A new rule adopted by the Ohio Department of Insurance declares that agents’ use of senior-specific certifications in the sale of life insurance, health insurance (including Medicare) and annuities amounts to unfair sales practices. According to department director Mary Jo Hudson, “We adopted this rule to help protect Ohio’s seniors from those agents who hold themselves out as specialists in the senior insurance market by using misleading, non-accredited certifications and designations to scam trusting seniors and make a quick sale.”

The new rule states that such practices are “unfair and deceptive” under sections 3901.19 to 3901.26 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) and are “dishonest” under division (B)(9) of section 3905.14 of the ORC. Use of the following certifications or designations is now prohibited: those that have not been earned, those that are nonexistent or self-conferred, those that include the term “senior”and those imply education or experience that has not been obtained. It is assumed that any certification or designation approved by the American National Standards Institute, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies or the U.S. Department of Education will be permitted for use.