3937.42 Cooperation in investigating fraudulent claims.

(A) The chief or head law enforcement officer of any federal, state, or local law enforcement agency or a prosecuting attorney of any county may request any insurance company, or agent authorized by the company to act on its behalf, that has investigated or is investigating a claim involving motor vehicle insurance or vessel insurance to release any information in its possession relevant to the claim. The company or agent shall release the information that is requested in writing by the law enforcement officer.

(B) If an insurance company, or agent authorized by the company to act on its behalf, has reason to suspect that a loss involving a motor vehicle or vessel that is insured by the company is part of a fraudulent scheme to obtain control of insurance proceeds, the company or agent shall notify a law enforcement officer or a prosecuting attorney of any county having jurisdiction over the alleged fraud.

(C) An insurance company, or agent authorized by the company to act on its behalf, shall release any information requested in writing pursuant to division (A) of this section and cooperate with the officer or a prosecuting attorney of any county authorized to request the information. The company or agent shall take such action as may be reasonably requested of it by the officer or a prosecuting attorney of any county and shall permit any other person ordered by a court to inspect any information that is specifically requested by the court.

The information that may be requested pursuant to this section may include, but is not limited to, the following:

(1) Any insurance policy relevant to the claim under investigation and any application for such a policy;

(2) Policy premium payment records;

(3) History of previous claims involving a motor vehicle or vessel made by the insured;

(4) Material relating to the investigation of the claim, including statements of any person, proof of loss, and any other relevant evidence.

(D) If the law enforcement officer or a prosecuting attorney of any county mentioned in division (A) of this section has received information pursuant to this section from an insurance company, or agent authorized by the company to act on its behalf, the officer or a prosecuting attorney of any county may release to, and share with, the insurance company or agent any information in the officer's or prosecuting attorney's possession relative to the claim, upon the written request of the insurance company or agent.

(E) In the absence of fraud, recklessness, or malice, no insurance company, or agent authorized by the company to act on its behalf, is liable for damages in any civil action, including any action brought pursuant to section 1347.10 of the Revised Code for any oral or written statement made or any other action taken that is necessary to supply information required pursuant to this section.

(F) Except as otherwise provided in division (D) of this section, any officer or a prosecuting attorney of any county receiving any information furnished pursuant to this section shall hold the information in confidence and shall not disclose it to anyone except other law enforcement officers or agencies until its release is required pursuant to a criminal or civil proceeding.

(G) Any officer or a prosecuting attorney of any county referred to in division (A) of this section may testify as to any information in the officer's or prosecuting attorney's possession regarding the claim referred to in that division in any civil action in which any person seeks recovery under a policy against an insurance company.

(H) As used in this section:

(1) "Motor vehicle" has the same meaning as in section 4501.01 of the Revised Code.

(2) "Vessel" has the same meaning as in section 1547.01 of the Revised Code.

(I)

(1) No person shall purposely refuse to release any information requested pursuant to this section by an officer or a prosecuting attorney of any county authorized by division (A) of this section to request the information.

(2) No person shall purposely refuse to notify an appropriate law enforcement officer or a prosecuting attorney of any county of a loss required to be reported pursuant to division (B) of this section.

(3) No person shall purposely fail to hold in confidence information required to be held in confidence by division (F) of this section.

Cite as R.C. § 3937.42

History. Effective Date: 03-18-1999