COLUMBUS — Ohio Lieutenant Governor and Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor wants to help licensed Ohio insurance agents and agencies comply with Ohio’s insurance, tax and workers compensation laws.
The Ohio Department of Insurance’s Fraud, Enforcement and Licensing Division, with help from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office, has identified 2,230 agents and agencies that owe the state of Ohio outstanding personal income taxes, sales taxes, and workers’ compensation premium payments.
“It is important to insurance consumers that all insurance agents and agencies licensed in Ohio are in good financial standing,” Taylor said. “In Ohio, we want to continue to encourage a robust, competitive and stable marketplace. By requiring all agents and agencies to play by the same rules, we keep a level playing field where all agents and agencies have the same opportunity to be successful.”
According to the Ohio Revised Code, the Director of the Department of Insurance may suspend, revoke, or refuse to issue an insurance license, assess a civil penalty, or impose other sanctions, if an agent or agency fails to comply with any official invoice, notice, assessment, or order directing payment of federal, state, or local income tax, state or local sales tax or worker’s compensation premiums.
Ohio recently passed a new licensing law requiring insurance agents to renew their licenses every two years. During the next 18 months, the Department will review renewal applications to make sure agents are in compliance. If an agent has an outstanding judgment lien filed against them or their organization, the Department will take administrative action against the agent’s license.
“We will pay particular attention to license renewal applications. As a condition for renewal, an agent must meet their financial obligations to the state of Ohio,” Taylor said. “We will do what we can to help agents and agencies meet their obligations.”
In order to avoid administrative action against their Ohio insurance licenses, agents who are not in compliance should contact the Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Collections Enforcement Office at 614-752-8981 to make arrangements to satisfy their outstanding obligations. Agents may also contact the Ohio Department of Insurance Enforcement Division at 614-644-2560 for assistance.
In early 2010, the Department of Insurance initiated a pilot program by sending letters to approximately 2,500 agents and agencies that were not in compliance. As a result, approximately $1.5 million in back tax payments was collected from agents and agencies that had outstanding liabilities with the state.