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State
Washington
Chapter 48.17 RCW Agents, brokers, solicitors, and adjusters




Chapter 48.17 RCW
Agents, brokers, solicitors, and adjusters



Notes:
Agent on commission not subject to unemployment compensation: RCW 50.04.230.
Binders: RCW 48.18.230.

Illegal inducements: RCW 48.30.150.

Independent agency contract: Chapter 48.18 RCW.

Rebating: RCW 48.30.140.

"Twisting" prohibited: RCW 48.30.180.

Unfair practices: Chapter 48.30 RCW.




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48.17.010
"Agent" defined.
"Agent" means any person appointed by an insurer to solicit applications for insurance on its behalf. If authorized so to do, an agent may effectuate insurance contracts. An agent may collect premiums on insurances so applied for or effectuated.


[1985 c 264 7; 1981 c 339 9; 1947 c 79 .17.01; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.01.]




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48.17.020
"Broker" defined.
"Broker" means any person who, on behalf of the insured, for compensation as an independent contractor, for commission, or fee, and not being an agent of the insurer, solicits, negotiates, or procures insurance or reinsurance or the renewal or continuance thereof, or in any manner aids therein, for insureds or prospective insureds other than himself.


[1947 c 79 .17.02; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.02.]




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48.17.030
"Solicitor" defined.
"Solicitor" means an individual authorized by an agent or broker to solicit applications for insurance as a representative of such agent or broker and to collect premiums in connection therewith. An individual employed by, and devoting full time to clerical work with incidental taking of insurance applications and receiving premiums in the office of the agent or broker is not deemed to be a solicitor if his compensation is not related to the volume of such applications, insurances, or premiums.


[1947 c 79 .17.03; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.03.]




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48.17.040
Service representatives.
Individuals other than an officer, manager, or general agent of the insurer, employed on salary by an insurer or general agent to work with and assist agents in soliciting, negotiating, and effectuating insurance in such insurer or in the insurers represented by the general agent, are deemed to be service representatives and are not required to be licensed.


[1947 c 79 .17.04; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.04.]




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48.17.050
"Adjuster" defined.
(1) "Adjuster" means any person who, for compensation as an independent contractor or as an employee of an independent contractor, or for fee or commission, investigates or reports to his principal relative to claims arising under insurance contracts, on behalf solely of either the insurer or the insured. An attorney at law who adjusts insurance losses from time to time incidental to the practice of his profession, or an adjuster of marine losses, or a salaried employee of an insurer or of a general agent, is not deemed to be an "adjuster" for the purposes of this chapter.

(2) "Independent adjuster" means such an adjuster representing the interests of the insurer.

(3) "Public adjuster" means an adjuster employed by and representing solely the financial interests of the insured named in the policy.


[1947 c 79 .17.05; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.05.]




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48.17.055
"Insurance education provider" defined.
"Insurance education provider" means any insurer, health care service contractor, health maintenance organization, professional association, educational institution created by Washington statutes, or vocational school licensed under Title 28C RCW or independent contractor to which the commissioner has granted authority to conduct and certify completion of a course satisfying the insurance education requirements of RCW 48.17.150.


[1989 c 323 2.]

Notes: Effective date -- 1989 c 323: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect July 1, 1989." [1989 c 323 8.]






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48.17.060
License required Exceptions.
(1) A person may not act as or hold himself or herself out to be an agent, broker, solicitor, or adjuster in this state unless licensed by the commissioner.

(2) An agent, solicitor, or broker may not solicit or take applications for, procure, or place for others any kind of insurance for which he or she is not then licensed.

(3) This section does not apply with respect to any person securing and forwarding information required for the purposes of group credit life and credit disability insurance or credit casualty insurance against loss or damage resulting from failure of debtors to pay their obligations in connection with an extension of credit and such other credit life and disability insurance or credit casualty insurance against loss or damage resulting from failure of debtors to pay their obligations as the commissioner shall determine, and where no commission or other compensation is payable on account of the securing and forwarding of such information. However, the reimbursement of a creditor's actual expenses for securing and forwarding information required for the purposes of such group insurance will not be considered a commission or other compensation if such reimbursement does not exceed three dollars per certificate issued, or in the case of a monthly premium plan extending beyond twelve months, not to exceed three dollars per loan transaction revision per year.


[2003 c 250 4; 1995 c 214 1; 1975 1st ex.s. c 266 7; 1955 c 303 9; 1947 c 79 .17.06; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.06.]

Notes: Severability -- 2003 c 250: See note following RCW 48.01.080.

Severability -- 1975 1st ex.s. c 266: See note following RCW 48.01.010.







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48.17.063
Unlicensed activities Acts committed in this state Sanctions.
(1) As used in this section, "person" has the same meaning as in RCW 48.01.070.

(2) For the purpose of this section, an act is committed in this state if it is committed, in whole or in part, in the state of Washington, or affects persons or property within the state and relates to or involves an insurance contract, health care services contract, or health maintenance agreement.

(3) Any person who knowingly violates RCW 48.17.060(1) is guilty of a class B felony punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.

(4) Any person who knowingly violates RCW 48.17.060(2) is guilty of a class B felony punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.

(5) Any criminal penalty imposed under this section is in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other civil or administrative penalty or sanction otherwise authorized under state law.

(6)(a) If the commissioner has cause to believe that any person has violated the provisions of RCW 48.17.060 (1) or (2), the commissioner may:

(i) Issue and enforce a cease and desist order in accordance with the provisions of RCW 48.02.080;

(ii) Suspend or revoke a license; and/or

(iii) Assess a civil penalty of not more than twenty-five thousand dollars for each violation, after providing notice and an opportunity for a hearing in accordance with chapters 34.05 and 48.04 RCW.

(b) Upon failure to pay a civil penalty when due, the attorney general may bring a civil action on behalf of the commissioner to recover the unpaid penalty. Any amounts collected by the commissioner must be paid to the state treasurer for the account of the general fund.


[2003 c 250 5.]

Notes: Severability -- 2003 c 250: See note following RCW 48.01.080.






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48.17.065
Application of chapter to health care service contractors and health maintenance organizations.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to agents of health care service contractors and health maintenance organizations.


[1983 c 202 7.]




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48.17.067
Determining whether authorization exists Burden on solicitor, agent, or broker.
Any solicitor, agent, or broker soliciting, negotiating, or procuring an application for insurance or health care services in this state must make a good faith effort to determine whether the entity that is issuing the coverage is:

(1) Authorized to transact insurance or health coverage in this state; or

(2) Conducting business through a surplus lines broker licensed under chapter 48.15 RCW.


[2003 c 250 6.]

Notes: Severability -- 2003 c 250: See note following RCW 48.01.080.






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48.17.070
General qualifications for license.
For the protection of the people of this state the commissioner shall not issue or renew any such license except in compliance with this chapter, nor to, nor to be exercised by, any person found by him to be untrustworthy, or incompetent, or who has not established to the satisfaction of the commissioner that he is qualified therefor in accordance with this chapter.


[1947 c 79 .17.07; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.07.]




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48.17.090
Application for license.
(1) Application for a license to be an agent, broker, solicitor, or adjuster shall be made to the commissioner upon forms furnished by the commissioner. As a part of or in connection with any such application, the applicant shall furnish information concerning his or her identity, including fingerprints for submission to the Washington state patrol, the federal bureau of investigation, and any governmental agency or entity authorized to receive this information for a state and national criminal history background check, personal history, experience, business record, purposes, and other pertinent facts, as the commissioner may reasonably require.

(2) Persons resident in the United States but not in Washington may apply for such a license on a form prepared by the national association of insurance commissioners or others, if those forms are approved by the commissioner by rule. An applicant shall also furnish any other information required to be submitted but not provided for in that form.

(3) Any person willfully misrepresenting any fact required to be disclosed in any such application shall be liable to penalties as provided by this code.

(4) If in the process of verifying fingerprints under subsection (1) of this section, business records, or other information the commissioner's office incurs fees or charges from another governmental agency or from a business firm, the amount of such fees or charges shall be paid to the commissioner's office by the applicant.


[2002 c 227 2; 2001 c 56 1; 1982 c 181 6; 1981 c 339 10; 1967 c 150 15; 1947 c 79 .17.09; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.09.]

Notes: Effective date -- 2002 c 227: See note following RCW 48.06.040.

Severability -- 1982 c 181: See note following RCW 48.03.010.







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48.17.100
One filing of personal data sufficient.
(1) The filing of personal data by an individual in connection with one application for an agent's license shall be sufficient, regardless of the number of insurers to be represented by the agent or the number of subsequent applications by the same applicant.

(2) The commissioner may, for his information from time to time require any licensed agent, or solicitor, or broker, or adjuster, to supply him with the information called for in an application for license.


[1947 c 79 .17.10; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.10.]




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48.17.110
Examination of applicants.
(1) Each applicant for license as an agent, broker, solicitor, or adjuster shall, prior to the issuance of any such license, personally take and pass to the satisfaction of the examining authority, an examination given as a test of that person's qualifications and competence, but this requirement shall not apply to:

(a) Applicants for limited licenses under RCW 48.17.190, at the discretion of the commissioner.

(b) Applicants who within the two year period next preceding date of application have been licensed as a resident in this state under a license requiring qualifications similar to qualifications required by the license applied for or who have successfully completed a course of study recognized as a mark of distinction by the insurance industry and who are deemed by the commissioner to be fully qualified and competent.

(c) Applicants for license as a nonresident agent or as a nonresident broker or as a nonresident adjuster who are duly licensed in their state of residence and who are deemed by the commissioner to be fully qualified and competent for a similar license in this state.

(d) Applicants for an agent's or solicitor's license covering the same kinds of insurance as an agent's or solicitor's license then held by them.

(e) Applicants for an adjuster's license who for a period of one year, a portion of which was in the year next preceding the date of application, have been a full time salaried employee of an insurer or of a general agent to adjust, investigate, or report claims arising under insurance contracts.

(2) Any person licensed as an insurance broker by this state prior to June 8, 1967, who is otherwise qualified to be a licensed insurance broker, shall be entitled to renew that person's broker's license by payment of the applicable fee for such of the broker's licenses authorized by RCW 48.17.240, as that person shall elect, without taking any additional examination, except as provided in subsection (3).

(3) The commissioner may at any time require any licensed agent, broker, solicitor, or adjuster to take and successfully pass an examination testing the licensee's competence and qualifications as a condition to the continuance or renewal of a license, if the licensee has been guilty of violation of this code, or has so conducted affairs under an insurance license as to cause the commissioner reasonably to desire further evidence of the licensee's qualifications.


[1990 1st ex.s. c 3 2; 1977 ex.s. c 182 3; 1967 c 150 16; 1965 ex.s. c 70 19; 1963 c 195 17; 1955 c 303 10; 1949 c 190 23; 1947 c 79 .17.11; Rem. Supp. 1949 45.17.11.]




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48.17.120
Scope of examinations.
(1) Each such examination shall be of sufficient scope and difficulty to test the applicant's knowledge relative to the kinds of insurance which may be dealt with under the license applied for, and of the duties and responsibilities of, and laws of this state applicable to, such a licensee, and so as reasonably to assure that a passing score indicates that the applicant is qualified from the standpoint of knowledge and education.

(2) Examination as to ocean marine and related coverages may be waived by the commissioner as to any applicant deemed by the commissioner to be qualified by past experience to deal in such insurances.

(3) The commissioner shall prepare, or approve, and make available to insurers, general agents, brokers, agents, and applicants a printed manual specifying in general terms the subjects which may be covered in any examination for a particular license.


[1989 c 323 6; 1981 c 111 2; 1967 c 150 17; 1955 c 303 11; 1947 c 79 .17.12; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.12.]

Notes: Effective date -- 1989 c 323: See note following RCW 48.17.055.






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48.17.125
Examination questions Confidentiality Penalties.
It is unlawful for any unauthorized person to remove, reproduce, duplicate, or distribute in any form, any question(s) used by the state of Washington to determine the qualifications and competence of insurance agents, brokers, solicitors, or adjusters required by Title 48 RCW to be licensed. This section shall not prohibit an insurance education provider from creating and using sample test questions in courses approved pursuant to RCW 48.17.150.

Any person violating this section shall be subject to penalties as provided by RCW 48.01.080 and 48.17.560.


[1989 c 323 1.]

Notes: Effective date -- 1989 c 323: See note following RCW 48.17.055.






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48.17.130
Examinations Form, time of, fee.
(1) The answers of the applicant to any such examination shall be written by the applicant under the examining authority's supervision, and any such written examination may be supplemented by oral examination at the discretion of the examining authority.

(2) Examinations shall be given at such times and places within this state as the examining authority deems necessary reasonably to serve the convenience of both the examining authority and applicants.

(3) The examining authority may require a waiting period of reasonable duration before giving a new examination to an applicant who has failed to pass a previous similar examination.

(4) For each examination taken, the commissioner shall collect in advance the fee provided in RCW 48.14.010. In the event the commissioner contracts with an independent testing service for examination development and administration, the examination fee may be collected directly by such testing service.


[1981 c 111 3; 1967 c 150 18; 1947 c 79 .17.13; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.13.]




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48.17.150
Agent's and broker's qualifications Continuing education requirements.
(1) To qualify for an agent's or broker's license, an applicant must otherwise comply with this code and must:

(a) Be at least eighteen years of age, if an individual;

(b) Be a bona fide resident of and actually reside in this state, or if a corporation, be other than an insurer and maintain a lawfully established place of business in this state, except as provided in RCW 48.17.330;

(c) Be empowered to be an agent or broker under its members' agreement, if a firm, or by its articles of incorporation, if a corporation;

(d) Complete the minimum educational requirements for the issuance of an agent's license for the kinds of insurance specified in RCW 48.17.210 as may be required by regulation issued by the commissioner;

(e) Successfully pass any examination as required under RCW 48.17.110;

(f) Be a trustworthy person;

(g)(i) If for an agent's license, be appointed as its agent by one or more authorized insurers, subject to issuance of the license;

(ii) The commissioner may by regulation establish requirements, including notification formats, in addition to or in lieu of the requirements of (g)(i) of this subsection to allow an agent to act as a representative of and place insurance with an insurer without first notifying the commissioner of the appointment for a period of time up to but not exceeding thirty days from the date the first insurance application is executed by the agent; and

(h) If for broker's license, have had at least two years experience either as an agent, solicitor, adjuster, general agent, broker, or as an employee of insurers or representatives of insurers, and special education or training of sufficient duration and extent reasonably to satisfy the commissioner that the applicant possesses the competence necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of broker.

(2) The commissioner shall by regulation establish minimum continuing education requirements for the renewal or reissuance of a license to an agent or a broker.

(a) The commissioner shall require that continuing education courses will be made available on a statewide basis in order to ensure that persons residing in all geographical areas of this state will have a reasonable opportunity to attend such courses.

(b) The continuing education requirements must be appropriate to the license for the kinds of insurance specified in RCW 48.17.210.

(c) The continuing education requirements may be waived by the commissioner for good cause shown.

(3) If the commissioner finds that the applicant is qualified and that the license fee has been paid, the license shall be issued. Otherwise, the commissioner shall refuse to issue the license.


[2005 c 223 7; 1994 c 131 4; 1988 c 248 9; 1979 ex.s. c 269 7; 1971 ex.s. c 292 47; 1967 c 150 19; 1961 c 194 4; 1947 c 79 .17.15; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.15.]

Notes: Effective date, implementation -- 1979 ex.s. c 269: See note following RCW 48.14.010.

Severability -- 1971 ex.s. c 292: See note following RCW 26.28.010.







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48.17.160
Appointment of agents Revocation Expiration Renewal.
(1) Each insurer on appointing an agent in this state shall file written notice thereof with the commissioner on forms as prescribed and furnished by the commissioner, and shall pay the filing fee therefor as provided in RCW 48.14.010. The commissioner shall return the appointment of agent form to the insurer for distribution to the agent. The commissioner may adopt regulations establishing alternative appointment procedures for individuals within licensed firms, corporations, or sole proprietorships who are empowered to exercise the authority conferred by the firm, corporate, or sole proprietorship license.

(2) Each appointment shall be effective until the agent's license expires or is revoked, the appointment has expired, or written notice of termination of the appointment is filed with the commissioner, whichever occurs first.

(3) When the appointment is revoked by the insurer, written notice of such revocation shall be given to the agent and a copy of the notice of revocation shall be mailed to the commissioner.

(4) Revocation of an appointment by the insurer shall be deemed to be effective as of the date designated in the notice as being the effective date if the notice is actually received by the agent prior to such designated date; otherwise, as of the earlier of the following dates:

(a) The date such notice of revocation was received by the agent.

(b) The date such notice, if mailed to the agent at his last address of record with the insurer, in due course should have been received by the agent.

(5) Appointments expire if not timely renewed. Each insurer shall pay the renewal fee set forth for each agent holding an appointment on the renewal date assigned the agents of the insurer by the commissioner. The commissioner, by rule, shall determine renewal dates. If a staggered system is used, fees shall be prorated in the conversion to a staggered system.


[1994 c 131 5; 1990 1st ex.s. c 3 3; 1979 ex.s. c 269 2; 1967 c 150 20; 1959 c 225 6; 1955 c 303 13; 1947 c 79 .17.16; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.16.]

Notes: Effective date, implementation -- 1979 ex.s. c 269: See note following RCW 48.14.010.






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48.17.170
Form and content of licenses.
Agents', solicitors', adjusters' and brokers' licenses shall be in the form and contain the essential information prescribed by the commissioner.


[1979 ex.s. c 269 3; 1947 c 79 .17.17; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.17.]

Notes: Effective date, implementation -- 1979 ex.s. c 269: See note following RCW 48.14.010.






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48.17.180
Licenses to firms and corporations.
(1) A firm or corporation may be licensed as an agent, adjuster, or broker if each individual empowered to exercise the authority conferred by the corporate or firm license is also licensed. Exercise or attempted exercise of the powers of the firm or corporation by an unlicensed person, with the knowledge or consent of the firm or corporation, shall constitute cause for the revocation or suspension of the license.

(2) Licenses shall be issued in a trade name only upon proof satisfactory to the commissioner that the trade name has been lawfully registered.

(3) For the purpose of this section, a firm shall include a duly licensed individual acting as a sole proprietorship having associated licensees authorized to act on the proprietor's behalf in the proprietor's business or trade name.


[1990 1st ex.s. c 3 4; 1979 ex.s. c 269 4; 1947 c 79 .17.18; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.18.]

Notes: Effective date, implementation -- 1979 ex.s. c 269: See note following RCW 48.14.010.

Title insurance agents, separate licenses for individuals not required: RCW 48.29.170.






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48.17.190
Limited licenses.
The commissioner may issue limited licenses to the following:

(1) Persons selling transportation tickets of a common carrier of persons or property who shall act as such agents only as to transportation ticket policies of disability insurance or baggage insurance on personal effects.

(2) Compensated master policyholders of credit life and credit accident and health insurance and credit casualty insurance against loss or damage resulting from failure of debtors to pay their obligations, retail dealers compensated by any such master policyholders, or the authorized representative(s) of either.

(3) Persons selling special or unique policies of insurance covering goods sold or leased from a primary business or activity other than the transaction of insurance or covering collateral securing loans from a primary business or activity other than the transaction of insurance if, in the commissioner's discretion, such limited license would safeguard and promote the public interest.


[1995 c 214 2; 1979 c 138 1; 1967 c 150 21; 1947 c 79 .17.19; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.19.]




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48.17.200
One license required by agent.
An agent is required to have but one license regardless of the number of appointments by insurers the agent may have.


[1979 ex.s. c 269 5; 1955 c 303 14; 1947 c 79 .17.20; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.20.]

Notes: Effective date, implementation -- 1979 ex.s. c 269: See note following RCW 48.14.010.






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48.17.210
Minimum license combinations.
Except as provided in RCW 48.17.190, an agent's license shall not be issued unless it includes, and the applicant is qualified for, one or more of the following kinds of insurance:

(1) Casualty.

(2) Disability.

(3) Life.

(4) Marine and transportation.

(5) Property.

(6) Surety.

(7) Vehicle.


[1947 c 79 .17.21; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.21.]




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48.17.230
Agent placing rejected business.
A licensed agent appointed by an insurer as to life or disability insurances may, if with the knowledge and consent of such insurer, place any portion of a life or disability risk which has been rejected by such insurer, with other authorized insurers without being licensed as to such other insurers. Any agent so placing rejected business becomes the agent for the company issuing the insurance with respect to that business just as if it had appointed such person as its agent.


[1988 c 248 10; 1947 c 79 .17.23; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.23.]




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48.17.240
Scope of broker's license.
A broker's license may be issued to cover the following lines of insurance:

(a) All lines of insurance; or

(b) All lines except life, which shall be designated as a casualty-property broker's license; or

(c) Life and disability only.


[1967 c 150 22; 1947 c 79 .17.24; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.24.]




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48.17.250
Broker's bond.
(1) Every applicant for a broker's license or for the renewal of a broker's license existing on the effective date of this code shall file with the application or request for renewal and shall thereafter maintain in force while so licensed a bond in favor of the people of the state of Washington, executed by an authorized corporate surety approved by the commissioner, in the amount of twenty thousand dollars. If the applicant is a firm or corporation, the bond shall be in the amount of twenty thousand dollars plus five thousand dollars for the second and five thousand dollars for each additional individual empowered and designated in the license to exercise the powers conferred thereby. The bond may be continuous in form, and total aggregate liability on the bond may be limited to the required amount of the bond. The bond shall be contingent on the accounting by the broker to any person requesting the broker to obtain insurance, for moneys or premiums collected in connection therewith.

(2) Any such bond shall remain in force until the surety is released from liability by the commissioner, or until the bond is canceled by the surety. Without prejudice to any liability accrued prior to such cancellation, the surety may cancel the bond upon thirty days advance notice in writing filed with the commissioner.


[1979 ex.s. c 269 8; 1977 ex.s. c 182 4; 1947 c 79 .17.25; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.25.]

Notes: Effective date, implementation -- 1979 ex.s. c 269: See note following RCW 48.14.010.






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48.17.260
Broker's authority Commissions.
(1) A broker, as such, is not an agent or other representative of an insurer, and does not have power, by his own acts, to bind the insurer upon any risk or with reference to any insurance contract.

(2) An insurer or agent shall have the right to pay to a broker licensed under this code, or under the laws of any other state or province, and such broker shall have the right to receive from the insurer or agent, the customary commissions upon insurances placed in the insurer by the broker.


[1949 c 190 24; 1947 c 79 .17.26; Rem. Supp. 1949 45.17.26.]




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48.17.270
Agent-broker combinations Compensation Disclosure.
(1) A licensed agent may be licensed as a broker and be a broker as to insurers for which the licensee is not then appointed as agent. A licensed broker may be licensed as and be an agent as to insurers appointing such agent. The sole relationship between a broker and an insurer as to which the licensee is appointed as an agent shall, as to transactions arising during the existence of such agency appointment, be that of insurer and agent.

(2) Unless the agency-insurer agreement provides to the contrary, an insurance agent licensed as a broker may, with respect to property and casualty insurance, receive the following compensation:

(a) A commission paid by the insurer;

(b) A fee paid by the insured; or

(c) A combination of commission paid by the insurer and a fee paid by the insured from which a broker may offset or reimburse the insured for all or part of the fee.

If the compensation received by an agent who is also licensed as a broker and who is dealing directly with the insured includes a fee, the full amount of compensation, including an explanation of any offset or reimbursement, must be disclosed in writing, signed by the broker and the insured, and the writing must be retained by the broker for not less than five years.


[1994 c 203 1; 1993 c 455 1; 1981 c 339 13; 1947 c 79 .17.27; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.27.]




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48.17.280
Solicitor's qualifications.
The commissioner shall license as a solicitor an individual only who meets the following requirements:

(1) Is a resident of this state.

(2) Intends to and does make the soliciting and handling of insurance business under his license his principal vocation.

(3) Is to represent and be employed by but one licensed agent or broker.

(4) Has passed any examination as required under this chapter.

(5) Is otherwise qualified under this code.


[1947 c 79 .17.28; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.28.]




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48.17.290
Solicitor's license Application.
The commissioner shall issue a solicitor's license only upon application by the applicant and the request of the agent or broker to be represented, upon such forms as the commissioner shall prescribe and furnish.


[1947 c 79 .17.29; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.29.]




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48.17.300
Solicitor's license fee Custody Cancellation.
(1) The fee for issuance or renewal of a solicitor's license shall be paid by the agent or broker by whom the solicitor is employed.

(2) The solicitor's license shall be delivered to and shall remain in the possession of the employing agent or broker. Upon termination of such employment, the license shall likewise terminate and shall be returned to the commissioner for cancellation.


[1947 c 79 .17.30; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.30.]




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48.17.310
Limitations upon solicitors.
(1) A solicitor's license shall not cover any kind of insurance for which the agent or broker by whom he is employed is not then licensed.

(2) A solicitor shall not have power to bind an insurer upon or with reference to any risk or insurance contract, or to countersign insurance contracts.

(3) Any individual while licensed as a solicitor shall not be licensed as an agent or broker.


[1947 c 79 .17.31; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.31.]




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48.17.320
Responsibility of employing agent or broker.
All business transacted by a solicitor under his license shall be in the name of the agent or broker by whom he is employed and the agent or broker shall be responsible for all acts or omissions of the solicitor within the scope of such employment.


[1947 c 79 .17.32; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.32.]




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48.17.330
Nonresident agents and brokers Reciprocity.
(1) The commissioner may license as an agent or as a broker, a person who is not a resident of or domiciled in this state and who holds a corresponding license issued by the state or province of his or her residence or domicile, subject to RCW 48.17.530, if by the laws of the state or province of his or her residence or domicile a similar privilege is extended to residents of or corporations domiciled in this state. As used in this section, "state" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, any territory of the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands; and "province" means a province of Canada.

(2) Any such licensee shall be subject to the same obligations and limitations, and to the commissioner's supervision as though resident or domiciled in this state, subject to RCW 48.14.040.

(3) No such person shall be so licensed unless he or she files the power of attorney provided for in RCW 48.17.340, and, if a corporation, it must have complied with the laws of this state governing the admission of foreign corporations.


[2001 c 56 2; 1973 1st ex.s. c 107 1; 1955 c 303 28; 1947 c 79 .17.33; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.33.]

Notes: Severability -- 1973 1st ex.s. c 107: "If any provision of this 1973 amendatory act, or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act, or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [1973 1st ex.s. c 107 5.]






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48.17.340
Service of process against nonresident agent or broker.
(1) Each licensed nonresident agent or broker shall appoint the commissioner as his attorney to receive service of legal process issued against the agent or broker in this state upon causes of action arising within this state. Service upon the commissioner as attorney shall constitute effective legal service upon the agent or broker.

(2) The appointment shall be irrevocable for as long as there could be any cause of action against the agent or broker arising out of his insurance transactions in this state.

(3) Duplicate copies of such legal process against such agent or broker shall be served upon the commissioner either by a person competent to serve a summons, or through registered mail. At the time of such service the plaintiff shall pay to the commissioner ten dollars, taxable as costs in the action.

(4) Upon receiving such service, the commissioner shall forthwith send one of the copies of the process, by registered mail with return receipt requested, to the defendant agent or broker at his last address of record with the commissioner.

(5) The commissioner shall keep a record of the day and hour of service upon him of all such legal process. No proceedings shall be had against the defendant agent or broker, and such defendant shall not be required to appear, plead, or answer until the expiration of forty days after the date of service upon the commissioner.


[1981 c 339 14; 1947 c 79 .17.34; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.34.]




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48.17.380
Adjusters Qualifications for license.
The commissioner shall license as an adjuster only an individual, firm, or corporation which has otherwise complied with this code therefor and the individual or responsible officer of the firm or corporation has furnished evidence satisfactory to the commissioner that he is qualified as follows:

(1) Is eighteen or more years of age.

(2) Is a bona fide resident of this state, or is a resident of a state which will permit residents of this state to act as adjusters in such other state.

(3) Is a trustworthy person.

(4) Has had experience or special education or training with reference to the handling of loss claims under insurance contracts, of sufficient duration and extent reasonably to make him competent to fulfill the responsibilities of an adjuster.

(5) Has successfully passed any examination as required under this chapter.

(6) If for a public adjuster's license, has filed the bond required by RCW 48.17.430.


[1981 c 339 15; 1971 ex.s. c 292 48; 1947 c 79 .17.38; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.38.]

Notes: Severability -- 1971 ex.s. c 292: See note following RCW 26.28.010.






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48.17.390
Adjusters Separate licenses.
The commissioner may license an individual, firm, or corporation as an independent adjuster or as a public adjuster, and separate licenses shall be required for each type of adjuster. An individual, firm, or corporation may be concurrently licensed under separate licenses as an independent adjuster and as a public adjuster. The full license fee shall be paid for each such license.


[1981 c 339 16; 1947 c 79 .17.39; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.39.]




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48.17.410
Authority of adjuster.
An adjuster shall have authority under his license only to investigate or report to his principal upon claims as limited under RCW 48.17.050 on behalf only of the insurers if licensed as an independent adjuster, or on behalf only of insureds if licensed as a public adjuster. An adjuster licensed concurrently as both an independent and a public adjuster shall not represent both the insurer and the insured in the same transaction.


[1947 c 79 .17.41; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.41.]




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48.17.420
Agent may adjust Nonresident adjusters.
(1) On behalf of and as authorized by an insurer for which he is licensed as agent, an agent may from time to time act as an adjuster and investigate and report upon claims without being required to be licensed as an adjuster.

(2) No license by this state shall be required of a nonresident independent adjuster, for the adjustment in this state of a single loss, or of losses arising out of a catastrophe common to all such losses.


[1947 c 79 .17.42; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.42.]




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48.17.430
Public adjuster's bond.
(1) Prior to the issuance of a license as public adjuster, the applicant therefor shall file with the commissioner and shall thereafter maintain in force while so licensed a surety bond in favor of the people of the state of Washington, executed by an authorized corporate surety approved by the commissioner, in the amount of five thousand dollars. The bond may be continuous in form, and total aggregate liability on the bond may be limited to the payment of five thousand dollars. The bond shall be contingent on the accounting by the adjuster to any insured whose claim he is handling, for moneys or any settlement received in connection therewith.

(2) Any such bond shall remain in force until the surety is released from liability by the commissioner, or until canceled by the surety. Without prejudice to any liability accrued prior to cancellation, the surety may cancel a bond upon thirty days advance notice in writing filed with the commissioner.

(3) Such bond shall be required of any adjuster acting as a public adjuster as of the effective date of this code, or thereafter under any unexpired license heretofore issued.


[1977 ex.s. c 182 5; 1947 c 79 .17.43; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.43.]




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48.17.450
Place of business.
(1) Every licensed agent, broker, and adjuster, other than an agent licensed for life or disability insurances only, shall have and maintain in this state, or, if a nonresident agent or nonresident broker, in this state or in the state of the licensee's domicile, a place of business accessible to the public. Such place of business shall be that wherein the agent or broker principally conducts transactions under that person's licenses. The address of the licensee's place of business shall appear on all of that person's licenses, and the licensee shall promptly notify the commissioner of any change thereof. A licensee maintaining more than one place of business in this state shall obtain a duplicate license or licenses for each additional such place, and shall pay the full fee therefor.

(2) Any notice, order, or written communication from the commissioner to a person licensed under this chapter which directly affects the person's license shall be sent by mail to the person's last residential address, if an individual, and to the person's last business address, if licensed as a firm or corporation, as such address is shown in the commissioner's licensing records. A licensee shall promptly notify the commissioner of any change of residential or business address.


[1990 1st ex.s. c 3 5; 1988 c 248 11; 1953 c 197 6; 1947 c 79 .17.45; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.45.]




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48.17.460
Display of license.
(1) The license or licenses of each agent, other than licenses as to life or disability insurances only, or of each broker or adjuster shall be displayed in a conspicuous place in that part of his place of business which is customarily open to the public.

(2) The license of a solicitor shall be so displayed in the place of business of the agent or broker by whom he is employed.


[1947 c 79 .17.46; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.46.]




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48.17.470
Records of agents, brokers, adjusters.
(1) Every agent, or broker, or adjuster shall keep at his address as shown on his license, a record of all transactions consummated under his license. This record shall be in organized form and shall include:

(a) If an agent or broker,

(i) a record of each insurance contract procured, issued, or countersigned, together with the names of the insurers and insureds, the amount of premium paid or to be paid, and a statement of the subject of the insurance;

(ii) the names of any other licensees from whom business is accepted, and of persons to whom commissions or allowances of any kind are promised or paid.

(b) If an adjuster, a record of each investigation or adjustment undertaken or consummated, and a statement of any fee, commission, or other compensation received or to be received by the adjuster on account of such investigation or adjustment.

(c) Such other and additional information as shall be customary, or as may reasonably be required by the commissioner.

(2) All such records as to any particular transaction shall be kept available and open to the inspection of the commissioner at any business time during the five years immediately after the date of the completion of such transaction.

(3) This section shall not apply as to life or disability insurances.


[1947 c 79 .17.47; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.47.]




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48.17.475
Licensee to reply promptly to inquiry by commissioner.
Every insurance agent, broker, adjuster, or other person licensed under this chapter shall promptly reply in writing to an inquiry of the commissioner relative to the business of insurance.


[1967 c 150 13.]




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48.17.480
Reporting and accounting for premiums.
(1) An agent or any other representative of an insurer involved in the procuring or issuance of an insurance contract shall report to the insurer the exact amount of consideration charged as premium for such contract, and such amount shall likewise be shown in the contract and in the records of the agent. Each willful violation of this provision is a misdemeanor.

(2) All funds representing premiums or return premiums received by an agent, solicitor or broker, shall be so received in his or her fiduciary capacity, and shall be promptly accounted for and paid to the insured, insurer, or agent as entitled thereto.

(3) Any person licensed under this chapter who receives funds which belong to or should be paid to another person as a result of or in connection with an insurance transaction is deemed to have received the funds in a fiduciary capacity. The licensee shall promptly account for and pay the funds to the person entitled to the funds.

(4) Any agent, solicitor, broker, adjuster or other person licensed under this chapter who, not being lawfully entitled thereto, diverts or appropriates funds received in a fiduciary capacity or any portion thereof to his or her own use, is guilty of theft under chapter 9A.56 RCW.


[2003 c 53 269; 1988 c 248 12; 1947 c 79 .17.48; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.48.]

Notes: Intent -- Effective date -- 2003 c 53: See notes following RCW 2.48.180.






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48.17.490
Sharing commissions.
(1) No agent, general agent, solicitor, or broker shall compensate or offer to compensate in any manner any person other than an agent, general agent, solicitor, or broker, licensed in this or any other state or province, for procuring or in any manner helping to procure applications for or to place insurance in this state. This provision shall not prohibit the payment of compensation not contingent upon volume of business transacted, in the form of salaries to the regular employees of such agent, general agent, solicitor or broker, or the payment for services furnished by an unlicensed person who does not participate in the transaction of insurance in any way requiring licensing as an agent, solicitor, broker, or adjuster and who is not compensated on any basis dependent upon a sale of insurance being made.

(2) No such licensee shall be promised or allowed any compensation on account of the procuring of applications for or the placing of kinds of insurance which he himself is not then licensed to procure or place.

(3) The commissioner shall suspend or revoke the licenses of all licensees participating in any violation of this section.


[1988 c 248 13; 1947 c 79 .17.49; Rem. Supp. 1947 45.17.49.]




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