On January 1st, the California Department of Insurance (CDI) issued a new law that requires most types of insurance producers, independent insurance adjusters, public insurance adjusters, brokers, and analysts, to include their insurance license number on all email communications.

According to a recent legislative update by the California Insurance Wholesalers Association (CIWA), the law’s primary objective is “so consumers can confirm that the [insurance] person [or organization] maintains an active license with the California Department of Insurance.”

The law applies to all emails sent from any account that relates to activities for which the licensee must hold a license and must include the license number of every agency whose name appears on an email. In a situation where, while working for a licensed insurance agency, an individual licensee sends an email that contains the individual’s and the agency’s names, then both license numbers must be included on the email.

Types of applicable insurance licenses

The law applies to insurance individuals and organizations* that are licensed as:

  • Property & Casualty broker-agents
  • Life agents
  • Accident and health or sickness agents
  • Personal lines agents
  • Limited lines automobile insurance agents
  • Surplus lines brokers
  • Independent insurance adjusters
  • Public insurance adjusters
  • Life and disability insurance analysts

*Insurance Code section 1628 defines “organization” as meaning any legal entity other than a natural person. The term “organization” includes corporations, partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, and unincorporated associations that hold a license.

Placement and size

An individual’s license number must be placed on the line below or adjacent to the licensee’s name or title. In addition, an organization is required to place its license number adjacent to or on the line below the organization’s name.

In both situations, the font used must be no smaller than the largest of any of the licensee’s or organization’s contact information. “For example, if an email includes a 10-point street address, an 11-point email address, and a 12-point telephone number, then the license number must be at least 12-point.” Source: Licensing Services Division, Producer Licensing Bureau.

Types of email activities

According to the Licensing Services Division, emails that involve an activity for which a person holds one of the types of licenses listed above include, but are not limited to, emails that:

  • Advertise a producer’s insurance business in general, or that advertise a specific policy offered by the producer;
  • Convey a premium quote or mention any other provision of a current, past, or potential policy;
  • Request rating or underwriting information from an insured or prospective insured;
  • Request payment of premium;
  • In the case of an independent adjuster or public adjuster, ask a claimant for claim information, or provide information about a claim or about filing a claim.

License numbers on marketing emails

In the CIWA update, if insurance marketing is done via email and falls under the category of transacting, solicitation or negotiation, or, if it effects contracts of insurance from the insuring public, the sender must put license numbers in the email marketing material.

The update goes on to note that marketing differs from the clerical exception and would likely fall within the category of transacting and soliciting insurance and therefore, would require all license(s) to appear on those particular types of communications and/or marketing materials.

Kristi W. Dean, Managing Partner

Stone Dean LLP

Kristi is an experienced litigator and transaction attorney who represents clients in business transactions and litigation disputes. Her litigation practice focuses on trade secrets, unfair business competition, insurance law and complex business disputes, with a focus on insurance-related issues. Kristi can be reached at 818-999-2232 or kdean@stonedeanlaw.com.

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