§ 27-8.1-3. Disclosure of information relating to fire losses.
(a) Whenever any authorized agency empowered to investigate the cause of, or circumstances attendant upon, a fire loss involving real or personal property within this state, and/or empowered to institute prosecution for criminal acts, actions, or missions causing, or related to, a fire loss, has reason to suspect that a fire loss is of incendiary or other suspicious origin, or results from other than accidental cause, that authorized agency may present a request in the manner and form and containing the requisites as provided in this section to an insurer, lending institution, and/or other party in interest for release to that agency of any and/or all relevant information deemed crucial to an investigation and/or prosecution by that agency, which the insurer, lending institution, or party in interest may have in its possession, relating to a fire loss; that relevant information shall include, but not be limited to:
(1) Pertinent insurance policy information relevant to the fire loss under investigation and the application for that policy;
(2) Available policy premium payment records;
(3) The history of previous claims by the insured for fire loss;
(4) Documentary materials relating to the investigation of the loss, including statements of any person, proof of loss, and any other materials or information relevant to the investigation;
(5) Any loan agreement regarding the fire loss under investigation;
(6) The mortgage document regarding the fire loss under investigation;
(7) Documentary materials relating to the names of all persons or entities having any ownership interest in the property involved in the fire loss under investigation;
(8) Documentary materials relating to any interest in other real property held by any of the persons or entities having any ownership interest in the property involved in the fire loss under investigation;
(9) The history of other fire losses regarding any other real property in which any person or entity having an interest in the property involved in the fire loss under investigation has any ownership interest; and
(10) Pertinent insurance policy information regarding any mortgage insurance or title insurance covering the property involved in the fire loss under investigation.
(b) This request shall consist of a written statement, under oath, by the chief administrative officer of the authorized agency, that he or she has reason to believe:
(1) That the fire loss is of suspicious origin;
(2) That a certain insurer, lending institution, and/or party in interest, named in the statement, has relevant information concerning the fire loss; and
(3) That this information is deemed crucial to an investigation and/or prosecution by the agency.
(c) Upon receipt of a request in the manner and form and containing the requisites as provided in subsection (b), the insurer, lending institution, and/or party in interest shall proceed as soon as possible to provide the authorized agency with any relevant information that the insurer or party may have.
(d)(1) When an insurer, lending institution, or party in interest has reason to suspect that a fire loss involving property insured by it, or its principal, is of incendiary or other suspicious origin, or results from other than accidental cause, the insurer or the party in interest shall, in writing to be sent by registered mail, return receipt requested, notify the chief of the fire department of the city, town, or fire district where the fire occurred, and shall forward a copy to the state fire marshal for the purpose of enabling him or her to investigate the loss;
(2) When an insurer, lending institution, or party in interest provides any authorized agency with notice of a fire loss, that notice shall be deemed sufficient for the purpose of this chapter;
(3) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to abrogate or impair the rights or powers created under subsection (a).
(e) An authorized agency which has secured any information furnished pursuant to subsection (a) may, in furtherance of its own purposes, release or provide that information, or any part of the information, to any other authorized agency, upon request by that agency.
(f) An insurer, lending institution, or party in interest providing information to an authorized agency or agencies pursuant to subsections (a), (b), (c), or (d), shall have the right to request and receive relevant information from that agency on a reciprocal basis. The procedure to be followed in that case shall be in accord with that prescribed in subsections (a), (b), and (c), except to the extent that interchangeability of terminology is necessitated by the circumstances.
(g) Any insurer, lending institution, party in interest, or authorized agency, or any person acting in behalf of or in conjunction with any of these, which or who releases information, whether oral or written, pursuant to a request and order, or otherwise, under subsection (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), or (f), shall be immune from any civil liability, criminal prosecution, or penalty.
(P.L. 1978, ch. 328, § 1; P.L. 1979, ch. 392, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 55, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 309, § 1; P.L. 1989, ch. 542, § 77.)