Code Section

Insurance Code - INS


  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1935, Ch. 145. )

PART 8. SERVICE CONTRACTS [12800 - 12865]

  ( Part 8 added by Stats. 2003, Ch. 439, Sec. 5. )

(a) Prior to incurring an obligation under a vehicle service contract, an obligor shall file with the commissioner, to the attention of the legal division, and receive the commissioner’s approval to use, a copy of an insurance policy covering 100 percent of the obligor’s vehicle service contract obligations. The policy must be issued by an insurer admitted in this state and authorized by the commissioner to issue that insurance in this state. The policy may also be issued by a risk retention group, as that term is defined in 15 U.S.C. Sec. 3901(a)(4), as long as that risk retention group is in full compliance with the federal Liability Risk Retention Act of 1986 (15 U.S.C. Sec. 3901 and following), is in good standing in its domiciliary jurisdiction, and has registered with the commissioner pursuant to Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 125) of Part 1 of Division 1. The insurance required by this subdivision shall be subject to the following:

(1) The insurer or risk retention group shall, at the time the policy is filed with the commissioner, and continuously thereafter, be rated “B++” or better by A. M. Best Company, Inc., maintain surplus as to policyholders and paid-in capital of at least fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000), and annually file audited financial statements with the commissioner.

(2) The commissioner may authorize an insurer or risk retention group that has surplus as to policyholders and paid-in capital of less than fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000) but at least equal to ten million dollars ($10,000,000) to issue the insurance required by this paragraph if the insurer or risk retention group demonstrates to the satisfaction of the commissioner that the company maintains a ratio of direct written premiums, wherever written, to surplus as to policyholders and paid-in capital of not more than 3 to 1.

(3) An obligor required to maintain insurance pursuant to this paragraph who is an affiliate of a distributor of new motor vehicles licensed as such in any state prior to January 1, 2003, and continuously thereafter, is exempt from the requirement that its insurer or risk retention group satisfy the rating, surplus, and paid-in capital requirements of paragraph (1). This exemption shall apply only if the distributor sold or distributed at least 25,000 new motor vehicles to licensed dealers in the preceding five years. For the purpose of this paragraph, “affiliate” has the meaning set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 1215.

(b) An insurance policy filed with the commissioner pursuant to subdivision (a) shall state the name of the obligor. The policy shall provide that all purchasers of vehicle service contracts shall be entitled to satisfaction by the insurer of any and all obligations arising under vehicle service contracts of the named obligor, upon the existence of all of the following conditions and no others:

(1) The service contract obligor refuses or fails to satisfy an obligation arising under the vehicle service contract within 60 days of the date the purchaser submits proof of loss to the obligor.

(2) The purchaser provides written notice to the insurer that the obligor has failed to comply with an obligation under the vehicle service contract.

(3) The purchaser possesses a vehicle service contract sold after the inception and prior to any cancellation of the insurance policy required by subdivision (a), and the vehicle service contract recites the name of the obligor that is insured by the policy as the obligor of the service contract.

(c) An insurer’s liability under a policy filed pursuant to subdivision (a) shall not be negated by any failure of the seller, an administrator, the obligor, or agents of any of these persons, to report the issuance of a vehicle service contract or to remit moneys to another person pursuant to a contractual agreement. The policy must state that the insurer is deemed to have received the premium for the policy upon payment by the purchaser for a vehicle service contract insured by that policy.

(d) An obligor may have on file with the commissioner only one active policy from one insurer at any time.

(e) No policy cancellation by an insurer shall be valid unless a notice of the intent to cancel the policy was filed with the commissioner 30 days prior to the effective date of the cancellation, or 10 days prior in the event that the cancellation is due to fraud, material misrepresentation, or defalcation by the obligor or its administrator, if any.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 196, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2007.)