The California Department of Insurance, pursuant to Title 10 California Code of Regulations section 2190.7, requires that an insurance producer maintain certain records that must be open and available for Department inspection at the agent’s place of business. The principal rule, found under section 2190.3, requires an agent to keep his file for 18 months after an insurance transaction, which includes the following items: 1) the identity of each person who transacted the insurance, 2) all binders showing the names of the insured and insurer, the nature of the coverage, and the effective and termination dates as well as premium, 3) a copy of the application or memorandum requesting the insurance, and 4) correspondence, notes, memoranda and other records.
Under the broader rule of Title 10 California Code of Regulations section 2190.2, certain information must be kept for every insurance transaction for five years. There are 18 items of information, which include the parties, particulars of the policy and information about what payment was made and how it was handled by the agent (including banking information). Although whole files do not have to be maintained for the five years, this information must be traceable back to whatever source documents were used to assemble the information.
The main areas of concern when the Department wants to inspect a file are typically appropriate handling of premium monies and the presence of signatures on carrier forms. Also, if an insured is over age 65 and the policy is solicited or sold through a house call, the mandated advance notice of that visit should be kept in the file.
Ray & Bishop, PLC, defends insurance producers in Department of Insurance investigations, accusations, and other disciplinary matters.