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AGO 1951 No. 163 - November 02, 1951
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER ‑- JURISDICTION ‑- LOCAL HOUSING AUTHORITIES ‑- PROJECTS IN WHICH FEDERAL HOUSING AUTHORITY HAS AN INTEREST

The Insurance Commissioner of the State of Washington has jurisdiction over insurance transactions entered into within the state which involve coverage of housing projects, even though the federal Public Housing Administration has an interest in the property of such projects.

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                                                                November 2, 1951

Honorable William A. Sullivan
Insurance Commissioner
Insurance Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 163

Dear Sir:

            By letter of September 24, 1951, you state in part as follows:

            "In recent months the Public Housing Administration has submitted, through local housing authorities, invitations to insurance agents to bid on fire and extended coverages insurance for certain housing projects in this state * * *

            "As we understand it, all of these projects are operated by a local housing authority and the request for bids has been made through the local authority.  * * *"

            You further advise that the form of policy proposed to be used for the coverage of these projects is at variance with the Standard Form Fire Insurance Policy adopted by your office and is otherwise contrary to the rules and regulations of your department and the provisions of the Insurance Code.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            You ask the opinion of this office as to whether you, as Insurance Commissioner of the State of Washington "have jurisdiction over insurance transactions pertaining to such properties."

            It is our conclusion that:

            The Insurance Commissioner of the State of Washington has jurisdiction over insurance transactions entered into within the state which involve coverage of housing projects, even though the federal Public Housing Administration has an interest in the property of such projects.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            By Act of Congress, first enacted in 1945 and appearing as section 1012, Title 15, U.S. Code Annotated, it is expressly provided that:

            "(a) The business of insurance, and every person engaged therein, shall be subject to the laws of the several States which relate to the regulation or taxation of such business.

            "(b) No Act of Congress shall be construed to invalidate, impair, or supersede any law enacted by any State for the purpose of regulating the business of insurance, or which imposes a fee or tax upon such business, unless such Act specifically relates to the business of insurance:  * * *"

            In our opinion the provisions of this act give to the states the power to regulate all insurance business conducted within their respective jurisdictions, including that which relates to property in which a federal agency such as the Public Housing Administration may have an interest.  However, this opinion does not apply to insurance where the federal government is the sole owner of the property concerned.  You are, therefore, advised that as Insurance Commissioner you have jurisdiction of the insurance transactions referred to in your letter.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

FRED L. HARLOCKER
Assistant Attorney General

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