License revocation of insurance agent: VANCE V. KENTUCKY OFFICE OF INSURANCE (COA 11/21/2007)

OCCUPATIONS & PROFESSIONS:  Solicitor insurance agent licensing revocation
DATE RENDERED: 12/14/2007

CA affirms TC decision to affirm the Kentucky Dept. of Insurance’s (now Kentucky Office of Insurance) denial of an agent’s license to appellant.

Appellant, a well-known political figure, was formerly licensed as an "insurance solicitor" from approximately 1976 through 1987. In 1987 he was convicted of federal firearms charges relating to the allegations that he provided a handgun which he knew would be used to kill a Florida prosecutor, and after the killing he helped the killers establish an alibi. In 1987 he sought renewal of his solicitor’s license which, at that time would only be refused for felonies involving "moral turpitude." With full knowledge of his convictions, the Department of Insurance renewed his license. Appellant applied for and received renewals every two years from 1987 through 1999.

In 1999, the Department filed a complaint to revoke appellant’s solicitor’s license based upon the 1987 convictions; appellant challenged the revocation. State law then abolished the solicitor’s license effective July 15, 2000. The law provided for solicitor’s license-holders to apply for an agent’s license through a grandfather clause with a deadline of July 14, 2000. Appellant failed to apply under this clause, applying on August 1, 2000. In 2001, a hearing officer upheld the denial; in 2006, appellant appealed to Franklin Circuit Court, which affirmed. This appeal followed, with appellant arguing that the statute of limitations and estoppel bar the denial.

CA holds that the SOL does not apply because 1) the solicitor’s licenses issues are moot; the real issue is with the denial of the August 1, 2000, agent’s license application; 2) since murder is the most serious of crimes, the Department did not act arbtitrarily in denying the agent’s license; and 3) since the SOL is not a bar to inititation of disciplinary proceedings against an attorney, the same rule holds for insurance agents. Also, equitable estoppel does not apply to the Commonwealth here.

By John Hamlet
Sitlinger, McGlincy, Theiler & Karem

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