Insurance agents and brokers play a crucial role in helping businesses and individuals protect their most important assets. The job can be difficult, as insurance agents are responsible for assessing their clients' level of risk and recommending appropriate coverage. Every day an insurance agent or broker may be responsible for evaluating client data, explaining policy options, processing claims and payments, handling customer inquiries and complaints, and keeping informed about changes to the insurance marketplace.
As an insurance agent, your ability to sell insurance and help your client is directly tied to the status of your insurance license. If your state licensing agency is threatening disciplinary action against you, act now to prevent serious and lasting career complications. The National Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm is here to help you defend yourself against disciplinary actions and protect your rights. Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help you.
Reasons for Insurance Agent Disciplinary Actions
Insurance agents are regulated by the state or states where they are licensed. However, forty different states and several territories adhere to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) for guidance on insurance agent licensing, standards of behavior, and discipline. In 2005, NAIC created its Producer License Model Act which standardizes the reasons for insurance agent discipline across most of the country. Section 12 of this act gives multiple reasons for revoking, denying, or suspending an insurance agent's license.
The 14 reasons for taking disciplinary action against an insurance agent are:
- Providing false or incorrect information when applying for a license
- Violating any insurance laws or regulations
- Obtaining an insurance license through misrepresentation or fraud
- Stealing, embezzling, or improperly withholding money
- Intentionally misrepresenting the terms of an insurance contract or application
- Being convicted of a felony
- Committing any unfair insurance trade practices or fraud
- Using fraudulent or dishonest practices, or demonstrating financial irresponsibility
- Having an insurance license revoked or suspended in any other state
- Forging someone else's name on insurance documents
- Cheating on an insurance license exam
- Knowingly accepting insurance business from someone who is not licensed
- Failing to pay court-ordered child support
- Failing to pay state income tax
There are many different reasons why an insurance agent might run into trouble with their license, several of which may have nothing to do with selling insurance. Insurance is one of the most highly-regulated industries in America, and each state may have additional standards and requirements that can also result in discipline.
If you have gotten arrested, fallen behind on child support, or are having trouble paying your taxes, your insurance license could be in danger. Whether you are facing disciplinary action because of a one-time lapse in judgment or problems in your personal life, the skilled Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm can help. Our team of experienced professionals is ready to assist you in preparing the best defense possible to protect your insurance license.
The Insurance Agent Disciplinary Process
The disciplinary process for insurance agents and brokers begins with a complaint. The state's Bureau of Insurance, Department of Financial Services, or a similar agency will look into the complaint and decide if it needs to be investigated further. If it does, you may be invited to respond formally to the complaint. The investigator may talk to the person who made the complaint as well as witnesses, coworkers, employees, and others who may know about the matter. The state may also subpoena copies of documents, bank account records, books and ledgers, and any other relevant witness.
After the investigation, the state will decide if there is enough evidence to proceed against you. If there is, the state may offer a consent order, which is an agreement where you admit to the allegations and accept the punishment the state offers.
If you do not sign the consent order, there will be a hearing where you can defend yourself and present evidence and witnesses in your favor. The hearing might take place in front of the board of insurance commissioners, or it could be in front of an Administrative Law Judge, depending on your state. If the state's board of insurance commissioners or similar agency has already taken action against you, you may be able to appeal their decision. In some situations, you may be able to apply for reinstatement after a certain time or after fulfilling certain conditions.
The disciplinary process can be intimidating and confusing. It may be tempting to try and defend yourself or explain your actions, but that often makes the situation worse. If you are being investigated or facing discipline, you need someone experienced in handling professional license disciplinary matters on your side. The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm helps insurance agents and brokers nationwide create their best defenses. Let our team of skilled professionals handle your responses to investigators and negotiate an agreement that protects your career.
Why Hire an Insurance License Defense Team?
An investigation by the state into your actions as an insurance agent or broker is a serious matter. You have many legal rights worth protecting throughout the disciplinary process and need experienced legal help to get the best outcome. Our nationwide team at the Lento Law Firm can help guide you through the investigation and hearing procedures, explain to you the documents and strategies that the state is using, and help prepare your most effective defense.
Don't trust your state's board of insurance commissioners to have your best interests at heart. Take steps to protect your insurance license and your career by hiring an attorney to represent you in your disciplinary matter. Call 888-535-3686 or go online and retain the Lento Law Firm today.