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Insurance Code - INS

DIVISION 1. GENERAL RULES GOVERNING INSURANCE [100 - 1879.8]

  ( Division 1 enacted by Stats. 1935, Ch. 145. )

PART 2. THE BUSINESS OF INSURANCE [680 - 1879.8]

  ( Part 2 enacted by Stats. 1935, Ch. 145. )

CHAPTER 12. The Insurance Frauds Prevention Act [1871 - 1879.8]

  ( Chapter 12 added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 1119, Sec. 3. )

ARTICLE 5. Arson Investigations [1875 - 1875.8]
  ( Article 5 added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 1119, Sec. 3. )

1875.
  

As used in this chapter:

(a) “Authorized agency” means any of the following officers or agencies, or their duly authorized representatives, when investigating or prosecuting arson in connection with a specific fire: the State Fire Marshal, the Director of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the chief of any city or county fire department, the chief of any fire protection district, the Attorney General, any district attorney, or any peace officer, the Department of Insurance, and any federal agency.

(b) “Insurer” means any insurer admitted to write, or otherwise issuing, fire insurance covering property in this state and includes its agents, servants, investigators, and adjusters. “Insurer” includes the California FAIR Plan.

(Amended by Stats. 1991, Ch. 602, Sec. 2.)

1875.1.
  

An authorized agency may, when there is evidence or suspicion that the crime of arson has been committed, request any insurer to release all information in its possession that the authorized agency determines to be relevant to the crime. The insurer shall release the following:

(a) Any insurance policy or any application for such a policy.

(b) Policy premium payment records.

(c) History of previous claims made by the insured for fire loss.

(d) Material relating to the investigation of the loss, including the statement of any person, proof of loss, and any other relevant evidence.

(Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 1119, Sec. 3.)

1875.2.
  

If any insurer has reason to suspect that a fire loss was caused by incendiary means, the insurer shall furnish an authorized agency with all relevant information acquired during its investigation of the fire loss and cooperate in an investigation by an authorized agency.

The authorized agency provided with the information pursuant to this article may release that information to any of the other authorized agencies.

(Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 1119, Sec. 3.)

1875.3.
  

An authorized agency shall notify the insurer, if known, and at the expense of the insurer, whenever it has reason to believe that a fire loss was not accidentally caused. The agency shall also release to the claimant’s insurer specific information regarding the fire loss at the earliest time possible unless it determines that an ongoing investigation would be jeopardized.

(Amended by Stats. 1991, Ch. 602, Sec. 3.)

1875.4.
  

In the absence of fraud or malice, no insurer or person acting in its behalf who (a) furnishes information whether oral or written, pursuant to this article, or (b) assists in any investigation conducted by an authorized agency, shall be liable for damages in a civil action, nor shall any authorized agency which releases information pursuant to this chapter be liable for damages in a civil action.

The act of furnishing information required pursuant to this article shall not constitute an act of fraud or malice.

(Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 1119, Sec. 3.)

1875.5.
  

In any case in which an insurer willfully fails to comply with this article, the authorized agency may petition the superior court in an appropriate county for an order requiring compliance.

(Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 1119, Sec. 3.)

1875.6.
  

Any authorized agency that receives any information furnished as required by this article shall not make the information public until the time that its release is required in connection with a criminal or civil proceeding.

(Amended by Stats. 1991, Ch. 602, Sec. 4.)

1875.8.
  

(a) There is hereby created the Arson Information Reporting System to permit insurers, law enforcement agencies, fire investigative agencies, and district attorneys to deposit arson case information in a common data base within the Department of Justice. The State Fire Marshal shall oversee the establishment, operation, and maintenance of the Arson Information Reporting System. The Department of Justice shall implement the Arson Information Reporting System in consultation with the State Fire Marshal.

(b) The purpose of the data base is to identify utilization patterns by individual claimants and the methods of operation of individuals, groups, or businesses engaged in the commission of arson, and to prevent the commission of insurance fraud by arson.

(c) The use of the information deposited pursuant to this article shall be made available to law enforcement agencies, fire investigative agencies, district attorneys, and insurers, via modem, for the purpose of investigating and prosecuting arson and arson-related insurance fraud, or evaluating the validity and payment of fire-related insurance claims. The State Fire Marshal shall establish rules governing the access to, and use of, information and the circumstances under which information may be accessed and corrected.

(d) Any information acquired pursuant to this section shall not be a part of any public record. Except as otherwise provided by law, any authorized governmental agency, an insurer, or an agent authorized by an insurer to act on its behalf, which receives any information furnished pursuant to this section, shall not release that information to public inspection until the time that its release is required in connection with a criminal or civil proceeding.

(e) Information submitted to the State Fire Marshal pursuant to this section concerning active cases shall be confidential.

(f) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the accumulation and public distribution by the bureau of statistical data if that data does not reveal the identity of specific claimants, injured parties, attorneys, physicians, or other service providers.

(Added by Stats. 1994, Ch. 420, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1995.)

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