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Chapter 33     Entire Code


ARTICLE 1. DEFINITIONS.

ARTICLE 2. INSURANCE COMMISSIONER.

ARTICLE 3. LICENSING, FEES AND TAXATION OF INSURERS.

ARTICLE 3A. STATE OF ENTRY FOR FOREIGN INSURERS.

ARTICLE 4. GENERAL PROVISIONS.

ARTICLE 4A. ALL-PAYER CLAIMS DATABASE.

ARTICLE 5. ORGANIZATION AND PROCEDURES OF DOMESTIC STOCK AND MUTUAL INSURERS.

ARTICLE 6. THE INSURANCE POLICY.

ARTICLE 6A. CANCELLATION OR NONRENEWAL OF AUTOMOBILE LIABILITY POLICIES.

ARTICLE 6B. DECLINATION OF AUTOMOBILE LIABILITY INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 6C. GUARANTEED LOSS RATIOS AS APPLIED TO INDIVIDUAL SICKNESS AND ACCIDENT INSURANCE POLICIES.

ARTICLE 6D. MOTOR VEHICLE REPAIR AND REPLACEMENT REFERRALS.

ARTICLE 6F. DISCLOSURE OF NONPUBLIC PERSONAL INFORMATION.

ARTICLE 7. ASSETS AND LIABILITIES.

ARTICLE 8. INVESTMENTS.

ARTICLE 8A. USE OF CLEARING CORPORATIONS AND FEDERAL RESERVE BOOK-ENTRY SYSTEM.

ARTICLE 9. ADMINISTRATION OF DEPOSITS.

ARTICLE 10. REHABILITATION AND LIQUIDATION.

ARTICLE 11. UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES.

ARTICLE 11A. INSURANCE SALES CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT.

ARTICLE 12. INSURANCE PRODUCERS AND SOLICITORS.

ARTICLE 12A. CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN INSURANCE COMPANIES AND AGENTS.

ARTICLE 12C. SURPLUS LINE.

ARTICLE 13. LIFE INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 13A. VARIABLE CONTRACTS.

ARTICLE 13B. CHARITABLE GIFT ANNUITIES.

ARTICLE 13C. VIATICAL SETTLEMENTS ACT.

ARTICLE 13D. UNCLAIMED LIFE INSURANCE BENEFITS ACT.

ARTICLE 14. GROUP LIFE INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 15. ACCIDENT AND SICKNESS INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 15A. WEST VIRGINIA LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE ACT.

ARTICLE 15B. UNIFORM HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATION ACT.

ARTICLE 15C. DIABETES INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 15D. INDIVIDUAL LIMITED HEALTH BENEFITS PLANS.

ARTICLE 15E. DISCOUNT MEDICAL PLAN ORGANIZATIONS AND DISCOUNT PRESCRIPTION DRUG PLAN ORGANIZATIONS ACT.

ARTICLE 16. GROUP ACCIDENT AND SICKNESS INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 16A. GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE CONVERSION.

ARTICLE 16B. ACCIDENT AND SICKNESS RATES.

ARTICLE 16C. EMPLOYER GROUP ACCIDENT AND SICKNESS INSURANCE POLICIES.

ARTICLE 16D. MARKETING AND RATE PRACTICES FOR SMALL EMPLOYER ACCIDENT AND SICKNESS INSURANCE POLICIES.

ARTICLE 16E. CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE.

ARTICLE 16F. GROUP LIMITED HEALTH BENEFITS PLANS.

ARTICLE 16G. WEST VIRGINIA HEALTH BENEFIT EXCHANGE ACT.

ARTICLE 16H. REVIEW OF ADVERSE DETERMINATIONS.

ARTICLE 17. FIRE AND MARINE INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 17A. PROPERTY INSURANCE DECLINATION, TERMINATION AND DISCLOSURE.

ARTICLE 18. CASUALTY INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 19. SURETY INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 20. RATES AND RATING ORGANIZATIONS.

ARTICLE 20A. WEST VIRGINIA ESSENTIAL INSURANCE COVERAGE ACT.

ARTICLE 20B. RATES AND MALPRACTICE INSURANCE POLICIES.

ARTICLE 20C. CANCELLATION OR NONRENEWAL OF MALPRACTICE INSURANCE POLICIES.

ARTICLE 20D. TAIL INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 20E. WEST VIRGINIA MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE JOINT UNDERWRITING ASSOCIATION ACT.

ARTICLE 20F. PHYSICIANS\' MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY.

ARTICLE 21. RECIPROCAL INSURERS.

ARTICLE 22. FARMERS\' MUTUAL FIRE INSURANCE COMPANIES.

ARTICLE 23. FRATERNAL BENEFIT SOCIETIES.

ARTICLE 24. HOSPITAL SERVICE CORPORATIONS, MEDICAL SERVICE CORPORATIONS, DENTAL SERVICE CORPORATIONS AND HEALTH SERVICE CORPORATIONS.

ARTICLE 25. HEALTH CARE CORPORATIONS.

ARTICLE 25A. HEALTH MAINTENANCE ORGANIZATION ACT.

ARTICLE 25B. FEDERAL INSURANCE SUBSIDY FOR CHILDREN\'S HEALTH.

ARTICLE 25C. HEALTH MAINTENANCE ORGANIZATION PATIENT BILL OF RIGHTS.

ARTICLE 25D. PREPAID LIMITED HEALTH SERVICE ORGANIZATION ACT.

ARTICLE 25E. PATIENTS\' EYE CARE ACT.

ARTICLE 25F. COVERAGE FOR PATIENT COST OF CLINICAL TRIALS.

ARTICLE 25G. PROVIDER SPONSORED NETWORKS.

ARTICLE 26. WEST VIRGINIA GUARANTY ASSOCIATION ACT.

ARTICLE 26A. WEST VIRGINIA LIFE AND HEALTH INSURANCE GUARANTY ASSOCIATION ACT.

ARTICLE 26B. WEST VIRGINIA HEALTH MAINTENANCE ORGANIZATION GUARANTY ASSOCIATION.

ARTICLE 27. INSURANCE HOLDING COMPANY SYSTEMS.

ARTICLE 27A. WEST VIRGINIA MUTUAL TO MUTUAL INSURANCE HOLDING COMPANY ACT.

ARTICLE 28. INDIVIDUAL ACCIDENT AND SICKNESS INSURANCE MINIMUM STANDARDS.

ARTICLE 29. LIFE AND ACCIDENT AND SICKNESS INSURANCE POLICY LANGUAGE SIMPLIFICATION ACT.

ARTICLE 30. MINE SUBSIDENCE INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 31. CAPTIVE INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 31A. SPONSORED CAPTIVE INSURANCE COMPANY FORMATION.

ARTICLE 32. RISK RETENTION ACT.

ARTICLE 33. ANNUAL AUDITED FINANCIAL REPORT.

ARTICLE 34. ADMINISTRATIVE SUPERVISION.

ARTICLE 34A. STANDARDS AND COMMISSIONER\'S AUTHORITY FOR COMPANIES DEEMED TO BE IN HAZARDOUS FINANCIAL CONDITION.

ARTICLE 35. CRIMINAL SANCTIONS FOR FAILURE TO REPORT IMPAIRMENT.

ARTICLE 36. BUSINESS TRANSACTED WITH PRODUCER-CONTROLLED PROPERTY/CASUALTY INSURER ACT.

ARTICLE 37. MANAGING GENERAL AGENTS.

ARTICLE 38. REINSURANCE INTERMEDIARY ACT.

ARTICLE 39. DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL TRANSACTIONS.

ARTICLE 40. RISK-BASED CAPITAL (RBC) FOR INSURERS.

ARTICLE 40A. RISKED-BASED CAPITAL FOR HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS.

ARTICLE 40B. RISK MANAGEMENT AND OWN RISK AND SOLVENCY ASSESSMENT ACT.

ARTICLE 41. WEST VIRGINIA INSURANCE FRAUD PREVENTION ACT.

ARTICLE 42. WOMEN\'S ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE ACT.

ARTICLE 43. INSURANCE TAX PROCEDURES ACT.

ARTICLE 44. UNAUTHORIZED INSURERS ACT.

ARTICLE 45. ETHICS AND FAIRNESS IN INSURER BUSINESS PRACTICES.

ARTICLE 46. THIRD-PARTY ADMINISTRATOR ACT.

ARTICLE 46A. PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYER ORGANIZATIONS.

ARTICLE 47. INTERSTATE INSURANCE PRODUCT REGULATION COMPACT.

ARTICLE 48. MODEL HEALTH PLAN FOR UNINSURABLE INDIVIDUALS ACT.

ARTICLE 49. FLOOD INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 50. PATIENT PROTECTION AND TRANSPARENCY ACT.

ARTICLE 51. PHARMACY AUDIT INTEGRITY ACT.

ARTICLE 52. CORPORATE GOVERNANCE ANNUAL DISCLOSURE ACT.

ARTICLE 53. CERTIFICATES OF INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 54. REQUIRING ACCOUNTABLE PHARMACEUTICAL TRANSPARENCY, OVERSIGHT, AND REPORTING ACT.

ARTICLE 55. HEALTH BENEFIT PLAN NETWORK ACCESS AND ADEQUACY ACT.

ARTICLE 56. HEALTH CARE SERVICES PROVIDED BY PHARMACISTS.

ARTICLE 57. REQUIRED COVERAGE FOR HEALTH INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 58. REQUIRED COVERAGE FOR HEALTH INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 59. REQUIRED COVERAGE FOR HEALTH INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 60. INSURANCE INNOVATION.

ARTICLE 61. MINING MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY.

ARTICLE 12B. ADJUSTERS.

§33-12B-1. Definitions.

(a) “Automated claims adjudication system” means a preprogrammed computer system designed for the collection, data entry, calculation, and final resolution of portable electronics insurance claims which:

(1) May only be used by a licensed adjuster, licensed producer, or supervised individuals operating pursuant to §33-12B-3(a)(14) of this code;

(2) Must comply with all claims payments requirements of the insurance code; and

(3) Must be certified as compliant with this section by a licensed adjuster that is an officer of the entity which employs the individuals operating pursuant to §33-12B-3(a)(14) of this code.

(b) “Business entity” means a corporation, association, partnership, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, or other legal entity.

(c) “Company adjuster” means an adjuster who is a staff employee of an insurance company, who is paid by the insurance company, and who investigates, negotiates, or settles claims.

(d) “Home state” means the District of Columbia or any state, commonwealth, or territory of the United States in which an adjuster maintains his or her principal place of residence or business and in which he or she is licensed to act as a resident adjuster. If a person’s principal place of residence or business does not license adjusters for the type of adjuster license sought in this state, he or she shall designate as his or her home state any state in which he or she has such a license.

(e) “Independent adjuster” means a person who:

(1) Is an individual, a business entity, an independent contractor, or an employee of a contractor, who contracts for compensation with insurers or self-insurers;

(2) Is one whom the insurer’s or self-insurer’s tax treatment of the individual is consistent with that of an independent contractor, rather than as an employee, as defined in the Internal Revenue Code, United States Code, Title 26, Subtitle C; and

(3) Investigates, negotiates, or settles property, casualty, or workers’ compensation claims for insurers or self-insurers.

(f) “Individual” means a natural person.

(g) “Insurance emergency” means a temporary situation, as declared by the commissioner pursuant to §33-2-10a of this code, when the number of licensed adjusters in this state is inadequate to meet the demands of the public.

(h) “Person” means an individual or business entity.

(i) “Public adjuster” means any person who, for compensation or any other thing of value on behalf of the insured:

(1) Acts or aids, solely in relation to first-party claims arising under insurance contracts that insure the real or personal property of the insured, on behalf of an insured in negotiating for, or effecting the settlement of, a claim for loss or damage covered by an insurance contract;

(2) Advertises for employment as a public adjuster of insurance claims or solicits business or represents himself or herself to the public as a public adjuster of first-party insurance claims for losses or damages arising out of policies of insurance that insure real or personal property; or

(3) Directly or indirectly solicits business, investigates or adjusts losses, or advises an insured about first-party claims for losses or damages arising out of policies of insurance that insure real or personal property for another person engaged in the business of adjusting losses or damages covered by an insurance policy on behalf of an insured.

§33-12B-2. License required.

(a) No person may act or hold himself, herself, or itself out as a company adjuster, an independent adjuster, or a public adjuster in this state unless the person is licensed in accordance with this article or is exempt from licensure under this article.

(b) The license shall contain the licensee’s name, address, personal identification number, the date of issuance, expiration date, and any other information the commissioner deems necessary.

(c) A person licensed as a public adjuster shall not misrepresent to a claimant that he, she, or it is an adjuster representing an insurer in any capacity, including acting as an employee of the insurer or acting as an independent adjuster unless so appointed by an insurer in writing to act on the insurer’s behalf for that specific claim or purpose. A licensed public adjuster is prohibited from charging that specific claimant a fee when appointed by the insurer and the appointment is accepted by the public adjuster.

(d) The commissioner shall license an individual as a company adjuster, independent adjuster, or public adjuster. An individual may be licensed concurrently under separate licenses but shall not act as an adjuster representing the interests of the insured and the insurer with respect to the same claim.

§33-12B-3. Exemptions from license requirement.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article, a company adjuster license or independent adjuster license shall not be required of the following:

(1) Attorneys-at-law admitted to practice in this state, when acting in their professional capacity as an attorney;

(2) A person employed only for the purpose of obtaining facts surrounding a claim or furnishing technical assistance to a licensed company or independent adjuster;

(3) An individual who is employed to investigate suspected fraudulent insurance claims but who does not adjust losses, investigate or determine coverage, or determine claim payments;

(4) A person who solely performs executive, administrative, managerial, or clerical duties, or any combination thereof, and who does not investigate, negotiate, or settle insurance claims with policyholders, claimants, or their legal representative;

(5) A licensed health care provider or its employee who is not responsible for determining compensability;

(6) A managed care organization or any of its employees or an employee of any organization providing managed care services, so long as the managed care organization or employee referenced herein is not determining compensability;

(7) A person who settles reinsurance or subrogation claims between insurers;

(8) An officer, director, or manager of an authorized insurer, surplus lines insurer, a risk retention group, or an attorney-in-fact of a reciprocal insurer;

(9) A manager of the United States branch of an alien insurer;

(10) A person who investigates, negotiates, or settles life, accident and health, annuity, or disability insurance claims;

(11) An individual employee, under a self-insured arrangement, who adjusts claims on behalf of his or her employer;

(12) A licensed individual producer, attorney-in-fact of a reciprocal insurer, or managing general agent of the insurer to whom claim authority has been granted by the insurer;

(13) A business entity licensed under the authority of §33-46-1 et seq. of this code;

(14) Individuals who collect claim information from, or furnish claim information to, insureds or claimants, and who conduct data entry, including entering data into an automated claims adjudication system are exempt from licensure under this article: Provided, That the individuals are under the supervision of a licensed adjuster or licensed producer: Provided, however, That no more than 25 persons are under the supervision of one licensed adjuster or licensed producer; or

(15) Company adjusters employed by an insurer outside of this state who adjust claims solely by telephone, fax, Unites States mail, and electronic mail, and who do not physically enter this state in the course of adjusting such claims: Provided, That such adjusters shall be subject to the jurisdiction of, and regulation by, the commissioner in regard to their adjustment of West Virginia claims: Provided, however, That the commissioner may require such adjusters to complete continuing education, not to exceed requirements pursuant to §33-12B-13(d) of this code, to address any deficiencies with respect to their claims handling practices.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article, a public adjuster license shall not be required of the following:

(1) Attorneys-at-law admitted to practice in this state, when acting in their professional capacity as an attorney;

(2) A person who negotiates or settles claims arising under a life or health insurance policy or an annuity contract;

(3) A person employed only for the purpose of obtaining facts surrounding a loss or furnishing technical assistance to a licensed public adjuster;

(4) A licensed health care provider, or employee of a licensed health care provider, who prepares or files a health claim form on behalf of a patient; or

(5) A person who settles subrogation claims between insurers.

§33-12B-4. Temporary licensure for emergency company or independent adjusters.

(a) In the event of a declared insurance emergency, an insurer shall notify the commissioner with an application for temporary emergency licensure for each individual who will act as an emergency company adjuster or emergency independent adjuster on behalf of the insurer.

(b) A person who is otherwise qualified to adjust claims, but not already licensed in this state when the insurance emergency has been declared, may act as an emergency company or independent adjuster and adjust claims if, within five days of the declared insurance emergency, the insurer notifies the commissioner by providing the following information in a format proposed by the commissioner:

(1) Name and address of the individual;

(2) National Producer Number of the individual if the individual has a National Producer Number;

(3) Name of the insurer which the company or independent adjuster will represent;

(4) Effective date of the contract between the insurer and independent adjuster, if applicable;

(5) Insurance emergency or loss control number;

(6) Insurance emergency event name; and

(7) Any other information the commissioner deems necessary.

(c) An emergency company or independent adjuster’s license shall remain in force for a period not to exceed 90 days, unless extended for an additional period by the commissioner.

(d) The fee for emergency company or independent adjuster application for licensure shall be in an amount specified in §33-12B-8 of this code. The fee shall be due and payable at the time of application for licensure.

§33-12B-4a. Exemptions from license.

[Repealed]

§33-12B-5. Qualifications for resident adjuster’s license; examination; exemptions.

(a) An individual applying for a resident adjuster license shall make application to the commissioner and declare under penalty of suspension, revocation, or refusal of the license that the statements made in the application are true, correct, and complete to the best of the individual’s knowledge and belief. Before approving the application, the commissioner shall find that the individual:

(1)  Is 18 years of age or more;

(2)  Is a resident of West Virginia, or eligible to designate West Virginia as his or her home state;

(3) Is trustworthy, competent, reliable, and of good reputation, evidence of which may be determined by the commissioner;

(4) Has a business or mailing address in this state for acceptance of service of process or, if residing outside of this state, acknowledges that by adjusting claims in this state he or she is subject to this state’s jurisdiction, pursuant to §56-3-33 of this code, and automatically appoints the West Virginia Secretary of State as his or her agent for service of process;

(5) Has not committed any act that is a ground for probation, suspension, revocation, or refusal of an adjuster’s license as set forth in §33-12B-11 of this code;

(6) Has successfully passed the written examination for the line or lines of authority for which the person has applied; and

(7) Has paid the fees applicable to licensure.

(b)(1) A resident individual applying for an adjuster license shall pass a written examination unless exempt pursuant to §33-12B-5(b)(5) or §33-12B-5(b)(6) of this code. The examination shall test the knowledge of the individual concerning the line or lines of authority for which application is made, if applicable, the duties and responsibilities of an adjuster, and the insurance laws and rules of this state. However, to qualify for an adjuster license with the crop line of authority, the commissioner may accept, in lieu of such an examination, certification that the individual has passed a proficiency examination approved by the United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency.

(2) Each examinee shall pay a nonrefundable $25 examination fee for each examination to the commissioner, which fees shall be used for the purposes set forth in §33-3-13 of this code. The commissioner may, at his or her discretion, designate an independent testing service to prepare and administer such examination subject to direction and approval by the commissioner, and examination fees charged by such service shall be paid by the applicant.

(3) An individual who fails to appear for the examination as scheduled, or fails to pass the examination, shall reapply for an examination and remit all required fees and forms before being rescheduled for another examination.

(4) An individual who initially fails to pass an examination required by this section is limited to seven additional attempts to pass the examination.

(5) An individual who applies for an adjuster license in this state, who was previously licensed for the same lines of authority in another jurisdiction, shall not be required to complete any prelicensing examination. This exemption is only available if the individual is currently licensed in that jurisdiction, or if the application is received within 90 days of the cancellation of the applicant’s previous license, and if the prior jurisdiction issues a certification that, at the time of cancellation, the applicant was in good standing in that jurisdiction or the jurisdiction’s adjuster database records, maintained by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, its affiliates or subsidiaries, indicate that the adjuster is or was licensed in good standing for the line of authority requested. The certification must be of a license with the same line of authority for which the individual has applied.

(6) An individual licensed as an adjuster in another jurisdiction who moves to this state shall make application within 90 days of establishing legal residence to become a resident licensee pursuant to this section: Provided, That no pre-licensing examination shall be required of that individual to obtain any line of authority previously held in the prior jurisdiction, except where the commissioner determines otherwise by rule.

(7) Examinations may be developed and conducted under rules proposed by the commissioner.

(8) Examinations required by this subsection are applicable for individual adjusters first licensed on or after July 1, 2021, or for individual adjusters who add a line of authority to an existing adjuster license on or after July 1, 2021.

(c) A business entity applying for a resident independent or public adjuster license shall make application to the commissioner on forms proposed by the commissioner and shall declare under penalty of suspension, revocation, or refusal of the license that the statements made in the application are true, correct, and complete to the best of the business entity’s knowledge and belief. Before approving the application, the commissioner shall find that the business entity:

(1) Is eligible to designate West Virginia as its home state;

(2) Has a business or mailing address in this state for acceptance of service of process;

(3) Has designated a licensed independent or public adjuster responsible for the business entity’s compliance with the insurance laws and rules of this state; and

(4) Has not committed an act that is a ground for probation, suspension, revocation, or refusal of an independent or public adjuster’s license as set forth in §33-12B-11 of this code.

 (d) The requirements of this section do not apply to temporary licenses issued to emergency company adjusters or emergency independent adjusters.

§33-12B-6. Authorization for criminal history record check; fees.

(a) In furtherance of the national goal of promoting uniformity and reciprocity among the states, commonwealths, territories, and the District of Columbia with regard to adjuster licensing, this section sets forth the requirements to obtain access to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Justice Information Services Division criminal history record information and to secure information or reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Justice Information Services Division. The scope of this section is to set forth the applicability of the criminal history record check to applicants for a home state insurance adjuster license.

(b) As used in this section, the following terms have the meanings ascribed in this subsection, unless a different meaning is clearly required by the context:

(1) “Applicant” means a natural person applying for:

(A) An initial home state license as an insurance adjuster;

(B) An additional line of authority under an existing home state insurance adjuster license where a criminal history record check has not been obtained; or

(C) A resident insurance adjuster license under change of home state provisions.

“Applicant” does not mean a person applying for renewal or continuation of a home state insurance adjuster license or a nonresident insurance adjuster license.

(2) “Fingerprint” means an impression of the lines on the finger taken for the purpose of identification. The impression may be obtained electronically or in ink converted to an electronic format.

(c) In order to make a determination of adjuster license eligibility, the commissioner is authorized to require fingerprints of applicants and to submit the fingerprints and the fee required to perform a criminal history record check to the West Virginia State Police and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

(d) The commissioner shall require a criminal history record check on each applicant in accordance with this section. The commissioner shall require each applicant to submit a full set of fingerprints, including a scanned file from a hard copy fingerprint, in order for the commissioner to obtain and receive national criminal history records from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division.

(e) The commissioner shall collect a fee from each applicant in an amount sufficient to cover:

(1) The cost of the collection and transmittal of fingerprints by persons, including local law enforcement agencies that are approved by the commissioner to capture fingerprints, to the West Virginia State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and

(2) The cost of any amounts charged by the West Virginia State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to perform the criminal history record checks.

(f) The commissioner may contract for the collection and transmission of fingerprints authorized under this section and may order that the fee for collecting and transmitting fingerprints be payable directly by the applicant to the contractor.

(g) The commissioner is authorized to receive criminal history record information directly from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in lieu of via transmission of the information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the West Virginia State Police.

(h) The commissioner shall treat and maintain an applicant’s fingerprints and any criminal history record information obtained under this section as confidential and shall apply security measures consistent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division standards for the electronic storage of fingerprints and necessary identifying information. The commissioner shall limit the use of records solely to the purposes authorized in this section. The fingerprints and the criminal history record information in the custody of the commissioner are not subject to subpoena, other than one issued in a criminal action or investigation, are confidential by law and privileged, and are not subject to discovery or admissible in evidence in any private civil action.

§33-12B-7. Lines of authority.

(a) An independent adjuster or a company adjuster may qualify for a license in one or more of the following lines of authority:

(1) Property and casualty;

(2) Workers’ compensation; or

(3) Crop.

(b) A public adjuster may only qualify for a license designating a property and casualty line of authority.

§33-12B-8. License fees.

(a) The annual fee for an individual adjuster license shall be $25.

(b) The annual fee for a business entity adjuster license shall be $200.

(c) The fee for a temporary emergency adjuster license shall be $25.

(d) All fees collected pursuant to this section shall be used for the purposes set forth in §33-3-13 of this code.

§33-12B-9. Licensing of nonresident adjusters.

(a) A nonresident applicant for an adjuster license who holds a similar license in his or her home state may be licensed as a nonresident adjuster in this state if the applicant’s home state has established, by law or regulation, like requirements for the licensing of a resident of this state as a nonresident adjuster.

(b) As a condition of continuing a nonresident adjuster license, the licensee must maintain a license in his or her home state. The commissioner may verify the adjuster’s licensing status through the producer database maintained by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, its affiliates, or subsidiaries.

(c) If a nonresident adjuster desires to become a resident adjuster, he or she must apply to become one within 90 days of establishing legal residency in this state.

(d) If a nonresident adjuster has his or her license suspended, terminated, or revoked by his or her home state, the adjuster must immediately notify the commissioner of that action and, with respect to license terminations or revocations, surrender the license to the commissioner.

(e) A resident of Canada may be licensed as a nonresident adjuster under this section if that person has obtained a resident or home state adjuster license in another United States jurisdiction.

§33-12B-10. Expiration of license; renewal.

(a) The commissioner may, in his or her discretion, fix the dates of expiration of respective licenses for all adjusters in any manner as is considered by him or her to be advisable for an efficient distribution of the workload of his or her office. If the expiration date so fixed would upon first occurrence shorten the period for which a license fee has theretofore been paid, no refund of the unearned fee shall be made. If the expiration date so fixed would upon first occurrence lengthen the period for which license fee had theretofore been paid, the commissioner shall charge no additional fee for the lengthened period. If another date is not so fixed by the commissioner, each license shall, unless continued as herein above provided, expire at midnight on May 31 next following the date of issuance, and the commissioner shall renew annually the license of all such licensees who qualify, and make application therefor, and have paid the fees set forth in this article.

(b) An adjuster whose license expires may, if application is made within one year of the expiration date, be reissued a license upon payment of twice the renewal fee.

(c) The commissioner may waive any renewal requirement for any adjuster who is unable to comply due to military service, long-term medical disability, or other extenuating circumstance.

(d) As a condition of the renewal of an adjuster license with the designation of a crop insurance line of authority, the commissioner may require that the licensee demonstrate that he or she has maintained certification of proficiency issued or approved by the United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency.

§33-12B-10a. Reporting of actions.

(a) An adjuster shall report to the commissioner any administrative action taken against the adjuster in another jurisdiction or by another governmental agency in this state within thirty days of the final disposition of the matter, including decertification or other action related to the adjuster's proficiency to adjust multi-peril crop insurance claims. The report shall include a copy of the order, consent to order and any other relevant legal documents.

(b) Within thirty days of the initial pretrial hearing date, an adjuster shall report to the commissioner any criminal prosecution of the adjuster in any jurisdiction. The report shall include a copy of the initial complaint filed, the order resulting from the hearing and any other relevant legal documents.

§33-12B-11. Denial, revocation, suspension, probation, or refusal to renew license; penalties; violations.

(a) The commissioner may examine and investigate the business affairs and conduct of persons applying for or holding an adjuster license to determine whether such person is trustworthy and competent or has been or is engaged in any violation of the insurance laws or rules of this state or in any unfair or deceptive acts or practices in any state.

(b) If the commissioner denies an initial or renewal application for a license, he or she shall notify the applicant or licensee in writing of the reason for such action. The applicant or licensee may, within 10 days of receipt of such notice, make written demand for a hearing before the commissioner to determine the reasonableness of the action, and such hearing shall be held in accordance with the provisions of §33-2-13 of this code.

(c) Whenever, after notice and hearing, the commissioner is satisfied that any adjuster has violated any provision of this chapter or of rules promulgated or proposed hereunder, or is incompetent or untrustworthy, he or she shall place the adjuster on probation or refuse to issue, revoke, suspend, or, if renewal of license is pending, refuse to renew the license of such adjuster. In addition to placing a licensee on probation or revoking, suspending, or refusing to renew or issue his or her license, the commissioner may in his or her discretion order such licensee to pay to the State of West Virginia an administrative penalty in a sum not to exceed $1,000 for each violation. Upon the failure of a licensee to pay within 30 days a civil penalty imposed by the commissioner, his or her license shall be revoked or suspended by the commissioner.

(d) Each of the following shall constitute a violation under this article:

(1) Providing incorrect, misleading, incomplete, or materially untrue information in the license application;

(2) Violating any insurance statute, rule, subpoena, or order of the commissioner or of another state’s insurance commissioner;

(3) Obtaining or attempting to obtain a license through misrepresentation or fraud;

(4) Improperly withholding, misappropriating, or converting any monies or properties received in the course of doing insurance business;

(5) Intentionally misrepresenting the terms of an actual or proposed insurance contract or application for insurance;

(6) Having been convicted of or pleaded nolo contendere to any felony;

(7) Having been convicted of or pleaded nolo contendere to a misdemeanor in connection with his or her activities relating to the business of insurance;

(8) Having admitted or been found to have committed any insurance unfair trade practice or fraud;

(9) Having an insurance license or its equivalent suspended, revoked, or refused in any other state, province, district, or territory;

(10) Forging any document or signature relating to an insurance transaction or fraudulently procuring a forged signature to any document related to an insurance transaction;

(11) Cheating, including improperly using notes or any other reference material, in the course of taking an examination for an insurance license;

(12) Using fraudulent, coercive, or dishonest practices, or demonstrating incompetence, untrustworthiness, or financial irresponsibility, in the conduct of insurance business in this state or elsewhere;

(13) Failing to comply with an administrative or court order imposing a child support obligation; or

(14) Failing to pay state income tax or comply with any administrative or court order directing payment of state income tax which remains unpaid.

(e) Orders issued pursuant to this section are subject to the judicial review provisions of §33-2-14 of this code.

§33-12B-11a. Emergency adjusters and insurance emergencies; definitions; authorization of temporary emergency adjusters; applications; limitations and authority.

[Repealed]

§33-12B-12. Rules.

The commissioner may propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of §29A-3-1 et seq. of this code to implement the provisions of this article.

§33-12B-13. Continuing education.

(a) The purpose of this section is to provide continuing education requirements for individual adjusters under guidelines established by the commissioner’s office in conjunction with the Board of Insurance Agent Education as provided in §33-12-7 of this code.

(b) This section applies to company adjusters, independent adjusters, and public adjusters licensed pursuant to §33-12B-2 of this code.

(c) This section shall not apply to:

(1) Licensees not licensed for one full year prior to the end of the applicable continuing education biennium; or

(2) Licensees holding nonresident adjuster licenses who have met substantially similar continuing education requirements of their designated home state and whose home state gives credit to residents of this state on the same basis.

(d)(1) The Board of Insurance Agent Education as established by §33-12-7 of this code shall develop a program of continuing education for adjusters and submit the proposal for the approval of the commissioner on or before December 31 of each year. No program may be approved by the commissioner that includes a requirement that any individual adjuster complete more than 24 hours of continuing insurance education biennially.

(2) The biennium mandatory continuing education provisions of this section become effective on the reporting period beginning July 1, 2021.

(3) The commissioner and the Board of Insurance Agent Education, under standards established by the board, may approve any course or program of instruction developed or sponsored by an authorized insurer, accredited college or university, adjusters’ association, insurance trade association, or independent program of instruction that presents the criteria and the number of hours that the board and commissioner determine appropriate for the purpose of this section.

(e) An individual who holds an adjuster license and who is not exempt shall satisfactorily complete a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education courses, of which three hours must be in ethics, reported to the commissioner on a biennial basis in conjunction with their license renewal cycle.

(f) Every individual adjuster subject to the continuing education requirements shall furnish, at intervals and on forms as may be proposed by the commissioner, written certification listing the courses, programs, or seminars of instruction successfully completed by the adjuster. The certification shall be executed by, or on behalf of, the organization sponsoring the courses, programs, or seminars of instruction.

(g) Subject to the approval of the commissioner, the active annual membership by an adjuster in an organization or association recognized and approved by the commissioner as a state, regional, or national professional insurance organization or association may be approved by the commissioner for up to two hours of continuing insurance education: Provided, That not more than two hours of continuing education may be awarded to an adjuster for membership in a professional insurance organization during a biennial reporting period.

(h) Adjusters who exceed the minimum continuing education requirement for the biennial reporting period may carry over a maximum of six credit hours only into the next reporting period.

(i) Any individual adjuster failing to meet the requirements mandated in this section and who has not been granted an extension of time with respect to the requirements, or who has submitted to the commissioner a false or fraudulent certificate of compliance, shall have his or her license automatically suspended and no further license may be issued to the person until the person demonstrates to the satisfaction of the commissioner that he or she has complied with all of the requirements mandated by this section and all other applicable laws or rules.

(j) The commissioner shall notify the individual adjuster of his or her suspension pursuant to §33-12B-13(i) of this code by electronic mail or regular mail, if requested, to the last respective address on file with the commissioner pursuant to §33-12B-14(a) of this code. Any individual insurance adjuster who has had a suspension notice entered against him or her pursuant to this section may, within 30 calendar days of receipt of the notice, file with the commissioner a request for a hearing for reconsideration of the matter.

(k) Any individual adjuster who does not satisfactorily demonstrate compliance with this section and all other laws applicable thereto as of the last day of the biennium following his or her suspension shall have his or her license automatically terminated and is subject to the licensing and examination requirements of §33-12B-5 of this code.

(l) The commissioner is authorized to hire personnel and make reasonable expenditures considered necessary for purposes of establishing and maintaining a system of continuing education for adjusters. The commissioner shall charge a fee of $25 to continuing education providers for each continuing education course submitted for approval which shall be used to maintain the continuing education system. The commissioner may, at his or her discretion, designate an outside administrator to provide all of or part of the administrative duties of the continuing education system subject to direction and approval by the commissioner. The fees charged by the outside administrator shall be paid by the continuing education providers. In addition to fees charged by the outside administrator, the outside administrator shall collect and remit to the commissioner the $25 course submission fee.

§33-12B-14. Current address of adjusters to be filed; effective notice of appearance at hearing before commissioner.

(a) Each adjuster shall file with the commissioner the complete address of his principal place of business and the complete address of his residence including the name and number of the street, or if the street where the business is located is not numbered, the number of the post office box. An adjuster shall also file with the commissioner the adjuster’s electronic mail address. An adjuster licensed on July 1, 2021, shall provide the commissioner with the licensee’s electronic mail address in connection with the licensee’s next license renewal application. Within 30 days of a change of business or residence address or electronic mail address by an adjuster, the adjuster must file with the commissioner notice of such change of address. The commissioner shall maintain the information provided pursuant to this subsection for each adjuster on file.

(b) When conducting any hearing authorized by §33-2-13 of this code which concerns any adjuster, the commissioner shall give notice of such hearing and the matters to be determined therein to such adjuster by certified mail, return receipt requested, sent to the last address filed by such person or entity pursuant to this section.

(c) If an adjuster fails to appear at such hearing, the hearing may proceed, at which time the commissioner shall establish that notice was sent to such person pursuant to this section prior to the entry of any orders adverse to the interests of such adjuster based upon the allegations against such person which were set forth in the notice of hearing. Certified copies of all orders entered by the commissioner shall be sent to the person affected therein by certified mail, return receipt requested, at the last address filed by such person with the commissioner.

(d) An adjuster who fails to appear at a hearing of which notice has been provided pursuant to this section, and who has had an adverse order entered by the commissioner against them as a result of their failure to so appear may, within 30 calendar days of the entry of such adverse order, file with the commissioner a written verified appeal with any relevant documents attached thereto, which demonstrates good and reasonable cause for the adjuster’s failure to appear, and may request reconsideration of the matter and a new hearing. The commissioner in his or her discretion, and upon a finding that the adjuster has shown good and reasonable cause for his or her failure to appear, shall issue an order that the previous order be rescinded, that the matter be reconsidered, and that a new hearing be set.

(e) Orders entered pursuant to this section are subject to the judicial review provisions of §33-2-14 of this code.

§33-12B-15. Effective date for 2020 amendments.

The effective date of the amendments made to this article during the 2020 regular legislative session is July 1, 2021.

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