Background on Existing California law - In 1995, the Legislature added section 1725.5 to the California Insurance Code (Cal. Ins. Code.) Requiring various insurance licensees to print their license numbers on business cards, written price quotations for insurance products, and any print advertisements distributed exclusively in California for insurance products. At that time requirement for a License Number on Emails—as the use of emails to transact insurance in the 90s—was rare, but now it's standard practice.
Starting January 1, 2023, Senate Bill SB 1242 - Adds subsection (c) to Cal. Ins. Code section 1725.5 to modernize the requirements. Licensees are specified to include their license numbers on emails involving any activity or email correspondence (of which a license is a requirement.)
So consumers can confirm that the person maintains an active license with the California Department of Insurance—applying to specific residents and non-residents: insurance producers, independent insurance adjusters, public insurance adjusters, and analysts.
The Amended Bill Creates a New Requirement for Insurance Agents and Brokers to Report Suspected Fraud - Those who suspect (or know of) fraudulent applications must report suspicions to the Department of Insurance within 60 days. The mandated notification can't be anonymous. Previously only carriers were burdened with fraud reporting; these additional obligations are new. A condition of receiving or renewing an agent's or broker's license if it's determined fraud has occurred is completing at least one hour of study on insurance fraud, starting March 1, 2023.
Although this law applies to California insurance agents with accident and health or sickness licenses, it's also applicable to other California insurance licensees, such as; property and casualty, life, disability, annuity, personal, auto, etc.
The 'Fully Revised, New Law Emails FAQS' PDF' - Available here for download; below are a few requirements listed:
- The license number font must be no smaller than the largest of an email address, any street address, or the telephone number of the licensee. (see examples.)
- More than a National Producer Number (NPN) is needed; the agent must list the California Department of Insurance license number instead of a California license number.
- According to the California DOI, an agent cannot hyperlink to a site that lists the license numbers under the agent's name for each state where the licensee is licensed (including California).
- This new requirement does not impact clerical activities that are exempt from licensure.
"Clerical Activities" That Don't Require Licensure - Includes, but are not limited to:
- Obtaining underwriting information from third parties.
- The preparation of applications for insurance coverage without any applicant contact.
The good news is that Golden State insurance agents and/or brokers who adhere to the new requirements, report fraudulent activities, and assist with related investigations are insulated from civil liability.
For questions or inquiries, contact the California Department of Insurance's Producer Licensing Bureau via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800.967.9331.