The Washington Supreme Court held today that violation of Washington Administrative Code (“WAC”) regulations alone does not support a cause of action under the Insurance Fair Conduct Act (“IFCA”) in Perez-Crisantos v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 92267-5, with eight justices joining the lead opinion. The Court’s findings included the following:
In reaching this conclusion, the Court agreed with the rationale of prior federal decisions that an independent cause of action based on a WAC violation was not created. Among the decisions cited by the Court was Country Preferred Ins. Co. v. Hurless, 2012 WL 2367073 (W.D. Wash. 2012), in which Soha & Lang, P.S. successfully represented the insurer on this issue.
The litigation between State Farm and Mr. Perez-Crisantos arose from his insurance claim regarding a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver. Mr. Perez-Crisantos made an underinsured motorist (“UIM”) claim with State Farm. State Farm determined that Mr. Perez-Crisantos had been fully compensated, and declined to make further payments under the UIM coverage. Mr. Perez-Crisantos sued State Farm on multiple grounds, including a claim for violation of IFCA. Mr. Perez-Crisantos premised his IFCA claim on, among other things, State Farm’s alleged violation of certain WAC regulations.
This is a fair and reasonable reading of the Insurance Fair Conduct Act and good news for insurers and, in the long run, their customers.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Soha and Lang, P.S. or its clients.