South Carolina bill would tighten licensing requirements for insurance agents

McCoy

In a bid to thwart insurance fraud by unlicensed agents, a Charleston-area lawmaker said he plans to introduce legislation to tighten licensing requirements and set up a special board to handle allegations of misconduct.

State Rep. Peter McCoy, R-James Island, said insurance agents approached him with concerns about people selling property and casualty policies without valid South Carolina insurance licenses and giving out misleading information to consumers.

“We’re looking to do a lot of ethics reform this year,” McCoy said. “This is one place to start.” He said he plans to introduce a bill Tuesday or Wednesday.

Matthew Cochrane-Logan, an assistant vice president with Wells Fargo Insurance Services, said agents in the area have long had concerns about potential problems with colleagues who don’t have proper South Carolina licenses or engage in unprofessional conduct. “It’s a matter of policing our own,” he said. “We want to make sure our clients are getting good information.”

McCoy, a Charleston attorney, said one of the bill’s provisions would be to set up an executive committee to field grievances about agents and make reports to the state Department of Insurance. He said he wasn’t sure whether the selling of insurance by unlicensed agents is widespread, but he said the legislation is needed to prevent potential problems.

Reach Tony Bartelme at 937-5554.

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