Many licensees with the Department of Insurance are unaware and surprised to find out that that failure to timely disclose all or part of your conviction(s) may be grounds for disciplinary action. Furthermore, these licensees are often shocked when they find out that they are required to timely disclose criminal charges being filed. This often results in charges or additional allegations of misconduct for purposes of license discipline within the Department of Insurance, which could lead to license restrictions, suspension, or even revocation.
Many licensees believe that disclosure of criminal charges or convictions is only due at the time of license renewal. However, this is an incorrect presumption. Rather, Licensees are required to notify the Insurance Commissioner of a change in “background information” within thirty (30) days of the date the licensee learns of the change in said background information, pursuant to California Insurance Code Sections 1729 .2( a) and 1729 .2( d).
California Insurance section 1729.2(c)(2) defines background information as follows:
“Background information” means any of 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; any licensee’s discharge or attempt to discharge, in a personal or organizational bankruptcy proceeding, an obligation regarding any insurance premiums or fiduciary funds owed to any company, including a premium finance company, or managing general agent; and any admission, or judicial finding or determination, of fraud, misappropriation or conversion of funds, misrepresentation, or breach of fiduciary duty.
If you do not disclose timely, it is likely that your license will be subject to some sort of discipline for failure to disclose—an act the Department views non-disclosure as an act of dishonesty and deceit.
Please note that this does not mean you need to report an arrest. Only if charges were filed do you have to report an arrest. If no charges were filed, you do not have to report an “arrest only.”
Upon charges filed and/or upon conviction, you must disclose timely to the Department. The Department has the right to bring license discipline against you for convictions which are substantially related to your profession, as defined by statute; however, at least you avoid the additional offenses of failure to disclose your conviction, which involves acts of dishonesty and deceit, and are much harder to defend in a license discipline action— remember, ignorance of the law is not a defense.