§ 33-6-5. Other unfair methods of competition and unfair and deceptive acts or practices.

CODE OF GEORGIA

Title 33. INSURANCE

Chapter 6. UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES

Article 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Current through 2019 Chapter 321

§ 33-6-5. Other unfair methods of competition and unfair and deceptive acts or practices

In addition to Code Section 33-6-4, violations of the following provisions also are defined as unfair methods of competition and unfair and deceptive acts or practices in the business of insurance:

(1) No insurance company shall issue or cause to be issued any policy of insurance of any type or description upon life or property, real or personal, whenever such policy of insurance is to be furnished or delivered to the purchaser or bailee of any property, real or personal, as an inducement to purchase or bail such property, real or personal; and no other person shall advertise, offer, or give free insurance or insurance without cost or for less than the approved or customary rate in connection with the sale or bailment of real or personal property, except as provided in Chapter 27 of this title;
(2) No person who is not an insurer shall assume or use any name which deceptively implies or suggests that he or she is an insurer;
(3) Where the premium or charge for insurance of or involving real or personal property or merchandise is included in the overall purchase price or financing of the purchase of merchandise or property, the vendor or lender shall separately state and identify the amount charged and to be paid for the insurance and the classifications, if any, upon which based; and the inclusion or exclusion of the cost of insurance in such purchase price or financing shall not increase, reduce, or otherwise affect any other factor involved in the cost of the merchandise or property or financing as to the purchaser or borrower. A vendor or lender shall not be prohibited from charging the purchaser or borrower a finance charge otherwise permitted by law on any premium or charge for insurance included in the cost of the merchandise or property or financing. This paragraph shall not apply to credit life or credit accident and sickness insurance which is in compliance with Code Section 33-31-7 ;
(4)
(A) No insurer shall make, offer to make, or permit any preference or distinction in property, marine, casualty, or surety insurance as to form of policy, certificate, premium, rate, or conditions of insurance based upon membership, nonmembership, or employment of any person or persons by or in any particular group, association, corporation, or organization, making the foregoing preference or distinction available in any event based upon any fictitious grouping of persons.
(B) As used in this paragraph, the term "fictitious grouping" means any grouping by way of membership, nonmembership, license, franchise, employment contract, agreement, or any other method or means resulting in unfair discrimination.
(C) The restrictions and limitations of this paragraph shall not extend to life or accident and sickness insurance; nor shall they apply to any bona fide association group which is composed of members engaged in a common trade, business, or profession and which has had group insurance of the same type continuously in existence for at least five years ;
(5) No insurer or agent thereof shall hypothecate, sell, or dispose of a promissory note received in payment of any part of a premium on a policy of insurance applied for prior to acceptance of the risk by the insurer;
(6)
(A) No person shall knowingly collect any sum as premium or charge for insurance, which insurance is not then provided or not in due course to be provided subject to acceptance of the risk by the insurer by an insurance policy issued by an insurer as permitted by this title.
(B) No person shall knowingly collect as premium or charge for insurance any sum in excess of or less than the premium or charge applicable to such insurance, which sum is specified in the policy in accordance with the applicable classifications and rates as filed with and approved by the Commissioner. In cases where classifications, premiums, or rates are not required by this title to be filed and approved:
(i) The premiums and charges for insurance, except insurance written in accordance with Chapter 5 of this title, shall not be in excess of or less than those specified in the policy and as fixed by the insurer; and
(ii) The premiums and charges for insurance written in accordance with Chapter 5 of this title shall not be in excess of or less than those specified in the policy.

This subparagraph shall not be deemed to prohibit surplus lines brokers licensed under Chapter 5 of this title from charging and collecting the amount of applicable state and federal taxes in addition to the premium required by the insurer; nor shall it be deemed to prohibit a life or accident and sickness insurer from charging and collecting amounts actually to be expended for medical examination of an applicant for life or accident and sickness insurance or for reinstatement of a life or accident and sickness insurance policy.

(C) Notwithstanding this paragraph or any other law limiting or regulating interest rates or other charges, any insurance agent or agency, as defined in Code Section 33-23-1, shall be authorized but not required to charge, receive, and collect on any unpaid premium account with a balance owing for 30 days or more a service charge which shall not exceed 15 cent(s) per $10.00 per month computed on all amounts unpaid on the premium from month to month which need not be a calendar month or other regular period; provided, however, that, if the amount of service charge so computed shall be less than $1.00 for the month, a service charge of $1.00 for the month may be charged, received, and collected. Nothing contained in this subparagraph shall be construed to prevent an agent, agency, or broker from canceling a policy in accordance with the laws of this state;
(7)
(A) Any insurer may retain, invest in, or acquire the whole or any part of the capital stock of any other insurer or insurers or have a common management with any other insurer or insurers, unless such retention, investment, acquisition, or common management is inconsistent with any other provision of this title or unless, by reason thereof, the business of such insurers with the public is conducted in a manner which substantially lessens competition generally in the insurance business or tends to create a monopoly therein.
(B) Any person otherwise qualified may be a director of two or more insurers which are competitors, unless the effect thereof is to lessen substantially competition between insurers generally or tends materially to create a monopoly;
(8) No insurance company shall cancel, modify coverage, refuse to issue, or refuse to renew any property or casualty insurance policy solely because the applicant or insured or any employee of either is mentally or physically impaired, provided that this paragraph shall not apply to accident and sickness insurance policies sold by a casualty insurer; provided, further, that this paragraph shall not be interpreted to modify any other provision of this title relating to the cancellation, modification, issuance, or renewal of any insurance policy or contract;
(9) No insurance company, when selling salvage motor vehicles, major component parts, or parts, shall sell directly to a used motor vehicle parts dealer, motor vehicle dismantler, motor vehicle rebuilder, salvage pool dealer, or salvage dealer who is not licensed under Chapter 47 of Title 43; provided, however, this paragraph shall not prevent an insurance company from selling salvage motor vehicles, major component parts, or parts to any person, firm, or corporation when the sale is made through a used motor vehicle parts dealer, motor vehicle dismantler, motor vehicle rebuilder, salvage pool dealer, or salvage dealer who is licensed under Chapter 47 of Title 43;
(10) No insurer shall refuse to insure an individual, refuse to continue to insure an individual, limit the amount, extent, or kind of coverage available to an individual, or charge an individual a different rate for coverage solely because the individual is blind or partially blind;
(11) Each insurer which acquires a salvage motor vehicle, as defined in Code Section 40-3-2, shall, within 30 days of acquisition, apply for a salvage certificate of title, and no insurer shall sell, convey, or transfer any such salvage motor vehicle without first applying for and obtaining a salvage certificate of title;
(12)
(A) No insurer shall cancel, nonrenew, or otherwise terminate all or substantially all of an entire line or class of business for the purpose of withdrawing from the market in this state unless:
(i) The insurer has notified the Commissioner in writing of the action, including the reasons for such action, at least one year before the completion of the withdrawal, provided that this paragraph shall not be construed to prevent such insurer from canceling, nonrenewing, or terminating policies where the insurer, by contract, statute, or otherwise, has the right to do so; or
(ii) The insurer has filed a plan of action for the orderly cessation of the insurer's business within a period of time shorter than one year and such plan of action has been approved by the Commissioner.
(B) At a minimum, in order to provide for orderly cessation and withdrawal, an insurer shall provide a general notice to each insured at least 90 days prior to the termination of any policy followed by a subsequent notice which meets the applicable statutory notice requirements for canceling, nonrenewing, or terminating insurance under this title.
(C) An insurer's rates, rules, and forms filed pursuant to Code Sections 33-9-21 and 33-24-9 shall be considered no longer on file for use with any new business in the market affected by the insurer's withdrawal plan on and after the withdrawal plan goes into effect;
(12.1) No insurer or managed care entity subject to licensing by the Commissioner shall violate any provision of Chapter 20A of this title;
(13)
(A) As used in this paragraph, the term:
(i) "Aftermarket crash part" means a replacement for any of the nonmechanical sheet metal or plastic parts which generally constitute the exterior of a motor vehicle, including inner and outer panels.
(ii) "Insurer" includes an insurance company and any person authorized to represent the insurer with respect to a claim and who is acting within the scope of the person's authority.
(iii) "Nonoriginal equipment manufacturer aftermarket crash part" means an aftermarket crash part made by any manufacturer other than the original vehicle manufacturer or his or her supplier.
(iv) "Repair facility" means a motor vehicle dealer, garage, body shop, or other commercial entity which undertakes the repair or replacement of those parts that generally constitute the exterior of a motor vehicle.
(B) Any aftermarket crash part manufactured or supplied for use in this state on or after January 1, 1990, shall have affixed thereto or inscribed thereon the logo, identification number, or name of its manufacturer. Such manufacturer's logo, identification number, or name shall be visible after installation whenever practicable.
(C) In all instances where nonoriginal equipment manufacturer aftermarket crash parts are used in preparing an estimate for repairs the written estimate prepared by the insurance adjuster and repair facility shall clearly identify each such part. A disclosure document attached to the estimate shall contain the following information in no smaller than ten-point type:

"THIS ESTIMATE HAS BEEN PREPARED BASED ON THE USE OF AFTERMARKET CRASH PARTS SUPPLIED BY A SOURCE OTHER THAN THE MANUFACTURER OF YOUR MOTOR VEHICLE. THE AFTERMARKET CRASH PARTS USED IN THE PREPARATION OF THIS ESTIMATE ARE WARRANTED BY THE MANUFACTURER OR DISTRIBUTOR OF SUCH PARTS RATHER THAN THE MANUFACTURER OF YOUR VEHICLE."; and

(14) On and after July 1, 1992, no insurer, as defined in Code Section 33-1-2, shall issue, cause to be issued, renew, or provide coverage under any major medical insurance policy or plan containing a calendar year deductible or similar plan benefit period deductible which does not provide for a carry-over of the application of such deductible as provided in this paragraph. If all or any portion of an insured's or member's cash deductible for a calendar year or similar plan benefit period is applied against covered expenses incurred by the insured or member during the last three months of the deductible accumulation period, the insured's or member's cash deductible for the next ensuing calendar year or similar benefit plan period shall be reduced by the amount so applied. The provisions of this paragraph shall apply to major medical insurance policies or plans which have a benefit plan period of less than 24 months, except policies or plans designed and issued to be compatible with a health savings account as set out in 26 U.S.C. Section 223 or a spending account as defined in Chapter 30B of this title.

Cite as OCGA § 33-6-5

History. Amended by 2019 Ga. Laws 139, §1-35, eff. 7/1/2019.

Amended by 2005 Ga. Laws 82, §1, eff. 7/1/2005.