News release

Mike Kreidler
Washington state Insurance Commissioner

Contact Public Affairs: 360-725-7055

09/20/2012

Kreidler fines insurance agency $100,000

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A Redmond insurance agency has been fined for allowing unlicensed workers to sell insurance and for tacking on additional coverage that customers didn’t agree to.

Altig International Co. has agreed to pay a $100,000 fine. An additional $50,000 fine is suspended, provided that the company commits no additional violations for two years. The company’s insurance license has also been placed on probationary status during that time.

“These are significant violations that called for a significant fine,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “Agents can’t just add coverage that you’ve never agreed to.”

Between January and July 2011, legal investigators from Kreidler’s office found that 16 of the 20 call center representatives making insurance solicitation calls from the Redmond office were not licensed by the state.

Altig gave its callers a script and recorded their calls. Neither the scripts nor the calls reviewed by investigators asked whether the customers – who had existing policies -- agreed to the policy changes, which cost more.

Some of the customers contacted by state investigators said they only realized that the coverage had been added to their policies when they noticed an increase in their insurance bills.

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Release #12-42