Motor vehicle liability policy.
applies to motor vehicle liability policies certified under s. 344.31
Health care liability policy.
applies to insurance issued by the mandatory health care liability risk-sharing plan established under s. 619.04
Warranty reimbursement insurance policy.
Section 632.185 (2) (e)
applies to warranty reimbursement insurance policies.
Renewals in affiliates. 631.39(1)(1)
This section applies to property and casualty lines of insurance, excluding disability insurance, as defined in s. 645.675 (1) (h)
(2) Renewal requirements.
An insurer may renew a policy in an affiliate without having to comply with s. 102.31 (2) (a)
or 631.36 (4)
or s. INS 21.01 (6), Wis. Adm. Code, if all of the following are satisfied:
All of the stock of, interest in, or control of the affiliate is held by one or more persons in the same insurance holding company system, as defined in s. 622.03 (2)
, that includes the insurer.
The affiliate holds a valid certificate of authority in this state for the kind of business necessary to write the policy being renewed.
If the policy renewed in the affiliate contains terms and conditions, except for the rates and rating plan, that are less advantageous to the policyholder than the policyholder's current policy, the insurer complies with the requirements of s. 631.36 (5)
The insurer provides notice to the policyholder at least 60 days before the renewal date that the policy will be renewed in an affiliate.
The notice under par. (d)
includes or states all of the following information:
The name and contact information of the company in which the policy will be renewed and that it is affiliated with the insurer.
That the premium for the renewal policy will be determined according to the rates and rating plan of the affiliate.
If the policy currently held by the policyholder is written by a mutual company and will be renewed in an affiliate that is a stock insurance company, that the policy will be renewed in an affiliate that is a stock insurance company and the policyholder will no longer have the rights that are granted to a mutual policyholder.
The A.M. Best or similar rating of the affiliate, if that rating is lower than the current A.M. Best or similar rating of the insurer.
If the amount of the premium for the policy after it is renewed in the affiliate will increase 25 percent or more from the amount of the premium prior to being renewed in the affiliate, notice of the increased premium.
If the policy is a worker's compensation insurance policy under ch. 102
, the insurer provides notice to the department of workforce development at least 60 days prior to renewal of the policy in an affiliate notifying the department of the name of the affiliate in which the policy is to be renewed.
(3) Applicability of other law.
do not apply to renewals under this section.
History: 2017 a. 241
Policies jointly issued.
Two or more insurers may together issue a policy in which their liability is either several or joint and several. If it is several, the heading of the policy shall conspicuously so state and the policy shall conspicuously state the proportion or amount of premium to be paid to each insurer and the type and the proportion or amount of liability each insurer agrees to assume.
History: 1975 c. 375
Other insurance provisions. 631.43(1)(1)
When 2 or more policies promise to indemnify an insured against the same loss, no “other insurance" provisions of the policy may reduce the aggregate protection of the insured below the lesser of the actual insured loss suffered by the insured or the total indemnification promised by the policies if there were no “other insurance" provisions. The policies may by their terms define the extent to which each is primary and each excess, but if the policies contain inconsistent terms on that point, the insurers shall be jointly and severally liable to the insured on any coverage where the terms are inconsistent, each to the full amount of coverage it provided. Settlement among the insurers shall not alter any rights of the insured.
(2) Fraud as a defense.
does not affect the right of an insurer to defend against a claim under the policy on the ground of fraudulent misrepresentation.
NOTE: 1995 Wisconsin Act 21
, which became effective on July 15, 1995, made significant changes in the law regarding the “stacking" of insurance policy coverage.
A clause providing that any amount payable under the insurer's policy would be reduced by monies paid by other insurance company's uninsured motorist coverage was not valid; therefore, the plaintiff was entitled to the entire benefits under both uninsured motorist provisions. Landvatter v. Globe Security Insurance Co., 100 Wis. 2d 21
, 300 N.W.2d 875
(Ct. App. 1980).
An insurance policy provision that prohibits the stacking of uninsured motorist benefits against the same insurer is prohibited by sub. (1). Tahtinen v. MSI Insurance Co., 122 Wis. 2d 158
, 361 N.W.2d 673
Sub. (1) only prohibits the use of reducing clauses in indemnity coverages, not in underinsured motorist coverage. Kuehn v. Safeco Insurance Co. of America, 140 Wis. 2d 620
, 412 N.W.2d 126
(Ct. App. 1987).
If a single insurance contract incorporates coverage for two vehicles, charging two separate premiums, two policies have been issued under this section. Krause v. Mass. Bay Insurance Co., 161 Wis. 2d 711
, 468 N.W.2d 755
(Ct. App. 1991).
A fleet policy listing individual vehicles and assessing separate premiums for each is a separate policy for each vehicle and a single limit provision contained in the policy violates sub. (1). Carrington v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance, 169 Wis. 2d 211
, 485 N.W.2d 267
is extended to underinsured motorist coverage. An insured who pays separate premiums for each vehicle under a single policy can stack underinsured motorist coverage even though the policy contains a limit of liability clause. West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. v. Playman, 171 Wis. 2d 37
, 489 N.W.2d 915
Although a policy's limit of liability language has been held invalid under this section for the purpose of preventing stacking, it is still valid for determining each policy's limit of liability. Schaefer v. General Cas. Co., 175 Wis. 2d 80
, 498 N.W.2d 859
(Ct. App. 1993).
The lack of underinsured motorist coverage on an accident vehicle was irrelevant when the insured had the coverage on two other vehicles. Under sub. (1), a policy definition amounting to a “drive-other-car" exclusion is invalid. Rodey v. Stoner, 180 Wis. 2d 309
, 509 N.W.2d 316
(Ct. App. 1993), Patraw v. American Family Mut. Ins. Co., 185 Wis. 2d 757
, 519 N.W.2d 643
(Ct. App. 1994).
Liability coverages insuring against the risk of loss arising out of specified, owned vehicles do not insure against the same loss and thus sub. (1) does not apply to those coverages. Weimer v. Country Mutual Insurance Co., 211 Wis. 2d 848
, 565 N.W.2d 595
(Ct. App. 1997), 96-1440
The applicability of sub. (1) cannot be ascertained by resorting to historical definitions of indemnity and liability insurance. An analysis must be made of whether a particular policy promises to indemnify the insured against the same loss as another policy. Taylor v. Greatway Insurance Co., 2000 WI App 64
, 233 Wis. 2d 703
, 608 N.W.2d 722
Sub. (1) did not invalidate a provision excluding coverage for a vehicle not owned by the driver but made regularly available to him when the owner's policy insured against losses arising from the use of the vehicle. The policies did not insure against the “same loss" within the meaning of sub. (1). Martin v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., 2002 WI 40
, 252 Wis. 2d 103
, 643 N.W.2d 452
Section 632.05 (2), the valued policy law, does not provide that an insured is entitled to the limits of all policies insuring a dwelling. Instead, sub. (1), the pro rata statute, specifically governs situations when two or more policies indemnify against the same loss. Absent the consent of the insurers, insureds are entitled to the full amount of their loss but not to the full amount of both policies if the combined limits exceed the actual loss. Wegner v. West Bend Mutual Insurance Co., 2007 WI App 18
, 298 Wis. 2d 420
, 728 N.W.2d 30
Sub. (1) refers specifically to “other insurance" provisions. The accepted meaning of “other insurance" provisions does not include application to successive insurance policies. “Other insurance" refers only to two or more policies insuring the same risk, and the same interest, for the benefit of the same person, during the same period. The issue here was not which of two or more policies pays first, because they were not concurrent policies between competing insurers that applied to the same time period, but successive policies from the same insurer. Plastics Engineering Co. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., 2009 WI 13
, 315 Wis. 2d 556
, 759 N.W.2d 613
Stacking uninsured motorist coverage. Hannula. WBB Oct. 1985.
Limitations on loss to be borne by insurer. 631.45(1)(1)
An insurance policy indemnifying an insured against loss may by clear language limit the part of the loss to be borne by the insurer to a specified or determinable maximum amount, to loss in excess of a specified or determinable amount, to a specified percentage of the loss, which may vary with the amount of the loss, or by a combination of these methods. If the policy covers various risks, different limitations may be provided separately for each risk if the policy clearly so states.
(2) Property coinsurance.
A policy indemnifying an insured against loss of or damage to property may limit the part of the loss to be borne by the insurer to a percentage of the total loss that corresponds to the ratio of the insured sum to a specified percentage of the value of the insured property.
History: 1975 c. 375
Public policy does not prohibit insurance coverage for statutorily imposed multiple damages. Cieslewicz v. Mutual Service Casualty Insurance Co., 84 Wis. 2d 91
, 267 N.W.2d 595
Under the facts of the case, the insurer's tender of the policy limits into court did not relieve the insurer of its duty to defend the insured in the lawsuit. Gross v. Lloyds of London Insurance Co., 121 Wis. 2d 78
, 358 N.W.2d 266
Although a policy's limit of liability language has been held invalid under s. 631.43 for the purpose of preventing stacking, it is still valid for determining each policy's limit of liability. Schaefer v. General Cas. Co., 175 Wis. 2d 80
, 498 N.W.2d 859
(Ct. App. 1993).
An insurer may insert in any insurance policy a provision that no change in the policy is valid unless approved by an executive officer of the insurer, or unless the approval is endorsed on the policy or attached to it, or both, and that no agent has authority to change the policy or waive any of its provisions. This does not preclude a person claiming a right under the policy from relying on waiver or estoppel in an appropriate case.
History: 1975 c. 375
Dividends on policies. 631.51(1)(1)
Life insurance and annuities.
applies to life insurance and annuities.
(2) Insurance, other than life insurance and annuities.
Any insurer may distribute a portion of surplus attributable to policies other than life insurance or annuities, in amounts and with classifications the board of directors determines to be fair and reasonable. Such distribution may not be made contingent on the continuation of the policy or of premium payments except under s. 632.75 (2)
. A schedule explaining the basis for the distribution shall be filed with the commissioner prior to the distribution.
(3) When not specified in policy.
Any insurer may distribute surplus to any class of policyholders even if those policies do not so provide. A schedule explaining the basis for the distribution shall be filed with the commissioner at least 30 days prior to the distribution.
(4) Combined dividends.
It is permissible to provide an indivisible dividend to classes of policyholders having more than one type of policy, including a combination of life or annuities with other types of insurance.
History: 1975 c. 375
Group and blanket insurance. 631.61(1)(a)(a)
Except under par. (d)
, an insurer issuing a group insurance policy other than blanket shall, as soon as practicable after the coverage is effective, provide a certificate for each member of the insured group, except that only one certificate need be provided for the members of a family unit. The certificate shall contain a summary of the essential features of the insurance coverage, including any rights of conversion to an individual policy. Upon receiving a written request therefor, the insurer shall also inform any insured how the insured may inspect a copy of the policy during normal business hours at a place reasonably convenient to the insured.
The commissioner may by rule impose a similar requirement for any class of blanket insurance policies for which the commissioner finds that the group of persons covered is constant enough for such action to be practicable and not unreasonably expensive.
Method of providing certificates.
The certificate shall be provided in a manner reasonably calculated to bring it to the attention of the certificate holder. The insurer may deliver or mail it directly to the certificate holder or may deliver or mail the certificates in bulk to the policyholder to transmit to certificate holders, unless the insurer has reason to believe that the policyholder will not promptly transmit the certificates. An affidavit by the insurer that it has mailed the certificates in the usual course of business creates a rebuttable presumption that it has done so. As an alternative to delivering or mailing the certificate, the insurer may make the certificate available electronically through an online internet or policyholder network website. If the insurer makes the certificate available electronically, the insurer shall do all of the following:
Request the policyholder to post the information, as well as instructions on how to access the certificate, in the policyholder's place of business or to publish the information and access instructions in a house organ that is reasonably calculated to bring the information to the attention of the certificate holders.
Provide notice to the policyholder of any subsequent change in the certificate and request the policyholder to notify the certificate holders of the change in the manner specified in subd. 1.
Provide a paper copy of the certificate to any certificate holder upon request.
The commissioner may by rule or order prescribe substitutes for delivery or mailing of certificates, including booklets describing the coverage, the posting of notices in the place of business, or publication in a house organ, if the substitutes are reasonably calculated to inform certificate holders of their rights.
(2) Effect of failure to issue certificates.
Unless a certificate or an authorized substitute has been made available to the certificate holder as required by this section, no act or omission by the certificate holder after the coverage has become effective as to the certificate holder, other than intentionally causing the loss insured against, affects the insurer's obligations under the insurance contract.
Every insurance policy or annuity contract shall conspicuously display the name of the insurer on its first page.
History: 1975 c. 375
Every assessable policy shall conspicuously display on the first page, separately from any other provision and in type at least as large as any used in the body of the policy, the words “This policy is assessable".
History: 1975 c. 375
; 1981 c. 218
Insurance written in connection with finance plans.
Any insurance contract written in connection with a finance plan or other credit transaction shall contain provisions to protect the insured from overreaching by the insurer or by the creditor in connection with the insurance, including a provision that a copy of the complete policy or a certificate containing all of the essential terms be furnished to the debtor and that there shall be an appropriate surrender value or refund of unearned premium to the debtor calculated on a basis approved by the commissioner if the debt is paid or if the insurance contract is rewritten because the original finance plan or credit transaction is altered or a new plan or transaction is entered into with the same or an affiliated lender. This section is satisfied by compliance with the terms of ch. 424
, if they are applicable.
History: 1975 c. 375
Notice and proof of loss. 631.81(1)(1)
Timeliness of notice.
Provided notice or proof of loss is furnished as soon as reasonably possible and within one year after the time it was required by the policy, failure to furnish such notice or proof within the time required by the policy does not invalidate or reduce a claim unless the insurer is prejudiced thereby and it was reasonably possible to meet the time limit.
(2) Method of giving notice.
It is a sufficient service of notice or proof of loss if a 1st class postage prepaid envelope addressed to the insurer and containing the proper notice or proof is deposited in any U.S. post office within the time prescribed. The commissioner may expressly approve clauses requiring more expeditious methods of notice where that is reasonable.
(3) Meaning of insurer's acts.
The acknowledgment by the insurer of the receipt of notice, the furnishing of forms for filing proofs of loss, the acceptance of such proofs, or the investigation of any claim are not alone sufficient to waive any of the rights of the insurer in defense of any claim arising under the insurance contract.
History: 1975 c. 375
An insured's contradictory statements constituted a breach of the contractual duties of notice and cooperation. Dietz v. Hardware Dealers Mutual Fire Insurance Co., 88 Wis. 2d 496
, 276 N.W.2d 808
When the insured fails to give notice within one year after the time required in the policy, there is a rebuttable presumption of prejudice, and the burden of proof shifts to the claimant to prove that the insurer was not prejudiced. Neff v. Pierzina, 2001 WI 95
, 245 Wis. 2d 285
, 629 N.W.2d 177
An insurer is prejudiced by late notice when it has been denied the opportunity to have input into how the underlying claim is being defended. An insured may not assume that if its insurer had been given the opportunity to make a timely investigation, it would have produced the same result as that produced by the insured's own investigation or that any discovery that the insurer would have conducted would parallel that already conducted by the insured. Phoenix Contractors, Inc. v. Affiliated Capital Corp., 2004 WI App 103
, 273 Wis. 2d 736
, 681 N.W.2d 310
Wisconsin's notice-prejudice statutes, this section and s. 632.26, do not supersede the reporting requirement specific to claims-made-and-reported policies. Anderson v. Aul, 2015 WI 19
, 361 Wis. 2d 63
, 862 N.W.2d 304
The Federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) preempts state law related to any covered employee benefit plan, but does not preempt state regulation of insurance. This section regulates insurance and is not preempted. Bogusewski v. Life Insurance Co. of North America, 977 F. Supp. 1357
Limitation of actions. 631.83(1)(1)
Statutory periods of limitation. 631.83(1)(a)(a)
An action on a fire insurance policy must be commenced within 12 months after the inception of the loss. This rule also applies to riders or endorsements attached to a fire insurance policy covering loss or damage to property or to the use of or income from property from any cause, and to separate windstorm or hail insurance policies.
An action on disability insurance coverage must be commenced within 3 years from the time written proof of loss is required to be furnished.