South Carolina              
Administrative Law Court
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SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

CAPTION:
SCDOI vs. American National Property and Casualty Companies

AGENCY:
South Carolina Department of Insurance

PARTIES:
Petitioner:
South Carolina Department of Insurance

Respondent:
American National Property and Casualty Companies
 
DOCKET NUMBER:
05-ALJ-09-0429-CC

APPEARANCES:
H. Michael Bowers, Esq.
Attorneys for Respondent

Jeffery A. Jacobs, Esq.
Attorneys for Petitioner
 

ORDERS:

CONSENT ORDER AND SETTLEMENT

Whereas, Petitioner South Carolina Department of Insurance (hereinafter referred to as “SCDOI”), sought to impose administrative penalties on Respondent American National Property and Casualty Company (hereinafter referred to as “ANPAC”), as the result of an insurance adjuster named Tommy M. Watson, a/k/a Mark Watson (hereinafter “Mr. Watson”) adjusting claims for ANPAC after his South Carolina adjusting license had lapsed; and,

Whereas, ANPAC, pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 38-43-130 (Supp. 2005), filed a petition seeking administrative review by the Administrative Law Court of the SCDOI’s efforts to impose penalties on ANPAC under S.C. Code Ann. §§ 38-43-30 (Supp. 2005) and 38-47-10 (2002); and,

Whereas, sometime prior to April 15, 2004, ANPAC retained Glomar Service, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as “Glomar”), an independent insurance adjusting firm located in Coryton, Tennessee, to assist ANPAC in and with the adjustment of certain property damage insurance claims in South Carolina; and,

Whereas, in providing the adjusting services to ANPAC, Glomar assigned Mr. Watson to adjust property damage insurance claims for ANPAC in South Carolina; and,

Whereas, at the time of Glomar’s assignment of Mr. Watson to adjust claims for ANPAC in South Carolina, it was represented to ANPAC that Mr. Watson was a duly South Carolina licensed adjuster as required by S.C. Code Ann. §§ 38-47-10 et seq. (2002); and,

Whereas, subsequent to Glomar’s assignment of Mr. Watson to adjust property damage insurance claims for ANPAC in South Carolina, ANPAC became aware that Mr. Watson’s South Carolina adjuster’s license had inadvertently lapsed; and,

Whereas, once ANPAC became aware of Mr. Watson’s lapsed license status, ANPAC immediately took corrective steps to insure that the property damage insurance claims that were being handled by Mr. Watson were re-assigned to and were thereafter handled by one or more claims adjusters holding a valid South Carolina adjuster’s license; now therefore, it is

AGREED by ANPAC and the SCDOI that for and in consideration of the payment by ANPAC to the SCDOI of the sum of One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1,500.00), the SCDOI does hereby release and forever discharge ANPAC, its parent companies, subsidiaries, agents, servants, attorneys, employees, directors, representatives, insurance carries (primary and excess), successors, administrators, and assigns from any and all claims (presently known or unknown), causes of action, demands, suits at law or in equity, of whatsoever kind and/or nature, and/or any violations of S.C. Code Ann. §§ 38-43-30, 38-43-130, and 38-47-10, specifically including, but not limited to, those claims and/or allegations set forth in ANPAC’s Pre-Hearing Statement and the SCDOI’s Pre-Hearing Statement filed with the Administrative Law Court; and it is

FURTHER AGREED that this is a compromise of a doubtful and disputed claim and ANPAC’s payment herein in consideration of this Consent Order and Settlement Agreement and the SCDOI’s attendant release of all claims against ANPAC is not to be and should not be considered as any admission of liability by ANPAC, which is expressly denied; and it is

FURTHER AGREED that the provisions of the Consent Order and Settlement Agreement are contractual and not merely a recital and may be used as a defense in any subsequent action initiated by or on behalf of the SCDOI on the issues set forth herein; and it is

FURTHER AGREED that ANPAC’s entry into this Consent Order and Settlement Agreement is not to be considered and should not be considered as an admission that either ANPAC, its parent companies, subsidiaries, agents, servants, attorneys, employees, directors, representatives, insurance carriers (primary and excess), successors, administrators, and/or assigns have violated any South Carolina statute and/or SCDOI administrative regulation; it is

FURTHER AGREED that ANPAC has entered into this Consent Order and Settlement Agreement in order to avoid further administrative litigation and to buy its peace; and it is

FURTHER AGREED that this Consent Order and Settlement Agreement will be governed by South Carolina law and interpreted in and by a court sitting in the State of South Carolina; and it is

FURTHER AGREED that by the signature of their respective attorneys’ and/or other authorized representatives upon this Consent Order and Settlement Agreement, both ANPAC and the SCDOI acknowledge that they understand that this administrative order is a public record subject to the disclosure requirements of the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, as codified in S.C. Code Ann. §§ 30-4-10 to 30-4-165 (1991 & Supp. 2005); and it is

FURTHER AGREED that nothing contained in this Consent Order and Settlement Agreement should be construed to limit, or to deprive any person of, any private right of action under the law; and it is

FURTHER AGREED that nothing contained within this Consent Order and Settlement Agreement should be construed to limit, in any manner, the criminal jurisdiction of any law enforcement or judicial officer; and it is

FURTHER AGREED that nothing contained within this Consent Order and Settlement Agreement should be construed to limit the statutory duty, pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 38-3-110 (2002), of the Director of Insurance, exercised either directly or through the SCDOI, to report either to the South Carolina Attorney General and/or other appropriate law enforcement officials criminal violations of the laws relative to the business of insurance or the provisions of this title which the Director of the SCDOI considers necessary to report; and it is

FURTHER AGREED that ANPAC acknowledges that it understands that this Consent Order and Settlement Agreement constitutes an administrative disciplinary order as contemplated by South Carolina insurance law statutes and/or applicable SCDOI administrative regulations; now therefore

IT IS ORDERED that in consideration of the SCDOI’s agreement to dismiss this action with prejudice, ANPAC shall, within 15 days of the below set forth date and the signature of the undersigned upon this Consent Order and Settlement Agreement, pay to the SCDOI an administrative fine in the total amount of $1,500; and it is

FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Consent Order and Settlement Agreement shall be immediately transmitted to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for distribution to its member states;

AND IT IS SO ORDERED.

______________________________

JOHN D. GEATHERS

Administrative Law Judge

Columbia, South Carolina

April 11, 2006


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