No natural person is excused from attending and testifying or from producing any document or record before the commissioner, or from obedience to the subpoena of the commissioner, or from appearing in any proceeding instituted by the commissioner, on the ground that the testimony or evidence required from the person may tend to incriminate the person or subject the person to a penalty or forfeiture; but no such person may be criminally prosecuted for or on account of his or her testimony or evidence, after claiming privilege against self-incrimination, except that the person testifying is not exempt from prosecution and punishment for perjury, false swearing or contempt committed in testifying.
See also ch. Ins 5
, Wis. adm. code.
Legislative Council Note on sub. (5), 1975: This replaces ss. 207.13 and 201.53 (11) and (12) [repealed by this act]. Section 207.13 was in the unfair insurance business methods chapter but applied in terms “to any hearing". This new provision is even broader in proceedings covered. It is modeled after the securities act provision (s. 551.56 (3) of the statutes) with one phrase deleted because s. 601.18 makes it unnecessary, and other changes, some editorial and one limiting the scope of the immunity to criminal prosecution. Other similar provisions are to be found in s. 93.17 (department of agriculture), s. 97.20 (10) (same; food regulation), s. 111.07 (employment relations commission), s. 196.48 (public service commission), and s. 972.08 (criminal proceedings). Section 201.53 (11) and (12) only applied in terms to s. 201.53, which contained a miscellaneous group of provisions, mostly concerning unfair marketing practices, but it applied very broadly to all proceedings and, apparently, even informal requests for information. [Bill 16-S]
Notice and effective date of orders. 601.63(1)(1)
Notice to person addressed by order.
Notice of any order by the commissioner shall be served under s. 227.48
(2) Notification to agents of revocation of certificate of authority of insurer.
Upon issuance of any order limiting, suspending or revoking an insurer's authority to do business in this state, the commissioner shall notify by mail all agents of the insurer of whom the commissioner has record. The commissioner shall also publish a class 1 notice of the order under ch. 985
(3) Delay of effective date.
Except as provided in sub. (4)
or as expressly provided otherwise by statute, all orders of the commissioner shall take effect 10 days after notice under sub. (1)
or at a later date specified in the order.
(3m) Hearing request.
If the order was issued without a hearing, any person aggrieved by the order may demand a hearing under s. 601.62 (3) (a)
. If no demand for a hearing is made within the prescribed time, the order is final.
(4) Suspension of order.
Whenever a hearing is demanded under s. 601.62 (3) (a)
or a rehearing is requested under s. 227.49
, the commissioner may suspend the order or any part thereof until after the hearing or rehearing. If the commissioner refuses to suspend the order, any person aggrieved thereby may seek a court order under ch. 813
to restrain enforcement of the order until after the hearing or rehearing.
(5) Actions subject to approval or disapproval. 601.63(5)(a)(a) Required approval.
Whenever the law requires the commissioner's approval for a certain action, the action is not effective until expressly approved. The approval is deemed refused if the commissioner does not act within 60 days after receiving the application for approval.
Whenever the law provides that a certain action does not become effective if disapproved by the commissioner within a certain period, the action may be made effective prior to the expiration of the period by being affirmatively approved by the commissioner.
do not apply to the extent that the law specifically provides otherwise.
History: 1971 c. 40
; Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 776 (1975); 1975 c. 218
; 1975 c. 414
; 1977 c. 26
; 1977 c. 203
; 1979 c. 102
; 1985 a. 182
; 1995 a. 396
Enforcement procedure. 601.64(1)(1)
Injunctions and restraining orders.
The commissioner may commence an action in circuit court in the name of the state to restrain by temporary or permanent injunction or by temporary restraining order any violation of chs. 600
or s. 149.13
, 2011 stats., any rule promulgated under chs. 600
, or any order issued under s. 601.41 (4)
. The commissioner need not show irreparable harm or lack of an adequate remedy at law in an action commenced under this subsection.
(2) Compulsive forfeitures.
If a person does not comply with an order issued under s. 601.41 (4)
within 2 weeks after the commissioner has given the person notice of the commissioner's intention to proceed under this subsection, the commissioner may commence an action for a forfeiture in such sum as the court considers just, but not exceeding $5,000 for each day that the violation continues after the commencement of the action until judgment is rendered. No forfeiture may be imposed under this subsection if at the time the action was commenced the person was in compliance with the order, nor for any violation of an order occurring while any proceeding for judicial review of the order was pending, unless the court in which the proceeding was pending certifies that the claim of invalidity or nonapplicability of the order was frivolous or a sham. If after judgment is rendered the person does not comply with the order, the commissioner may commence a new action for a forfeiture and may continue commencing actions until the person complies. The proceeds of all actions under this subsection, after deduction of the expenses of collection, shall be paid into the common school fund of the state.
(3) Forfeitures and civil penalties. 601.64(3)(a)(a)
Whoever violates an effective order issued under s. 601.41 (4)
, any insurance statute or rule, or s. 149.13
, 2011 stats., shall forfeit to the state twice the amount of any profit gained from the violation, in addition to any other forfeiture or penalty imposed.
Forfeiture for violation of order.
Whoever violates an order issued under s. 601.41 (4)
which is effective under s. 601.63
shall forfeit to the state not more than $1,000 for each violation. Each day that the violation continues is a separate offense.
Forfeiture for violation of statute or rule.
Whoever violates an insurance statute or rule or s. 149.13
, 2011 stats., intentionally aids a person in violating an insurance statute or rule or s. 149.13
, 2011 stats., or knowingly permits a person over whom he or she has authority to violate an insurance statute or rule or s. 149.13
, 2011 stats., shall forfeit to the state not more than $1,000 for each violation. If the statute or rule imposes a duty to make a report to the commissioner, each week of delay in complying with the duty is a new violation.
The commissioner may order any person to pay a forfeiture imposed under this subsection or s. 601.65
, which shall be paid into the common school fund. If the order is issued without a hearing, the affected person may demand a hearing under s. 601.62 (3) (a)
. If the person fails to request a hearing, the order is conclusive as to the person's liability. The scope of review for forfeitures ordered is that specified under s. 227.57
. The commissioner may cause action to be commenced to recover the forfeiture. Before an action is commenced, the commissioner may compromise the forfeiture.
(4) Criminal penalty.
Whoever intentionally violates or intentionally permits any person over whom he or she has authority to violate or intentionally aids any person in violating any insurance statute or rule of this state, s. 149.13
, 2011 stats., or any effective order issued under s. 601.41 (4)
is guilty of a Class I felony, unless a specific penalty is provided elsewhere in the statutes. Intent has the meaning expressed under s. 939.23
(5) Revocation, suspension and limitation of licenses.
Whenever a licensee of the office other than an insurer, a motor club, an adjuster or an insurance intermediary persistently or substantially violates chs. 600
or an order of the commissioner under s. 601.41 (4)
, or if the licensee's methods and practices in the conduct of business endanger, or financial resources are inadequate to safeguard, the legitimate interests of customers and the public, the commissioner may, after a hearing, in whole or in part revoke, suspend or limit the license.
Legislative Council Note on sub. (5), 1975: This amendment removes insurance intermediaries from the purview of the subsection. Under this act, revocation of an intermediary's license will be governed by s. 628.10 (2). [Bill 16-S]
Marketing firm forfeitures. 601.65(1)(1)
In this section “firm" means a person that markets insurance but does not include an insurer.
A firm is liable for a forfeiture of not more than $1,000 for each violation by an insurance agent of a provision of, a rule promulgated under or an order issued under chs. 600
if the violation is in connection with an insurance policy or group certificate obtained or to be obtained through or from the firm and if any of the following applies:
The firm regularly utilizes the insurance agent to market insurance policies or group certificates.
The primary insurance marketing activities of the insurance agent are in connection with insurance policies or group certificates obtained or to be obtained through or from the firm.
The insurance agent is employed by or is under contract with the firm to market insurance policies or group certificates.
If a provision of, a rule promulgated under or an order issued under chs. 600
imposes a duty to submit a periodic or recurring report to the commissioner, each week of delay in submitting the report constitutes a separate violation. Each day of continued violation of an order issued under s. 601.41 (4)
constitutes a separate violation.
History: 1985 a. 29
Enforcement of policyholder rights.
When the commissioner is satisfied that any nondomestic insurer which no longer has a certificate of authority in this state does or omits to do any act whereby the rights of policyholders who are residents of this state, or who hold contracts issued or delivered in this state, are adversely affected, or whereby its ability to carry out its contracts with those policyholders is impaired, the commissioner may, with the agreement of the attorney general, bring an action in the name of the state on behalf of all policyholders so situated for the purpose of enforcing their rights. The attorney general shall act as attorney for the state in the action and the expenses shall be borne as in other civil actions in behalf of the state. Upon service of the complaint the insurer shall file with the commissioner the names and addresses of all policyholders so situated. A notice of the action shall be mailed to every such policyholder either by the commissioner or by the insurer, as the commissioner determines. Any policyholder affected by the action may intervene.
History: 1979 c. 102
Registered agent for service of process. 601.715(1)(1)
Every authorized insurer shall continuously maintain in this state a registered agent for service of process, notice or demand on the insurer. The authorized insurer shall file the name and address of the registered agent with the commissioner. The registered agent may be any of the following:
A domestic corporation, nonstock corporation or limited liability company incorporated or organized in this state with a business office in this state.
A foreign corporation or limited liability company authorized to transact business in this state with a business office in this state.
An authorized insurer may change its registered agent by delivering to the commissioner for filing a statement of registered agent change that is signed by an officer of the insurer and that includes all of the following information:
The name and home office address of the authorized insurer.
The complete address of the registered agent, as changed.
Any other information that the commissioner may require.
An authorized insurer may change its registered agent no more than one time per year.
A registered agent of an authorized insurer may change its registered agent address by doing all of the following:
Notifying in writing the authorized insurer for which the registered agent is acting.
Delivering to the commissioner for filing a statement that includes all of the following:
The name and home office address of the authorized insurer for which the registered agent is acting.
A registered agent of an authorized insurer may resign by signing and delivering to the commissioner for filing a statement of resignation that includes all of the following information:
The name and home office address of the authorized insurer for which the registered agent is acting.
After filing the statement, the commissioner shall mail a copy to the authorized insurer under par. (a) 1.
The resignation is effective on the earlier of the following:
Sixty days after the commissioner receives the statement of resignation for filing.
The date on which the appointment of a successor registered agent is effective.
Service on an insurer under this section shall be made by personally serving the process, notice or demand on the registered agent of the insurer. In lieu of delivery to the registered agent, the process, notice or demand may be left at the office of the registered agent with the person who is apparently in charge of the office.
If an authorized insurer has no registered agent for service of process in this state or if the registered agent cannot with reasonable diligence be served, substituted service may be made on the commissioner under ss. 601.72
. If substituted service is made on the commissioner, an affidavit attesting that the authorized insurer has no registered agent or that the registered agent could not with reasonable diligence be served shall be attached to the process, notice or demand that is served.
Except as provided in sub. (5)
, this section does not limit or affect the right to serve summons, notice, orders, pleadings, demands or other process upon an authorized insurer in any other manner provided by law.
History: 1995 a. 396
; 1999 a. 30
Service of process through state officer. 601.72(1)(1)
Under procedures specified in s. 601.73
, the commissioner is by law constituted attorney, except in cases in which the proceeding is to be brought by the state against an insurer or intermediary other than a risk retention group or risk purchasing group, in which event the department of financial institutions is by law constituted attorney, to receive service of summons, notices, orders, pleadings and all other legal process relating to any court or administrative agency in this state for all of the following:
All insurers authorized to do business in this state, while authorized to do business in this state, and thereafter in any proceeding arising from or related to any transaction having any connection with this state, provided the requirements under s. 601.715 (5)
Surplus lines insurers.
All insurers as to any proceeding arising out of any contract that is permitted by s. 618.41
, or out of any certificate, cover note or other confirmation of such insurance.
All insurers or other persons doing an unauthorized insurance business in this state, including but not limited to risk purchasing groups, as to any proceeding arising out of the unauthorized transaction.
Risk purchasing groups and nonresident intermediaries.
All risk purchasing groups or nonresident intermediaries as to any proceeding arising out of insurance activities within this state or out of insurance activities related to policies on risks within this state.
(2) Appointment of attorney.
Except as provided in sub. (2m)
, every licensed insurer by applying for and receiving a certificate of authority, every surplus lines insurer by entering into a contract subject to the surplus lines law, and every unauthorized insurer by doing an insurance business in this state, is deemed to have irrevocably appointed the commissioner and department of financial institutions as the insurer's attorneys in accordance with sub. (1)
(2m) Risk retention groups and risk purchasing groups.
A risk retention group or risk purchasing group may not do an insurance business or engage in any insurance activity in this state until it registers with the commissioner and designates the commissioner as its agent for the purposes described in sub. (1)
. The commissioner may prescribe the form of registration under this subsection. If a risk retention group or risk purchasing group fails to designate the commissioner as required by this subsection, the commissioner is appointed agent for the risk retention group or risk purchasing group as provided in sub. (2)
(3) Others affected.
The commissioner and department of financial institutions shall also be attorneys for the personal representatives, receivers, trustees, or other successors in interest of the persons specified in sub. (1)
Litigants serving process on the commissioner under this section shall pay the fees specified in s. 601.31 (1) (p)
(5) Ordinary means of service.
The right to substituted service under this section does not limit the right to serve summons, notice, orders, pleadings, demands or other process upon any person in any manner provided by law.
History: 1995 a. 27
; 2001 a. 102
Legislative Council Note on sub. (1) (d), 1975: Under s. 628.04 (created by this act), Wisconsin takes an important step in liberalizing prevailing licensing laws by not requiring residence for unrestricted Wisconsin intermediaries' licenses. As a correlative measure, however, the reach of the Wisconsin courts and administrative agencies is extended to all such nonresidents. [Bill 16-S]
The commissioner has the duty to accept service for all insurers, but does not have a duty to determine whether an insurer is a party to the action in which service is sought. Davies v. Heiman, 186 Wis. 2d 370
, 520 N.W.2d 917
(Ct. App. 1994).
Procedure for service of process through state officer. 601.73(1)(1)
Requirements for effective service.
Service upon the commissioner or department of financial institutions under s. 601.72
is service on the principal, if:
Two copies of the process are left in the hands or office of the commissioner or department of financial institutions respectively; and
The commissioner or department of financial institutions mails a copy of the process to the person served according to sub. (2) (b)