COLUMBUS — Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor announced that a new law provides strengthened regulatory protocols and oversight in relation to insurance policy summary documents referred to as certificates of insurance. Businesses often share the document as proof that they have insurance.
House Bill 259 (Sears, Ryan) helps address issues with certificates of insurance that do not have the same information as their respective insurance policies, potentially impacting the underlying insurance coverage. The legislation was signed by Governor John Kasich on Dec. 22.
“A statutory adjustment was necessary to clarify the intent of certificates of insurance so they can no longer be perceived as having authority similar to an insurance policy,” said Taylor, also director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. “I appreciate the legislature – spearheaded by the efforts of Representatives Sears and Ryan – for recognizing the importance of making it understood that these two documents serve distinctly different purposes.”
The bill states that a certificate of insurance cannot alter the coverage of an insurance policy or confer any new rights to a covered individual beyond what is provided in the policy. If there is a conflict between a certificate of insurance and its respective policy, the policy ultimately prescribes the coverage provided.
The bill also prohibits any person from issuing or demanding the issuance of a certificate that includes false or misleading information.
The legislation has provided the Ohio Department of Insurance with stronger regulatory oversight over certificates of insurance, which are issued by insurance companies and agents. The insurance director can now levy fines and penalties to those who misuse them.