A. If the Commission finds, after providing notice and opportunity to be heard, that a rate is not in compliance with § 38.2-1904, or is in violation of § 38.2-1916, the Commission shall order that use of the rate be discontinued for any policy issued or renewed after a date specified in the order. The order may provide for rate modifications. The order may also provide for refund of the excessive portion of premiums collected (i) during a period not exceeding one year prior to the date of any request or motion for review made pursuant to § 38.2-1909 and (ii) during all periods subsequent to any such request or motion until the date of the order. If a refund is ordered, the order may provide for the payment of interest thereon at a rate set by the Commission. Except as provided in subsection B of this section, the order shall be issued within thirty days after the close of the hearing or within another reasonable time extension fixed by the Commission.
B. Pending a hearing, the Commission may order the suspension prospectively of a rate filed by an insurer and reimpose the last previous rate in effect if the Commission has reasonable cause to believe that: (i) a reasonable degree of competition does not exist in the area with respect to the classification to which the rate applies, (ii) the filed rate will have the effect of destroying competition or creating a monopoly, (iii) use of the rate will endanger the solvency of the insurer, or (iv) Virginia loss experience and other factors specifically applicable to the Commonwealth have not been properly used to determine the rates. If the Commission suspends a rate under this provision, it shall hold a hearing within fifteen business days after issuing the order suspending the rate unless the right to a hearing is waived by the insurer. In addition, the Commission shall make its determination and issue its order as to whether the rate shall be disapproved within fifteen business days after the close of the hearing.
C. At any hearing held under the provisions of subsection A or B of this section, the insurer shall have the burden of justifying the rate in question. All determinations of the Commission shall be on the basis of findings of fact and conclusions of law. If the Commission disapproves a rate, the disapproval shall take effect not less than fifteen days after its order and the last previous rate in effect for the insurer shall be reimposed for a period of one year unless the Commission approves a substitute or interim rate under the provisions of subsection D or E of this section.
D. For one year after the effective date of a disapproval order, no rate promulgated to replace a rate disapproved under the order may be used until it has been filed with the Commission and not disapproved within sixty days after filing.
E. Whenever an insurer has no legally effective rates as a result of the Commission’s disapproval of rates or other act, the Commission shall, on the insurer’s request, specify interim rates for the insurer that are high enough to protect the interests of all parties. The Commission may order that a specified portion of the premiums be placed in an escrow account approved by it. When new rates become legally effective, the Commission shall order the escrowed funds or any overcharge in the interim rates to be distributed appropriately, except that refunds to policyholders that are de minimis shall not be required.
1973, c. 504, § 38.1-279.38; 1976, c. 276; 1986, c. 562; 1987, c. 697; 1990, cc. 290, 597.