South Carolina              
Administrative Law Court
Edgar A. Brown building 1205 Pendleton St., Suite 224 Columbia, SC 29201 Voice: (803) 734-0550 Fax: (803) 734-6400

SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

CAPTION:
Pearl M. Heyward vs. SCDOI

AGENCY:
South Carolina Department of Insurance

PARTIES:
Petitioners:
Pearl M. Heyward

Respondents:
South Carolina Department of Insurance
 
DOCKET NUMBER:
98-ALJ-09-0487-CC

APPEARANCES:
Pearl M. Heyward, pro se, for Petitioner

Adelaide D. Kline, Esquire, for Respondent
 

ORDERS:

FINAL ORDER AND DECISION

STATEMENT OF THE CASE



This matter comes before me pursuant to the denial by the South Carolina Department of Insurance ("Department") of Petitioner's application for an insurance agent's license. The Department denied the Petitioner's application pursuant to S. C. Code Ann. §§ 38-7-140, 38-43-50, and 38-43-100 (Supp. 1997) for providing false information on her application. A hearing was held before the Administrative Law Judge Division on October 20, 1998.

FINDINGS OF FACT

Having observed the witnesses and exhibits presented at the hearing and closely passed upon their credibility, taking into consideration the burden of persuasion by the parties, I make the following Findings of Fact by a preponderance of evidence:

1. The Department is the state agency responsible for licensing agents under the

insurance laws.

2. The Petitioner submitted a State of South Carolina Application for Individual Insurance Agent's License on May 26, 1998. She was sponsored by Pre-Paid Legal Casualty, Inc., a licensed insurance carrier.

3. On the application, Petitioner responded "No" to question #4 which asked if she had ever been convicted, pled guilty, or pled no contest in a criminal proceeding. Respondent then signed a statement affirming that "all information and answers contained in this application are true and complete."

4. A criminal background investigation by SLED revealed that Petitioner had been convicted on one count of forgery on August 9, 1991.

5. The Department notified the Petitioner and the Petitioner's sponsor on June 10, 1998, that her license had been denied for failure to disclose the prior criminal conviction on her application. In addition, the Department also asserted that denial of the license was authorized because the Petitioner had been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.

6. Petitioner wrote to the Department on June 14, 1998, stating that she answered "No" to question #4 because it was her understanding that she did not have to disclose the conviction for forgery because it had nothing to do with insurance fraud.

7. The Petitioner did not complete her agent application truthfully and therefore should not be granted an insurance agent's license. In addition, the Petitioner was convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, which is a statutory ground for revocation, suspension, or refusal to renew an agent's license. Therefore, the decision to deny the Petitioner's application for a resident agent's license was proper.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

Based upon the foregoing Findings of Fact, I conclude, as a matter of law, the following:

1. Jurisdiction is vested in the Division pursuant to S. C. Code Ann. § 1-23-600(B) (Supp. 1997).

2. "No person may act as agent for an insurer or for a fraternal benefit association unless an agent's license has been issued to him by the director or his designee." S. C. Code Ann. § 38-43-20 (Supp. 1997).

3. An applicant has the burden of demonstrating he has met the required conditions before the benefit sought can be granted. 73A C.J.S. Public Administrative Law and Procedure § 128 (1983).

4. "Before being issued a license to do business as an agent in this State for an insurer, each applicant shall make written application for the license upon forms to be furnished by the department, and all information on the forms required by the director or his designee must be subscribed to by the applicant under oath . . . [T]he license may not be issued until the director or his designee has determined that the applicant is qualified as an insurance agent . . . " S.C. Code Ann. § 38-43-100 (Supp. 1997).

5. To obtain a license as an agent, an individual must be trustworthy. S.C. Code Regs. 69-23(g).

6. The Director of Insurance has the discretion to deny an insurance agent's license to an applicant who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. See S.C. Code Ann. § 38-43-130 (Supp. 1997) and 25A S.C. Code Ann. Reg. 69-23 (1989).

7. Forgery is a crime of moral turpitude in South Carolina. State v. Johnson, 271 S.C. 485, S.E. 2d 313 (1978).

8. Petitioner does not meet the requirements for an insurance agent's license and is therefore not entitled to a State of South Carolina resident insurance agent's license.

ORDER

Based upon the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, it is hereby:

ORDERED that application of Pearl M. Heyward is denied.

IT IS SO ORDERED.



Ralph King Anderson, III

Administrative Law Judge





January 7, 1999

Columbia, South Carolina


Brown Bldg.

 

 

 

 

 

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