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AGO 1965 No. 49 - November 09, 1965
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John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington


INSURANCE ‑- STATE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES ‑- LIMITED LIFE INSURANCE ‑- NONSCHEDULED AIRCRAFT FLIGHTS

The limited type of life insurance contemplated by § 1, chapter 68, Laws of 1965, providing ". . . coverage not to exceed one hundred thousand dollars per person for the benefit of state employees and state elected officials, including legislators, while they are, in the course of their employment, passengers on or crew members of any nonscheduled aircraft flight" may be secured from those insurance companies authorized to issue policies known in the insurance industry as "accidental health and/or dismemberment insurance," but the state's policies may only provide benefits payable in the event of death.

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                                                                November 9, 1965

Honorable Wm. E. Schneider
Director, Department of General Administration
218 General Administration Building
Olympia, Washington

                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 65-66 No. 49

Dear Sir:

            By letter previously acknowledged you asked the opinion of this office on a question which we paraphrase as follows:

            What insurance companies are permitted to issue the type of limited life insurance authorized by chapter 68, Laws of 1965, Ex. Sess.?

            We answer the question in the manner set forth in our analysis.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Section 1, chapter 68, Laws of 1965, Ex. Sess., provides as follows:

            "The departments of state government are authorized to procure at state expenselife insurance coverage not to exceed one hundred thousand dollars per person for the benefit of state employees and state elected officials,  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] including legislators, while they are, in the course of their employment, passengers on or crew members of any nonscheduled aircraft flight."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            This statute in our opinion simply authorizes and is limited to the procurement by the state of atype of life insurance coverage which will provide the payment of benefits in the event of accidental death of state officers and employees "while they are, in the course of their employment, passengers on or crew members of any nonscheduled aircraft flight."

            The policies of insurance providing accidental death benefits contemplated by the statute may be secured from companies authorized under the insurance code to issue such policies.1/   A review of the provisions of the insurance code discloses that the type of insurance authorized falls within the category of accidental death insurance, a form of disability, vehicle or general casualty insurance.2/

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            RCW 48.11.030 defines disability insurance as follows:

            "'Disability insurance' is insurance against bodily injury, disablementor death by accident, against disablement resulting from sickness, and every insurance appertaining thereto."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            RCW 48.11.060 defining vehicle insurance provides in pertinent part as follows:

            ". . .

            "(2)Insurance against accidental death or accidental injury to individuals while in, entering, alighting from, adjusting, repairing, cranking, or caused by being struck by a vehicle, aircraft, or draft or riding animal, if such insurance is issued as part of insurance on the vehicle, aircraft, or draft or riding animal, shall be deemed to be vehicle insurance."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            RCW 48.11.070 defining general casualty insurance provides in pertinent part as follows:

            "'General casualty insurance' includes vehicle insurance as defined in RCW 48.11.060, . . ."

            Accordingly, it is our opinion that the limited type of life insurance contemplated by § 1, chapter 68,supra, may be secured from those insurance companies authorized to issue policies known in the industry as "accidental death and/or dismemberment insurance," but the state's policies may only provide benefits payable in the event of death.

            We trust the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

JOHN J. O'CONNELL
Attorney General

BASIL L. BADLEY
Assistant Attorney General

                                                         ***   FOOTNOTES   ***

1/In order to issue a particular type of insurance an insurer must have a certificate of authority issued by the insurance commissioner.  RCW 548.05.030.

2/Insurance of this kind is known in the industry as "accidental death and/or dismemberment insurance."  Policies of "life insurance," as that term is used in the insurance code, would provide broader coverage than that authorized by § 1, chapter 68, supra.  RCW 48.11.020 provides:

            "'Life insurance' is insurance on human lives and insurances appertaining thereto or connected therewith.  For the purposes of this code the transacting of life insurance includes the granting of annuities and endowment benefits; additional benefits in event of death by accident; additional benefits in event of the total and permanent disability of the insured; and optional modes of settlement of proceeds."

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