Department of Insurance – Licensing & Hearings
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If you are a licensed insurance professional in Ohio confronted with possible disciplinary action from the Ohio Department of Insurance, contact a lawyer at Graff & McGovern right away. Whether you just received notice of an investigation or an administrative hearing, or you are interested in appealing an action against you, our Ohio professional license attorneys can help. We will pursue the best possible outcome, whether that entails resolving a misunderstanding, avoiding all disciplinary actions, or maintaining your license despite sanctions.
Contact us today through our online form or call (614) 228-5800 to schedule an appointment.
What the Ohio Department of Insurance Does
The department of insurance has many tasks related to both insurance professionals and consumers as well as regulating the insurance market in the state. Regarding licensing, the department of insurance licenses insurance agents, insurance agencies, and insurance companies all working and offering products within the state, more specifically, this includes licenses for:
- Managing General Agent
- Public Insurance Adjuster/ Public Insurance Adjuster Agent
- Re-Insurance Intermediary
- Surety Bail Bond Agent
- Title/Title Insurance Marketing Representative
- Major Lines (Life, Health, Accident, Property, Casualty, Personal, and Variable Products)
- Limited Lines (Credit, Funeral Expense, Rental Car, Travel, Portable Electronics, and Crops)
- Surplus Line Brokers
- Third Party Administrator
- Viatical Settlement Broker/Viatical Settlement Broker Agent
The department oversees continuing education requirements and license renewals. It handles complaints regarding fraud, ethical violations, other professional regulation violations, and unlicensed parties engaging in insurance business in the state. The department receives complaints, investigates, conducts administrative hearings, and when necessary, takes disciplinary actions against insurance businesses or professionals.
Common Disciplinary Actions
According to the Ohio Department of Insurance, it commonly investigates and enforces regulations related to:
- Unlicensed insurance professionals and activities
- Submission of forged applications
- Elder abuse related to insurance products
- Misrepresentation of insurance products
- Annuity suitability
- Policy churning or twisting
- Unauthorized surrender of a policy
- Premium theft
- Title agent escrow theft and title policy issuance issues
- Bail agent misconduct
If you are being accused of any of these or a different type of professional violation, contact an attorney right away.
How a Lawyer Can Help During the Disciplinary Process
Once the Ohio Department of Insurance receives a complaint regarding a potential violation, it is assigned to the Enforcement Division. The purpose of the division is to investigate all allegations of misconduct. When an investigation is opened regarding your potential misconduct, you should receive notice in the mail. At this time, you should contact an attorney. A lawyer may be able to help you effectively communicate with the department, ensuring any misunderstanding is quickly cleared up and avoiding any further miscommunications. An effective attorney will also strive to preserve your rights, so you can be confident that the enforcement division does not overstep its bounds and you are given an opportunity to defend yourself.
During the investigation, you also have the option to seek a settlement agreement with the department. Depending on the circumstances and evidence, this could be a way to mitigate the consequences of misconduct. For instance, through a settlement, you may accept certain disciplinary action yet be able to retain your license.
When the division’s investigation uncovers evidence of misconduct, it will usually you of its intent to discipline you. If an administrative hearing has not been scheduled, you have a brief period to request one.
At Graff & McGovern, we are prepared to represent you during any administrative hearing. We are experienced in the administrative disciplinary process for licensed professionals and know what it takes to investigate and present evidence on your behalf. This can improve your chances of avoiding disciplinary action or mitigating a potential penalty.
The hearing officer will make a recommendation to the Superintendent of Insurance regarding whether you should be disciplined or not. The disciplinary actions can include denying your license application, suspending or revoking your license, fines, and other administrative penalties. The superintendent has the final say in the action against you, and can modify the hearing officer’s recommendation or change it entirely. This can be to your benefit or detriment.
If you disagree with the disciplinary action, we can also discuss your right to appeal and the likelihood of success. If you can appeal and wish to, we can file the paperwork in the court of common pleas and file notice with the department. From there, we can represent your interests throughout the subsequent court process.
Contact Graff & McGovern Today
At Graff & McGovern, our team has decades of experience practicing before regulatory agencies. We are well versed in the department’s rules, and the administrative process. From the initial investigation through an appeal if necessary, we will always pursue the best possible outcome in your situation.
To discuss how we can help you during this time, contact Graff & McGovern at (614) 228-5800 or through our online form to schedule a consultation.