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Information Resources Division: 804-371-9141 sccinfo@scc.virginia.gov

 

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RICHMOND – Social isolation, loneliness and increased reliance on the internet can potentially create a perfect storm for the financial abuse and fraud victimization of seniors. Social distancing and quarantines intended to protect against the spread of COVID-19 also have increased social isolation for many seniors, making them more vulnerable to financial exploitation.

“Financial abuse can happen anytime, but perpetrators often strike when seniors are most vulnerable, such as during a health or other crisis or after the death of a loved one,” said Ron Thomas, director of the State Corporation Commission’s Division of Securities and Retail Franchising (Division). “Increased reliance on the internet by isolated seniors for social interaction, shopping, electronic payments, banking and investing also exposes them to online scammers, who can hide behind a cloak of anonymity.”

Seniors lose billions of dollars annually to financial fraud, with the loss to individual victims averaging tens of thousands of dollars. Perpetrators may be strangers, family members, trusted friends, members of a senior’s social or support groups, financial professionals or others.

Although in-person visits may not be possible due to COVID-19, there are ways to reduce the likelihood of isolation and financial exploitation. Thomas urges Virginians to stay in touch with older family members, friends and neighbors by phone, text, email, video calls or other means. “Remind seniors that scammers follow the headlines and may try to exploit the pandemic. Warn them about the red flags of fraud, which are often the same regardless of the type of scam,” he said.

Warning flags that may indicate financial abuse include the following:

  • Surrendering passwords and control of finances to a new or overly protective friend or caregiver;
  • Fear of or sudden change in feelings toward friends or family members;
  • A lack of knowledge about their financial status or reluctance to discuss financial matters;
  • Sudden or unexplained changes in spending habits, or to their will, trust or beneficiary designations;
  • Unexplained financial activities, such as checks made out to cash, unusual loans or disappearance of assets, valuables or securities;
  • Suspicious signatures on checks or other documents.

Before making any investment decision, Thomas suggests the following:

  • Contact a trusted friend, family member, company or advisor for advice;
  • Make sure an offer and the person offering it are properly licensed or registered, as well as the person’s registration/license status and disciplinary history;
  • Investigate before you invest or provide personal or financial information or money;
  • Avoid “can’t miss” opportunities promising “guaranteed returns” or big returns with little or no risk;
  • Understand the types of scams and tactics scammers use so you can protect yourself against them;
  • Be wary of high-pressure sales tactics that urge you to act quickly and without giving you time to do your research.

Thomas urges Virginians who suspect they or a loved one are the victims of investment fraud or possible senior financial exploitation to contact the Division of Securities and Retail Franchising at 804-371-9051 in Richmond or toll-free at 1-800-552-7945. For more information, visit the Division’s website at scc.virginia.gov/pages/Consumer-Investments or the North American Securities Administrators Association’s website at nasaa.org/56731/social-isolation-and-the-risk-of-investment-fraud/ or visit serveourseniors.org/.

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Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Last year, the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) helped thousands of consumers recover approximately $14.3 million in refunds, benefits, restitution and other payments related to their insurance coverage. These efforts are only one of the many ways in which the Bureau assists Virginians who have insurance questions or concerns – whether those consumers are shopping for insurance, trying to understand what their insurance policy covers, have questions about premiums, or question why their insurance company did not renew a policy or why it denied a claim.

As part of its recovery efforts, the Bureau receives tens of thousands of inquiries and handles thousands of formal complaints each year. Consumers may contact the Bureau if they have insurance questions or want to file a formal complaint against an insurance company, agency or agent.

During 2020 alone, the Bureau’s Life & Health and Property & Casualty divisions handled more than 14,000 phone inquiries, almost 3,100 formal consumer complaints and 171 appeals of adverse decisions issued by managed care health insurance plans. Among other things, these two divisions handled complaints and appeals concerning claim denials, improper or delayed claims processing, cancellation or nonrenewal of insurance policies and improper billing.

As a result of complaint investigations, managed care appeals and market conduct examinations, the Bureau’s Life & Health and Property & Casualty divisions recovered more than $12.2 million worth of benefits and savings for roughly 7,300 consumers in the form of refunds, insurance benefits, interest payments, reimbursements, additional claims payments and reinstated coverage.

In addition, the Bureau’s Agent Regulation Division conducted 605 investigations and recovered more than $2.1 million in restitution for consumers during 2020 through its Investigation Units. This amount represents refunds and payments provided to policyholders due to improper agent activities.

“Protect yourself financially by reviewing and updating your insurance regularly, understanding the terms of your policy and your rights, and knowing where to turn if you need help,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White. “We can look into whether a company has acted in accordance with its policy and the law.”

In addition to recovery efforts for consumers, the Bureau helps Virginians in many other areas concerning their insurance. When shopping for insurance, the Bureau encourages Virginians to compare prices and terms and make sure to select coverage that fits their particular needs. The Bureau’s specially trained staff can assist consumers with their insurance questions and investigate any complaints they may have with their insurance carrier.

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bureau is working hard to help Virginians become well-informed insurance consumers. It offers outreach and educational materials about many types of insurance including health, life, homeowners, auto, long-term care, commercial insurance and Medicare. Consumers may view these materials, search for a licensed insurance company or agent in Virginia, view updates on key laws impacting insurance in Virginia, and much more on the Bureau’s website at www.scc.virginia.gov/pages/Insurance.

For more information, contact the Bureau of Insurance toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or in Richmond at (804) 371-9741 or visit www.scc.virginia.gov.

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Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Now more than ever, it’s important to have health insurance. The marketplace at HealthCare.gov soon will offer an opportunity to shop for, enroll in or change to a new health insurance plan.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced a special enrollment period (SEP) for individuals and families who wish to enroll in health plans under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). The SEP will run for 90 days from February 15 through May 15, 2021. 

During the SEP, consumers may submit a new application for health coverage or update an existing application on HealthCare.gov. Current enrollees will be able to change to any plan offered in their area.

Unlike previous SEPs, there is no restriction requiring enrollees to choose the same level of coverage as their current plan. In addition, consumers will not need to provide any documentation of a qualifying event (such as the loss of a job or birth of a child), which is typically required for SEP eligibility. If an enrollee chooses a new plan, however, it is important to note that deductible and out-of-pocket maximum accumulations are not required to be transferred to the new plan chosen, and that those amounts will start over for the enrollee. Health insurance plans not offered through HealthCare.gov are not required to, but may provide for, eligibility under this same SEP.

Consumers will have 30 days after they submit an application to choose a plan. Coverage will begin the first of the month after plan selection. After May 15, 2021, consumers may only enroll in an ACA-compliant health insurance plan if they recently lost their employer-sponsored health insurance coverage or have had a qualifying life event, such as a household change. To learn more about enrolling after May 15, 2021, visit HealthCare.gov's SEP page.

For free help understanding options when enrolling in coverage through HealthCare.gov, Virginians can find an application assister (navigator and/or certified application counselor) at Coverva.org/assistance/. For help from a licensed agent, visit https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/#/. For additional information, call the Healthcare.gov hotline at 1-800-318-2596. To learn more about the new Virginia Exchange, visit Health Benefit Exchange.

To raise awareness about the SEP and reopening enrollment under the ACA, representatives from Enroll Virginia, the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange, the Virginia Bureau of Insurance and the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Resources will participate in a virtual Town Hall on Tuesday, February 16, at 10:30 a.m. The event will be live streamed on Enroll Virginia’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/enrollva/.

For information about shopping for health insurance on or off the Exchange, contact the Virginia Bureau of Insurance toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or visit its website at scc.virginia.gov/pages/Insurance. Use the online comparison tool to compare plans. To verify that an insurance agent, agency or company is licensed in Virginia, visit the Bureau’s website at scc.virginia.gov/boi/ConsumerInquiry/default.aspx.

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Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Imagine slippery sidewalks, burst pipes, roof cave-ins, and trees and vehicles covered with snow. Winter weather can wreak havoc with your home, vehicles and other property.

The State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) encourages Virginians to review their insurance coverage and prepare their homes and vehicles before the arrival of harsh winter conditions. Understand what your insurance will and will not cover, as well as any deductibles you may have to pay in the event of a claim.

Although a winter landscape of snow and ice may be beautiful to behold, those conditions also bring significant hazards. Too much snow or ice can result in tree limbs breaking and falling on homes, vehicles and power lines. They also can result in collapsed roofs, and other damage to homes, structures and vehicles. Melting snow and ice can cause flooding and interior damage even after a winter storm has passed. Sub-freezing temperatures can lead to broken pipes inside and outside your home.

“Don’t let winter weather turn a wonderland into a house of horrors,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White. “Plan ahead for seasonal and other hazards. Homeowners and renters policies can protect you against many types of winter weather threats, but there may be some exceptions. Contact your insurance agent or company, or the SCC Bureau of Insurance to learn more.”

To reduce the risk of damage to your home in the winter, the Bureau recommends the following:

  • Prune. Remove dead, dying, diseased or broken tree limbs near your home and property.
  • Clear gutters. Removing debris from your gutters helps prevent ice dams and allows melting water to drain freely away from your home.
  • Insulate and ventilate. Inspect your attic insulation and ventilation (roof or soffit vents) to ensure warm air stays in the living areas of your home and out of the attic. Keeping attic air cold can help minimize the freeze/thaw cycle that causes ice dams that can result in interior water damage to your home. Proper insulation also helps save energy and may reduce your heating and air conditioning bills.
  • Protect your pipes. Detach garden hoses from your home before freezing weather begins and properly winterize pipes and irrigation systems around your home. To protect interior pipes, leave your faucet running with a slight drip to allow water to keep moving through interior pipes, reducing the chance of freezing. Opening the cabinet doors under your sink allows warm air to circulate around your pipes.

In the event your home or property suffers damage due to severe winter weather, contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible.  Make any necessary emergency repairs and take reasonable steps to prevent further damage. Record all damage to your property and include photographs, notes and repair-related receipts.

Homeowners insurance also may cover certain expenses if someone slips and falls on slick sidewalks or other surfaces on your property. You can look for this coverage under the liability and medical payments portions of your homeowners insurance policy.

You also should check whether your auto insurance covers damage to your vehicle due to ice, snow and falling tree limbs. These damages usually are covered by other-than-collision (or comprehensive) coverage on your vehicle and pay for damage to a vehicle from such things as fire, water, hail, vandalism, glass breakage, wind and falling objects.

The SCC’s Bureau of Insurance offers consumer guides regarding homeowners and auto insurance and disaster-related property insurance claims. For copies of the guides or other publications offered by the Bureau of Insurance or answers to your insurance questions, contact the Bureau of Insurance Property and Casualty Consumer Services Section at 804-371-9185 in Richmond or toll-free at 1-877-310-6560. Copies of the consumer insurance guides are also available on the Bureau’s website at scc.virginia.gov/pages/Insurance.

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Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Between January 1, 2017 and January 1, 2021, a free service provided by life insurance companies has helped 2,996 Virginia residents recover $37,338,096 pledged to them as beneficiaries of life insurance policies and annuity contracts. The State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance encourages any Virginian looking for lost or misplaced life insurance policies or annuity contracts (whether issued in Virginia or elsewhere) to take advantage of the free Life Insurance Policy Locator, which is offered through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White applauded the service’s success and security, noting that it has helped consumers recover more than $1.1 billion nationwide since 2017. “By using secure technology, the service helps consumers obtain money that is rightfully theirs via life insurance and annuity contracts,” he said.

According to the NAIC, there are currently 12,853 insurance companies across the United States participating in the Policy Locator program.

The free locator service can help those who are a beneficiary of a life insurance policy or annuity contract, as well as those who are the executor or legal representative of someone who has passed away. To use the service, you should submit a search request form and follow these steps:

  • Gather as much information about the deceased policyholder as possible, including their full name (along with maiden name, if applicable), Social Security number, date of birth, the state where they purchased the policy, name of the insurance company, and the person or organization who sold the policy or contract.
  • Obtain a copy of the individual’s death certificate.
  • Visit the SCC Bureau of Insurance website (https://bit.ly/3qNpWja) and click on “Life Insurance” or the NAIC website (https://bit.ly/2Moz2nu) and complete as many fields as possible.

Requests made through the locator service are encrypted and secured to maintain confidentiality. Once a request is submitted, the NAIC will ask participating companies to search their records on your behalf using the information provided. If there is a match, a company usually responds to the person who submitted the request within 90 business days, assuming the person submitting the request is the designated beneficiary or is authorized to receive information.

When a life insurance company knows that an annuitant or policyholder has died but cannot locate the beneficiaries of the policy or annuity contract, the company – under Virginia law – must turn over the benefits to the state’s unclaimed property office if those benefits are not claimed after a certain number of years. If you know the state in which a life insurance policy or annuity contract was written, you also should check with that state’s insurance department or the office that handles unclaimed property.

To avoid lost policies, the Bureau of Insurance encourages Virginians to:

  • Keep beneficiary information up to date.
  • Alert beneficiaries of the policy and provide them with the names of the servicing agent and the insurance company that issued the policy.
  • Place a current copy of the life insurance policy in a safe and accessible place with wills and estate documents, and ask the insurance company for an annual policy statement if one is not provided.

For questions or additional information about the policy locator and other life and health insurance matters, contact the Consumer Services Section of the Virginia Bureau of Insurance Life and Health Division toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or in Richmond at 804-371-9691 or visit www.scc.virginia.gov/pages/Insurance.

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Contact: Ford Carson, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Angela L. Navarro was sworn in today as the 37th commissioner of the State Corporation Commission (SCC). Navarro was appointed by Governor Ralph S. Northam to complete the unexpired term of Mark C. Christie who became a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on January 4, 2021.

Prior to being appointed to the Commission, Navarro served as Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade under Governor Northam, where she worked on housing, small business, economic development, and energy policies.

She has also served as Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources for Governor Northam and Governor Terry McAuliffe. In that role she advised each administration on land conservation, energy, and environmental policies.

Before entering government service, Navarro practiced law with the Southern Environmental Law Center. She led the organization’s energy efficiency practice across a six-state southeastern region and was the organization’s lead attorney on energy matters in Virginia.

Navarro holds degrees in business and English from the University of Florida and a law degree from Georgetown Law.

The other two SCC commissioners are Judith Williams Jagdmann, the current chair, and Jehmal T. Hudson who was also appointed by the Governor and took office in July.

The Commissioners serve six-year terms. Both appointments are subject to confirmation by the Virginia General Assembly during its 2021 legislative session.

Established in 1902, the SCC's authority encompasses utilities, insurance, state-chartered financial institutions, securities, retail franchising, railroad safety, and underground utility damage prevention. The Commission also serves as the Commonwealth's central filing office for all entities formed or registered under Virginia corporate law.

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Contact: Ken Schrad, 804-371-9858

RICHMOND – The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has adopted rules that will open more opportunities for the development of small solar projects in Virginia that produce electricity to a shared group of subscribers.

Community solar allows a developer of a small-scale solar project to subscribe eligible customers to purchase a share of the output of the solar facility. The customer, through net metering, gets a bill credit from their utility company for the energy being supplied by the shared solar program.

The introduction of shared solar programs results from legislation adopted during the 2020 session of the Virginia General Assembly. Homeowner’s associations, residential subdivisions, apartment building complexes, office building complexes, and industrial parks may have an interest in being developers of small solar projects.

Initially, there is a program cap on the level of shared solar that is permitted. The program is limited to the service territory of Dominion Energy Virginia. Kentucky Utilities, doing business in Southwest Virginia as Old Dominion Power Company, is participating in a multi-family shared solar program.

The rules adopted by the Commission establish the procedures for becoming licensed as a subscriber organization (the owner of the solar project); registering with the utility company; and the standards the subscribing organization must follow when marketing and enrolling customers.

The rules were developed with the assistance of a stakeholder group of more than 60 participants. The group will continue to provide input to SCC staff as deployment of these programs unfold over the next few years. This will include recommendations for giving low-income customers the opportunity to participate and receive solar energy.

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Contact: Ken Schrad, 804-371-9858

Case number PUR-2020-000124 – multi-family shared solar program regulations
Case number PUR-2020-000125 – shared solar program regulations

RICHMOND – Many Virginians will soon be protected against surprise medical billing thanks to a new law that takes effect January 1, 2021. Surprise billing – or balance billing – occurs when patients enrolled in managed care health insurance plans receive bills for more than their plan’s cost-sharing amounts (such as deductibles, coinsurance and co-pays) directly from medical service providers who do not participate in the plan’s network of providers – often referred to as “out-of-network” providers. The new law protects individuals from balance billing for emergency services, as well as non-emergency laboratory and professional services including surgery, anesthesia, pathology, radiology and hospitalist services.

Starting January 1, individuals enrolled in either fully insured managed care health insurance plans issued in Virginia or the state employee health benefit plan cannot be balance billed successfully by an out-of-network provider for emergency services. Additionally, out-of-network providers cannot balance bill these individuals for certain non-emergency services during a scheduled procedure at an in-network hospital or other health care facility.

Although the new balance billing law does not apply to self-funded group health plans and certain other self-funded plans, those plans may opt in so that the law’s protections apply to their enrollees. These plans are known as elective group health plans. More than 200 elective group health plans have already opted in beginning January 1, 2021. A list of plans that have chosen to opt in is available on the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) website at Search Elective Group Health Plans | Balance Billing (virginia.gov).

Plans that wish to opt into the balance billing protections beginning at a later date can find the application on the Bureau’s website at Virginia SCC - Balance Billing. To opt in, these groups or their third-party administrators must complete and submit an online application at least 30 days before either the beginning of their plan year or January 1 of any subsequent year.

The new law works, in part, by requiring insurers and providers to resolve balance billing disputes – rather than the provider simply sending the consumer a balance billing. When a consumer is treated by an out-of-network health care provider for services covered by the new law, the provider will submit the claim to the consumer’s insurer or health plan. The insurer or health plan will pay the provider a “commercially reasonable amount” that is based on payments for the same or similar services in a similar geographic area, thereby eliminating any balance payment by the consumer to the provider for services rendered.

If they cannot agree on the amount due, the provider and the insurer or health plan may begin a claims resolution process. As part of that process, the insurer and out-of-network provider must first try to agree on a payment amount. If they cannot agree, one of the parties may request that an arbitrator determine the final payment amount and resolve disputes. Arbitrators must report their final decision to both arbitrating parties and to the Bureau using the Arbitrator Decision Reporting Form, which is available on the Bureau’s website at Virginia SCC - Balance Billing.

The Bureau is currently accepting applications for individuals interested in serving as arbitrators for balance billing disputes. Arbitrators should have training and experience in arbitration or dispute resolution and matters related to medical or health care services. For more information, including an application and a list of approved arbitrators, visit Virginia SCC - Balance Billing.

Additionally, the new law requires health care facilities and medical providers to notify consumers about balance billing protection for out-of-network services. Among other things, these notifications must inform consumers how to determine if they are protected from surprise billing, when they can be balance billed, and what to do if they are billed too much. Providers must notify consumers (on their websites or otherwise) about which networks they participate in; refund to consumers any overpaid amounts within 30 business days; provide to consumers a notice of their rights under the balance billing law, and refrain from asking consumers to limit or give up their rights under the balance billing law.

Managed care health insurance plans regulated by the Bureau also must notify enrollees regarding if and when they are subject to balance billing, as well as notify enrollees of their rights under the new law. If an enrollee is subject to balance billing, the new law requires that their financial responsibility must be based on what they would pay an in-network provider or in-network facility in their area.

If health care providers have a pattern of violations under the new law without attempting corrective action, they are subject to fines or other measures by the Virginia Board of Medicine or the Virginia Commissioner of Health. Similarly, insurance companies that are found to engage in a pattern of violations of the new law are subject to fines or other sanctions by the SCC.

For more information, contact the Virginia Bureau of Insurance toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or visit scc.virginia.gov. Questions related to the arbitrator application, requests to arbitrate, or questions regarding the self-funded opt-in process may be emailed to BBVA@scc.virginia.gov. Consumer questions and complaints about balance billing may be emailed to BureauofInsurance@scc.virginia.gov

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Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – New insurance coverage options will soon be available to Medicare-eligible Virginians under the age of 65.

Effective January 1, 2021, individuals will be able to enroll in Medicare Supplement (also known as Medigap) plans if they are:

  • Under age 65 and live in Virginia
  • Eligible for Medicare by reason of disability, and
  • Either enrolled in or will be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B by the effective date of coverage.

Medigap is sold by private companies and helps fill coverage gaps in original Medicare. A Medigap policy can pay for copayments, coinsurance and deductibles for covered services. In some cases, it can also pay for services that original Medicare doesn’t cover, such as medical care when traveling outside the U.S.

A new law passed by the 2020 Virginia General Assembly requires each insurer, health service plan and health maintenance organization that issues Medigap plans in Virginia to offer the option to buy at least one of its Medigap plans to individuals who meet the above criteria for eligibility.

The Medigap plans are guaranteed for eligible individuals. In other words, the insurer must issue and maintain coverage as long as premiums are paid on the policy or certificate. In addition, insurers cannot exclude benefits based on pre-existing conditions under certain circumstances.

Enrollment periods may vary depending on your circumstances and eligibility. To learn more, contact companies that sell Medigap policies in Virginia or visit the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) website at Virginia SCC - Tips, Guides & Publications and select Medicare Supplement.

In Virginia, individuals have a 30-day “free look” period for a Medigap policy that allows them to return the policy for a full premium refund within 30 days of purchase if not satisfied.

Upon turning 65, individuals who have purchased a Medigap policy under the pre-65 coverage option, will receive a new six-month open enrollment period and can purchase any of the standardized Medigap plans, which may offer a wider choice of plans and lower premiums.

For more information about Medigap plans, a list of insurance companies that sell Medigap policies to disabled Medicare-eligible individuals under age 65, and a list of premiums, visit the Bureau of Insurance website at Virginia SCC - Tips, Guides & Publications and select Medicare Supplement. For questions, contact the Bureau toll-free at 1-877-310-6560, in Richmond at 804-371-9691 or by email at BureauofInsurance@scc.virginia.gov.

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Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Changes in licensing, fees and continuing education due dates for insurance agents in Virginia will take effect January 1, 2021.

The State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) is changing the duration of agent licenses from a perpetual basis to a biennial basis based on their birth month and year. The changes will impact approximately 332,000 individuals and agencies holding 340,000 insurance agent licenses in Virginia. The switch to biennial license renewals allows the Bureau to more regularly receive up-to-date contact and other license-related information from agents, such as criminal history and disciplinary actions.

Beginning January 1, 2021, license renewal fees will be $10 every two years per line of authority for all insurance license types.

Continuing education (CE) due dates also will change. Currently, the Bureau uses a static date for resident insurance agents licensed in Virginia to complete CE requirements. As of January 1, CE due dates will align with each resident agent’s individual license renewal date. The number of hours required for CE has not changed but the $22 continuance fee has been eliminated effective January 1, 2021.

In addition, new Virginia licensees who live in the Commonwealth will be fingerprinted for state and federal background checks. This requirement does not pertain to license renewal applications.

These changes, as provided by Virginia law, have been in the works for more than two years and are among the biggest changes impacting Virginia insurance agent licensing in more than 30 years. These changes are intended to benefit both licensees as well as the Bureau’s oversight of the licensing process. Among other things, the changes are designed to create greater efficiencies and transparency by ensuring that agent information is updated regularly and to coordinate an agent’s license date with their CE due date. They are also designed to identify license applicants with criminal histories outside of Virginia.

 “One of the Bureau’s top priorities is making the insurance licensing process as uniform as possible with national regulatory standards,” said the Bureau’s Agent Licensing Manager Richard Tozer. “Implementing license renewal, aligning CE with the license renewal date, and fingerprinting will ensure we will meet that goal.”

“This has been an incredibly complex project and the Bureau truly appreciates the amount of input provided by industry stakeholders,” said Deputy Commissioner Mike Beavers of the Bureau’s Agent Regulation Division. “This project will increase the Bureau’s ability to communicate with agents through the collection of updated email and other contact information.”

Insurance agents will be able to complete the license renewal process online in conjunction with their CE requirements 90 days prior to their license expiration date. Going forward, if an agent fails to complete their license renewal and/or CE requirements by their license renewal date, they will have a 12-month period in which to seek reinstatement of their license rather than having to retake the license examination or be fingerprinted.

Under the new licensing process, the first agent renewals will be due beginning in February 2022, with the remaining agent license renewals taking place over the next 24 months. The Bureau anticipates an average of 14,000 license renewals each month.

Beginning in 2021, insurance agencies will renew their licenses by May 1 of each odd year.

The Bureau has worked closely with the Virginia Insurance Continuing Education Board to coordinate implementation of the new processes for CE requirements.

For questions, contact the Bureau of Insurance Agent Licensing Section at BOILicenseRenewal@scc.virginia.gov or call 804-371-9631 or visit its website at scc.virginia.gov/pages/2021-Agent-Licensing-Changes.

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Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

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