To ensure that policyholders, claimants and insurers are treated fairly and equitably;
To ensure that the state has an adequate and healthy insurance market, characterized by competitive conditions and the exercise of initiative;
To provide for an office that is expert in the field of insurance, and able to enforce chs. 600
To encourage full cooperation of the office with other regulatory bodies, both of this and other states and of the federal government;
To improve and thereby preserve state regulation of insurance;
To maintain freedom of contract and freedom of enterprise so far as consistent with the other purposes of the law;
To encourage self-regulation of the insurance enterprise;
To encourage loss prevention as an aspect of the operation of the insurance enterprise;
To keep the public informed on insurance matters; and
See also Ins
, Wis. adm. code.
Why process consumer complaints? A case study of the office of the commissioner of insurance of Wisconsin. Whitford, Kimball, 1974 WLR 639.
In this chapter, unless the context indicates otherwise:
"Adjuster" means any person who represents an insurer or an insured in negotiations for the settlement of a claim against the insurer arising out of the coverage provided by an insurance policy.
History: 1971 c. 260
; 1975 c. 371
Certificate of authority; fee. 601.04(1)
This section applies to all insurers incorporated or organized under any law of this state except chs. 611
(2) Requirement of license.
No insurer or plan subject to this section may transact insurance business in this state without having in effect a certificate of authority.
The commissioner shall issue to any insurer or plan subject to this section a certificate of authority authorizing it to transact the business of insurance in this state if the commissioner is satisfied that it has met all requirements of law and that its methods and practices and the character and value of its assets will adequately safeguard the interests of its insureds and the public in this state. Each certificate shall be issued for a period of no longer than one year and shall expire on May 1. It may be renewed from year to year.
Every insurer or plan obtaining or renewing its certificate shall pay the fee required by s. 601.31 (1) (b)
See also s. Ins 15.01
, Wis. adm. code.
OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE
When the office of commissioner is vacant, or when the commissioner is unable to perform his or her duties because of mental or physical disability, the deputy commissioner shall be acting commissioner. The deputy commissioner shall have such other duties and powers as the commissioner delegates and assigns.
(2) Other personnel.
Except for those employed under s. 601.14 (2)
or otherwise specifically exempted, all personnel including staff attorneys shall be appointed under the classified service.
History: 1977 c. 418
The attorney general shall allocate personnel as the legal needs of the office demand.
Upon request of the commissioner, the attorney general shall proceed in any federal or state court or agency to recover any tax or fee related to insurance payable under the laws of this state and not paid when due, and any penalty or forfeiture authorized by chs. 600
. Upon request of the commissioner, the attorney general or, in a proper case, the district attorney of any county, shall aid in any investigation, hearing or other procedure under chs. 600
and shall institute, prosecute and defend proceedings relating to the enforcement or interpretation of chs. 600
, including any proceeding to which the state, or the insurance commissioner or any employee of the office, in the employee's official capacity, shall be a party or in which the commissioner or the employee is interested.
Financial services; deposits. 601.13(1)
Receipt of deposits.
Subject to the approval of the commissioner, the secretary of administration shall accept deposits or control of acceptable book-entry accounts from insurers and other licensees of the office as follows:
Deposits required or permitted by the laws of this state;
Deposits of domestic insurers or of alien insurers domiciled in this state if required by the laws of other states as prerequisite to authority to do an insurance business in other states; and
Deposits resulting from application of any retaliatory provisions.
(2) Terms of deposit.
Unless otherwise provided by the law requiring or permitting the deposit, each deposit shall be held in trust: first, for the claimants under s. 645.68 (3)
; 2nd, for the claimants under s. 645.68 (3c)
; 3rd, for the claimants under s. 645.68 (3m)
; 4th, for the claimants under s. 645.68 (4)
; and thereafter, for all other creditors in the order of priority established by s. 645.68
. No claim may be made against the deposit of an alien insurer unless the claim arises out of a transaction in the United States.
(3) Securities eligible.
All deposits may consist of any of the securities authorized in this subsection. Each security must be approved by the commissioner, must be subject to disposition by the secretary of administration, and must not be available to any other person except as expressly provided by law. The authorized securities are:
Lawfully authorized bonds or other evidences of indebtedness which are the direct obligation of the United States or Canada or any state or province thereof.
Lawfully authorized bonds or other evidences of indebtedness which are the direct obligation of any county, city, village, town, school district or other governmental or civil division within the United States or Canada.
Lawfully authorized bonds or other evidences of indebtedness payable from and adequately secured by revenues specifically pledged therefor of the United States or Canada, or of any state or province, or of a commission, board or other instrumentality of one or more of them.
Interest-bearing notes of any savings bank or savings and loan association organized under the laws of this state.
Bonds or other securities of any savings and loan finance corporation organized under the laws of this state.
Investment shares of any savings bank or savings and loan association to the extent that they are or may be insured or guaranteed by the federal government, by the federal deposit insurance corporation or by any other agency of the United States.
Shares of corporations chartered or incorporated under section 5 of the homeowners' loan act of 1933.
Certificates of deposit of any bank organized under the laws of this state or of any national bank located in this state.
Securities held on deposit shall be valued under s. 623.03
for valuation of such investments of life insurers, or at market, whichever is lower.
(5) Receipt, inspection, and record.
The secretary of administration shall deliver to the depositor a receipt for all securities deposited or held under the control of the secretary of administration and shall permit the depositor to inspect its physically held securities at any reasonable time. On application of the depositor the secretary of administration shall certify when required by any law of the United States or of any other state or foreign country or by the order of any court of competent jurisdiction that the deposit was made. The secretary of administration and the commissioner shall each keep a permanent record of securities deposited or held under the control of the secretary of administration and of any substitutions or withdrawals and shall compare records at least annually.
(6) Transfer of securities.
No transfer of a deposited security, whether voluntary or by operation of law, is valid unless approved in writing by the commissioner and countersigned by the secretary of administration.
(7) Not subject to levy.
No judgment creditor or other person shall levy upon any deposit held under this section.
(8) Interest and substitutions.
Subject to s. 16.401 (11)
, a depositor shall, while solvent and complying with the laws of this state, be entitled:
To receive interest and cash dividends accruing on the securities held on deposit for its account; and
To substitute for deposited securities other eligible securities, as expressly approved by the commissioner.
(9) Voluntary excess deposit.
A depositor may deposit eligible securities in excess of requirements to absorb fluctuations in value and to facilitate substitution of securities.
(10) Release of deposit.
Upon approval of the commissioner, any deposit or part thereof shall be released upon the depositor's request to the extent permitted by law.
(11) Advance deposit of fees.
With the approval of the commissioner, any person required to pay fees or assessments to the state through the commissioner may make a deposit with the secretary of administration from which the fees or assessments shall be paid on order of the commissioner not less than twice each year. Upon request by the depositor, any balance remaining shall be returned on the certificate of the commissioner that all fees and assessments have been paid to date.
Supporting services. 601.14(1)(1)
The department of administration shall provide suitable premises for the offices of the commissioner of insurance:
Elsewhere, if approved by the governor as necessary for the efficient operation of the office.
(2) Materials, supplies, equipment and contractual services.
The department of administration shall provide the office with all materials, supplies, equipment and contractual services necessary for its efficient operation, including reasonable library facilities and books. Part-time or temporary services of professionals and experts shall be provided by the department of administration upon the recommendation of the commissioner, and may be provided without regard to the restrictions of subch. II of ch. 230
History: 1971 c. 307
; 1977 c. 196
The deputy commissioner shall take and file the official oath.
Official seal and signature. 601.16(1)
The commissioner need not have nor use an official seal. Any statutory or common law requirement that an official seal be affixed is satisfied by the signature of the commissioner.
Any signature of the commissioner may be in facsimile unless specifically required to be handwritten.
History: 1977 c. 203
Any power, duty or function vested in the commissioner by law may be exercised, discharged or performed by any employee of the office acting in the commissioner's name and by the commissioner's delegated authority. Any person whose own course of action in good faith depends upon proof of the validity of an asserted delegation is not obligated to act until the person is shown a written delegation with a handwritten signature of the commissioner or deputy commissioner.
History: 1979 c. 102
Organization of the office.
The commissioner shall publish periodically in the Wisconsin administrative code an up-to-date chart and explanation of the organization of the commissioner's office, making clear the allocation of responsibility and authority among the staff.
History: 1979 c. 102
s. 236 (14)
Advisory councils and committees. 601.20(1)
Authorization to form councils and committees.
The commissioner may create advisory councils and committees under s. 15.04 (1) (c)
to assist in dealing with regulatory problems. The commissioner may appoint members and may provide by rule for the creation, governance, duties and termination of any council or committee the commissioner establishes.
See also s. Ins 6.79
, Wis. adm. code.
FINANCING THE INSURANCE OFFICE
Except as provided in sub. (2m)
, the following fees, unless revised by the commissioner as provided in s. 601.32
, shall be paid to the commissioner:
For filing documents for examination preliminary to initial licensing or for any other initial filing of documents required by law as a prerequisite for operating or otherwise providing services in this state, including the filing of articles of incorporation, the first declaration or statement, a certified copy of charter, and others: