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Bill Number: 2266 Ratification Number: 184 Act Number 132 Introducing Body: House Subject: Insurance agent's license, commissioner may revoke or suspend license
(A132, R184, H2266)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 38-51-150, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE REVOCATION OR REFUSAL TO REISSUE AN INSURANCE AGENT'S LICENSE, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE CHIEF INSURANCE COMMISSIONER MAY SUSPEND SUCH LICENSE AND TO LIMIT THE CRIMES FOR WHICH SUCH LICENSES MAY BE REVOKED, SUSPENDED OR NOT ISSUED, TO CRIMES INVOLVING MORAL TURPITUDE; TO IMPOSE TIME LIMITATIONS ON PERIODS OF SUSPENSION AND APPLICATION FOR A NEW LICENSE AFTER REVOCATION; TO PROVIDE FOR ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTIES IN LIEU OF REVOCATION, SUSPENSION OR REFUSAL TO REISSUE; AND TO PROVIDE THAT IF THE PENALTY IS NOT PAID WITHIN THIRTY DAYS OF ITS IMPOSITION, THE SUSPENSION, REVOCATION OR RENEWAL REFUSAL SHALL BECOME EFFECTIVE WITHOUT FURTHER PROCEEDINGS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Commissioner may revoke or suspend license
SECTION 1. Section 38-51-150 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 455 of 1976, is further amended to read:
"Section 38-51-150. The Commissioner may revoke or suspend any such license after ten days' notice or refuse to reissue a license when it shall appear that an agent has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, has violated any provision of this title or any regulation promulgated by the Commissioner, or has wilfully deceived or dealt unjustly with the citizens of this State. For purposes of this section the word 'convicted' shall include a plea of guilty or a plea of nolo contendere, and the record of conviction, or a copy thereof, certified by the clerk of court or by the judge in whose court the conviction occurred shall be conclusive evidence thereof.
The words 'deceived or dealt unjustly with the citizens of this State' shall include but not be limited to action or inaction by the agent as follows:
(1) Misstating the facts in an application for insurance or aiding in the misstatement of such facts;
(2) Failing to inform promptly the customer or insured of the correct premium or informing him of an incorrect premium based on the information furnished the agent by the customer or insured;
(3) Failing to transmit promptly or pay all or a portion of the amount of an insurance premium when the agent or one of his employees has received payment therefor from a customer or insured or someone on his behalf or when it has been financed by the agent;
(4) Issuing his check covering all or a portion of an insurance premium which is not accepted by the bank on which it is written when it is initially submitted to such bank;
(5) Failing to deliver promptly a policy, endorsement or rider to any insured;
(6) Failing to notify promptly the customer or insured if the agent has been unable to obtain the requested insurance for him;
(7) Failing to maintain adequate records regarding insurance sought or obtained from or through the agent which can be examined by the Commissioner or one of his representatives for and on behalf of a citizen of this State.
When upon investigation the Commissioner finds that an agent has obtained a license by fraud or misrepresentation, he may immediately suspend such license.
The Commissioner shall, in an order suspending a license, specify the period during which the suspension is to be in effect, but such period shall not exceed one year.
No licensee whose license has been revoked or an applicant who has been refused a license by the Commissioner shall have the right to apply for another license within two years from the effective date of such revocation or refusal or, if judicial review of such revocation or refusal is sought, within two years from the date of a final court order or decree affirming the revocation or refusal. If, after notice of a hearing or notice of an opportunity for hearing, the Commissioner finds that one or more grounds exist for the revocation, suspension or refusal to issue or reissue a license, the Commissioner may, in his discretion, in lieu of such revocation, suspension or refusal, impose upon the agent or applicant an administrative penalty of not more than five hundred dollars for each offense or ground. Upon payment being made, the Commissioner shall pay the penalty collected into the state's general fund. The Commissioner may allow the agent or applicant a reasonable period, not to exceed thirty days, within which to pay to the Commissioner the amount of the penalty imposed. If the agent or applicant fails to pay the penalty in its entirety to the Commissioner at his office in Columbia within the period allowed, the license or application shall stand revoked, suspended or renewal refused, as the case may be, upon expiration of such period and without any further proceedings. Any action by the Commissioner taken pursuant to this section shall be subject to judicial review in accordance with the provisions of Section 38-3-210."
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon approval by the Governor.