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Introduced Version House Bill 4502 History

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Key: Green = existing Code. Red = new code to be enacted

WEST virginia legislature

2020 regular session

Introduced

House Bill 4502

By Delegates Westfall, Porterfield, Espinosa and Bates
(By Request of the Insurance Commission)

[Introduced January 23, 2020; Referred to the Committee on Banking and Insurance then the Judiciary.]


 

A BILL to repeal §33-12B-4a and §33-12B-11a of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; to amend and reenact §33-12B-1, §33-12B-2, §33-12B-3, §33-12B-4, §33-12B-5, §33-12B-6, §33-12B-7, §33-12B-8, §33-12B-9, §33-12B-10, §33-12B-11, and §33-12B-13 of said code; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §33-12B-15, all relating to insurance adjusters; defining terms; providing licensure requirements for company, independent, and public adjusters; providing exceptions to adjuster license requirements; permitting temporary licensure for emergency company and independent adjusters; providing for qualifications for a resident adjuster license; authorizing the Insurance Commissioner to conduct criminal history checks for prospective adjusters; providing for adjuster lines of authority; providing for revocation or suspension of adjuster license; providing for civil penalty against adjusters; requiring adjusters to complete continuing education; and providing for an effective date.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

ARTICLE 12B. ADJUSTERS.

§33-12B-1. Definitions.


(a) An “adjuster” is any individual who, for compensation, fee or commission, investigates and settles claims arising under property, casualty or surety insurance contracts, on behalf solely of either the insurer or insured. A licensed attorney who is qualified to practice law in this state is deemed not to be an adjuster for the purposes of this article

(b) (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 section four-a of this article;

(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 section four-a of this article.    

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

(c)  “Company adjuster” means an adjuster representing the interests of the insurer, including an independent contractor and a salaried employee of the insurer who is a staff  employee of an insurance company who represents the interests of the insurance company and who is paid by the insurance company.

(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) 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.

(e) (j) “Public adjuster” means an independent contractor representing solely the financial interests of the insured named in the policy 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.

(f)  “Crop adjuster” means a person who adjusts crop insurance claims under the federal crop insurance program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture          



(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. Company, public and crop adjusters; concurrency; direct conflict prohibited Exemptions from license.


The commissioner shall license an individual as a company adjuster, public adjuster or crop 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

(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; or

(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.

(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. License required; exception Temporary licensure for emergency company or independent adjusters.


No person shall in West Virginia act as or hold out to be an adjuster unless then licensed therefor pursuant to this article: Provided, That the provisions of this section do not apply to emergency insurance adjusters as defined in section eleven-a of this article

(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 prescribed by the commissioner:

(1) Name and address of the individual;

(2) Social Security number of individual;

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

(4) If applicable, effective date of the contract between the insurer and independent adjuster;

(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)  For the protection of the people of West Virginia, the commissioner shall not issue, renew or permit to exist any adjuster’s license, except to an individual who  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, except for nonresident adjusters as provided in section nine of this article or eligible to designate West Virginia as his or her home state;

(3)  Satisfies the commissioner that he or she Is trustworthy, and 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;

(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(s) of authority for which the person has applied; and

(7) Has paid the fees applicable to licensure.

(b)(1) The commissioner may, at his or her discretion, test the competency of an applicant for a license under this section by examination. However, in order to qualify for a crop adjuster license, an applicant must pass a written examination that tests the knowledge of the individual concerning the insurance laws of this state and the duties and responsibilities of a multi-peril crop adjuster. In lieu of such an examination, the commissioner may accept certification that the individual has passed a proficiency examination approved by the federal Risk Management Agency  A resident individual applying for an adjuster license shall pass a written examination unless exempt pursuant to subdivision (5) or (6) of this subsection. The examination shall test the knowledge of the individual concerning the line(s) 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 USDA Risk Management Agency.

(2) If such an examination is required 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 prescribed 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 prescribed 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.   

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

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


(a)  Application for an adjuster’s license or renewal thereof or emergency adjusters’ licenses shall be made to the commissioner upon a form prescribed by him and shall contain such information and be accompanied by such supporting documents as the commissioner may require, and the commissioner may require such application to be made under the applicant’s oath 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. Issuance of license Lines of authority.


The commissioner may issue a license to any individual as an adjuster who complies with the applicable provisions of this chapter and who in the opinion of the commissioner is trustworthy and competent (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 fee; exemptions fees.


(a)  The annual fee for an adjuster’s individual adjuster license shall be $25. as provided in section thirteen, article three of this chapter: Provided, That when any other state imposes a tax, bond, fine, penalty, license fee or other obligation or prohibition on adjusters resident in this state, the same tax, bond, fine, penalty, license fee or other obligation or prohibition shall be imposed upon adjusters (where licensing of nonresident adjusters is permitted under this article) of each other state licensed or seeking a license in this state. All fees and moneys so collected shall be used for the purposes set forth in section thirteen, article three of this chapter: Provided, however, That the provisions of this section shall not apply to emergency insurance adjusters as defined in section eleven-a of this article

(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 state U.S. jurisdiction.

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


(a)  All licenses of adjusters shall 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 license fee has theretofore been paid, no refund of unearned fee shall be made; and 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.  However, the commissioner may, in his or her discretion, establish the dates of expiration of licenses in any manner deemed advisable for an efficient distribution of the workload of his or her office

(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 a crop 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 USDA Risk Management Agency.

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


(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) The commissioner may place on probation, suspend, revoke, or refuse to issue or renew an adjuster’s license, or may levy a civil penalty in a sum not to exceed $1,000 for each violation, or any combination of actions, for any one or more of the following causes:

(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.

(b) (c) 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) (d)  Whenever, after notice and hearing, the commissioner is satisfied that any adjuster has violated any provision of this chapter or of rules promulgated hereunder, or is incompetent or untrustworthy, he or she shall place the adjuster on probation or 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 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 the a licensee to pay such within 30 days a civil penalty imposed by the commissioner, his or her license shall be revoked or suspended by the commissioner.

(d) (e) Orders issued pursuant to subsection (b) or (c) of 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-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 prescribed 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 subsection (i) of this section by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last address on file with the commissioner pursuant to §33-12B-2(b) of this code. Any individual insurance adjuster who has had a suspension order entered against him or her pursuant to this section may, within 30 calendar days of receipt of the order, 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-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.

 

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to update the requirements for insurance adjusters to become licensed, and maintain licensure, in this state.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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