Section 27-11-5

Secretary of State as agent for service of process on insurer; service of process; attachment of jurisdiction; fees for service.

(a) Any insurer not qualified under the laws of this state to transact the business of insurance as evidenced by a license or certificate of authority from the Commissioner of Insurance which shall transact, or attempt to transact, the business of insurance in this state or which shall do, or attempt to do, any of the acts and occurrences set out in Section 27-11-3 shall, by the doing of such business or the performing or attempting to perform any of such acts, be deemed to have appointed the Secretary of State, or his successor or successors in office, to be the true and lawful attorney or agent of such insurer whom process may be served in any action accrued or accruing from the transacting of such business or the performing of such act by any such insurer, or by its agent, servant, or employee. Service of such process shall be made by serving three copies of the process on the said Secretary of State, and such service shall be sufficient service upon the said insurer, provided, that notice of such service and a copy of the process are forthwith sent by registered or certified mail by the Secretary of State to the defendant at its last known address, which shall be stated in the affidavit of the plaintiff or complainant, marked "deliver to addressee only" and "return receipt requested," and provided, further, that such return receipt shall be received by the Secretary of State purporting to have been signed by said insurer, or the Secretary of State shall be advised by the postal authority that delivery of said registered or certified mail was refused by said insurer; and the date on which the Secretary of State receives said return receipt, or advice by the postal authority that delivery of said registered or certified mail was refused shall be treated and considered as the date of service of process on said insurer. The Secretary of State shall make an affidavit as to the service of said process on him, and as to his mailing a copy of the same and notice of such service to the insurer and as to the receipt of said return receipt, or advice of the refusal of said registered or certified mail, and the respective dates thereof, and shall attach said affidavit, return receipt or advice from the postal authority to a copy of the process and shall return the same to the clerk or register who issued the same, and all of the same shall be filed in the action by the clerk or register. The commissioner, or his agent or attorney, desiring to obtain service upon an insurer under the provisions of this unauthorized insurers law shall make and file in the action an affidavit stating facts showing that this section is applicable and stating the last known address of the insurer, and the clerk or register of the court in which the action is filed shall attach a copy of the affidavit to the writ or process and a copy of the affidavit to each copy of the writ or process and forward the original writ or process and three copies thereof to the Sheriff of Montgomery County, Alabama, for service on the Secretary of State; and it shall be the duty of the sheriff to serve the same on the Secretary of State and to make due return of such service. The court in which the action is pending may order such continuance of the action as may be necessary to afford the defendant, or defendants, reasonable opportunity to make defense. Any insurer who was licensed to transact the business of insurance in this state at the time of the doing of business or the performing of the act complained of, but which is not so licensed or authorized at the time of the pendency of an action involving the transacting of the business of insurance or the act or occurrence complained of, shall be deemed to be an unauthorized insurer within the meaning of this chapter, and service of process under such circumstances may be had as provided in this section.

(b) Service of summons when obtained upon any such insurer as provided in subsection (a) of this section for the service of process shall be deemed sufficient service of summons and process to give to the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Alabama, jurisdiction over the cause of action and over such insurer and shall warrant and authorize personal judgment against such defendant, or defendants, in the event that the plaintiff prevails in the action. There shall be paid to the Secretary of State for services under this section fees as may be provided for service of process on nonresidents doing business or performing work or service in this state.

(Acts 1971, No. 407, p. 707, §224.)