographs, videos, or electronically transmitted digital imagery as a condition of an appraisal. Supplemental repair estimates that become necessary after the repair work has been initiated due to discovery of additional damage to the motor vehicle may also be made from photographs, videos, or electronically transmitted digital imagery of the motor vehicle, provided that in the case of disputed repairs a personal inspection is required.

B. No violation of this section shall of itself be deemed to create any cause of action in favor of any person other than the Commission; but nothing in this subsection shall impair the right of any person to seek redress at law or equity for any conduct for which action may be brought.

C. 1. No insurer shall prepare or use an estimate of the cost of automobile repairs based on the use of an after market part, as defined herein, unless:

The insurer discloses to the claimant in writing either on the estimate or in a separate document attached to the estimate the following information:

"THIS ESTIMATE HAS BEEN PREPARED BASED ON THE USE OF AUTOMOBILE PARTS NOT MADE BY THE ORIGINAL MANUFACTURER. PARTS USED IN THE REPAIR OF YOUR VEHICLE BY OTHER THAN THE ORIGINAL MANUFACTURER ARE REQUIRED TO BE AT LEAST EQUAL IN LIKE KIND AND QUALITY IN TERMS OF FIT, QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE TO THE ORIGINAL MANUFACTURER PARTS THEY ARE REPLACING."

2. "After market part" as used in this section shall mean an automobile part which is not made by the original equipment manufacturer and which is a sheet metal or plastic part generally constituting the exterior of a motor vehicle, including inner and outer panels.

Code 1950, § 38.1-52; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-52.9; 1977, c. 529; 1978, c. 441; 1979, c. 324; 1980, c. 404; 1986, c. 562; 1988, c. 29; 1999, cc. 709, 739; 2000, c. 187; 2001, c. 335; 2016, cc. 183, 286.

§ 38.2-511. Failure to maintain record of complaints.

No person other than agents or brokers, shall fail to maintain a complete record of all the complaints that it has received since the date of its last examination under § 38.2-1317, provided that the records of complaints of a health carrier subject to Chapter 58 (§ 38.2-5800 et seq.) of this title shall be retained for no less than five years. The record shall indicate the total number of complaints, their classification by line of insurance, the nature of each complaint, the disposition of these complaints, and the time it took to process each complaint.

As used in this section, "complaint" shall mean any written communication from a policyholder, subscriber or claimant primarily expressing a grievance.

Code 1950, § 38.1-52; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-52.10; 1977, c. 529; 1978, c. 441; 1979, c. 324; 1980, c. 404; 1986, c. 562; 1998, c. 891.

§ 38.2-512. Misrepresentation in insurance documents or communications.

A. No person shall make or cause or allow to be made false or fraudulent statements or representations on or relative to an application or any document or communication relating to the business of insurance for the purpose of obtaining a fee, commission, money, or other benefit from any insurer, agent, broker, premium finance company, or individual.

B. No person shall, with respect to any document pertaining to the business of insurance, including payments made to an insurer or by an insurer, affix or cause or allow to be affixed the signature of any other person to such document without the written authorization of the person whose signature appears on such document.

C. No person shall, with respect to any document pertaining to the business of insurance, obtain or cause or allow to be obtained by false pretense the signature of another person or utilize such signature for the purpose of altering, changing or effecting the benefits, advantages, terms or conditions of any insurance contract or document related thereto, including payments made to an insurer or by an insurer.

Code 1950, § 38.1-52; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-52.11; 1977, c. 529; 1978, c. 441; 1979, c. 324; 1980, c. 404; 1986, c. 562; 1998, c. 12.

§ 38.2-513. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2001, c. 371.

§ 38.2-513.1. Insurance sales by depository institutions and other lending institutions.

A. No depository institution, in the sale or solicitation of insurance, shall:

1. Reject an insurance policy required in connection with a loan or extension of credit solely because the policy has been issued or underwritten by a person who is not associated with such depository institution or its affiliate;

2. Require a debtor, insurer, agent, or surplus lines broker to pay a separate charge in connection with the handling of insurance required in connection with a loan or extension of credit or other banking product, unless such charge would be required when the depository institution or its affiliate is the licensed agent or surplus lines broker;

3. Use any advertisement that would cause a reasonable person to believe mistakenly that (i) the federal government or the Commonwealth is responsible for the insurance sales activities of, or stands behind the credit of, the depository institution or its affiliate; or (ii) the federal government or the Commonwealth guarantees any returns on insurance products or is a source of payment on any insurance obligation of or sold by the depository institution or its affiliate;

4. Act as an agent unless licensed in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 18 (§ 38.2-1800 et seq.) of this title;

5. Pay or receive commissions or other valuable consideration except in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 18 (§ 38.2-1800 et seq.) of this title; however, nothing herein shall prohibit the payment of compensation to a person not licensed under Chapter 18 (§ 38.2-1800 et seq.) of this title for the referral of a customer, provided that (i) such compensation is not based on the purchase of insurance by the customer, (ii) such compensation is a one-time, nominal fee of a fixed dollar amount for each referral, and (iii) the referral does not include a discussion of specific insurance policy terms and conditions;

6. Release insurance information of a customer to any person other than an officer, director, employee, agent, or affiliate of the depository institution, for the purpose of soliciting or selling insurance, without the express written consent of the customer. This provision shall not apply to (i) the release of information as otherwise authorized by state or federal law or (ii) the transfer of insurance information to an unaffiliated insurer in connection with transferring insurance in force on existing insureds of the depository institution or its affiliate, or in connection with a merger with or acquisition of an unaffiliated insurer. A depository institution or its affiliate shall be deemed to be in compliance with this paragraph if it complies with Chapter 6 (§ 38.2-600 et seq.) of this title;

7. Use, disclose, or release health information obtained from the insurance records of a customer for any purpose other than for its activities as a licensed agent or surplus lines broker, without the express written consent of the customer. A depository institution or its affiliate shall be deemed to be in compliance with this paragraph if it complies with Chapter 6 (§ 38.2-600 et seq.) of this title;

8. Extend credit or provide any product or service that is equivalent to an extension of credit, lease or sell property of any kind, furnish any services, or fix or vary the consideration for any of the foregoing on the condition or requirement that the customer obtain insurance from the depository institution or its affiliate, or a particular insurer, agent, or surplus lines broker; except that nothing shall prohibit the depository institution or its affiliate from:

a. Engaging in any activity that would not violate section 106 of the Bank Holding Company Act Amendments of 1970, as interpreted by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, or

b. Informing a customer that (i) insurance is required in order to obtain a loan or credit approval; (ii) the loan or credit approval is contingent upon the procurement by the customer of acceptable insurance; or (iii) insurance is available from the depository institution or its affiliate;

9. Offer, sell, or require insurance in connection with a loan or extension of credit, when an application for a loan or extension of credit from a depository institution is pending, unless a written disclosure is given to the customer indicating that the customer's choice of an insurer will not affect the credit decision or credit terms in any way; provided, however, that the depository institution may impose reasonable requirements concerning the creditworthiness of the insurer and the scope of coverage chosen. Any disapproval of an insurer shall be deemed unreasonable if it is not based on reasonable standards uniformly applied, relating to the extent of coverage required and the financial soundness and the services of an insurer. Such standards shall not discriminate against any particular type of insurer, nor shall such standards call for disapproval of an insurance policy because the policy contains coverage in addition to that required by the creditor. Use of the ratings of a nationally recognized rating service shall not be deemed unreasonable provided such ratings are based on reasonable standards uniformly applied. If an insurer, duly licensed in Virginia, does not possess the required rating of a nationally recognized rating service, no person who lends money or extends credit shall refuse to accept from the insurer a certificate of 100 percent reinsurance issued by another insurer pursuant to § 38.2-136, which does possess the required rating;

10. Sell an insurance policy unless:

a. A clear and conspicuous disclosure is given, in writing, where practicable, to the customer prior to the sale stating that such insurance policy (i) is not a deposit; (ii) is not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other federal government agency; (iii) is not guaranteed by the depository institution or, if appropriate, its affiliate or any person soliciting or selling insurance on its premises; and (iv) where appropriate, involves investment risk, including the potential loss of principal, and

b. Written acknowledgment of the disclosure is obtained from the customer at the time the customer receives the disclosure or at the time of the initial purchase of the insurance policy;

11. Solicit or sell insurance, other than credit insurance or flood insurance, unless such solicitation or sale is completed through documents separate from any credit transactions;

12. Include the expense of insurance premiums, other than credit insurance premiums, title insurance premiums, or flood insurance premiums, in the primary credit transaction without the express written consent of the customer; or

13. Solicit or sell insurance unless (i) its insurance sales activities are, to the extent practicable, physically segregated from areas where retail deposits are routinely accepted; (ii) it maintains separate and distinct books and records relating to such insurance transactions for the three previous calendar years; and (iii) it makes all such books and records available to the Commission for inspection upon reasonable notice.

B. As used in this section:

"Affiliate" means any company that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with another company.

"Credit insurance" means the lines of insurance defined in §§ 38.2-103, 38.2-108, 38.2-122.1, and 38.2-122.2.

"Customer" means an individual who obtains, applies for, or is solicited to obtain insurance.

"Depository institution" means any bank or savings association.

"Insurance information" means information concerning the premiums, terms, and conditions of insurance coverage, including expiration dates and rates, and insurance claims of a customer contained in the records of a depository institution or its affiliate.

C. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, the provisions of this section, except subdivision A. 10., shall also apply to any person who lends money or extends credit and who sells or solicits any insurance as classified and defined in Article 2 (§ 38.2-101 et seq.) of Chapter 1 of this title in connection therewith. However, this section shall not apply to premium finance companies licensed under Chapter 47 (§ 38.2-4700 et seq.) of this title or agents who extend credit as authorized in § 38.2-1806 to the extent that such premium finance companies or agents are not affiliated with a depository institution.

D. If the customer agrees, the written disclosures and acknowledgements required by subsection A of this section may be provided electronically. Such disclosures shall be provided in a format that the customer may retain and reproduce for later reference. When a purchase of insurance is made by telephone, the disclosures and acknowledgements required by subsection A of this section may be given orally, provided that (i) such disclosures are mailed or provided in electronic form within three working days after the sale, solicitation, or offer of the insurance policy; (ii) documentation is maintained showing that oral acknowledgement was given by the customer; and (iii) a reasonable effort is made to obtain written acknowledgement from the customer.

E. The Commission shall have the power to examine and investigate the affairs of any person to whom this section applies to determine whether that person has violated this section. If a violation of this section is found, the person in violation shall be subject to the same procedures and penalties as are applicable to other provisions of this chapter.

F. Except as provided for specifically in subsection A, this section shall not prevent or restrict a depository institution or its affiliate from engaging directly or indirectly, either by itself or in conjunction with an affiliate, or any other person, in any activity authorized or permitted under state or federal law.

2001, c. 371; 2002, c. 76.

§ 38.2-514. Failure to make disclosure.

A. No person shall sell, solicit, or negotiate the sale of an annuity, a life insurance policy or an accident and sickness insurance policy without furnishing the disclosure information required by any rules and regulations of the Commission.

B. No person shall provide to an insured, claimant, subscriber or enrollee under an accident and sickness insurance policy, subscription contract, or health maintenance organization contract, an explanation of benefits which does not clearly and accurately disclose the method of benefit calculation and the actual amount which has been or will be paid to the provider of services.

Code 1950, § 38.1-52; 1952, c. 317, § 38.1-52.13; 1977, c. 529; 1978, c. 441; 1979, c. 324; 1980, c. 404; 1986, c. 562; 1991, c. 620; 1992, c. 7; 1994, c. 320; 2001, cc. 371, 706.

§ 38.2-514.1. Disclosure required.

A. Any agent selling, soliciting, or negotiating a contract of insurance in conjunction with any automobile club service agreement or in conjunction with any accidental death and dismemberment policy shall provide to the applicant, at the time of application, a written disclosure which shall contain:

1. The name or type of each policy or contract of insurance and automobile club service agreement for which application has been made;

2. The premium quotation associated with each policy or contract of insurance and the cost of any dues, assessments or periodic payments of money associated with each automobile club service agreement for which application has been made; and

3. A statement that the applicant has elected to purchase such policies, contracts, or automobile club service agreements.

B. The disclosure required by this section shall be signed and dated by the agent and the applicant. A copy of the signed disclosure shall be given to the applicant at the time of application. If the application is made by telephonic or electronic request, a copy of the disclosure shall be signed and dated by the agent and shall be mailed to the applicant within ten calendar days of the application.

C. The provisions of this section shall apply only to the original issuance of policies or contracts of insurance and automobile club service agreements covering personal, family, or household needs rather than business or professional needs. As used in this section, an automobile club service agreement is an agreement issued by an automobile club as defined in subsection E.

D. Notwithstanding subsections A, B and C, this section shall not apply to the sale of group insurance.

E. As used in this section, "automobile club" means a legal entity that, in consideration of dues, assessments, or periodic payments of money, promises its members or subscribers to assist them in matters relating to motor travel or the operation, use, or maintenance of a motor vehicle by supplying services that may include, but are not limited to, towing service, emergency road service, indemnification service, guaranteed arrest bond certificate service, discount service, financial service, theft service, map service, or touring service.

1996, c. 473; 2001, c. 706; 2016, c. 250; 2017, c. 653.

§ 38.2-514.2. Disclosures required of motor vehicle rental contract insurance agents and enrollers.

No insurance may be sold, solicited, or negotiated by a motor vehicle rental contract insurance agent or enroller unless a conspicuous written disclosure is provided to the prospective renter that (i) summarizes clearly and correctly the material terms of coverage offered, including the identity of the insurer or insurers, (ii) advises that the coverage offered may duplicate coverage already provided by the renter's personal motor vehicle insurance policy, homeowner's insurance policy, personal liability insurance policy, or other source of coverage, and (iii) states that the purchase of the coverages offered is not required in order to rent a motor vehicle.

1998, c. 47; 1999, c. 493; 2001, c. 706.

§ 38.2-515. Power of Commission.

A. The Commission shall have power to examine and investigate the affairs of each person subject to this chapter to determine whether such person has been or is engaged in any unfair method of competition or in any unfair or deceptive act or practice prohibited by this chapter.

B. The Commission is further empowered to gather information from any person subject to this chapter relative to trade practices and whether such practices adequately and fairly serve the public interest.

C. Any person who refuses or fails to provide information in a timely manner to the Commission as provided in this section shall be subject to the enforcement and penalty provisions set forth in Chapter 2 (§ 38.2-200 et seq.).

1952, c. 317, § 38.1-53; 1977, c. 529; 1980, c. 404; 1986, c. 562; 1991, c. 356; 2012, cc. 273, 277.

§ 38.2-515.1. Power of Commission; policies issued outside of the Commonwealth.

A. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the Commission shall have the power to assist consumers and to examine and investigate complaints and inquiries relating to trade practices and claim settlement practices of insurers involving policies issued outside of the Commonwealth but covering residents of the Commonwealth, provided that the policy was issued (i) as a policy of group accident and sickness insurance in accordance with § 38.2-3521.1 or (ii) to a group other than one described in § 38.2-3521.1 in compliance with the requirements of § 38.2-3522.1.

B. The Commission's investigatory powers with respect to residents of the Commonwealth are limited to assisting consumers and examining and investigating complaints and inquiries as provided in subsection A and shall not extend to applying or enforcing federal laws or the laws of another state or jurisdiction.

C. The Commission shall have no jurisdiction to adjudicate controversies arising out of this section.

2018, c. 256.

§ 38.2-516. Prohibited compensation for intra-company replacement.

No insurer shall pay a commission or other compensation to an appointed agent who has replaced an existing individual accident and sickness policy with a policy issued by the same insurer when such new policy provides benefits substantially similar to the benefits under the replaced policy, except that an insurer may pay to such agent a commission or other compensation to the extent that the commission or other compensation does not exceed the renewal commission that would have been paid to the agent had the replaced policy continued in force.

1990, c. 265.

§ 38.2-517. Unfair settlement practices; replacement and repair; penalty.

A. No person shall:

1. Require an insured or claimant to utilize designated replacement or repair facilities or services, or the products of designated manufacturers, as a prerequisite to settling or paying any claim arising under a policy or policies of insurance;

2. Engage in any act of coercion or intimidation causing or intended to cause an insured or claimant to utilize designated replacement or repair facilities or services, or the products of designated manufacturers, in connection with settling or paying any claim arising under a policy or policies of insurance;

3. Fail to disclose to the insured or claimant, prior to being referred to a third party representative in connection with a glass claim arising under a motor vehicle insurance policy, that the third party representative is not the insurer and is acting on behalf of the insurer;

4. Fail to disclose to the insured or claimant, at such time as the insurer or its third party representative recommends the use of a designated motor vehicle replacement or repair facility or service, or products of a designated manufacturer, in connection with settling or paying any claim arising under a policy or policies of insurance, that the insured or claimant is under no obligation to use the replacement or repair facility or service or products of the manufacturer recommended by the insurer or by a representative of the insurer;

5. Fail to disclose to the insured or claimant, at such time as it or its third party representative recommends the use of a designated motor vehicle replacement or repair facility in connection with settling or paying any claim arising under a policy or policies of insurance, that the insurer or its third party representative has a financial interest in such replacement or repair facility, if the insurer or its third party representative has such an interest; or

6. Engage in the practice of capping. As used in this subdivision, "capping" means the setting of arbitrary and unreasonable limits on what an insurer will allow as reimbursement for paint and materials.

B. This section shall not be construed to require an insurer to pay an amount for motor vehicle repair services or repair products necessary to properly and fairly repair the vehicle to its pre-loss condition that is greater than the prevailing competitive charges for equivalent services or products charged by similar contractors or repair shops within a reasonable geographic or trade area of the address of the repair facility. Offering an explanation of the extent of an insurer's obligation under this section to its policyholder or third party claimant shall not constitute a violation of this section.

C. Any person violating this section shall be subject to the injunctive, penalty, and enforcement provisions of Chapter 2 (§ 38.2-200 et seq.) of this title. The Commission shall investigate, with the written authorization of the insured or the claimant, any written complaints received pursuant to this section, regardless of whether such written complaints are submitted by an individual or a repair facility. For the purpose of this section, any insurance company utilizing a third party representative shall be held accountable for any violation of this section by such third party representative.

1992, cc. 870, 882; 1999, c. 129; 2003, c. 361; 2004, c. 767; 2008, cc. 111, 516.

§ 38.2-518. Certificates of insurance.

A. As used in this section, "certificate of insurance" means a document, regardless of how titled or described, that is provided to a third party and is prepared or issued by an insurer or insurance producer as a statement or summary of an insured's property or casualty insurance coverage. The term does not include any (i) policy of insurance, (ii) insurance binder, (iii) policy endorsement, (iv) automobile identification card, (v) certificate issued under a group or master policy, or (vi) evidence of coverage provided to a lender in a lending transaction involving a mortgage, lien, deed of trust, or other security interest in or on any real or personal property.

B. No person shall issue or deliver any certificate of insurance that attempts to confer any rights upon a third party beyond what the referenced policy of insurance expressly provides.

C. No certificate of insurance may represent an insurer's obligation to give notice of cancellation or nonrenewal to a third party unless the giving of such notice is required by the policy.

D. No person shall issue or deliver a certificate of insurance unless it contains a substantially similar statement to the following: "This certificate of insurance is issued as a matter of information only. It confers no rights upon the third party requesting the certificate beyond what the referenced policy of insurance expressly provides. This certificate of insurance does not extend, amend, or alter the coverage, terms, exclusions, or conditions afforded by the policy referenced in this certificate of insurance." If a certificate of insurance is required by a state or federal agency and accurately reflects the coverage provided by the underlying policies, no such statement is required.

E. No person shall knowingly demand or require the issuance of a certificate of insurance from an insurer, insurance producer, or policyholder that contains any false or misleading information concerning the policy of insurance to which the certificate makes reference.

F. No person shall knowingly prepare or issue a certificate of insurance that contains any false or misleading information or that purports to affirmatively or negatively alter, amend, or extend the coverage provided by the policy of insurance to which the certificate makes reference.

G. The provisions of this section shall apply to all certificate holders, policyholders, insurers, insurance producers, and certificate of insurance forms issued as a statement or summary of insurance coverages on property, operations, or risks located in the Commonwealth.

2012, cc. 273, 277.