Sharing information by insurers; liability of insurer or arson squad; confidential information
Section 32. The marshal or police or fire department or other appropriate law enforcement agency may request an insurance company to share information relative to an investigation concerning a loss due to fire of suspicious or incendiary origin, and to furnish other relevant materials, such as insurance policies, policy premium records, and history of previous claims. The marshal or any of the aforementioned departments or agencies shall, upon request, share the information so acquired with the marshal, department, or agency, as appropriate, requesting the same.
If an insurance company has reason to suspect that a fire loss to its insured’s real or personal property was caused by incendiary means, the company shall furnish the marshal or any of the aforementioned departments or agencies with all relevant material acquired during its investigation of the fire loss, cooperate with the marshal or any of the aforementioned departments or agencies, and take such action as the marshal or any of the aforementioned departments or agencies may reasonably request. Any other person may, by obtaining a court order, inspect records of such insurance company pertaining to the policy and the loss. Such insurance company may request access to information gathered by the marshal or any of the aforementioned departments or agencies in an investigation into such fire loss of suspected incendiary origin.
In the absence of fraud, malice or criminal act, no insurance company, or person who furnished information on its behalf, or any duly licensed insurance agent or broker, or any employee of such agent or broker, through whom the policy was issued nor any member of the local municipal arson squad of the fire or police department shall be liable for damages in a civil action or subject to criminal prosecution for any conduct reasonably undertaken pursuant to the provisions of this section.
A public official receiving information furnished pursuant to this section shall hold such information in confidence until such time as its disclosure is required in a criminal or civil proceeding, or, if such information is subject to sections thirty-eight B through thirty-eight I, until such information becomes a public record in accordance with section thirty-eight I. Any public official or employee of an insurance company may be required to testify to any information in his possession regarding the fire loss of real or personal property in any civil action in which any person seeks recovery under a policy against an insurance company for the fire loss. Every insurance company adjusting a fire loss of one thousand dollars or more shall forward forthwith to the marshal a written statement of the amount of such adjustment on building and contents.