Appeal from the Order of the Commissioner of Insurance in case of In Re: William E. Wallace, Order of February 5, 1974.
John Churchman Smith, with him Gibbons, Buckley & Smith, for appellant.
David M. Narrow, Assistant Attorney General, with him Barton Isenberg, Assistant Attorney General, and Israel Packel, Attorney General, for appellee.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 18 Pa. Commw. Page 268]
This is an appeal by William E. Wallace (Wallace), an insurance agent, from a $500 penalty payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and imposed by order of the Insurance Commissioner.*fn1
On April 16, 1973 and April 24, 1973, an investigator for the Insurance Department appeared, without prior notice, at Wallace's place of business and advised Wallace that he was on the premises for the purpose of making an investigation of the insurance agency. On his April 16, 1973 visit, the investigator exhibited to Wallace a letter from the Insurance Commissioner authorizing the investigation, and on April 24, 1973, this letter of authorization was presented to Wallace. On both occasions Wallace did not allow the investigation and denied the investigator access to the agency's books and papers unless his attorney were present. On both occasions Wallace endeavored to contact his attorney but was unsuccessful because the attorney was engaged in a courtroom trial on April 16, 1973 and was in Philadelphia on April 24, 1973.
As a result of these two refusals, a citation was issued to Wallace directing him to appear before a hearing examiner of the Insurance Department to determine whether he had violated Sections 213, 214, 216, and 639 of The Insurance Department Act of 1921 (Act), Act of May 17, 1921, P.L. 789, as amended, 40 P.S. §§ 51, 52,
[ 18 Pa. Commw. Page 26954]
, 279. Following a hearing, Wallace was adjudicated guilty of failing to grant free access to all the books and papers relating to his business with Safeguard Mutual Insurance Company and other insurance companies, contrary to the requirements of Section 216 of the Act.
Wallace has appealed this adjudication under the provisions of the Administrative Agency Law, Act of June 4, 1945, P.L. 1388, as amended, 71 P.S. § 1710.1 et seq. Section 44 of the Administrative Agency Law, 71 P.S. § 1710.44, directs us to hear appeals on the record made before the agency and further provides:
"After hearing, the court shall affirm the adjudication unless it shall find that the same . . . is not in accordance with law . . ., or that any finding of fact made by the agency and necessary to support its adjudication is not supported by substantial evidence. If the adjudication is not affirmed, the court may set aside or modify it, in whole, or in part, or may remand ...