News Release

New Jersey Department of
Banking and Insurance
Commissioner Holly C. Bakke

For Immediate Release: October 19, 2004

For Further Information:: Mary Cozzolino - (609) 292-5064

Consumer Alert: Know Your Agent or Broker

TRENTON - When in the market to purchase an insurance policy, finance a mortgage or buy a home, Banking and Insurance Commissioner Holly C. Bakke urges consumers to confirm that their agent or broker is properly licensed by the state. Consumers can easily make sure their agent or broker is operating in good standing through the Department's web site.

The Department requires licenses for any individual or business entity wishing to conduct business in New Jersey's insurance, banking or real estate industries.

"Consumers need to avoid unlicensed individuals operating illegally in New Jersey," Commissioner Bakke said. "Our goal is it protect and educate consumers. Access to licensee information is an excellent example of our commitment to ensure that consumers are working with qualified and licensed individuals when making their financial decisions and investments."

Through the Department's web site, consumers not only obtain banking, insurance and real estate licensee contact information, but search results may also include the license reference number, type of license issued and their status: active, inactive, revoked or suspended. At this time, the Banking Licensee Search option only lists actively licensed individuals and organizations, which does not include banking institutions such as national banks and credit unions. The licensee search web page, which also includes links to additional related databases, can be found at

In September, the Department posted another valuable consumer protection tool on its web site. Insurance company market conduct reports may be used to determine whether consumers are being treated fairly and to correct improper company business practices. Consumers are able to download and read a market conduct report, and check whether the Department issued recommendations, ordered a company to remediate a situation or business practice, or was fined.

"The Department is putting protection tools to work for consumers," Bakke said. "Providing licensee information online not only gives consumers an advantage when looking to do business with agents or brokers in the state, but also the knowledge that they are dealing with trained and qualified people."