California Code, Insurance Code - INS § 791.02

As used in this act:

(a)(1) “Adverse underwriting decision” means any of the following actions with respect to insurance transactions involving insurance coverage that is individually underwritten:

(A) A declination of insurance coverage.

(B) A termination of insurance coverage.

(C) Failure of an agent to apply for insurance coverage with a specific insurance institution that the agent represents and that is requested by an applicant.

(D) In the case of a property or casualty insurance coverage:

(i) Placement by an insurance institution or agent of a risk with a residual market mechanism, with an unauthorized insurer, or with an insurance institution that provides insurance to other than preferred or standard risks, if in fact the placement is at other than a preferred or standard rate.  An adverse underwriting decision, in case of placement with an insurance institution that provides insurance to other than preferred or standard risks, shall not include placement if the applicant or insured did not specify or apply for placement as a preferred or standard risk or placement with a particular company insuring preferred or standard risks, or

(ii) The charging of a higher rate on the basis of information which differs from that which the applicant or policyholder furnished.

(E) In the case of a life, health, or disability insurance coverage, an offer to insure at higher than standard rates.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), any of the following actions shall not be considered adverse underwriting decisions but the insurance institution or agent responsible for their occurrence shall nevertheless provide the applicant or policyholder with the specific reason or reasons for their occurrence:

(A) The termination of an individual policy form on a class or statewide basis.

(B) A declination of insurance coverage solely because coverage is not available on a class or statewide basis.

(C) The rescission of a policy.

(b) “Affiliate” or “affiliated” means a person that directly, or indirectly through one or more intermediaries, controls, is controlled by or is under common control with another person.

(c) “Agent” means any person licensed pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 1621 ), Chapter 5A (commencing with Section 1759 ), Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 1760 ), Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 1800 ), or Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 1831 ).

(d) “Applicant” means any person who seeks to contract for insurance coverage other than a person seeking group insurance that is not individually underwritten.

(e) “Consumer report” means any written, oral, or other communication of information bearing on a natural person's creditworthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living that is used or expected to be used in connection with an insurance transaction.

(f) “Consumer reporting agency” means any person who:

(1) Regularly engages, in whole or in part, in the practice of assembling or preparing consumer reports for a monetary fee.

(2) Obtains information primarily from sources other than insurance institutions.

(3) Furnishes consumer reports to other persons.

(g) “Control,” including the terms “controlled by” or “under common control with,” means the possession, direct or indirect, of the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of a person, whether through the ownership of voting securities, by contract other than a commercial contract for goods or nonmanagement services, or otherwise, unless the power is the result of an official position with or corporate office held by the person.

(h) “Declination of insurance coverage” means a denial, in whole or in part, by an insurance institution or agent of requested insurance coverage.

(i) “Individual” means any natural person who is any of the following:

(1) In the case of property or casualty insurance, is a past, present, or proposed named insured or certificate holder.

(2) In the case of life or disability insurance, is a past, present, or proposed principal insured or certificate holder.

(3) Is a past, present, or proposed policyowner.

(4) Is a past or present applicant.

(5) Is a past or present claimant.

(6) Derived, derives, or is proposed to derive insurance coverage under an insurance policy or certificate subject to this act.

(j) “Institutional source” means any person or governmental entity that provides information about an individual to an agent, insurance institution, or insurance-support organization, other than any of the following:

(1) An agent.

(2) The individual who is the subject of the information.

(3) A natural person acting in a personal capacity rather than in a business or professional capacity.

(k) “Insurance institution” means any corporation, association, partnership, reciprocal exchange, interinsurer, Lloyd's insurer, fraternal benefit society, or other person engaged in the business of insurance.  “Insurance institution” shall not include agents, insurance-support organizations, or health care service plans regulated pursuant to the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act, Chapter 2.2 (commencing with Section 1340 ) of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code.

(l) “Insurance-support organization” means:

(1) Any person who regularly engages, in whole or in part, in the business of assembling or collecting information about natural persons for the primary purpose of providing the information to an insurance institution or agent for insurance transactions, including either of the following:

(A) The furnishing of consumer reports or investigative consumer reports to an insurance institution or agent for use in connection with an insurance transaction.

(B) The collection of personal information from insurance institutions, agents, or other insurance-support organizations for the purpose of detecting or preventing fraud, material misrepresentation or material nondisclosure in connection with insurance underwriting or insurance claim activity.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the following persons shall not be considered “insurance-support organizations”:  agents, governmental institutions, insurance institutions, medical care institutions, medical professionals, and peer review committees.

(m) “Insurance transaction” means any transaction involving insurance primarily for personal, family, or household needs rather than business or professional needs that entails either of the following:

(1) The determination of an individual's eligibility for an insurance coverage, benefit, or payment.

(2) The servicing of an insurance application, policy, contract, or certificate.

(n) “Investigative consumer report” means a consumer report or portion thereof in which information about a natural person's character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living is obtained through personal interviews with the person's neighbors, friends, associates, acquaintances, or others who may have knowledge concerning those items of information.

(o) “Medical care institution” means any facility or institution that is licensed to provide health care services to natural persons, including but not limited to, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, medical clinics, rehabilitation agencies, and public health agencies.

(p) “Medical professional” means any person licensed or certified to provide health care services to natural persons, including but not limited to, a physician, dentist, nurse, optometrist, physical or occupational therapist, psychiatric social worker, clinical dietitian, clinical psychologist, chiropractor, pharmacist, or speech therapist.

(q) “Medical record information” means personal information that is both of the following:

(1) Relates to an individual's physical or mental condition, medical history or medical treatment.

(2) Is obtained from a medical professional or medical care institution, from the individual, or from the individual's spouse, parent, or legal guardian.

(r) “Person” means any natural person, corporation, association, partnership, limited liability company, or other legal entity.

(s) “Personal information” means any individually identifiable information gathered in connection with an insurance transaction from which judgments can be made about an individual's character, habits, avocations, finances, occupation, general reputation, credit, health, or any other personal characteristics.  “Personal information” includes an individual's name and address and “medical record information” but does not include “privileged information.”

(t) “Policyholder” means any person who is any of the following:

(1) In the case of individual property or casualty insurance, is a present named insured.

(2) In the case of individual life or disability insurance, is a present policyowner.

(3) In the case of group insurance, which is individually underwritten, is a present group certificate holder.

(u) “Pretext interview” means an interview whereby a person, in an attempt to obtain information about a natural person, performs one or more of the following acts:

(1) Pretends to be someone he or she is not.

(2) Pretends to represent a person he or she is not in fact representing.

(3) Misrepresents the true purpose of the interview.

(4) Refuses to identify himself or herself upon request.

(v) “Privileged information” means any individually identifiable information that both:

(1) Relates to a claim for insurance benefits or a civil or criminal proceeding involving an individual.

(2) Is collected in connection with or in reasonable anticipation of a claim for insurance benefits or civil or criminal proceeding involving an individual.  However, information otherwise meeting the requirements of this division shall nevertheless be considered “personal information” under this act if it is disclosed in violation of Section 791.13 .

(w) “Residual market mechanism” means the California FAIR Plan Association, Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 10101 ) of Part 1 of Division 2, and the assigned risk plan, Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 11550 ) of Part 3 of Division 2.

(x) “Termination of insurance coverage” or “termination of an insurance policy” means either a cancellation or nonrenewal of an insurance policy, in whole or in part, for any reason other than the failure to pay a premium as required by the policy.

(y) “Unauthorized insurer” means an insurance institution that has not been granted a certificate of authority by the director to transact the business of insurance in this state.

(z) “Commissioner” means the Insurance Commissioner.

(aa) “Confidential communications request” means a request by an insured covered under a health insurance policy that insurance communications containing medical information be communicated to him or her at a specific mail or email address or specific telephone number, as designated by the insured.

(ab) “Endanger” means that the insured covered under a health insurance policy fears that the disclosure of his or her medical information could subject the insured covered under a health insurance policy to harassment or abuse.

(ac) “Sensitive services” means all health care services described in Sections 6924 , 6925 , 6926 , 6927 , 6928 , and 6929 of the Family Code , and Sections 121020 and 124260 of the Health and Safety Code , obtained by a patient of any age at or above the minimum age specified for consenting to the service specified in the section.

(ad) “Medical information” means any individually identifiable information, in electronic or physical form, in possession of or derived from a provider of health care, health insurer, pharmaceutical company, or contractor regarding a patient's medical history, mental or physical condition, or treatment.  “Individually identifiable” means that the medical information includes or contains any element of personal identifying information sufficient to allow identification of the individual, such as the patient's name, address, electronic mail address, telephone number, or social security number, or other information that, alone or in combination with other publicly available information, reveals the individual's identity.


FindLaw Codes are provided courtesy of Thomson Reuters Westlaw, the industry-leading online legal research system. For more detailed codes research information, including annotations and citations, please visit Westlaw.

FindLaw Codes may not reflect the most recent version of the law in your jurisdiction. Please verify the status of the code you are researching with the state legislature or via Westlaw before relying on it for your legal needs.

Copied to clipboard