The Vermont Statutes Online
NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.
NOTE: The online version of the Vermont Statutes does NOT yet include the actions of the 2023 legislative session. The 2023 updates should be available by the end of October.
§ 4101. Purpose
The purpose of this chapter is to promote the public welfare by regulating credit life insurance and credit accident and health insurance. Nothing in this chapter is intended to prohibit or discourage reasonable competition. The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed. (Added 1959, No. 221, § 1.)
§ 4102. Scope
All life insurance and all accident and health insurance sold in connection with loans or other credit transactions shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter, except such insurance sold in connection with a real estate first mortgage loan, or where the issuance of that insurance is an isolated transaction on the part of the insurer not related to an agreement or a plan for insuring debtors of the creditor. (Added 1959, No. 221, § 2(A); amended 1967, No. 58, § 1.)
§ 4103. Definitions
As used in this chapter:
(1) “Credit life insurance” means insurance on the life of a debtor pursuant to or in connection with a specific loan or other credit transaction.
(2) “Credit accident and health insurance” means insurance on a debtor to provide indemnity for payments becoming due on a specific loan or other credit transaction while the debtor is disabled as defined in the policy.
(3) “Creditor” means the lender of money or vendor or lessor of goods, services, property, right, or privileges, for which payment is arranged through a credit transaction or any successor to the right, title, or interest of any such lender, vendor, or lessor, and an affiliate, associate, or subsidiary of any of them or any director, officer, or employee of any of them or any other person in any way associated with any of them.
(4) “Debtor” means a borrower of money or a purchaser or lessee of goods, services, property, rights, or privileges for which payment is arranged through a credit transaction.
“Indebtedness” means the total amount payable by a debtor to a creditor in connection with a loan or other transaction.
(5) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Financial Regulation. (Added 1959, No. 221, § 2(B); amended 1989, No. 225 (Adj. Sess.), § 25(b); 1995, No. 180 (Adj. Sess.), § 38(a); 2011, No. 78 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. April 2, 2012.)
§ 4104. Forms and plans
Credit life insurance and credit accident and health insurance shall be issued only in the following forms:
(1) individual policies of life insurance issued to debtors on the term plan;
(2) individual policies of accident and health insurance issued to debtors on a term plan or disability benefit provisions in individual policies of credit life insurance;
(3) group policies of life insurance issued to creditors providing insurance upon the lives of debtors on the term plan;
(4) group policies of accident and health insurance issued to creditors on a term plan insuring debtors or disability benefit provisions in group credit life insurance policies to provide such coverage. (Added 1959, No. 221, § 3.)
§ 4105. Amount of insurance
(a) Credit life insurance. The amount of credit life insurance shall not exceed the initial indebtedness. Where an indebtedness repayable in substantially equal installments is secured by an individual policy of credit life insurance the amount of insurance shall at no time exceed the scheduled amount of indebtedness and, where secured by a group policy of credit life insurance shall at no time exceed the amount of unpaid indebtedness. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, agricultural loans not exceeding one year may be written up to the amount of the loan commitment on a nondecreasing or level term plan.
(b) Credit accident and health insurance. The amount of periodic indemnity payable by credit accident and health insurance in the event of disability, as defined in the policy, shall not exceed the aggregate of the periodic scheduled unpaid installments of indebtedness and shall not exceed the original indebtedness divided by the number of periodic installments. (Added 1959, No. 221, § 4.)
§ 4106. Term
The term of any credit life insurance or credit accident and health insurance shall, subject to acceptance by the insurer, commence on the date when the debtor becomes obligated to the creditor, except that, where a group policy provides coverage with respect to existing obligations, the insurance on a debtor with respect to such indebtedness shall commence on the effective date of the policy. The term of such insurance shall not extend more than 15 days beyond the scheduled maturity date of the indebtedness except when extended without additional cost to the debtor. If the indebtedness is discharged due to renewal or refinancing prior to the scheduled maturity date, the insurance in force shall be terminated before any new insurance may be issued in connection with the renewed or refinanced indebtedness. In all cases of termination prior to scheduled maturity, a refund shall be paid or credited as provided in section 4109 of this title. (Added 1959, No. 221, § 5.)
§ 4107. Provisions of policies and certificates; disclosure to debtors
(a) All credit life insurance and credit accident and health insurance sold shall be evidenced by an individual policy, or in the case of group insurance by a certificate of insurance, which individual policy or group certificate of insurance shall be delivered to the debtor.
(b) Each individual policy or group certificate of credit life insurance or credit accident and health insurance shall, in addition to other requirements of law, set forth the name and home office address of the insurer, the name or names of the debtor, the premium or amount of payment, if any, by the debtor separately for credit life insurance and credit accident and health insurance, a description of the coverage including the amount and term thereof, and any exceptions, limitations, or restrictions, and shall state that the benefits shall be paid to the creditor to reduce or extinguish the unpaid indebtedness and, wherever the amount of insurance may exceed the unpaid indebtedness, that any such excess shall be payable to a beneficiary, other than the creditor, named by the debtor or to his estate.
(c) Said individual policy or group certificate of insurance shall be delivered to the insured debtor at the time the indebtedness is incurred except as hereinafter provided.
(d) If said individual policy or group certificate of insurance is not delivered to the debtor at the time the indebtedness is incurred, a copy of the application for such policy or a notice of proposed insurance, signed by the debtor and setting forth the name and home office address of the insurer, the name or names of the debtor, the premium or amount of payment by the debtor, if any, separately for credit life insurance and credit accident and health insurance, the amount, term, and a brief description of the coverage provided, shall be delivered to the debtor at the time such indebtedness is incurred. The copy of the application for, or notice of, proposed insurance shall refer exclusively to insurance coverage and shall be separate and apart from the loan, sale, or other credit statement of account, instrument, or agreement, unless the information required by this subsection is prominently set forth therein. Upon acceptance of the insurance by the insurer and within 30 days of the date upon which the indebtedness is incurred, the insurer shall cause the individual policy or group certificate of insurance to be delivered to the debtor. Said application or notice of proposed insurance shall state that upon acceptance by the insurer, the insurance shall become effective as of the date the indebtedness is incurred. (Added 1959, No. 221, § 6.)
§ 4108. Filing, approval, and withdrawal of forms
(a) All forms of policies or contracts, certificates of insurance, notices of proposed insurance, applications for insurance, endorsements, and riders shall be filed with the Commissioner for approval prior to issuance or use by the insurer. Each such filing shall be accompanied by a payment to the Commissioner of a nonrefundable fee of $50.00 per filing submission.
(b) The Commissioner shall, within 30 days after the filing of any such policies, certificates of insurance, notices of proposed insurance, applications for insurance, endorsements, and riders, disapprove any such form if the benefits provided therein are not reasonable in relation to the premium charge, or if it contains provisions which are unjust, unfair, inequitable, misleading, deceptive, or encourage misrepresentation of the coverage, or are contrary to any provision of the insurance law or of any rule or regulation promulgated thereunder.
(c) If the Commissioner notifies the insurer that the form is disapproved, it is unlawful thereafter for such insurer to issue or use such form. In such notice, the Commissioner shall specify the reason for his or her disapproval and state that a hearing will be granted within 20 days after request in writing by the insurer. No such policy, certificate of insurance, notice of proposed insurance, nor any application, endorsement, or rider, shall be issued or used until the expiration of 30 days after it has been so filed, unless the Commissioner shall give his or her prior written approval thereto.
(d) The Commissioner may, at any time after a hearing held not less than 20 days after written notice to the insurer, withdraw his or her approval of any such form on any ground set forth in subsection (b) above. The written notice of such hearing shall state the reason for the proposed withdrawal.
(e) It is not lawful for the insurer to issue such forms or use them after the effective date of such withdrawal.
(f) Any order or final determination of the Commissioner under the provisions of this section shall be subject to judicial review. (Added 1959, No. 221, § 7; amended 1985, No. 236 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; 1991, No. 166 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)
§ 4109. Premiums and refunds
(a) Each insurer issuing credit life insurance or credit accident and health insurance shall file with the Commissioner its schedules of premium rates for use in connection with such insurance. Any insurer may revise such schedules from time to time, and shall file such revised schedules with the Commissioner. No insurer shall issue any credit life insurance policy or credit accident and health insurance policy for which the premium rate exceeds that determined by the schedules of such insurer as then on file with the Commissioner. The Commissioner may require the filing of the schedule of premium rates for use in connection with and as a part of the specific policy filings as provided by section 4108 of this title. Each such filing shall be accompanied by payment to the Commissioner of a nonrefundable fee of $50.00 per schedule of premium rates.
(b) Each individual policy, group certificate, or notice of proposed insurance shall provide that in the event of termination of the insurance prior to the scheduled maturity date of the indebtedness, any refund of an amount paid by the debtor for insurance shall be paid or credited promptly to the person entitled thereto; provided, however, that the Commissioner shall prescribe a minimum refund and no refund which would be less than such minimum need be made. The formula to be used in computing such refund shall be filed with and approved by the Commissioner.
(c) If a creditor requires a debtor to make any payment for credit life insurance or credit accident and health insurance and an individual policy or group certificate of insurance is not issued, the creditor shall immediately give written notice to such debtor and shall promptly make an appropriate credit to the amount.
(d) The amount charged by the creditor to the debtor for any credit life or credit health and accident insurance shall not exceed the premiums charged by the insurer, as computed at the time the charge to the debtor is determined.
(e) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to authorize any payments for insurance prohibited under any statute or rule governing credit transactions. However, in the case of a debtor under chapter 73 of this title, the collection of identifiable charges for group credit life insurance by the creditor shall not be deemed as a violation of said chapter if the transaction complies with this chapter and the payment of such identifiable charge is optional with the debtor. (Added 1959, No. 221, § 8; amended 1961, No. 195, § 2, eff. July 5, 1961; 1985, No. 236 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; 1991, No. 166 (Adj. Sess.), § 4.)
§ 4110. Issuance of policies
All policies of credit life insurance and credit accident and health insurance shall be delivered or issued for delivery in this State only by an insurer authorized to do an insurance business therein, and shall be issued only through holders of licenses or authorizations issued by the Commissioner. (Added 1959, No. 221, § 9.)
§ 4111. Claims
(a) All claims shall be promptly reported to the insurer or its designated claim representative and the insurer shall maintain adequate claim files. All claims shall be settled as soon as possible and in accordance with the terms of the insurance contract.
(b) All claims shall be paid either by draft drawn upon the insurer or by check of the insurer to the order of the claimant to whom payment of the claim is due pursuant to the policy provisions, or upon directions of such claimant to one specified.
(c) No plan or arrangement shall be used whereby any person, firm or corporation other than the insurer or its designated claim representative shall be authorized to settle or adjust claims. The creditor shall not be designated as claim representative for the insurer in adjusting claims; provided that a group policyholder may, by arrangement with the group insurer, draw drafts or checks in payment of claims due to the group policyholder subject to audit and review by the insurer. (Added 1959, No. 221, § 10.)
§ 4112. Existing insurance; choice of insurer
When credit life insurance or credit accident and health insurance is required as additional security for any indebtedness, the debtor shall, upon request to the creditor, have the option of furnishing the required amount of insurance through existing policies of insurance owned or controlled by him or of procuring and furnishing the required coverage through any insurer authorized to transact an insurance business within this State. (Added 1959, No. 221, § 11.)
§ 4113. Enforcement
The Commissioner may, after notice and hearing, issue such rules and regulations as he or she deems appropriate for the supervision of this chapter. Whenever the Commissioner finds that there has been a violation of this chapter or any rules or regulations issued pursuant thereto, and after written notice thereof and hearing given to the insurer or other person authorized or licensed by the Commissioner, he or she shall set forth the details of his or her findings together with an order for compliance by a specified date. Such order shall be binding on the insurer and other person authorized or licensed by the Commissioner on the date specified unless sooner withdrawn by the Commissioner or a stay thereof has been ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction. (Added 1959, No. 221, § 12.)
§ 4114. Judicial review
Any party to the proceeding affected by an order of the Commissioner shall be entitled to judicial review in the Supreme Court. (Added 1959, No. 221, § 13; amended 1995, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; 1997, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. Jan. 1, 1998.)
§ 4115. Penalties
In addition to any other penalty provided by law, any person who violates an order of the Commissioner after it has become final, and while such order is in effect, shall forfeit and pay to the State of Vermont an administrative penalty not to exceed $1,000.00, except that if such violation is found to be willful, the amount of such penalty shall be a sum not to exceed $5,000.00. The Commissioner, in his or her discretion, may revoke or suspend the license or certificate of authority of the person guilty of such violation. Such order for suspension or revocation shall be upon notice and hearing and shall be subject to judicial review as provided in section 4114 of this title. (Added 1959, No. 221, § 14; amended 1995, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 10.)