Madison, Wis. — The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance charged former insurance agent, Timothy S. Bratley, with a number of violations of insurance law all targeting elderly consumers. Bratley, also a licensed funeral director in northern Wisconsin, was accused of naming himself and his wife as the beneficiary of insurance policies that he sold to his elderly customers. In one instance, Bratley befriended an elderly widower. The man had no living children and was estranged from his family. Bratley and his brother sold the man a life insurance policy to fund future funeral and burial expenses. Six months later, Bratley had the man transfer ownership of his home and land to him via quit claim deed. That same day, the man signed a will naming Bratley the beneficiary of his estate and a power of attorney naming Bratley’s wife as the man’s general power of attorney. Five years later, Bratley sold the man an annuity and Bratley’s wife was named the primary beneficiary of that annuity.
“Consumers are entitled to trust that the individuals holding a Wisconsin insurance license are competent and trustworthy,” said Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) Chief Legal Counsel Richard Wicka. “I want to thank OCI Staff Attorney Lauren Van Buren and Advanced Insurance Examiner Renee Fabry for their diligent efforts protecting Wisconsinites from predatory actors.”
In the final decision issued on September 18, 2020, Commissioner Afable found that Bratley engaged in unfair trade practices and made a misrepresentation in an application for insurance. The final decision ordered Bratley to forfeit to the state twice his commission for one self-dealing transaction and pay $1,000 per violation of insurance law. The total financial penalty to Bratley is $37,375 to the State of Wisconsin. Commissioner Afable also ordered that Bratley’s insurance license be permanently revoked.