Welcome to IFCA Online.
The State of Washington has a rich body of insurance law, which is viewed throughout the country as generally protective of policyholder rights. The Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA) is the last decade’s most significant development in this body of law. The statute was enacted by the legislature, signed by the governor, and approved in a voter referendum in 2007. It took effect December 6 of that year.
Statute and Related Regulations
A claimant who prevails under IFCA recovers the actual damages sustained plus “the costs of the action,” which include reasonable attorney fees and costs. The trial court may increase the total award of damages to an amount not to exceed three times the actual damages after a finding that the insurance company acted unreasonably in denying a claim for coverage or payment of benefits or violated one of several enumerated sections of the Washington Administrative Code. You can find the statutory and regulatory text here, all in one place.
Supreme Court Insurance Docket
In its nine years of existence, IFCA has given birth to a significant body of case law. To date, however, the Supreme Court of Washington has not weighed in on any of the several pressing questions about the statute’s meaning. The good news is that there is currently a case on the docket that will change this. To get an overview of insurance cases pending currently before the Supreme Court of Washington, click here.
Up until recently, it has also been extremely difficult to get a full handle on IFCA’s legislative history. By going on the legislature’s website, one can download the draft bills, amendments, vote counts, and reports that led to IFCA’s passage. It takes time and patience, but it can be done. But there have been no official transcripts of the committee hearings, including the testimony of citizens who spoke in favor or against the bills. Although anyone can visit TVW.org and listen to the hearings, it is hard for practitioners to cite an audio recording in an effective manner and harder still to expect a busy jurist to list to entire hearings online while ruling on an issue relating to IFCA.
This website is designed to serve as an online collection of primary sources relating to IFCA and, over time, other key insurance laws. With the help of a certified court reporter–and at somewhat significant expense–the legislative hearings have been transcribed and are available here for free.
If you are a consumer or someone with an insurance claim, click on over to the Consumer section. There you can find handy links to materials from the Office of the Insurance Commissioner and a checklist for providing the required statutory notice for making an IFCA claim.
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