Renewal required — Exceptions.
(1) Each insurer must renew any insurance policy subject to RCW 48.18.290 unless one of the following situations exists:
(a)(i) For all insurance policies subject to RCW 48.18.290(1)(a):
(A) The insurer must deliver or mail written notice of nonrenewal to the named insured at least forty-five days before the expiration date of the policy; and
(B) The notice must include the insurer's actual reason for refusing to renew the policy.
(ii) For medical malpractice insurance policies subject to RCW 48.18.290(1)(b):
(A) The insurer must deliver or mail written notice of the nonrenewal to the named insured at least ninety days before the expiration date of the policy; and
(B) The notice must include the insurer's actual reason for refusing to renew the policy and describe the significant risk factors that led to the insurer's underwriting action, as defined under RCW 48.18.547(1)(e);
(b) At least twenty days prior to its expiration date, the insurer has communicated, either directly or through its agent, its willingness to renew in writing to the named insured and has included in that writing a statement of the amount of the premium or portion thereof required to be paid by the insured to renew the policy, and the insured fails to discharge when due his or her obligation in connection with the payment of such premium or portion thereof;
(c) The insured has procured equivalent coverage prior to the expiration of the policy period;
(d) The contract is evidenced by a written binder containing a clearly stated expiration date which has expired according to its terms; or
(e) The contract clearly states that it is not renewable, and is for a specific line, subclassification, or type of coverage that is not offered on a renewable basis. This subsection (1)(e) does not restrict the authority of the insurance commissioner under this code.
(2) Any insurer failing to include in the notice required by subsection (1)(b) of this section the amount of any increased premium resulting from a change of rates and an explanation of any change in the contract provisions shall renew the policy if so required by that subsection according to the rates and contract provisions applicable to the expiring policy. However, renewal based on the rates and contract provisions applicable to the expiring policy shall not prevent the insurer from making changes in the rates and/or contract provisions of the policy once during the term of its renewal after at least twenty days' advance notice of such change has been given to the named insured.
(3) Renewal of a policy shall not constitute a waiver or estoppel with respect to grounds for cancellation which existed before the effective date of such renewal, or with respect to cancellation of fire policies under chapter 48.53 RCW.
(4) "Renewal" or "to renew" means the issuance and delivery by an insurer of a contract of insurance replacing at the end of the contract period a contract of insurance previously issued and delivered by the same insurer, or the issuance and delivery of a certificate or notice extending the term of a contract beyond its policy period or term. However, (a) any contract of insurance with a policy period or term of six months or less whether or not made continuous for successive terms upon the payment of additional premiums shall for the purpose of RCW 48.18.290 and 48.18.293 through 48.18.295 be considered as if written for a policy period or term of six months; and (b) any policy written for a term longer than one year or any policy with no fixed expiration date, shall, for the purpose of RCW 48.18.290 and 48.18.293 through 48.18.295, be considered as if written for successive policy periods or terms of one year.
(5) A midterm blanket reduction in rate, approved by the commissioner, for medical malpractice insurance shall not be considered a renewal for purposes of this section.
[2006 c 8 § 213; 2002 c 347 § 1; 1993 c 186 § 1; 1988 c 249 § 3; 1986 c 287 § 2; 1985 c 264 § 20.]
| Application -- 2006 c 8 §§ 211-213: See note following RCW 48.18.547.|
Findings -- Intent -- Part headings and subheadings not law -- Severability -- 2006 c 8: See notes following RCW 5.64.010.
Effective date -- 1988 c 249: See note following RCW 48.18.289.
Application -- 1985 c 264 §§ 17-22: See note following RCW 48.18.290.