The Ohio Department of Insurance issued a bulletin providing guidance to both insurers and agents who wish to give promotional and advertising gifts to potential insureds in exchange for the opportunity to market insurance products. Ohio generally prohibits the giving of something of value as an inducement to purchase insurance. Specifically, Ohio Revised Code Section 3911.20 prohibits life insurers and their agents from giving any rebate of premium payable on the policy or any valuable consideration or inducement as an inducement to purchase insurance. Ohio Revised Code Section 3933.01 imposes an identical restriction on all other non-life insurers.

Bulletin 2009-13 establishes a safe harbor for companies and agents: promotional and advertising items worth a fair market value of $50 or less are not considered valuable consideration and, as a result, are not impermissible.

This bulletin is available at: http://www.insurance.ohio.gov/Legal/Bulletins/Pages/BulletinIndex.aspx