HJ196: Insurance agents; SCC's Bureau of Insurance to collect certain demographic & other information.


HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 196
AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE
(Proposed by the House Committee on Rules
on February 5, 2008)
(Patron Prior to Substitute—Delegate Hargrove)
Requesting the Bureau of Insurance within the State Corporation Commission to collect certain demographic and other information from agent licensing examination candidates. Report.

WHEREAS, the availability of appropriate insurance products is vital to the personal and financial well-being of the citizens of the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, there is a shortage of qualified insurance agents in the Commonwealth; however, the Bureau of Insurance does not know the number of applicants who enroll in or complete licensing examination preparatory courses, nor does it possess applicant demographic data or information concerning the preparation level of applicants for licensure; and

WHEREAS, the Bureau of Insurance contracts with a professional testing organization to create and administer the licensing examination, which also has the ability to collect various demographic and other information as part of the examination registration process; and

WHEREAS, the collection of such information will help identify needed improvements, if any, to the pre-licensing preparation and the licensing examination processes; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the Bureau of Insurance within the State Corporation Commission be requested to collect certain demographic and other information from agent licensing examination candidates.

In collecting the data and information, the Bureau of Insurance is requested to require its contracted insurance license examination provider to obtain from each registrant for the licensing examination (i) the candidate’s race or ethnicity, gender, native language, and highest level of education completed, and (ii) whether the candidate completed a licensing examination preparatory course, and the provider of such course.

In addition, in the course of the data collection, the Bureau of Insurance is also requested to require its contracted insurance license examination provider to prominently display the following statements: (i) requested information concerning the applicant’s pre-licensing study course is required for the examination; (ii) the applicant's disclosure of any demographic information is voluntary and refusal to disclose such information will not affect the results of the applicant's examination; and (iii) the applicant's demographic information will be used only for statistical reporting purposes and that such information shall be maintained separately from the applicant's personally identifiable information.

Further, the Bureau of Insurance is requested to examine and analyze the data collected from July 1, 2008, through September 30, 2008, for each classification of licensing examination by age; gender; race or ethnicity; race or ethnicity with gender; native language; level of education; completion of a licensing examination preparatory course; total number of examinees; percentage and number of examinees who passed the examination on their initial attempt; the mean scaled scores on the examination; standard deviation of scaled scores on the examination; correct-answer rates and correlations; and the pass ratio for each licensing examination preparatory course provider. The combined total for each of the aforementioned categories for which data must be collected shall also be tabulated and provided. To facilitate public access to such data and information, the Bureau of Insurance is requested to require its contracted insurance license examination provider to continue to collect and report all such information to the Bureau of Insurance for a period of two years commencing July 1, 2008, and to post the information biannually on its homepage through the website of the State Corporation Commission.

Technical assistance shall be provided to the Bureau of Insurance by the contracted insurance license examination provider and licensing examination preparatory course providers. All agencies of the Commonwealth shall provide assistance to the Bureau of Insurance in collecting the information, upon request.

The Bureau of Insurance, through the State Corporation Commission, shall submit to the Division of Legislative Automated Systems an executive summary and the data and information collected on certain demographic and other information from agent licensing examination candidates no later than the first day of the 2009 Regular Session of the General Assembly. The executive summary shall be submitted for publication as a report document as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports and shall be posted on the General Assembly's website.

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 196
Offered January 9, 2008
Requesting the Bureau of Insurance within the State Corporation Commission to study the qualifications and characteristics of applicants for licensure as insurance agents in the Commonwealth. Report.
Patron-- Hargrove

Committee Referral Pending

WHEREAS, the availability of appropriate insurance products is vital to the personal and financial well-being of the citizens of the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, there is a shortage of qualified insurance agents in the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, the preparation level of applicants for licensure is currently unknown to the State Corporation Commission's Bureau of Insurance; and

WHEREAS, demographic data regarding applicants for licensure is currently unavailable to the Bureau of Insurance; and

WHEREAS, the efficacy of licensing examination preparatory courses is unknown to the Bureau of Insurance; and

WHEREAS, the Bureau of Insurance currently does not know the number of applicants who enroll in or complete licensing examination preparatory courses; and

WHEREAS, the Bureau of Insurance contracts with a professional testing organization to create and administer licensing examinations; and

WHEREAS, the professional testing organization is capable of collecting various demographic and other data as part of the examination registration process; and

WHEREAS, the collection of such information will assist the Bureau of Insurance in analyzing and determining the modifications, if any, that may need to be made to the prelicensing preparation process or the licensing examination process; and

WHEREAS, such information and analysis by the Bureau of Insurance, along with any recommendations that may arise as a result thereof, have the potential to increase the number of qualified insurance agent licensees providing appropriate insurance advice and products for the benefit of the residents of the Commonwealth; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the Bureau of Insurance within the State Corporation Commission be requested to study the qualifications and characteristics of applicants for licensure as insurance agents in the Commonwealth.

In conducting its study, the Bureau of Insurance shall:

1. Require its contracted insurance license examination provider to obtain from each registrant for a licensing examination the following information: (i) gender (male or female); (ii) race or ethnicity (African-American, Caucasian, Native American, Asian, Hispanic or Other); (iii) native language; (iv) highest level of education completed (years of high school or higher education); and (v) whether the candidate completed a licensing examination preparatory course, and if so, the name of the provider of such course.

2. Require its contracted insurance license examination provider, in requesting the aforesaid information, to include a prominent statement that the applicant's disclosure of any demographic information is voluntary and the applicant's refusal to disclose such information shall not affect the results of the applicant's examination. The application shall also state that the applicant's demographic information shall be used only for statistical analysis and shall be maintained separately from the applicant's personally identifiable information.

3. Obtain and analyze information as described below, commencing July 1, 2008. For data collected from July 1, 2008, through September 30, 2008, the Bureau of Insurance shall report its findings no later than October 15, 2008. Such report shall summarize the statistical information collected, and shall include separate statistical information relating to each classification of licensing examination administered during the preceding calendar quarter. The report for each classification of licensing examination shall include the following information for all examinations combined, as well as separately by age range, gender, race or ethnicity, race or ethnicity with gender, native language, and education level, and whether candidates completed a licensing examination preparatory course: (i) the total number of examinees; (ii) the percentage and number of examinees who passed the examination on their initial attempt; (iii) the mean scaled scores on the examination; (iv) standard deviation of scaled scores on the examination; and (v) correct-answer rates and correlations. Further, such report shall include a list of all licensing examination preparatory course providers that were revealed in response to questions asked as part of the examination application process, and shall include a statistical breakdown of the pass ratio for each course provider as determined by the number of candidates who passed the examination divided by the number of candidates who registered for the examination. The Bureau of Insurance may request and obtain any other data that it deems appropriate to conduct this study, and may include any such additional data and analysis in its report. The report shall include any recommendations from the Bureau of Insurance or its contracted insurance license examination provider that, in the opinion of the Bureau of Insurance, would increase the number of qualified candidates for licensure in Virginia, without compromising the qualifications of candidates for licensure.

The Bureau of Insurance shall require the contracted insurance license examination provider to continue to collect, analyze, and report all such information to the Bureau of Insurance for a period of two years commencing July 1, 2008, or until the General Assembly determines that the need for collection of such data no longer exists, whichever occurs first.

All agencies of the Commonwealth shall provide assistance to the Bureau of Insurance for this study, upon request.

The Bureau of Insurance shall submit to the General Assembly an executive summary and a report of its findings and recommendations no later than October 15, 2008. Copies of the report shall be provided to the chairmen of the House and Senate Committees on Commerce and Labor. The executive summary and report shall be submitted as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and reports and shall be posted on the General Assembly's website.