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TITLE 28INSURANCE
PART 1TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE
CHAPTER 5PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE
SUBCHAPTER DFIRE AND ALLIED LINES INSURANCE
DIVISION 9VOLUNTARY INSPECTION PROGRAM PLAN OF OPERATION
RULE §5.3800Voluntary Inspection Program Plan of Operation
Historical Texas Register

      (vi) Licensed Texas Professional Engineers.

    (B) Certification procedures shall be as follows:

      (i) Each applicant for a certification to act as a qualified inspector for the Voluntary Inspection Program shall file with the Department a completed Application for Residential Property Inspector Licensing/Certification (Form VIP-3) accompanied by such documents and attachments necessary to support the application;

      (ii) No certification shall be approved by the Department until a completed Application for Residential Property Inspector Licensing/Certification (Form VIP-3) has been filed with the Department;

      (iii) Upon review and approval of each completed application, a certification will be issued by the Department to the applicant;

      (iv) If an applicant is disapproved the Department shall issue to the applicant a letter of disapproval specifying the reasons for such disapproval; and

      (v) Certification remains valid so long as the applicant remains qualified under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.

  (2) Licensing.

    (A) The following individuals may be licensed by the Department as qualified inspectors under this program.

      (i) Designated employees or agents of a county or municipality which elects to establish a voluntary inspection program for the inspection of residential property located within the territorial limits of a county or municipality and having at least one year of experience actively performing field inspections of residential property and not licensed as specified in paragraph (1)(A) of this subsection;

      (ii) Individuals who complete at least 60 college semester hours of Engineering, Safety, or related fields and one year experience of actively performing inspections of real property for the purpose of rating, underwriting, building code compliance or real estate appraisals;

      (iii) Individuals who have two years experience actively performing inspections of real property for the purpose of rating, underwriting, building code compliance or real estate appraisals; or

      (iv) Individuals who are employed by an entity that is responsible for and specializes in rating, underwriting, building code compliance or real estate appraisal and who have been actively performing inspections of real property for those purposes for a minimum of one year.

    (B) Licensing procedures shall be as follows:

      (i) Each applicant for a license to act as a qualified inspector for the Voluntary Inspection Program shall file with the Department a completed Application For Residential Property Inspector License/Certification (Form VIP-3) accompanied by such documents and attachments necessary to support the application;

      (ii) No license shall be approved by the Department until a completed Application for Residential Property Inspector Licensing/Certification (Form VIP-3) has been filed with the Department;

      (iii) Upon review and approval of each completed application a license will be issued by the Department to the applicant; and

      (iv) If an applicant is disapproved the Department shall issue to the applicant a letter of disapproval specifying the reasons for the disapproval.

  (3) Expiration and Renewal of Certification or License.

    (A) Each license or certification issued to an inspector under the Voluntary Inspection Program shall expire two years following the date of issue unless it is suspended or revoked by the Commissioner prior to this expiration date.

    (B) A person may renew an unexpired license or certification by filing a Renewal Application (Form VIP-6) with the Department.

    (C) If a person's license or certification has been expired for 90 days or less, the person may renew the license or certification by filing a Renewal Application (Form VIP-6) with the Department.

    (D) If a person's license or certification has been expired for longer than 90 days, the person may not renew the license. The person may obtain a new license or certification by complying with the requirements and procedures, as outlined in subsection (i), for obtaining an original license or certification.

    (E) At least 30 days before the expiration of a person's license or certification, the Department shall send written notice of the impending expiration to the person at the person's last known address according to the records of the Department.

    (F) Each inspector shall at all times keep the Department informed of the inspector's current address. Such address shall be included in each original application and renewal application. In the absence of the submission of a specific written request to change that address, which must be separate from any other submission, the inspector's current address is presumed to be the address on the most recent renewal or original application form, whichever is latest. Such address shall be considered the inspector's last known address for the purposes of notice to the inspector by the Department. Any request for a change of address shall be addressed to the Inspections and Fire Safety Section of the Property and Casualty Program, Texas Department of Insurance, 333 Guadalupe, P.O. Box 149104, Austin, Texas 78714-9104.

  (4) Persons Not Eligible for Certification or Licensing. The following individuals may not be certified or licensed as qualified inspectors under this program.

    (A) Individuals employed by an insurance company except local recording agents, solicitors or insurance adjusters;

    (B) Individuals employed by the Department; or

    (C) Individuals whose qualifying license under paragraph (1)(A) of this subsection has been revoked or suspended.

  (5) Persons Authorized To Perform Inspections. An inspection of residential property for the purposes of determining property condition insurability pursuant to Article 5.33B, Insurance Code, and this plan of operation shall only be performed by an individual licensed or certified by the Department as a qualified inspector in accordance with this subsection.

(j) Denial, Suspension, Cancellation or Revocation of an Inspector's Certification or License.

  (1) The Commissioner may discipline a licensee or certificate holder or deny an application for inspector's license or certification if the Commissioner finds that the licensee or applicant:

    (A) Has knowingly, willfully, fraudulently, or with gross negligence, signed or cause to be prepared an inspection report or issued a Certificate of Insurability that contains a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;

    (B) Has willfully violated any provision of the insurance laws of this State;

    (C) Has intentionally made a material misstatement in the application for such license or certification;

    (D) Has obtained, or attempted to obtain, such license or certification by fraud or misrepresentation;

    (E) Has been guilty of fraudulent or dishonest acts; or

    (F) Is convicted of a felony.

  (2) After notice and opportunity for a hearing, the Commissioner may cancel or revoke any license or certification issued under this section if the holder or possessor of the license or certification is found to be in violation of, or to have failed to comply with, any provisions of this section or any other rule or regulation of the Department or any specific provision of the Texas Insurance Code. In lieu of cancellation or revocation, the Commissioner, upon determination from the facts that it would be fair, reasonable or equitable, may order one or more of the sanctions specified in subparagraphs (A) - (D) of this paragraph.

    (A) The Commissioner may order the suspension of the license or certification for a specific period, not to exceed one year.

    (B) The Commissioner may issue an order directing the holder or possessor of the license or certification to cease and desist from the specified activity determined to be in violation of any provisions of this section or any rule or regulation of the Department or any specific provision of the Texas Insurance Code.

    (C) The Commissioner may issue an order directing the holder or possessor of the certification or license to pay an administrative penalty in accordance with Chapter 84 of the Insurance Code.

    (D) The Commissioner may order any other statutory sanction that may be enacted pursuant to the Insurance Code, Article 5.33B.

  (3) If it is found after notice and hearing that any person approved and appointed by the Commissioner to conduct inspections pursuant to this section and Article 5.33B of the Insurance Code has failed to comply with an order lawfully issued by the Commissioner pursuant to this section or Article 5.33B of the Insurance Code, the Commissioner shall, unless the Commissioner's order is lawfully stayed, cancel the license or certification.

  (4) The Commissioner may informally dispose of any matter under this subsection by consent order or default.

(k) Complaint Procedures.

  (1) The Department shall have the responsibility for handling and processing all complaints relating to property inspections conducted under the Voluntary Inspection Program that have not been resolved within 30 days after receipt by the qualified inspector.

  (2) All complaints as specified in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be forwarded by the qualified inspector to the Department's Inspections and Fire Safety Section. The Inspections and Fire Safety Section shall immediately notify the complainant that the complaint has been forwarded to the Department's Inspections and Fire Safety Section.

  (3) All forwarded complaints and all complaints submitted directly to the Department shall be assigned to and handled by the Department's Inspections and Fire Safety Section.

  (4) The qualified inspector shall provide assistance in handling complaints as requested by the Department's Inspections and Fire Safety Section.

  (5) Until final disposition of any complaint that is forwarded to the Department by a qualified inspector or that is submitted directly to the Department, the complainant shall be notified by the Department's Inspections and Fire Safety Section of the status of the complaint at 30-day intervals.

  (6) Any affected insured, any affected insurer, or any affected qualified inspector may appeal the Inspections and Fire Safety Section staff disposition of any complaint to the Commissioner within 30 days after such disposition.

(l) Forms. The Department adopts by reference the Voluntary Inspection Program forms. Specimen copies of these forms are available from the Inspections and Fire Safety Section of the Property and Casualty Program, Texas Department of Insurance, 333 Guadalupe Street, P.O. Box 149104, Austin, Texas 78714-9104. The forms are more specifically identified as follows:

  (1) Form VIP-1, Certificate of Insurability.

  (2) Form VIP-2, Residential Property Condition Evaluation Report.

  (3) Form VIP-3, Application for Residential Property Inspector License/Certification.

  (4) Form VIP-4, License.

  (5) Form VIP-5, Certificate.

  (6) Form VIP-6, Renewal Application.


Source Note: The provisions of this §5.3800 adopted to be effective October 30, 1996, 21 TexReg 10302; amended to be effective November 14, 2006, 31 TexReg 9292

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