South Carolina Code of Regulations
Chapter 69 - DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE
69-10 - Premium Service Companies.
69-10. Premium Service Companies.
1. Every premium service agreement which confers upon a premium service company authority to cause a policy of insurance covering lives, property or interests situate in South Carolina to be terminated shall be deemed made in South Carolina and such policy shall be so terminated only in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 39 of Title 38, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, and the Regulations pursuant thereto.
2. The provisions of this Regulation do not apply to premiums financed under revolving charge account arrangements by a licensee which is a subsidiary of an insurer or group of affiliated insurers where maximum charges do not exceed 7% per annum on the amount actually financed. Such revolving charge account arrangements shall be submitted to the Commissioner for approval or disapproval by specific order for each such arrangement.
3. No licensee nor other person acting for or in behalf of the licensee shall retain the original policy in connection with any premium service agreement, and any such retention of the original contract shall be deemed cause for the revocation of, or refusal to renew, the license of such licensee.
4. Every application for a license or renewal of the license as a premium service company shall be made on the form prescribed by the Chief Insurance Commissioner which shall be completed and filed in accordance with the instructions of the Commissioner accompanied by all required supporting documents and the applicable fee.
5. In the case of an original application for a license, the application shall be signed by:
(a) The sole proprietor, if the applicant is a sole proprietor; or
(b) A general partner, if the applicant is a partnership;
(c) The chief executive officer and the secretary if the applicant is a corporation or other business entity whose ownership is manifested by shares. Such original application shall be accompanied by the certified resolution of the board of directors or similar governing body of the corporation or other entity.
6. In the case of the renewal of an existing license or a change in such license, reference may be made to the earlier application and only those sections of the application form where changes are necessary need be completed, provided the signators to the original application certify under the pains and penalties of perjury that no change has occurred which would require an answer differing from that contained in the original application.
7. Licenses hereunder are hereby declared personal and issued by reason of special confidence in the licensee so licensed. No license may be transferred, directly or indirectly, nor shall such license be used for, or in behalf of, any person, firm or corporation whatsoever other than the licensee. Any such transfer, attempted transfer or use shall be void and shall be deemed sufficient grounds for the revocation of, or refusal to renew, the license.
8. Every corporation, or similar business entity, partnership, or proprietor doing business under a name, other than his or its own, shall file, and keep on file, with the Commissioner, the names and addresses of officers, directors, partners and proprietors and shall designate therein the name and address of the person upon whom service of process may be made.
9. No foreign corporation or similar business entity shall be licensed as a premium service company unless it shall first become domesticated in South Carolina. Certification of such domestication by the Secretary of State of South Carolina shall accompany the application of each such foreign corporation or similar business entity.
10. Transfer or assignment to another, or a series of transfers or assignments within a 6 month period, of 10% or more of the premium service agreements of a licensee shall be deemed a bulk transfer or assignment. No licensee shall effect a bulk transfer or assignment of premium service agreements unless it shall first file the proposed agreement with, and secure the approval of, the Commissioner who shall grant such approval only if he is satisfied that such arrangements are just and equitable, that provision has been made for adequate notice to the insureds and insurers, that all funds due or payable to insureds and insurers have been paid or adequately secured, that the transferee or assignee has expressly assumed the obligations of the transferor or assignor arising out of such premium service agreements and/or that the transferor or assignor has provided indemnity or security with respect to such obligations.
11. Death of a proprietor shall terminate the license. Death or withdrawal of a partner shall suspend the license if the licensee is a partnership; provided, however, that if notice of such death or withdrawal is furnished to the Commissioner within 10 days of the event and the Commissioner is satisfied, by examination or otherwise, that the interests of insureds and insurers have been adequately protected, he may reinstate the suspended license.
Appointment of referee, receiver or trustee incident to bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings against the licensee shall suspend the license which may be reinstated only if the Commissioner finds that such proceedings have terminated and that the interests of insureds and insurers have been adequately protected.
12. The Commissioner shall be notified by registered or certified mail not later than 10 days after the event upon the occurrence of any of the following:
(a) When a partner dies or withdraws from a partnership which is a licensee, or when a new partner is admitted.
(b) When an officer, director or person owning or controlling 10% or more of the stock of a corporation or similar business entity, which is a licensee, ceases to be such, or, when a person becomes an officer, director or person owning or controlling 10% or more of the stock of such licensee.
(c) When any licensee, or any person who is a partner, officer, director or who owns 10% or more of the shares of the licensee is arrested, indicted or convicted with respect to any State or Federal offense involving moral turpitude other than a misdemeanor resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle.
(d) When a licensee suffers a revocation or suspension of license or is refused a license as a premium service company, premium finance company, insurance agency, or agent, in any other jurisdiction.
(e) When a voluntary or involuntary petition of bankruptcy or prayer for the appointment of a receiver or trustee is filed against the licensee or when the licensee enters into any assignment for the benefit of creditors or composition among creditors.
In the event of any of the foregoing, the Commissioner may conduct such examination and investigation as he deems necessary or appropriate for the protection of insureds and insurers, the expense of which shall be borne by the licensee. Without limitation upon the generality, he may require any of the affected persons to respond to interrogatories under oath or appear before him to testify under oath and may require such other or further disclosure as he deems necessary or appropriate.
13. Every premium service company shall, prior to their use, file the following forms with the Commissioner and receive his written approval:
(a) Insurance premium service agreement.
(b) Payment book.
(c) Notice of overdue payment.
(d) Request for cancellation.
(e) Notice to insurer that premium is financed under premium service agreement.
(f) Such other forms, other than advertising material and rate charts, as the licensee prepares or uses for delivery or mailing to insureds, insurers or insurance agents. This section does not apply to individual correspondence.
14. Forms filed with the Commission for approval shall be so filed in duplicate, one copy of which will be returned to the licensee endorsed with the approval or disapproval of the Commissioner.
15. No form, the filing of which is required hereunder, shall be used prior to its approval, and use of any such form which has not been approved, or which has been disapproved, shall constitute grounds for the revocation, suspension or refusal of renewal of the license or for the imposition of such penalty in lieu thereof as the Commissioner deems appropriate.
16. The records of the licensee relating to its business as a premium service company shall be kept entirely separate and distinct from records of any other business conducted by the licensee, and all items of accounts, whether real or nominal, control or subsidiary, in connection with its premium service company business shall be maintained separately and distinctly from accounts reflecting other business conducted by the licensee. Records and accounts with respect to premium service company business done in this State need not be maintained separately and distinctly from records of such business done in other states. Upon violation of this provision, the Commissioner may suspend the license of the licensee until such time as he has become satisfied, as a result of examination at the expense of the licensee, that proper separation and distinction of accounts has been made and will be maintained.
17. To comply with § 38-39-50(b), every licensee shall maintain on file each premium service agreement, or a duplicate original or photocopy thereof, and every original document relating thereto, all of which must bear an identifying account number.
Every such licensee shall maintain records which will readily disclose, as to each premium service agreement:
(a) Date of contract or acquisition.
(b) Name of the insured.
(c) Account number.
(d) Name of agent or producer of record.
(e) Principal balance at inception.
(f) Amount of service charge.
(g) Time balance.
(h) Initial charge.
(i) Number, interval and amount of payments.
(j) Exact disbursement of proceeds including the date, amount and purpose of all payments and names of all persons to whom any part of proceeds was paid, credited or allocated.
(k) Date of notice to insured that cancellation would be requested.
(l) Date of request for cancellation to insurer and requested cancellation date.
(m) Amount of return premium and its disposition.
18. The service charge in connection with a premium service agreement shall be applied only to the difference between the down payment and the total premium and shall not apply as to the initial charge which may be added only after computation of the service charge.
19. No notice of intent to request cancellation shall be given in advance of an actual default on the premium service agreement. Upon the occurrence of such default, the licensee may notify the insured by mail of its intention to request cancellation of the policies which are the subject of the agreement not less than 10 days after the date of mailing unless all payments then in default are received before the end of such 10 day period.
20. Not less than 5 days after the expiration of such period, if the default has not been cured, the licensee may mail a request for cancellation to the insurer, which request shall be accompanied by the proffer of the original or a photocopy of its authorization if such original or photocopy was not earlier furnished to the insurer, in which event reference may be made thereto.
The licensee shall mail a copy of the request for cancellation to the insured, and with respect to a policy of automobile liability insurance, such copy shall expressly and prominently inform the insured of his statutory duty to replace such insurance on or before the date of cancellation.
21. Every insurer, upon receipt of such request for cancellation, shall, subject to Section 22 hereof, cancel such contract as of the date requested and shall within a reasonable time, not more than 30 days, cause the gross return premium, if any, to be computed and paid or credited to, or for, the account of the licensee. A copy of the statement relating to such return premiums shall be furnished by the insurer to the insured.
22. Where a valid statutory, regulatory or contractual provision requires that notice be given a particular period of time before cancellation shall become effective, the insurer shall not be required to effect cancellation prior to the elapse of the period of time prescribed by such statute, regulation or contract; the running of such time shall commence the second business day following receipt by the insurer of the request for cancellation.
23. Any excess of return premium over the amount to which the licensee is properly entitled under the premium service agreement shall be held and accounted for by the licensee in its fiduciary capacity and shall be promptly paid, and in no event more than 30 days after its receipt, to the insured.
Failure so to pay such funds to insureds or the commingling of such fiduciary funds with other funds of the licensee for longer than 30 days shall constitute sufficient grounds for the revocation, suspension or refusal of renewal of the license or the imposition of such lesser penalty as the Commissioner may deem appropriate.
24. This Regulation applies to a life insurance contract assigned to a licensee in connection with a premium service agreement and surrendered by such licensee for return by the insurer of any cash surrender value to the licensee; provided, however, that with respect to a life insurance contract, the licensee may retain, and the insurer may require surrender of, the original insurance contract.
25. In the event of cancellation of a premium service agreement by the insured, refund of the unearned service charge shall be in accordance with the customary short rate tables as used by insurers, copies of which are attached to and form a part of this Regulation.
26. No licensee shall sell or offer for sale, in connection with a premium service agreement or an application or request for such agreement, any insurance, commodity, or service of whatsoever nature as an inducement, condition, or consideration for entering into any such agreement.
The violation of this section shall constitute sufficient grounds for the revocation, suspension or refusal to renew the license.
27. No premium service agreement shall include, nor relate to, any subject other than the financing of premium with respect to the specific insurance policy or policies identified therein; and every agreement, undertaking or understanding relating to, affecting, or touching upon such premium service agreement shall be expressly incorporated therein so as to become a part thereof.
28. Each licensee shall furnish to the Commissioner, not later than March 1 of each year, on forms prescribed by him, an Annual Report on all business conducted under the license.
A special report shall be filed with the Commissioner each 6 months setting forth for each month of that period the following with totals:
(a) Number of premium service agreements written.
(b) Total premiums thereunder.
(c) Principal balances thereunder.
(d) Total service and initial charges.
(e) Number of policies cancelled pursuant to request.
29. No licensee shall accept or act pursuant to a premium service agreement which is not complete, nor shall any licensee or other person acting in its behalf complete, alter, vary or sign any such agreement except pursuant to the express, written instructions of the insured, a copy of which shall be retained and kept on file.
30. No premium service company, nor any employee, agent, or other person, acting in its behalf, shall give or offer to give any monies, supplies or services of whatsoever nature to any agent, producer of record or any other person as an inducement to such agent, producer or person to place premium service agreements with such premium service company; nor shall any such premium service company make or offer any rebate or other advantage or benefit to any borrower as an inducement to the effecting of a premium service agreement. Nothing herein shall preclude a premium service company from distributing advertising pieces or gifts containing the name and address of such premium service company and costing not more than one dollar.
31. Manifestly, in enacting the Premium Service Company Act of 1967, the General Assembly was responding to a vital public need, particularly with respect to the financing of premiums referable to automobile insurance, generally, and assigned risks, in particular. The legislation discloses a clear legislative design to erect safeguards around the financing of premiums for the protection not only of the insuring public but of the insurers themselves. In view of the General Assembly's obvious recognition of the public interest in connection with the subject of the financing of premiums, serious questions must arise as to whether any insurer which refuses recognition to premium service arrangements complying with the Act is serving the public trust implicit in its being licensed by South Carolina.
One Month Short Rate Table