California Department of Insurance
Insurance Agent and Broker License Defense
We have experience representing insurance agent and bail agent licensees and applicants before the California Department of Insurance (DOI).
Overview of the DOI Enforcement Division
Within the DOI’s Enforcement Branch, the Fraud Division employs nearly 250 sworn peace officers to conduct specialized criminal investigations in four primary areas:
- Automobile insurance fraud
- Workers’ compensation fraud
- Property, life, and casualty fraud
- Disability and healthcare fraud
The division investigates suspected violations of the California Insurance Code, Section 550 of the Penal Code, and suspected crimes such as conspiracy, theft, and automobile theft.
The DOI’s Enforcement Branch also contains an Investigation Division that investigates and prosecutes complaints the DOI receives about the following issues:
- Insurance premium theft
- Senior citizen abuse
- Health insurance violations
- Deceptive sales and marketing practices
- Unauthorized insurance companies and insurance transactions
- Public adjuster misconduct
- Abusive acts by automobile insurance agents
- Title company rebates and kickbacks
- Bail agent activity
- Other insurance-related fraud
The Investigation Division employs more than 90 staff members to screen and investigate complaints. In serious cases, the Investigation Division partners with other state and federal agencies, including local law enforcement, the Franchise Tax Board, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the FBI.
Investigations and discipline
If the investigation process substantiates alleged violations of the California Insurance Code, the DOI has the authority to restrict, suspend, or revoke a license. The DOI also has the authority to issue cease-and-desist orders, as well as order payment of restitution, fines, and penalties.
Available civil remedies include seizing and closing businesses, ordering restitution, and issuing fines and penalties.
Available criminal remedies include probation, community service, restitution, fines and penalties, and in egregious cases, incarceration.
Agents and brokers must also comply with stringent self-reporting requirements, which include reporting the following:
- A misdemeanor or felony conviction
- A filing of felony criminal charges in state or federal court
- An administrative action regarding a professional or occupational license
- Discharge or attempt to discharge, in a bankruptcy proceeding, an obligation regarding any insurance premiums or fiduciary funds owed
- Any admission or judicial finding of fraud, misappropriation, and other specified conduct.
How we can help
If you are an insurance agent or bail agent that has been contacted by an investigator or detective from the Department of Insurance, it is generally wise to engage counsel before responding. Answering questions, providing documents or evidence, or agreeing to other actions without counsel can be risky. As a holder of a professional license, you have important statutory and constitutional rights. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to help protect those rights and help defend your reputation, business, and career.
If you are a license holder with a concern about a criminal history, we can help you self-report in a manner that gives you the best chance of preserving your license. If you are applying for a license and have concerns about criminal history, we can help you craft an application packet that gives you the best chance of obtaining a license.
Types of Violations emphasized by Investigation Division of DOI