Wis. Admin. Code Office of the Commissioner of Insurance § Ins 3.28 - Solicitation, underwriting and claims practices in individual and franchise accident and sickness insurance

Current through March 28, 2022

(1) PURPOSE. The purpose of this rule is to promote the fair and equitable treatment of Wisconsin residents in the solicitation, underwriting and administration of accident and sickness insurance and of contracts issued by a plan subject to ch. 613, Stats. Sections of statutes interpreted or implemented by this rule include but are not limited to ss. 601.04(3), 601.01(2), 611.20, 618.12(1), and 632.76, Stats.
(2)SCOPE. This rule applies to the solicitation, underwriting and administration of any insurance issued by any insurer or fraternal benefit society under s. Ins 6.75(1) (c) or (2) (c) and ss. 600.03(22) and 632.93, Stats., except credit accident and sickness insurance under s. Ins 6.75(1) (c) 1. or (2) (c) 1., and to any contract, other than one issued on a group or group type basis as defined in s. Ins 6.51(3), issued by a plan subject to ch. 613, Stats. For the purpose of this rule, references to insurer, policy, and insurance agent or representative, also apply to organizations or associations operating non-profit plans, contracts, and persons within the scope of the rule, respectively.
(3)APPLICATION FORM. An application form which becomes part of the insurance contract shall provide to the effect that statements made by the applicant in the application form regarding the general medical history or general health of a proposed insured person which require an opinion or the exercise of judgment are representations or are to the best of the applicant's knowledge and/or belief. Such form need not so provide with respect to statements regarding specifically named diseases, physical conditions, or types of medical consultation or treatment. Such form shall not require the applicant to state that he or she has not withheld any information or concealed any facts in completing the application; however, the applicant may be required to state that his or her answers are true and complete to the best of his or her knowledge and/or belief.
(4)SOLICITATION. An insurance agent or representative shall review carefully with the applicant all questions contained in each application which he or she prepares and shall set down in each such form all material information disclosed to him or her by the applicant in response to the questions in such form.
(5)UNDERWRITING.
(a) An insurer shall make provision for adequate underwriting personnel and procedures so as to process without undue delay each application for insurance received by it.
(b) An insurer shall give due consideration to all statements in each application for insurance submitted to it and shall duly evaluate the proposed insured person before issuing coverage for such person.
(c) An insurer which issues coverage for a person shall not use the statements, information or material set out in subds. 1., 2. and 3. to void the coverage on the basis of misrepresentation in the application, or deny a claim on the basis of a pre-existing condition defense, unless the insurer has:
1. Resolved patently conflicting or incomplete statements in the application for the coverage;
2. Duly considered information furnished to it:
a. In connection with the processing of such application, or
b. In connection with individual coverage on the person previously issued by it and currently in force, or
3. Duly considered the material which it would have obtained through reasonable inquiry following due consideration of the statements or information.
(d) An insurer shall at the issuance or amendment of a policy, contract or subscriber certificate, furnish notice concerning statements in the application to the policyholder, contracting party or certificate holder, where the application for the coverage or amended coverage contains questions relating to the medical history or other matters concerning the insurability of the person or persons being insured and the application is part of the insurance contract.
1. The notice shall be printed prominently in contrasting color on the first page of the policy, contract, or subscriber certificate or in the form of a sticker, letter or other form attached to the first page of the policy, contract or certificate, or a letter or other form to be mailed within 10 days after the issuance or amendment of coverage.
2. The notice shall contain substantially the following as to text and caption or title:

IMPORTANT NOTICE CONCERNING STATEMENTS IN THE APPLICATION FOR YOUR INSURANCE

Please read the copy of the application attached to this notice or to your policy. Omissions or misstatements in the application could cause an otherwise valid claim to be denied. Carefully check the application and write to the insurer within 10 days if any information shown on the application is not correct and complete or if any medical history has not been included. The application is part of the insurance contract. The insurance contract was issued on the basis that the answers to all questions and any other material information shown on the application are correct and complete.

(e) An insurer shall file with the commissioner a description of the procedure it will follow and the form or forms it will use to meet the requirements of par. (d).
(f) An insurer which, after coverage for a person has been issued, receives information regarding such person which would reasonably be considered a sufficient basis to void or reform such person's coverage shall effect such voiding or reformation as provided in s. 631.11(4), Stats., or the insurer shall be held to have waived its rights to such action.
(g) An insurer may use statements in an application form as a defense to a claim or to avoid or reform coverage only if it has complied with par. (d).
(6)CLAIMS ADMINISTRATION.
(a) If the existence of a disease or physical condition is duly disclosed in the application for coverage in response to the questions therein, the insurer shall not use the pre-existence defense, under coverage providing such a defense, to deny benefits for such disease or condition unless such disease or condition is excluded from coverage by name or specific description effective on the date of loss. This paragraph does not apply to a preexisting condition exclusion permitted under s. 632.746(1), Stats.
(b) If an application contains no question concerning the proposed insured person's health history or medical treatment history and regardless of whether it contains a question concerning the proposed insured person's general health at the time of the application, the insurer may use the pre-existence defense, under coverage providing such a defense, only with respect to losses incurred or disability commencing within 12 months from the effective date of coverage, unless the disease or physical condition causing the loss or disability is excluded from coverage by name or specific description effective on the date of loss or the date the disability commenced. If, after 12 months from the effective date of coverage, there is a reoccurrence of the disease or condition causing the loss or disability, then the pre-existence defense may not be used. Under a disability income policy a disease or condition shall be deemed to have not reoccurred if the insured performs all important duties of the insured's or a comparable occupation on the same basis as before the disability, for at least 6 months. Under a policy other than disability income a disease or condition shall be deemed to have not reoccurred if a period of 6 months elapses during which no expenses are incurred for the same or related disease or condition.
(c) An insurer shall not void coverage or deny a claim on the ground that the application for such coverage did not disclose certain information considered material to the risk if the application did not clearly require the disclosure of such information.
(d) A claim shall not be reduced or denied on the grounds that the disease or physical condition resulting in the loss or disability had existed prior to the effective date of coverage, under coverage providing such a defense, unless the insurer has evidence that such disease or physical condition, as distinguished from the cause of such disease or physical condition, had manifested itself prior to such date. Such manifestation may be established by evidence of:
1. Medical diagnosis or treatment of such disease or physical condition prior to the effective date, or
2. The existence of symptoms of such disease or physical condition prior to the effective date which would cause an ordinarily prudent person to seek diagnosis, care or treatment and for which such diagnosis, care or treatment was not sought prior to such date.
(e) Coverage which contains wording which requires the cause of the disease or physical condition, as distinguished from the disease or physical condition itself, to originate after the effective date of coverage shall be administered in accordance with par. (d).
(f) An insurer shall not exclude or limit benefits for a particular condition where the claimant's medical records indicate a reasonable basis for, and the policy language permits, distinguishing between the eligible condition or conditions which necessitated the hospital confinement or medical or surgical treatment for which claim is made, or which resulted in the disability for which the claim is made, and a concurrently non-eligible existing condition or conditions which did not contribute to the need for the confinement or treatment, or contribute to the disability. The exclusion or limitation of benefits includes the use of:
1. A pre-existence defense;
2. A waiting period, such as for pregnancy, surgery or other stated condition or procedure;
3. A benefit maximum; or
4. Other policy limitation.
(7)EFFECTIVE DATE.
(a) Subsections (4), (5) (a), (b), (c), and (f) and (6) shall apply to all solicitation, underwriting, and claims activities, except under franchise insurance, relating to Wisconsin residents after March 1, 1974, except that sub. (6) (a) and (b) shall apply to policies issued after that date.
(b) Subsections (3) and (5) (d) and (e) shall apply to all solicitation, underwriting, and claims activities, except under franchise insurance, relating to Wisconsin residents after May 1, 1974.
(c) This rule shall apply to all solicitation, underwriting and claims activities under franchise insurance relating to Wisconsin residents after December 1, 1974, except that sub. (6) (a) and (b) shall apply to policies issued after that date and sub. (5) (d) and (e) shall apply to such activities after February 1, 1975.

Notes

Wis. Admin. Code Office of the Commissioner of Insurance § Ins 3.28
Cr. Register, February, 1974, No. 218, eff. 3-1-74; am. (5) (d) (intro. par.), Register, July, 1974, No. 223, eff. 8-1-74; am. (2) and (7), Register, November, 1974, No. 227, eff. 12-1-74; emerg. am. (1) and (2), eff. 6-22-76; am. (1) and (2), Register, September, 1976, No. 249, eff. 10-1-76; am. (1) and (2), Register, March, 1979, No. 279, eff. 4-1-79; am. (1), (2), (5) (f) and (6) (b), cr. (5) (g), r. and recr. (5) (c) and (d) and (6) (d) and (f), Register, April, 1982, No. 316, eff. 5-1-82; correction in (1) and (2) made under s. 13.93(2m) (b) 7, Stats., Register, April, 1992, No. 436; am. (6) (a), Register, November, 1993, No. 455, eff. 2-1-94; correction in (6) (a) made under s. 13.93(2m) (b) 7, Stats., Register, July, 1999, No. 523.

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