Chapter 3951: PUBLIC INSURANCE ADJUSTERS

3951.01 Public insurance adjuster definitions - exceptions.

As used in sections 3951.01 to 3951.09 , inclusive, of the Revised Code:

(A) "Lending institution" means a lending institution, as defined in division (L) of section 175.01 of the Revised Code, that is not organized for the purpose of qualifying to do business as a public insurance adjuster in this state, as determined by the superintendent, and that has been engaged in business as a bona fide lending institution for at least five years, and any member of an affiliated group, as defined by division (B)(3)(e) of section 5739.01 of the Revised Code, associated with a lending institution, which member has been a member of the affiliated group for at least five years and which member is not organized or affiliated with the lending institution for the purpose of qualifying to do business as a public insurance adjuster in this state, as determined by the superintendent.

(B) "Public insurance adjuster" means any person, firm, association, partnership, or corporation who, for compensation, acts on behalf of or aids in any manner, an insurer or insured or another in negotiating for, or effecting the settlement of a claim or claims for loss or damage under any policy of insurance covering real or personal property, and any person, firm, association, partnership, or corporation who advertises, solicits business, or holds itself out to the public as an adjuster of such insurance claims, and any person who for compensation investigates, settles, adjusts, advises, or assists an insurer or insured with reference to claims for such losses, on behalf of any such public insurance adjuster.

(C) "Public insurance adjuster agent" means any person who is a bona fide employee of a public insurance adjuster and who aids in the adjustment, investigation, and in securing of any contract for the adjustment of a loss.

(D) "Superintendent" means the superintendent of insurance acting as director of the department of insurance.

(E) Nothing contained in Chapter 3951. of the Revised Code shall apply to the following:

(1) An attorney at law admitted to practice in this state who adjusts insurance losses in the course of the practice of the attorney's profession and who does not hold the attorney out by sign, advertisement, or otherwise as offering such services to the general public;

(2) An officer, agent, or regular salaried employee of an insurer, or underwriter, or any attorney in fact of any reciprocal insurer of Lloyd's underwriter licensed to do business in this state who adjusts losses arising under the employer's or principal's own policies; or an underwriter by whom a policy of insurance against loss or damage or other causes has been written upon property within this state, in adjusting loss or damage under such policy, nor to an agent or broker acting as adjuster for the agent's or broker's own company;

(3) An adjustment bureau or association owned and maintained by insurers to adjust or investigate losses of such insurers, or any regularly salaried employee thereof who devotes substantially all of the employee's time to the business of such bureau or association;

(4) Any licensed agent or employee or officer of such agent or agency of an authorized insurer who adjusts losses for such insurer solely under policies issued through such agency;

(5) Any independent adjuster representing an insurer.

Cite as R.C. § 3951.01

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 10/16/2009.

Effective Date: 01-10-1961; 04-27-2005

3951.02 Certificate of authority requirement.

No person, firm, association, partnership or corporation shall act within this state as a public insurance adjuster, or receive, directly or indirectly, compensation for services rendered in the adjustment of any claim or claims under the types of insurance policies set forth in section 3951.01 of the Revised Code, unless he, or it, is the holder of a certificate of authority to act as a public insurance adjuster, issued pursuant to sections 3951.01 to 3951.09 , inclusive, of the Revised Code.

Any person, firm, association, partnership, or corporation, who has received from the superintendent of insurance a public insurance adjuster's certificate of authority shall be styled and be known as a "certified public insurance adjuster."

Cite as R.C. § 3951.02

Effective Date: 11-06-1959

3951.03 Applying for certificate of authority.

Before any certificate of authority shall be issued by the superintendent of insurance there shall be filed in his office a written application therefor. Such application shall be in the form or forms and supplements thereto prescribed by the superintendent and shall set forth:

(A) The name and address of the applicant, and if the applicant be a firm, association, or partnership, the name and address of each member thereof, and if the applicant be a corporation, the name and address of each of its officers and directors;

(B) Whether any license or certificate of authority as agent, broker, or public insurance adjuster has been issued previously by the superintendent of this state or by the insurance department of any state to the individual applicant, and, if the applicant be an individual, whether any such certificate has been issued previously to any firm, association, or partnership of which he was or is an officer or director, and, if the applicant be a firm, association, or partnership, whether any such certificate has been issued previously to any member thereof, and, if the applicant be a corporation, whether any such certificate has been issued previously to any officer or director of such corporation;

(C) The business or employment in which the applicant has been engaged for the five years next preceding the date of the application, and the name and address of such business and the name or names and addresses of his employer or employers;

(D) Such information as the superintendent may require of applicants in order to determine their trustworthiness and competency to transact the business of public insurance adjusters, in such manner as to safeguard the interest of the public;

(E) The superintendent shall issue a public insurance adjuster agent certificate to a person, who is a bona fide employee of a public insurance adjuster without examination, provided said application is made by a person, partnership, association, or corporation engaged in the public insurance adjusting business. The fee to be paid by the applicant for such a license at the time the application is made, and annually thereafter for the renewal thereof according to the standard renewal procedure of sections 4745.01 to 4745.03 , inclusive, of the Revised Code, shall be fifty dollars, and such applicant shall be bonded in the amount of one thousand dollars as provided for in division (D) of section 3951.06 of the Revised Code.

An application for any certificate of authority shall be signed and verified under oath by the applicant and, if made by a firm, association, partnership, or corporation, by each member or officer and director thereof to be authorized thereby to act as a public insurance adjuster.

Cite as R.C. § 3951.03

Effective Date: 06-11-1968

3951.04 Issuing or denying certificate of authority.

The superintendent of insurance shall issue certificates of authority to any person, firm, association, partnership, or corporation making application therefor who is trustworthy and competent to act as a public insurance adjuster in such manner as to safeguard the interest of the public and who have complied with the prerequisites herein described. A certificate of authority issued to a firm, association, partnership, or corporation shall authorize only the members of the firm, association, or partnership or the officers and directors of the corporation, specified in the certificate of authority to act as a public insurance adjuster.

The superintendent shall not issue any certificate of authority to any applicant who is convicted of a felony, or any crime or offense involving fraudulent or dishonest practice or who, within three years preceding the date of filing such application, has been guilty of any practice which would be grounds for suspension or revocation of a certificate of authority as a public insurance adjuster.

Cite as R.C. § 3951.04

Effective Date: 11-06-1959

3951.05 Examination of applicant.

The superintendent shall, in order to determine the trustworthiness and competency of any applicant for a certificate of authority to act as a public insurance adjuster, require such applicant or in the case of a firm, association, partnership, or corporation, such of its employees, members, officers, or directors, who are to be individually authorized to act under its certificate of authority, to submit to a written examination, except applicants who are granted a waiver of examination in accordance with section 3951.09 of the Revised Code. Examinations shall be held in such place in this state and at such time as the superintendent may designate.

Cite as R.C. § 3951.05

Effective Date: 11-06-1959; 04-27-2005

3951.06 Fee - renewal of certificate - supplemental certificate.

(A) A fee of one hundred dollars shall be paid to the superintendent by the applicant for a public insurance adjuster's certificate of authority before the initial application is granted. If the applicant is a firm, association, partnership, or corporation, the fee shall be paid for each person specified in the application.

(B) A firm, association, partnership, or corporation to which a certificate of authority has been issued by the superintendent may at any time make an application to the superintendent for the issuance of a supplemental certificate of authority authorizing additional officers or directors of the corporation or members of the firm, association, or partnership to act as a public insurance adjuster, and the superintendent may thereupon issue to such firm, association, partnership, or corporation a supplemental certificate accordingly upon the payment of a fee of fifty dollars for each member or officer or director thereby authorized to act as a public insurance adjuster.

(C) Every public insurance adjuster's certificate of authority shall expire on the thirty-first day of December of the calendar year in which it was issued, and shall be renewed according to the standard renewal procedure of sections 4745.01 to 4745.03 , inclusive, of the Revised Code. Every public insurance adjuster's certificate of authority with a payment of a fifty dollar fee can be renewed for the ensuing year without examination, but if an application for the renewal of such certificate has been filed with the superintendent before January first of any year the certificate of authority sought to be renewed shall continue in full force and effect until the issuance by the superintendent of the new certificate applied for or until five days after the superintendent has refused to issue a new certificate and has served notice of such refusal on the applicant therefor. Service of such notice shall be made by registered or certified mail directed to the applicant at the place of business specified in the application.

(D) No certificate of authority shall be issued or renewed unless, the applicant is a resident of the state, a lending institution, or a bona fide employee of a lending institution who is authorized to act as a public insurance adjuster in another state on behalf of the lending institution, and there is on file with the superintendent a bond, executed by such applicant and by approved sureties, in the penal sum of one thousand dollars for each person designated in the application, conditioned for the faithful performance by such applicant and by all persons designated in such application, of their duties as public insurance adjusters. Such bond shall be approved as to form by the attorney general and as to sufficiency by the superintendent. Such bond shall be made payable to the state and shall specifically authorize recovery for and on behalf of an injured party of the sum provided therein in case the adjuster has been guilty of fraudulent or dishonest practices in connection with the transaction of business as an adjuster.

Cite as R.C. § 3951.06

Effective Date: 06-11-1968; 04-27-2005

3951.07 Suspending or revoking certificate of authority.

The superintendent of insurance may suspend or revoke any certificate of authority issued pursuant to sections 3951.01 to 3951.09 , inclusive, of the Revised Code, or refuse to issue a certificate of authority to any applicant if, after due investigation, notice, and hearing, either before him or before any employee of the insurance department designated by him, whose report he may adopt, he determines that such applicant or holder of a certificate of authority has:

(A) Violated any provision of sections 3951.01 to 3951.09 , inclusive, of the Revised Code;

(B) Engaged in fraudulent or dishonest practices;

(C) Made a material misstatement in the application for such certificate;

(D) Demonstrated his, or its, incompetency or untrustworthiness to act as public insurance adjuster;

(E) Obtained from any claimant an assignment of a claim.

Before the superintendent revokes, suspends, or refuses to issue any certificate of authority, written notice of the grounds therefor and the time and place of the hearing must be given to the applicant. Full opportunity shall be given at such hearing to the person, firm, association, partnership, or corporation to appear with counsel and be heard upon the charges. The final action of the superintendent in rejecting an application or in revoking or suspending a certificate of authority shall be by written notice to the applicant or holder of the certificate of authority. All notices required to be sent hereunder to applicants or holders of certificates of authority shall be forwarded by registered or certified mail to his last known business address. Within thirty days after revocation or suspension of the certificate of authority or the refusal of the superintendent to grant a certificate of authority, the person, firm, association, partnership, or corporation aggrieved may appeal from the ruling of the superintendent. All decisions and findings of the superintendent made under the provisions of Chapter 3951. of the Revised Code are subject to the provisions of sections 119.01 to 119.13 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 3951.07

Effective Date: 01-10-1961

3951.08 No advice constituting practice of law.

No holder of a certificate of authority shall make any misrepresentations of facts or advise any insured or insurer on any question of law or perform any service constituting the practice of law, nor shall any such holder of a certificate of authority in handling a claim, advise any insured or insurer to refrain from retaining counsel to protect his or its interest.

Cite as R.C. § 3951.08

Effective Date: 11-06-1959

3951.09 Waiving of examination for applicant licensed in another state.

The superintendent may waive the requirement that an applicant submit to an examination to obtain a certificate of authority under this chapter, provided that the applicant is licensed as a public insurance adjuster in another state that required the applicant to submit to an examination as a condition of licensure. Prior to waiving the examination requirement with respect to a public insurance adjuster licensed in another state, the superintendent shall issue a notice at least sixty days prior to the effective date of the waiver identifying the applicant's other state of licensure. The notice shall be issued in a manner deemed appropriate by the superintendent. Once the superintendent has issued a notice under this section identifying an applicant's other state of licensure, the superintendent need not issue subsequent notices as to applicants licensed in the same state in order to waive the examination requirement for those applicants.

Cite as R.C. § 3951.09

Effective Date: 04-27-2005

3951.10 Effect of child support default on certificate.

On receipt of a notice pursuant to section 3123.43 of the Revised Code, the superintendent of insurance shall comply with sections 3123.41 to 3123.50 of the Revised Code and any applicable rules adopted under section 3123.63 of the Revised Code with respect to a certificate issued issued pursuant to this chapter.

Cite as R.C. § 3951.10

Effective Date: 03-22-2001

3951.99 Penalty.

(A) Any person, firm, association, partnership, or corporation required by sections 3951.01 to 3951.09 , inclusive, of the Revised Code, to obtain a certificate of authority to act as a public insurance adjuster, who adjusts any insurance losses without previously having obtained the required certificate of authority or who adjusts any insurance loss after his, or its, certificate of authority has been revoked, shall be fined not less than one hundred nor more than five hundred dollars for each loss adjusted without such certificate of authority.

(B) The penalties in division (A) of this section shall not limit the authority of the superintendent of insurance to suspend, revoke, or refuse to issue a certificate of authority for the causes set forth in section 3951.07 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 3951.99

Effective Date: 11-06-1959