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Insurance Code - INS

DIVISION 2. CLASSES OF INSURANCE [1880 - 12880.5]

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

PART 3. LIABILITY, WORKERS' COMPENSATION, AND COMMON CARRIER LIABILITY INSURANCE [11550 - 11895]

  ( Heading of Part 3 amended by Stats. 1979, Ch. 373. )

CHAPTER 1. General Regulations [11550 - 11629.88]

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

ARTICLE 4. Assigned Risk Plans [11620 - 11627]
  ( Article 4 added by Stats. 1947, Ch. 39. )

11620.
  

(a) The commissioner, after a public hearing, shall approve or issue a reasonable plan for the equitable apportionment, among insurers admitted to transact liability insurance, of those applicants for automobile bodily injury and property damage liability insurance who are in good faith entitled to but are unable to procure that insurance through ordinary methods. The commissioner shall require the payment of one thousand four hundred ten dollars ($1,410), in advance, as a fee for the filing of amendments to the plan with the commissioner. The commissioner may approve or issue reasonable amendments to the plan that are approved by the plan’s advisory committee, if he or she first holds a public hearing to determine whether the amendments are in keeping with the intent and purpose of this section. All those insurers shall subscribe to the plan and its amendments and participate in the plan.

(b) Judicial review of a change to the plan, including rate revision proceedings, shall be in accordance with Section 1858.6.

(c) The adoption of the plan referenced in subdivision (a), and any amendments thereto, is not subject to the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code), unless written or oral comments submitted pursuant to subdivision (e) raise regulatory standards set forth in subdivisions (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), and (f) of Section 11349 of the Government Code.

(d) The commissioner shall provide notice of any hearing pursuant to subdivision (a) by doing all of the following at least 45 days prior to the hearing:

(1) Publishing the notice in the California Regulatory Notice Register.

(2) Mailing the notice to the parties on the department’s regulations mailing list.

(3) Posting the notice on the department’s public Internet Web site.

(e) Interested parties may present written or oral comments at the hearing, or may submit written comments to the contact person identified in the hearing notice by the date and time posted in the notice. Before adopting any amendments to the plan, the commissioner shall consider all comments received on or before the day of the hearing.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 534, Sec. 69. (AB 1699) Effective January 1, 2018.)

11621.1.
  

In the event an insurer discontinues writing automobile liability insurance in this state but retains its license to write that business, it shall continue to pay plan assessments and receive plan assignments until its quota or quotas established by its writings prior to discontinuance of business has or have been filled. However, if the automobile liability business of an insurer discontinuing the writing of that business in this state has been transferred to or reinsured by another insurer, the latter shall receive and assume the plan assignments and plan assessments of the insurer discontinuing business, as established by its writings prior to the transfer or agreement of reinsurance, until its quota or quotas has or have been filled, unless another insurer is allowed to assume those obligations.

(Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 175, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2001.)

11621.2.
  

(a) An insurer that is no longer licensed to write automobile liability insurance in this state shall have its plan business treated in the same manner as its voluntary business and shall not receive new assignments.

(b) The runoff of existing plan business shall be conducted in an orderly manner with policies nonrenewed upon the next anniversary date.

(c) An insurer that elects to surrender its license or has its license to do business in this state revoked shall comply with the following requirements:

(1) If an insurer elects to leave this state by surrendering its license to write automobile insurance, it shall submit to the plan’s advisory committee as a condition precedent to the surrender of its license, a plan that disposes of the insurer’s quota of plan assignments established by its voluntary writings, and provides for the handling of its outstanding assigned risk policies, including payment of claims, by appropriate financial arrangements or reinsurance agreements. The plan’s advisory committee shall evaluate the plan that is submitted and shall advise the commissioner as to whether or not it recommends acceptance or rejection by the commissioner of the plan.

(2) In the event an insurer’s license to do business in this state is revoked by the commissioner, the insurer shall submit to the plan’s advisory committee a plan that disposes of the insurer’s quota of plan assignments established by its voluntary writings, and provides for the handling of its outstanding assigned risk policies, including payment of claims, by appropriate financial arrangements or reinsurance agreements. The plan’s advisory committee shall evaluate the plan that is submitted and shall advise the commissioner as to whether or not it recommends acceptance or rejection by the commissioner of the plan.

(d) If all insurers in a group are under the same ownership and management, or a group elects to be treated as a single insurer and an insurer in the same group is no longer licensed, that insurer shall comply with the provisions of this section.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 159, Sec. 150. Effective January 1, 2002.)

11621.3.
  

Insurer groups under the same ownership may elect to be treated as one insurer for purposes of participating in the plan and receiving its assignments and assessments pursuant to this article.

(Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 175, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2001.)

11621.4.
  

(a) New plan assignments to a participating insurer may be suspended or a participating insurer may be relieved of its obligation to renew existing assigned risk policies at expiration when a valid order of suspension is issued by the commissioner and the suspension of assignments or policy renewals is approved by the commissioner. Prior to the approval of a suspension of assignments or policy renewals, the plan’s advisory committee shall advise the commissioner as to whether or not it recommends approval or denial of the suspension.

(b) If an insurer granted relief pursuant to subdivision (a) resumes writing business in this state, its quota shall reflect the plan assignments it would have received and the assigned risk renewal policies it would have issued during its period of suspension. The required assignment adjustment shall be spread over a period of three or more years, as determined by the commissioner. Prior to determining this assignment adjustment, the plan’s advisory committee shall advise the commissioner as to whether or not it recommends approval or denial of the adjustment.

(c) The adjustment of the insurer’s quota shall be a percentage of the insurer’s under-assignments as determined by the commissioner. Prior to determining this adjustment, the plans’s advisory committee shall advise the commissioner as to whether or not it recommends approval or denial of the adjustment. After the approved period of adjustment has expired, the insurer’s normal quota will resume unless the insurer shows good cause to and receives approval from the commissioner for extension of the adjustment period. Prior to this approval, the plan’s advisory committee shall advise the commissioner as to whether or not it recommends approval or denial of this extension.

(Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 175, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2001.)

11621.5.
  

(a) In the event proceedings have been initiated by the commissioner to have an insurer declared insolvent, and a receiver or liquidator has been appointed, the plan shall reimburse any insured of that insurer for the unearned premium on any assigned risk policy then in force, upon submission of satisfactory evidence from the insured that the policy was in force at the time of the declaration of insolvency and that the requisite premium had been paid.

(b) The amount expended by the plan to remit unearned premium to insureds shall be deemed a cost of administration of the plan and shall be apportioned as provided in the plan adopted and approved pursuant to this article. The plan shall be subrogated in the liquidation proceedings to the right of reimbursement of all insureds to whom unearned premium has been remitted. In the event that the insurer is subsequently found by the court not to be insolvent, the proceedings are dismissed, and the receiver or liquidator has been discharged, the insurer shall be assessed by the plan for the total amount expended by the plan for return of unearned premiums.

(Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 175, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 2001.)

11622.
  

Such plan shall require the issuance of a policy affording coverage in the amount of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) for bodily injury to or death of each person as a result of any one accident and, subject to said limit as to one person, the amount of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) for bodily injury to or death of all persons as a result of any one accident, and the amount of five thousand dollars ($5,000) for damage to property of others as a result of any one accident, or in such minimum amounts as are necessary to provide exemption from the security requirements of Section 16021 of the Vehicle Code or for which proof of ability to respond in damages or adequate protection against liability is otherwise required by law, but shall not require the issuance of a policy affording coverage in excess of said amounts.

(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 107, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2009.)

11622.5.
  

The plan shall provide for effective dates for coverage consistent with all of the following:

(a) Except as provided in this section, in no event shall coverage be effective prior to the date and time of execution of the application forms. Postage meter or United States Postal Service postmarks shall not be recognized by the plan as establishing effective dates.

(b) (1) When the applicant requires that coverage be effective immediately, the effective date and time shall be established using an electronic effective date procedure established by the plan. The plan shall establish a future effective date using the electronic effective date procedure. The future effective date option shall be available upon request by an applicant. An applicant may request a future effective date of 45 days or less from the date of application completion.

(2) The manager of the plan shall ensure access at no cost to the user as part of the electronic effective date procedure. The manager shall maintain sufficient capacity to service, in a timely manner, applications received by means of the electronic effective date procedure.

(3) The electronic effective date procedure shall be available only to producers of record who are certified by the plan and shall include a procedure to prevent fraudulent applications.

(4) A producer of record shall have a duty to comply with the requirements of this section within 24 hours of the date and time the application is completed and executed.

(c) Coverage for vehicles shall become effective at the date and time the application is transmitted through the plan’s electronic effective date procedure if and only if all of the following requirements are met:

(1) The producer of record and the applicant certify under penalty of perjury on the application the date and time that the application forms were completed and executed.

(2) The producer of record uses the electronic effective date procedure adopted pursuant to subdivision (b).

(3) The application forms and required deposit are submitted to the plan manager no later than two working days following the date the application forms are completed and executed. The submission date is established in accordance with the procedure established by the plan.

(d) If the application is made without using the electronic effective date procedure or if there is not compliance with the provisions of subdivision (c), coverage shall be effective in accordance with an alternative procedure established by the plan, but not later than 12:01 a.m. on the date following receipt of the application in the plan office unless a later date is requested.

(e) If the applicant desires coverage on a date later than that which would otherwise be fixed pursuant to this section, the applicant shall indicate that date and the plan manager shall fix the effective date of coverage as of 12:01 a.m. on the desired date of coverage. However, no date shall be later than 45 days after the date of application.

(f) The effective date for coverage for an additional vehicle to be added to an in-force policy or for other coverage to be added to an in-force policy shall not be subject to the requirements of this section, but shall be governed by the terms of the policy and other applicable laws and regulations.

(g) In order to provide evidence of a requested effective date, the plan shall establish a procedure for the maintenance of appropriate records of all risks for which the producer of record has designated the time and date of coverage.

(h) Where the plan’s electronic effective date procedure is disrupted due to failure of transmission or receiving equipment due to fire, earthquake, explosion, civil unrest, or similar disaster or emergency, the producer of record may bind coverage up to one day prior to the time the application forms and required deposit are mailed to the plan manager, as established by the United States Postal Service postmark on the envelope in which the application was enclosed.

(i) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, where the producer of record discovers a material error in an application, the producer of record shall be authorized to rescind coverage bound for a period up to 24 hours after the date and time established pursuant to the plan’s electronic effective date procedure.

(j) To ensure compliance with the electronic effective date procedure, application forms shall contain the following statement in 12-point boldface type:

IMPORTANT NOTICE

THIS POLICY IS NOT EFFECTIVE UNTIL YOUR APPLICATION IS ELECTRONICALLY TRANSMITTED TO THE PLAN BY YOUR AGENT OR BROKER. THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS MUST ALSO BE MET:

(1) BOTH YOU AND YOUR AGENT OR BROKER MUST SIGN AND DATE A PROPERLY COMPLETED APPLICATION.

(2) YOUR AGENT OR BROKER MUST TRANSMIT YOUR APPLICATION TO THE PLAN WITHIN TWO DAYS OF ITS COMPLETION.

YOU MAY REQUEST THAT YOUR AGENT OR BROKER TRANSMIT THE DOCUMENTS IN YOUR PRESENCE TO ENSURE IMMEDIATE COVERAGE, PROVIDED THE ABOVE REQUIREMENTS ARE MET.

IF THE ABOVE REQUIREMENTS ARE NOT MET, THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF YOUR COVERAGE MAY BE DELAYED.

(Amended by Stats. 2010, Ch. 234, Sec. 2. (AB 1597) Effective January 1, 2011.)

11623.
  

(a) (1) To assist the commissioner in carrying out the purposes of this article, an advisory committee composed of 15 members is created. The commissioner shall administer and operate the plan as authorized by law. The commissioner shall consult with the advisory committee on a regular basis on policy matters affecting the operation of the plan.

(2) Eight members representing subscribing insurers shall be elected annually by subscribing insurers. The commissioner shall appoint the noninsurer members. Four members shall represent the public. Two members shall represent producers. The remaining member is the commissioner or his or her designee.

(3) Each insurer representative serving shall be either (A) a salaried employee or officer of the named insurer or (B) a salaried employee or officer of another insurer from a group of insurance companies under the same management as the named insurer. A salaried employee or officer of the holding company of the named insurer may also be designated as the representative. At least two insurer representatives shall be employed by insurers having their principal headquarters located in California. At least two insurer representatives shall represent companies who have average annual automobile liability premiums in California below one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) in the prior three years. At least one insurer representative shall represent an insurer with average annual automobile liability premiums in California exceeding one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) in the prior three years. At least one insurer representative shall represent an insurer with average annual automobile liability premiums in California exceeding seven hundred million dollars ($700,000,000) in the prior three years.

(4) Public members shall be paid two hundred fifty dollars ($250) per meeting and shall be reimbursed all reasonable expenses incurred.

(5) The commissioner shall remove members for nonattendance. Unless satisfactory excuse is made in writing to the commissioner in a timely manner, nonattendance shall mean the failure to appear at more than two regularly scheduled meetings in a 12-month period. Should the member who is removed represent a company or agency, another representative from the company or agency may not be appointed for a period of not less than two years.

(6) The advisory committee with the approval of the commissioner shall appoint a manager to carry out the purposes of this article, employ sufficient personnel to provide services necessary to the operation of the plan, and contract for the provision of statistical and actuarial services.

(7) The cost of the plan, including any personnel and contracting costs, shall be fairly apportioned among the subscribing insurers to whom assignments may be made. The costs associated shall be directly attributable to the management of the plan and directly related to its programs. In consultation with the advisory committee, the commissioner shall develop, issue, and adopt regulations to carry out the purposes of this article.

(b) Notwithstanding this act, which changes the status of the governing committee to that of an advisory committee, the committee shall have the right to retain counsel of its choice pursuant to a selection process adopted by the committee and the right and necessary standing to bring and defend actions in judicial and administrative proceedings related to the plan in the name of the plan, with all powers attendant thereto including the right to retain consultants, counsel, and expert witnesses of its choice.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 411, Sec. 55. (AB 1416) Effective January 1, 2012.)

11623.5.
  

(a) Groups of insurers not under common ownership or management may form a limited assignment distribution arrangement. Each arrangement shall have one servicing carrier that writes assigned risk business on behalf of the members of the arrangement in return for consideration from the other participating carriers for not writing the business.

(b) No insurer may act as a servicing carrier except with the continuing approval of the commissioner.

(c) Each servicing carrier shall have a surplus of at least ten million dollars ($10,000,000).

(d) Upon the approval of the commissioner of a servicing carrier under this section, the plan shall make all assignments that otherwise would be made to a participant to the servicing carrier for that participant.

(e) The commissioner shall impose a filing fee for the filing necessary to obtain approval pursuant to this section, which fee shall be limited to that sufficient to defray the costs of the department in connection with considering the application.

(Added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 509, Sec. 1.)

11624.
  

The plan shall contain:

(a) Standards for determining eligibility of applicants for insurance, including a requirement of a certificate of eligibility as provided in Section 11624.08, and in establishing those standards the following may be taken into consideration in respect to the applicant or any other person who may reasonably be expected to operate the applicant’s automobile with his or her permission:

(1) His or her criminal conviction record.

(2) His or her record of suspension or revocation of a license to operate an automobile.

(3) His or her automobile accident records.

(4) His or her age and mental, physical and moral characteristics which pertain to his or her ability to safely and lawfully operate an automobile.

(5) The condition or use of the automobile.

(b) Procedures for making application for insurance, for apportionment of eligible applicants among the subscribing insurers and for appeal to the commissioner by persons who believe themselves aggrieved by the operation of the plan.

(c) A provision that the organization administering the plan shall notify the Department of Insurance regarding the name of each applicant for insurance who is rejected by the assigned risk plan and the statutory grounds for the rejection. The information contained in that notification shall be for the confidential use of the Department of Insurance.

(d) Rules and regulations governing the administration and operation of the plan.

(e) Provisions showing the basis upon which premium charges shall be made, and the manner of payment thereof. Premium charges for the plan shall not be excessive, inadequate, nor unfairly discriminatory, and shall be actuarially sound so as to result in no subsidy of the plan. In no event shall the commissioner be required to approve a plan rate that includes a provision for operating profits greater than zero dollars. The commissioner shall not be required to allow a contingency provision with respect to a plan rate if the commissioner takes final action on an application for a rate change within 180 days from the date the application is submitted to the commissioner by the plan’s advisory committee. The plan shall include procedures for notifying within a reasonable time the agent, broker, or solicitor who obtained insurance under the plan for the insured of any nonpayment of premium to the insurer when notice of the nonpayment is sent to the insured pursuant to Section 662.

(f) Any other provisions as may be necessary to carry out the purpose of this article.

(Amended by Stats. 1993, Ch. 1133, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1994.)

11624.08.
  

The plan shall require a certificate of eligibility to accompany the application for coverage. The certificate shall indicate whether or not the applicant meets the criteria for the purchase of a good driver discount policy as set forth in Section 1861.025 and, if so, the name of the insurer and the insurer’s representative that denied the applicant automobile insurance coverage.

The fact that an applicant has specified in the certificate of eligibility a particular insurer as having denied automobile insurance coverage shall not, by itself, be sufficient to sustain a finding in a formal action brought by the commissioner under Section 1858.1 that the specified insurer in fact denied the applicant automobile insurance coverage in violation of paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 1861.02. The certificate shall be signed by the applicant under penalty of perjury to verify its accuracy, and shall only be required with applications for personal lines automobile insurance through the plan. The agent or broker shall also be required to sign the certificate of eligibility indicating that he or she has reviewed the certificate for completeness.

(Amended by Stats. 1993, Ch. 1135, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1994.)

11624.09.
  

Upon a determination by the plan that a certificate of eligibility is defective due to an omission or mistake which is immaterial to determining the eligibility of the applicant for coverage, the plan shall immediately provide written notice of the defect or defects to the insured and to the agent or broker of record. The notice shall inform the applicant that he or she has 10 days from the postmark date of the notice to correct the defect and postmark the correction or missing information for return to the plan.

In the event that the defect is not corrected within that 10-day time period, the policy is void from inception. Providing a photocopy of the application or certificate denoting the specific defect or defects shall be adequate to comply with the requirement to specify the defects in the certificate.

For purposes of this section, failure to provide a required telephone number, time of day, producer number, producer signature, date or information that is omitted but can be determined by questions answered or information provided in other sections of the application or documents submitted as part of the application, shall be considered an omission or mistake immaterial to determining the eligibility of the applicant for the plan coverage. A certificate of eligibility that is submitted to the plan as to which the applicant did not demonstrate a good faith effort in completing or where the applicant has made a willful misrepresentation shall not be subject to this section. In the event that the defect is material to determining the eligibility of the applicant for coverage, the policy is void from inception.

(Amended by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1255, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 1993.)

11624.1.
  

(a) An insurer shall mail a policy within 30 days of the receipt of an assignment.

(b) Upon the determination of an insurer to whom an assignment is made that the application of an insured is defective, the insurer shall immediately give written notice of the defect to the insured and to the agent or broker of record that the insured has 15 days from the mailing of the notice of defect to correct the defect.

(Added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 509, Sec. 2.)

11624.2.
  

(a) An insurer shall acknowledge in writing within 15 days the receipt of a request for the endorsement of an assigned risk policy. The mailing of the endorsement within 15 days of receipt shall constitute acknowledgement of receipt.

(b) Upon receipt of a completed request for an endorsement that contains all information necessary for the issuance of an endorsement, the insurer shall issue and mail the endorsement to the insured within 30 days of the request for the endorsement.

(c) As used in this section, “endorsement” means an amendment of a policy, such as a loss payee endorsement, the addition or deletion of insureds, or the addition or deletion of coverage.

(Added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 509, Sec. 3.)

11624.3.
  

Any return premium checks due to an insured or to a lender subject to the provisions of subdivision (g) of Section 673 on account of a cancellation or endorsement shall be mailed within 30 days of the effective date of the cancellation or endorsement.

(Added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 509, Sec. 4.)

11624.4.
  

Every insurer to whom an assignment is made shall do all of the following:

(a) Provide policyholders with information on how to report claims.

(b) Provide brokers and agents with a toll-free telephone number or accept their collect calls for the purpose of providing agents and brokers with a means of communicating with the insurer in order to rectify errors in applications or endorsements for assigned-risk coverage.

(c) Reply in writing within 15 days to complaints disputing the amount of premium charged for coverage under this article.

(Added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 509, Sec. 5.)

11624.5.
  

No insurance agent, broker or solicitor shall make any charge to the applicant, directly or indirectly, for furnishing any person the necessary application forms, technical assistance and services necessary to perfect an application through the plan other than such commission as is paid by the insurer pursuant to the provisions of such plan.

(Added by Stats. 1959, Ch. 213.)

11624.6.
  

Every insurer, agent, or broker assigned an application by the plan may conclusively rely on the acceptance, rejection, or waiver of coverages stated in the application signed by the applicant. A policy shall only be issued for the coverages, limits, and deductibles stated in the application assigned by the plan. This section shall apply to all applications assigned by the plan which are submitted to the plan by a person licensed pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 1621) of Part 2 of Division 1.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 1988, Ch. 572, Sec. 2.)

11624.7.
  

Within 60 days after the effective date of any policy issued or renewed under this article, the insurer shall obtain from the Department of Motor Vehicles, or from a subscribing loss underwriting exchange carrier, a report on the applicant and any other person who may reasonably be expected to operate the applicant’s motor vehicle with the permission of the applicant. Any premium adjustments that occur as a result of the inspection of the reports shall be billed within the same 60-day period. This section does not apply to amendments of a policy other than upon original issuance or renewal.

(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 42, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2009.)

11625.
  

If an insurer admitted to transact liability insurance fails to subscribe to the plan or to any amendments thereto, the commissioner shall give 10 days’ written notice to such insurer to so subscribe. If such insurer fails to comply with such notice, then the commissioner may, after hearing upon notice, suspend the certificate of authority of such insurer to transact liability insurance in this State until such insurer does so subscribe. Proceedings under this section shall be conducted in accordance with Chapter 5, Part 1, Division 3, Title 2 of the Government Code, and the commissioner shall have all the powers granted therein.

(Added by Stats. 1947, Ch. 1205.)

11626.
  

If the commissioner, after hearing upon not less than ten (10) days’ notice, finds that any insurer has failed to perform any of the duties required of it by this article or by the plan, other than those duties enumerated in Section 11625, he may issue an order to such insurer specifying in what manner and to what extent he finds the insurer to have so failed and requiring, within a reasonable time, not less than 10 days, compliance with such requirements. If within the period specified in the order the insurer fails to comply with such order, such insurer shall, in addition to any other penalty provided by law, forfeit to the State a penalty of five hundred dollars ($500) for each such failure. The commissioner may bring an action in his own name against the insurer to collect the said penalty.

(Added by Stats. 1947, Ch. 1205.)

11626.1.
  

(a) No insurer shall downgrade the rating, or otherwise adversely affect the insurability, of a person insured under Section 11622.1 solely because of that person’s participation in the assigned risk plan or because that person contracts with a person insured under Section 11622.1.

(b) An insurer violating subdivision (a) is subject to the penalties set forth in Section 11626, and shall restore the insurance rating, insurability, and coverage of any person harmed by the violation.

(Added by Stats. 1986, Ch. 155, Sec. 4. Effective June 16, 1986.)

11627.
  

In this article, “insurer” includes reciprocal or interinsurance exchanges.

(Added by Stats. 1947, Ch. 1205.)

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