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CA Department of Insurance

Assembly Bill 2520

BILL NUMBER: AB 2520 CHAPTERED
BILL TEXT

CHAPTER  428
FILED WITH SECRETARY OF STATE  SEPTEMBER 9, 2004
APPROVED BY GOVERNOR  SEPTEMBER 9, 2004
PASSED THE ASSEMBLY  AUGUST 16, 2004
PASSED THE SENATE  AUGUST 10, 2004
AMENDED IN SENATE  JULY 22, 2004
AMENDED IN SENATE  JUNE 22, 2004
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY  APRIL 27, 2004
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY  APRIL 14, 2004

INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Vargas

                        FEBRUARY 20, 2004

   An act to amend Sections 1637 and 1639 of, and to add Article 16.3
(commencing with Section 1758.7) to Chapter 5 of Part 2 of Division
1 of the Insurance Code, relating to self-service storage agents.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   AB 2520, Vargas.  Self-service storage agents.
   Existing law provides that, in general, a person shall not
negotiate or sell contracts of insurance unless he or she has been
licensed by the Insurance Commissioner to act in that capacity.
   This bill would require self-service storage facilities and their
franchisees that sell insurance in connection with, and incidental
to, self-service storage rental agreements to obtain a license to do
so from the Insurance Commissioner, which must be renewed every 2
years.  This bill would require self-service storage facilities to
file certain documents with the commissioner, including certification
that the insurer to be named in the facility's license will appoint
the facility to act as its agent for the limited purpose of offering
or selling specified types of insurance in connection with, and
incidental to, self-service storage rental agreements if it is
licensed by the commissioner.
   This bill would require licensees to provide specified training to
their employees and to submit their training materials to the
Department of Insurance.  This bill would require licensees to
provide written information regarding the coverage offered and to
make specified disclosures to prospective renters.
   This bill would provide that if a licensee violates these
provisions, the commissioner may revoke or suspend its license or
impose other penalties and fines, as specified.  This bill would
provide that if any person sells insurance incidental to a
self-service storage rental agreement without obtaining a license,
the commissioner may issue a cease and desist order.
   The bill would make other conforming changes.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:


  SECTION 1.  Section 1637 of the Insurance Code is amended to read:

   1637.  An organization may hold any license or licenses necessary
to act in the following capacities under this chapter and no others:

   (a) A license to act as a life agent.
   (b) A license to act as a fire and casualty broker-agent.
   (c) A license to act as a cargo shipper's agent.
   (d) A license to act as a personal lines licensee.
   (e) A license to act as a credit insurance agent.
   (f) A license to act as a rental car agent.
   (g) A nonresident license to act as a limited lines licensee
pursuant to subdivision (i) of Section 1639.
   (h) A license to act as a  self-service storage agent.
  SEC. 2.  Section 1639 of the Insurance Code is amended to read:
   1639.  The following types of licenses under this chapter may be
issued to nonresidents:
   (a) A fire and casualty broker-agent if the nonresident is duly
licensed to transact more than one class of insurance, other than
life insurance, disability insurance, title insurance, or life and
disability insurance, under the laws of the state, territory of the
United States, or province of Canada where he or she maintains a
resident license to transact insurance.
   (b) A personal lines broker-agent if the nonresident is duly
licensed to transact those lines of insurance described in Section
1625.5, under the laws of the state, territory of the United States,
or province of Canada where the resident license is maintained.
   (c) A life agent if the nonresident possesses a resident license
in another state, territory of the United States, or province of
Canada to transact life insurance or disability insurance.
   (d) A nonresident life agent may be granted authority to transact
variable contracts if he or she has been granted that authority by
the state where the resident license is maintained.
   (e) A surplus line broker and a special lines surplus broker if
the nonresident holds that type of license in the state or territory
of the United States where the resident license is maintained.
   (f) A credit insurance agent if the nonresident holds that type of
license in the state, territory of the United States, or province of
Canada where the resident license is maintained.
   (g) A rental car agent if the nonresident holds that type of
license in the state, territory of the United States, or province of
Canada where the resident license is maintained.
   (h) A cargo shipper's agent if the nonresident holds that type of
license in the state, territory of the United States, or province of
Canada where the resident license is maintained.
   (i) A limited lines license if the nonresident holds that type of
license in the state, territory of the United States, or province of
Canada where the resident license is maintained.  As used in this
section, "limited lines license" means any authority granted by the
resident state that restricts the authority of the license to less
than the total authority granted by any of the types of licenses
identified in this section.
   (j) A  self-service storage agent if the nonresident holds that
type of license in the state, territory of the United States, or
Province of Canada where the resident license is maintained.
  SEC. 3.  Article 16.3 (commencing with Section 1758.7) is added to
Chapter 5 of Part 2 of Division 1 of the Insurance Code, to read:

      Article 16.3.  Self-Service Storage Agents

   1758.7.  (a) No self-service storage facility, or franchisee of a
self-service storage facility, shall offer or sell insurance unless
it has complied with the requirements of this article and has been
issued a license by the commissioner as provided in this article.
   (b) The commissioner may issue to a self-service storage facility,
or its franchisee, that has complied with the requirements of this
article, a license that authorizes the self-service storage facility
or its franchisee to offer or sell the types of insurance specified
in Section 1758.75 in connection with and incidental to rental
agreements on behalf of any insurer authorized to write those types
of insurance policies in this state.
   (c) (1) The license period shall be a two-year period beginning as
described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (2), as
applicable, and ending on the second succeeding year on the last
calendar day of the month in which the initial license was issued.
   (2) The commencement of a license period shall be determined for
each self-service storage facility or franchisee of a self-service
storage facility, as follows:
   (A) Upon initial licensing, the license period begins on the date
the license is issued.
   (B) Upon license renewal, the license period begins on the first
day of the month following the month in which the initial license was
issued.
   (3) (A) Not less than 60 days before a permanent license will
expire, the commissioner may mail, to the latest address appearing on
his or her records, an application to the licensee to renew the
license for the appropriate succeeding license period.  It is the
licensee's responsibility to renew whether or not a renewal
application is received.  The commissioner may accept a late renewal
without penalty, provided that the licensee's failure to comply is
due to clerical error or inadvertence on the part of the department.

   (B) The application for renewal of a license shall be filed on or
before the expiration date.
   (C) The application for renewal of an expired license may be filed
after the expiration date and until the same month and day of the
next succeeding year.  A licensee who files the renewal application
after the license has expired shall be charged, in addition to the
renewal fee, a penalty of 50 percent of the renewal fee.
   (d) The applicant for a license pursuant to this section shall
submit an application fee upon initial application and upon renewal
application in the amount or amounts determined by the department as
sufficient to defray its actual cost of processing the applications
and implementing this article.
   (e) Costs associated with any enforcement action or investigation
shall be paid for by the person or organization licensed pursuant to
this article.
   1758.71.  (a) An applicant for a self-service storage agent
license shall file the following documents with the commissioner:
   (1) A written application for licensure signed by the applicant or
an officer of the applicant in the form prescribed by the
commissioner.
   (2) A certificate by the insurer that is to be named in the
self-service storage agent license stating that the insurer has
satisfied itself that the named applicant is trustworthy and
competent to act as its agent for the limited purpose of offering or
selling the types of insurance specified in Section 1758.75 in
connection with, and incidental to, self-service storage rental
agreements and that the insurer will appoint the applicant to act as
its agent in reference to offering or selling those types of
insurance if the applicant is licensed by the commissioner.  The
certification shall be subscribed by an officer or managing agent of
the insurer on a form prescribed by the commissioner.
   (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, Sections 1667,
1668, 1668.5, 1669, 1670, 1738, and 1739 apply to any application for
or issuance of a license pursuant to this article.
   1758.72.  (a) Each self-service storage agent shall provide an
insurance training program for its employees that shall meet the
following minimum standards:
   (1) Each employee shall receive instruction about the types of
insurance specified in Section 1758.75 that are offered for sale to
prospective renters.
   (2) Each employee shall receive training about ethical sales
practices.
   (3) Each employee shall receive training about the disclosures to
be given to prospective renters pursuant to subdivision (b) of
Section 1758.76.
   (b) Training materials used by or on behalf of the self-service
storage facility to train its endorsee shall be submitted to the
department at the time the applicant applies for a license under this
article and whenever modified thereafter.  Any changes to previously
submitted training materials shall be submitted to the department
with the changes highlighted 30 days prior to their use by the
licensee.  Training materials and changes in those materials
submitted to the department pursuant to this subdivision shall be
deemed approved for use by the company unless the company is notified
by the department to the contrary.  Failure by a self-service
storage facility to submit training materials or changes for
department review, or use of unapproved or disapproved training
materials shall constitute grounds for the denial of an application
for license, nonrenewal of a license, or a suspension of a license,
as appropriate.
   (c) An employee may not be endorsed to a self-service storage
agent license unless that employee is 18 years of age or older.
   (d) The self-service storage facility, at the time it submits its
self-service storage agent license application pursuant to Section
1758.71, shall establish a list of the names of all endorsees to its
self-service storage agent license.  The list shall be maintained by
the self-service storage facility in a form prescribed by, or format
acceptable to, the commissioner, and shall be updated annually.  The
list shall be retained by the self-service storage facility for three
years and made available to the commissioner for review and
inspection.
   1758.73.  Any employee of a licensee who has been trained pursuant
to Section 1758.72 may act on behalf and under the supervision of
the self-service storage facility agent in matters relating to the
conduct of business under that agent's license.  The conduct of an
employee or agent of a licensee acting within the scope of employment
or agency shall be deemed the conduct of the self-service storage
facility agent for the purposes of this article.
   1758.74.  (a) If a licensee violates any provision of this
article, the commissioner may do any of the following:
   (1) After notice and hearing, revoke or suspend the self-service
storage facility's license.
   (2) After notice and hearing, impose other penalties, including
suspending the transaction of insurance at specific self-service
storage facilities where violations of this article have occurred.
   (3) Impose fines and penalties on the self-service storage agent
for its conduct or that of its employees.
   (b) If any person sells insurance in connection with, or
incidental to, self-service storage rental agreements, or holds
himself or herself or an organization out as a self-service storage
agent without obtaining the license required by this article, the
commissioner may issue a cease and desist order pursuant to Section
12921.8.
   (c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of
Section 1748.5 are applicable to a self-service storage facility or
its franchisee issued a license pursuant to this article.
   1758.75.  A self-service storage facility or its franchisee
licensed under this article may act as a self-service storage agent
for an authorized insurer only with respect to the following types of
insurance and only in connection with, and incidental to,
self-service storage rental agreements:
   (a) Insurance that provides hazard insurance coverage to renters
for the loss of, or damage to, tangible personal property in storage
or in transit during the rental period.
   (b) Any other coverage the commissioner may approve as meaningful
and appropriate in connection with the rental of storage space.
   1758.76.  A licensee shall not sell insurance pursuant to this
article unless all of the following conditions are satisfied:
   (a) The self-service storage agent provides brochures or other
written material to the prospective renter that does all of the
following:
   (1) Summarizes the material terms and conditions of coverage
offered to renters, including the identity of the insurer.
   (2) Describes the process for filing a claim, including a
toll-free telephone number to report a claim.
   (3) Discloses any additional information on the price, benefits,
exclusions, conditions, or other limitations of the types of
insurance specified in Section 1758.75 that the commissioner may by
rule prescribe.
   (4) Provide the licensee's name, address, telephone number, and
license number and the availability of the department's toll-free
consumer hotline.
   (b) The self-service storage agent makes all of the following
disclosures to the renter, which shall be acknowledged in writing by
the renter, or displayed by clear and conspicuous signs that are
posted at every location where rental agreements are executed, such
as the counter where a renter would sign a rental agreement:
   (1) That the purchase by the renter of the insurance is not
required in order to rent storage space.  However, the licensee's
employees may advise the renter that the  self-service storage
facility's rental agreement may contain provisions requiring the
renter to provide insurance on his or her property in the storage
unit.
   (2) That the insurance policies offered by the self-service
storage agent may provide a duplication of coverage already provided
by a renter's homeowners insurance policy or by another source of
coverage.
   (3) That the self-service storage facility and its employees are
not qualified or authorized to evaluate the adequacy of the purchaser'
s existing insurance coverage.
   (c) If a renter elects to purchase the coverage, evidence of
coverage is stated on the face of the rental agreement or is provided
to the renter.
   (d) The insurance is provided under an individual, a group, or a
master policy issued to the self-service storage agent by an insurer
authorized to write the types of insurance specified in Section
1758.75 in this state.
   1758.77.  A licensee shall not be required to treat moneys
collected from renters purchasing insurance pursuant to this article
as funds received in a fiduciary capacity if the insurer represented
by the licensee has provided in writing that the funds need not be
segregated from funds received by the self-service storage agent if
the charges for insurance coverage are itemized and incorporated as
part of the rental agreement.
   1758.78.  A self-service storage agent shall not do any of the
following:
   (a) Offer to sell insurance except in conjunction with, and
incidental to, authorized rental agreements.
   (b) Advertise, represent, or otherwise portray itself or its
employees as licensed insurers, insurance agents, or insurance
brokers.
   1758.79.  Any insurer that provides insurance to be sold by a
self-service storage facility or its franchisee under this article
shall file a copy of the policy with the commissioner, who shall make
that policy available to the public.
   1758.791.  As used in this article:
   (a) "Self-service storage facility" means a person or organization
engaged in the business of providing leased or rented storage space
to the public.
   (b) "Storage space" means a room, unit, locker, or open space
offered for rental to the public for temporary storage of personal
belongings or light commercial goods.
   (c) "Renter" means any person who obtains the use of storage space
from a self-service storage company under the terms of a rental
agreement.
   (d) "Rental agreement" means any written agreement for the terms
and conditions governing the use of a storage space provided by a
self-service storage company.
   (e) "Self-service storage agent" means a person or organization
licensed pursuant to this article to offer insurance in connection
with, and incidental to, rental agreements on behalf of an insurer
authorized to write the types of insurance specified in Section
1758.75 in this state.
   1758.792.  The commissioner shall adopt rules to implement the
provisions of this article which may include fee differentials for
smaller, self-service storage facilities.  The rules shall be adopted
as emergency regulations in accordance with Chapter 3.5 (commencing
with Section 11340) of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code,
and for the purposes of that chapter, including Section 11349.6 of
the Government Code, the adoption of rules shall be considered by the
Office of Administrative Law to be necessary for the immediate
preservation of the public peace, health and safety, and general
welfare.
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