The meaning of sub. (9) is plain: the minimum coverage requirements of the financial responsibility law can be satisfied only by one or more certified policies. In this case, there was only one certified policy. That policy was required to fulfill the financial responsibility law's requirements. Among other requirements, the policy must “insure the person named therein using any motor vehicle," which meant that the policy's exclusion for injury or damages “resulting from the ... use of a motorized vehicle with less than four wheels" could not apply. Hechimovich v. Acuity, 2014 WI App 14
, 352 Wis. 2d 513
, 842 N.W.2d 493
Notice of cancellation or termination of certified policy.
When an insurer has certified a motor vehicle liability policy under s. 344.31
or a bond under s. 344.36
, the insurance so certified shall not be canceled or terminated until at least 10 days after a notice of cancellation or termination of the insurance so certified has been filed in the office of the secretary. No insurance so certified may be canceled or terminated by the insurer prior to the expiration of 90 days from the effective date of the certification on the grounds of failure to pay a premium when due. Such a certified policy or bond subsequently procured shall, on the effective date of its certification, terminate the insurance previously certified. Any certification or recertification filed by the same insurer following cancellation shall be accompanied by a fee of $3 payable by the insurer.
The failure of an insurer to comply with the notice requirement under this section precludes the insurer from asserting that a previously certified policy had lapsed. Lang v. Kurtz, 100 Wis. 2d 40
, 301 N.W.2d 262
(Ct. App. 1980).
The 10-day notice of cancellation requirement only applied to liability coverage of a policy acquired to satisfy proof of financial responsibility. Uninsured motorist coverage cancellation took effect immediately. Nutter v. Milwaukee Insurance Co. 167 Wis. 2d 449
, 481 N.W.2d 701
(Ct. App. 1992).
The 10-day notice requirement in this section results in a period of time in which the insurer owes coverage to the public despite the fact that its policy with its insured was not contractually in force. However, s. 344.33 (7) allows an insurer to recover from its insured any claims it paid that it would not have been obligated to pay but for the Financial Responsibility law. When the insured's policy lapsed 3 days before an accident, but the insurer did not send a notice of cancellation to the state under this section until after the accident, the insurer had a responsibility to cover 3rd-party losses and was entitled to seek reimbursement from the insured under s. 344.33 (7). Acuity v. Albert, 2012 WI App 87
, 343 Wis. 2d 594
, 819 N.W.2d 340
This chapter not to affect other policies. 344.35(1)(1)
This chapter does not apply to or affect policies of automobile insurance against liability which may now or hereafter be required by any other law of this state. If such policies contain an agreement or are endorsed to conform to the requirements of this chapter, they may be certified as proof of financial responsibility under this chapter.
This chapter does not apply to or affect policies insuring solely the insured named in the policy against liability resulting from the maintenance or use by persons in the insured's employ or on the insured's behalf of motor vehicles not owned by the insured.
History: 1991 a. 316
Proof of financial responsibility may be evidenced by the bond of a surety company duly authorized to transact business within this state or a bond with at least 2 individual sureties each owning real estate within this state and together having equities equal in value to at least twice the amount of the bond, which real estate shall be scheduled in the bond approved by a judge of a court of record. Such bond shall be conditioned for the payment of the amounts specified in s. 344.01 (2) (d)
. The bond shall be filed with the secretary and shall not be cancelable except after 10 days' written notice to the secretary.
The bond constitutes a lien in favor of the state upon any surety's real estate which is scheduled in the bond and which is not exempt by law from execution. Such lien is effective as of the time when the secretary records the bond in the office of the register of deeds of the county wherein such real estate is located, as provided in s. 706.05 (1)
. Such lien exists in favor of any holder of a final judgment against the person who filed such bond, for damages resulting from the ownership, maintenance, use or operation of a motor vehicle after such bond was recorded, including damages for care and for loss of services because of bodily injury to or death of any person and damages because of injury to or destruction of property and the consequent loss of use thereof.
If the judgment rendered against the principal on the bond is not satisfied within 60 days after it has become final, the judgment creditor may, for his or her own use and benefit and at the judgment creditor's sole expense, bring an action in the name of the state against the company or persons executing the bond, including an action or proceeding to foreclose any lien that may exist upon the real estate of a person who has executed such bond. In the foreclosure of such lien, ch. 846
on the foreclosure of real estate mortgages shall apply as far as possible.
History: 1973 c. 189
; Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 776 (1975); 1975 c. 218
; 1977 c. 29
s. 1654 (7) (c)
The direct action statute, s. 632.24, does not apply to actions in which the principal on a bond under this section causes injury. Sub. (3) requires obtaining a judgment against the principal before an action may be brought against the surety. Vansguard v. Progressive Northern Insurance Co. 188 Wis. 2d 584
, 525 N.W.2d 146
(Ct. App. 1994).
Money or securities as proof. 344.37(1)(1)
Proof of financial responsibility for the future may be evidenced by a deposit with the secretary by the person of $60,000 in cash, or in securities such as may legally be purchased by savings banks or for trust funds of a market value of $60,000. The secretary shall not accept any such deposit unless accompanied by evidence that there are no unsatisfied judgments of any character against the depositor in the county where the depositor resides.
Deposits made under this section shall be held by the secretary to satisfy, in accordance with this chapter, any execution on a judgment issued against the person making the deposit, for damages resulting from the ownership, maintenance, use or operation of a motor vehicle after such deposit was made, including damages for care and for loss of services because of bodily injury to or death of any person and damages because of injury to or destruction of property and the consequent loss of use thereof. Money or securities so deposited are not subject to attachment or execution unless such attachment or execution arises out of a suit for damages as set forth in this section.
Owner and leasing company may give proof for others.
Whenever any person required to give proof of financial responsibility for the future under this chapter is or later becomes an operator in the employ of any owner, or is or later becomes a member of the immediate family or household of the owner, the secretary shall accept proof given by such owner in lieu of proof by such other person. If the vehicle is leased to the employer, then the leasing company may file proof of financial responsibility on behalf of the person required to furnish such proof. When proof has been given as provided in this section, the person on whose behalf such proof was furnished may be granted a license, but only to operate those vehicles for which proof was so given. The department shall note such restriction on the person's license, including a designation of each vehicle for which proof was given.
History: 1977 c. 29
s. 1654 (7) (a)
Substitution of proof.
The secretary shall consent to the cancellation of any bond or certification of insurance or return any money or securities to the person entitled thereto upon the substitution and acceptance of other adequate proof of financial responsibility pursuant to this chapter.
Revocation or suspension for failure to maintain proof; other proof may be required. 344.40(1)(a)
Except as provided in par. (b)
, whenever any person whose operating privilege was suspended or revoked who has furnished proof of financial responsibility fails to maintain such proof at any time during the period when proof of financial responsibility is required, the secretary shall suspend or revoke such person's operating privilege for a period of time running from the date of suspension or revocation until such time as either satisfactory proof of financial responsibility is again furnished or the period during which proof was required to be furnished has expired.
Whenever any person who has furnished proof of financial responsibility fails to maintain such proof at any time during the period when proof of financial responsibility is required under s. 344.18 (1m)
or 344.19 (3m)
, the secretary shall suspend all of the person's registrations for a period of time running from the date of suspension until such time as either satisfactory proof of financial responsibility is again furnished or the period during which proof was required to be furnished has expired.
Except as provided in par. (b)
, whenever any proof of financial responsibility filed under this chapter no longer fulfills the purposes for which required, the secretary shall require other proof meeting the requirements of this chapter and shall suspend or revoke the operating privilege pending the filing of such other proof.
Whenever any proof of financial responsibility filed under s. 344.18 (1m)
or 344.19 (3m)
no longer fulfills the purposes for which required, the secretary shall require other proof meeting the requirements of this chapter and shall suspend all of the person's registrations pending the filing of such other proof.
Duration of proof; when proof may be canceled or returned. 344.41(1)(1)
Subject to the exceptions set forth in sub. (2)
, the secretary shall, upon request, consent to the immediate cancellation of any bond or certification of insurance, return to the person entitled thereto any money or securities deposited pursuant to this chapter as proof of financial responsibility and shall waive any requirement of the filing of proof of financial responsibility whenever, except as provided in sub. (1m)
, any of the following events has occurred:
The period during which proof of financial responsibility is required has expired; or
The person on whose behalf such proof was filed has died or has become permanently incapacitated to operate a motor vehicle; or
The person who has given proof surrenders the person's license to the secretary.
Subject to the exceptions set forth in sub. (2)
, the secretary shall, upon request, consent to the immediate cancellation of any bond or certification of insurance, return to the person entitled thereto any money or securities deposited pursuant to this chapter as proof of financial responsibility and shall waive any requirement of the filing of proof of financial responsibility under s. 344.18 (1m)
or 344.19 (3m)
whenever any of the following events has occurred:
The period during which proof of financial responsibility is required has expired.
The person who has given proof surrenders all of the person's registrations to the secretary.
The secretary shall not consent to the cancellation of any bond or the return of any money or securities if any action for damages upon a liability covered by such proof is then pending or any judgment upon any such liability is then unsatisfied, or if the person who filed the bond or deposited the money or securities has, within one year immediately preceding the request for cancellation of the bond or return of the money or securities, been involved as an operator or owner in any motor vehicle accident resulting in injury or damage to the person or property of others. An affidavit of the applicant as to the nonexistence of such facts, or that the person has been released from all liability, or has been finally adjudicated not to be liable for such injury or damages is sufficient evidence thereof in the absence of evidence to the contrary in the records of the secretary.
Whenever any person whose proof has been canceled or returned under sub. (1) (c)
desires reinstatement of that person's operating privilege prior to the expiration of the period during which proof of financial responsibility is required, that person shall again furnish proof of financial responsibility. Thereupon that person's operating privilege is reinstated as provided in s. 343.38
Whenever any person whose proof has been canceled or returned under sub. (1m) (b)
desires reinstatement of his or her registrations prior to the expiration of the period during which proof of financial responsibility is required, he or she shall again furnish proof of financial responsibility. Thereupon his or her registrations may be renewed or reinstated upon payment of the fee required under s. 341.36 (1m)
Submission of certifications and recertifications by insurers.
If the sum of certifications and recertifications under ss. 344.31
that are submitted by an insurer to the department in any year exceeds 1,000, the insurer shall pay to the department a transaction fee of $1.50 per certification or recertification that is not transmitted electronically to the department. The department shall promulgate rules establishing procedures for the collection of transaction fees under this section.
History: 1997 a. 27
; 2009 a. 245
See also ch. Trans 197
, Wis. adm. code.
PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF CHAPTER
Surrender of license and registration upon suspension. 344.45(1)(1)
Whenever a person's operating privilege or registration is suspended under this chapter, the department may order the person to surrender to the department his or her operator's license and the registration plates of the vehicle or vehicles for which registration was suspended. If the person fails immediately to return the operator's license or registration plates to the department, the department may direct a traffic officer to take possession thereof and return them to the department.
Any person who intentionally fails or refuses to return a license and registration plate or plates as required by this section may be required to forfeit not more than $100.
Transfer of vehicle ownership to defeat purpose of chapter. 344.46(1)(1)
No owner of a motor vehicle involved in an accident in this state which is reportable under s. 346.70
shall transfer the ownership or registration of any vehicle whose registration is subject to suspension or revocation under this chapter until all of the applicable provisions of this chapter has been complied with or until the secretary is satisfied that such transfer is proposed in good faith and not for the purpose or with the effect of defeating the purposes of this chapter.
Any person violating this section may be required to forfeit not more than $200.
This section does not apply to or affect the registration of any vehicle sold by a person who, under the terms or conditions of any written instrument giving a right of repossession, has exercised such right and has repossessed such vehicle from a person whose registration has been suspended or revoked under this chapter.
Forge or, without authority, sign any notice provided for in s. 344.14
or 344.15 (4)
, or both, to the effect that a policy or bond is in effect or, knowing or having reason to believe that the notice has been forged or signed without authority, file or offer the notice for filing; or
Forge or, without authority, sign any evidence of proof of financial responsibility or, knowing or having reason to believe that such evidence has been forged or signed without authority, file or offer such evidence for filing.
Sign or file the affidavit mentioned in s. 344.15 (4)
, knowing that it contains a false statement.
Any person violating this section may be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 9 months or both.
FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR RENTED AND HUMAN SERVICES VEHICLES
Financial responsibility for domestic rented or leased vehicles. 344.51(1g)(a)
“Lessor" means a person who, for compensation, leases a motor vehicle to a lessee to be operated by or with the consent of the lessee or who acquires a contract for the leasing of a motor vehicle from another person.
“Motor vehicle" means a self-propelled vehicle.
“Rental company" means a person who, for compensation, rents a motor vehicle to a renter to be operated by or with the consent of the renter or who acquires a contract for the renting of a motor vehicle from another person.
No lessor or rental company may for compensation rent or lease any motor vehicle unless there is filed with the department on a form prescribed by the department a certificate for a good and sufficient bond or policy of insurance issued by an insurer authorized to do an automobile liability insurance or surety business in this state. The certificate shall provide that the insurer which issued it will be liable for damages caused by the negligent operation of the motor vehicle in the amounts set forth in s. 344.01 (2) (d)
. No lessor or rental company complying with this subsection, and no lessor or rental company entering into or acquiring an interest in any contract for the rental or leasing of a motor vehicle for which any other lessor or rental company has complied with this subsection, is liable for damages caused by the negligent operation of the motor vehicle by another person.
Any lessor or rental company failing to comply with this section is directly liable for damages caused by the negligence of the person operating such rented or leased vehicle, but such liability may not exceed the limits set forth in s. 344.01 (2) (d)
with respect to the acceptable limits of liability when furnishing proof of financial responsibility.
Any person violating this section may be required to forfeit not more than $200.
A lessor is not liable to the lessee's insurer for monies that the insurer paid to a victim of the lessee's negligence. American Family Mutual Insurance Co. v. Reciprocal Ins. Service Exchange Mgt. Co. 111 Wis. 2d 308
, 330 N.W.2d 223
(Ct. App. 1983).
When a lessee's insurance was insufficient to cover all damages, the lessor's errors and omissions policy was required to cover remaining damages. Germanotta v. National Indemnity Co. 119 Wis. 2d 293
, 349 N.W.2d 733
(Ct. App. 1984).
No statute requires a self-insured entity under s. 344.16 to provide uninsured motorist coverage as part of the optional insurance it offers to its customers. Prophet v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company, Inc. 2000 WI App 171
, 238 Wis. 2d 150
, 617 N.W.2d 225
A car-rental company issued a certificate of self-insurance under s. 344.16 and subject to liability limits under s. 344.01 (2) (d) and this section was not a self-insurer for purposes of an underinsured motorist clause that excluded coverage for a vehicle owned or operated by a “self-insurer." Bethke v. Auto-Owners Insurance Company, 2013 WI 16
, 345 Wis. 2d 533
, 825 N.W.2d 482
Financial responsibility for foreign rented vehicles. 344.52(1g)(1g)
In this section, “motor vehicle" means a self-propelled vehicle.
Whenever any motor vehicle rented for compensation outside this state is operated in this state, the lessor of the motor vehicle is directly liable for all damages to persons or property caused by the negligent operation of the rented vehicle unless, at the time when the damage or injury occurs, the operation of the rented vehicle is effectively covered by a policy of insurance that provides coverage at least in the amounts specified in s. 344.01 (2) (d)
for property damage, personal injury, or death suffered by any person on account of the negligent operation of the rented vehicle. The amount of liability imposed upon the lessor by this section in the absence of insurance coverage shall not exceed the limits set forth in s. 344.01 (2) (d)
with respect to the acceptable limits of liability when furnishing proof of financial responsibility. The fact that the rented vehicle is operated in this state contrary to any understanding or agreement with the lessor is not a defense to any liability imposed by this section.
If a motor vehicle rented for compensation outside this state is operated in this state, the lessor of the vehicle is considered to have irrevocably appointed the secretary as the agent or attorney upon whom legal process may be served in any action or proceeding against the lessor or the lessor's personal representative, successors, or assigns, growing out of the operation of the rented motor vehicle in this state, which appointment is binding upon the lessor's personal representative, successors, or assigns. The operation of the rented motor vehicle in this state is a signification of the lessor's agreement that legal process or notice may be served upon the lessor or the lessor's personal representative, successors, or assigns and that process or notice so served has the same legal force as if personally served upon them in this state.
Service of process or notice under par. (a)
shall be made as provided in s. 345.09
. This section does not affect the right to serve process or notice on the nonresident operator of the rented motor vehicle as provided in s. 345.09
Unlike the domestic financial responsibility statute, s. 344.51, this section does not require a lessor to file a bond or insurance policy with the state, but instead requires that some insurance policy provide coverage up to the statutorily required amount. If such a policy exists, the lessor will be held directly liable for damages caused by the negligent operation of the vehicle up to the statutory amount. This section explicitly covers any motor vehicle rented outside this state but operated in this state. It is irrelevant that a vehicle was maintained and operated in Wisconsin because both statutes contemplate that possibility. Casper v. American International South Insurance Co. 2010 WI App 2
, 323 Wis. 2d 82
, 779 N.W.2d 445
, decided on other grounds 2011 WI 81
, 336 Wis. 2d 267
, 800 N.W.2d 880