OLYMPIA, WA – Last month, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler disciplined and issued fines totaling $145,200 against insurance companies, agents and brokers who violated state insurance regulations.
Sears Roebuck and Co., Hoffman Estates, Ill.; fined $100,000
Sears was a registered service contract provider in Washington state and was legally selling warranties to consumers. The insurance commissioner suspended the company’s registration in March 2016 because it didn’t fulfill its financial responsibility requirements according to state law. Effectively, the company’s net worth was too low to make the business financially viable. The commissioner issued the fine because the company waited 15 months to disclose its financial difficulty, a violation of state law. During the 15-month period, Sears sold 4,171 jewelry service contracts and 2,836 service agreements to Washington consumers. The company has since transferred the service contracts to its financially solvent company, Sears Protection Co., which is authorized to sell service contracts in Washington state.
Twin City Fire Insurance Co., Indianapolis; fined $30,000
A consumer filed a complaint with the insurance commissioner when the company failed to bill the consumer for 2015-16, and then asked for the full year’s payment at once. The insurance commissioner asked the company to review its renewals, and the company determined it failed to provide renewal notifications of 92 policies on time. State law requires insurance companies to renew policies and notify consumers in a timely manner about their policy renewals and any premium changes.
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, Seattle; fined $2,500
The company was late in filing several health insurance rates for 2016.
Berkley Insurance Co., Wilmington, Del.; fined $4,000
The company allowed 145 insurance producers’ appointments to lapse and allowed 29 of the producers to conduct 143 transactions totaling more than $525,108 in premiums. State law requires insurers to file a notice and pay a fee to the insurance commissioner for each licensed producer who will act as an agent of an insurer.
Gadi Binness, Montclair, N.J.; fined $250
Binness failed to report an administrative action against her by the state of Virginia within 30 days, as required by state law.
Moving Insurance LLC, Upper Montclair, N.J.; fined $250
The company, a licensed insurance producer, failed to report an administrative action against it by the state of Virginia within 30 days, as required by state law.
Lisa Dobrus, Reno, Nev.; ordered to cease and desist
The insurance commissioner ordered Dobrus to cease and desist from attempting to sell, solicit, or negotiate insurance in Washington without a license. Dobrus attempted to sell an insurance policy to a law firm without being a licensed insurance producer.
Far East Broadcasting Co., La Mirada, Calif.; fined $500
The company,a registered charitable gift organization, failed to file its annual report by the Aug. 29 deadline.
Ralph Villavicencio, Kirkland, Wash.; fined $250
Villavicencio, a licensed insurance producer, failed to report an administrative action against him by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority within 30 days, as required by law.
Nicholas Wallace, Spokane, Wash.; fined $250
Wallace, a licensed insurance producer, failed to disclose a felony conviction on his Washington state insurance producer license application. His application was processed after he paid the fine, and he’s currently licensed.
Ira Paul Green, Plano, Texas; probationary license issued
Green, a licensed insurance producer, applied for a nonresident insurance producer license in Washington state and disclosed that he is repaying unpaid child support and back taxes. The insurance commissioner issued a probationary license until his taxes and child support are paid in full.
Lighthouse Estimating and Ronald Shugar, Freeland, Wash.; ordered to cease and desist
Lighthouse Estimating and Shugar acted as an adjuster without having an adjuster’s license. The insurance commissioner ordered both to cease and desist from acting as an adjuster in Washington state, effective immediately.
Albert Sterling Groff, Reading, Penn.; license revoked
A Washington state consumer purchased what she thought was a long-term health plan and a dental plan that she could use in Washington and also while traveling. She later found out the policies were short-term and she would not be able to use them while she was traveling. Groff, a licensed insurance producer, signed the policies, which were not authorized to be sold in Washington state. The insurance commissioner revoked his license and he is no longer allowed to sell insurance in Washington state.
Stacey Scott, Seattle; fined $500
State Farm notified the insurance commissioner that it terminated Scott’s appointment after she took money from an agency’s petty cash drawer on two occasions. Scott agrees to pay the fine and follow state insurance laws and rules to avoid revocation of her insurance producer license.
Michael Goldberg, Austin, Texas; fined $250
Goldberg, a licensed insurance producer, failed to report an administrative action against him by the state of Texas within 30 days, as required by state law.
David Humphreys, Zillah, Wash.; fined $750
Amber Lynn Humphreys, Zillah, Wash.; fined $500
David and Amber Lynn Humphreys, a married couple, are licensed insurance producers and are both appointed to sell life insurance through Forethought Insurance. David sold a life insurance policy to a Washington consumer while his appointment with the insurer was suspended; his wife signed the policy as the insurance producer even though she never spoke to the consumer. Both producers’ actions violated state insurance laws.
Clifton Matthews, Puyallup, Wash.; fined $500
Matthews, a licensed insurance producer, solicited and accepted a $25,000 loan from a client, a violation of state insurance laws.
Milan Uzelac, San Diego; license revoked
Uzelac sold three life insurance policies to two Washington consumers prior to obtaining an insurance producer license. Later, he falsified the documents for two of the policies to make it look like he sold them in Oklahoma instead in Washington. He is no longer allowed to sell insurance in Washington state.
American Financial Associates, Inc., Easton, Wash.; fined $250
American Financial Associates, a licensed insurance producer, failed to report an administrative action against the agency by the state of Oklahoma within 30 days, as required by state law. The agency didn’t respond to the insurance commissioner’s inquiries about the matter, so its license was revoked in August 2017. Later, the agency’s representative contacted the insurance commissioner to ask about getting its license reinstated. The agency agrees to pay a $250 fine and to follow state insurance laws to keep its insurance producer license.
BC Ziegler and Co., Waukesha, Wis.; fined $250
The insurance agency failed to report an administrative action against it by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority within 30 days, as required by state law.
Insurance Pro Agencies, Inc., Orland Park, Ill.; fined $250
The insurance agency failed to report an administrative action against it by the state of Illinois within 30 days, as required by state law.
Pamela Roberson, Hutto, Texas; fined $500
Roberson, a licensed insurance producer, failed to report an administrative action against her by the state of Louisiana within 30 days, as required by state law. She also failed to disclose a misdemeanor conviction on her 2016 insurance producer license application.
Abu Ameena Ward, Lakewood, Wash.; license revoked
Ward, a licensed insurance producer, was terminated from Farmers Insurance for writing 51 fraudulent renter’s insurance policies that cost the insurer $32,904. Farmers referred the case to the insurance commissioner, and Ward is no longer allowed to sell insurance in Washington state.
EDisability LLC, San Diego; fined $250
The insurance agency failed to report an administrative action against it by the state of California within 30 days, as required by state law.
World Financial Group Insurance Agency, Oak Harbor, Wash.; fined $400
The agency failed to get licenses for two of its Bellevue office locations.
Northwest Title, Bellevue, Wash.; fined $1,000
The title company co-sponsored and publicized an event with Keller Williams Realty. Title companies are not allowed to co-sponsor events with companies that produce business for them.
Mark Vuchetich, Walla Walla, Wash.; fined $500
A consumer filed a complaint with the insurance commissioner alleging that Vuchetich, a licensed insurance producer, sold her a universal life policy she did not need. The commissioner’s investigation determined that Vuchetich didn’t adequately review the consumer’s annual statement to determine the end date of the policy, thereby unintentionally misrepresenting the consumer’s policy and the benefits or advantages to the consumer.
Tasha Lynn McCoy, Selah, Wash.; fined $500
McCoy, a licensed insurance producer, borrowed $2,000 from a friend who was a client. McCoy wrote a renter’s insurance policy for another consumer without the person’s knowledge or consent.
Kaiser Permanente, Portland, Ore.; fined $800
The continuing education provider was fined for failing to use a proper attendance register, failing to submit an attendance roster within 10 days of course completion and submitting a roster that did not meet the completion requirements.