January 29, 2018
Former insurance producer Matthew Gingerich, 37, of Centralia, pleaded not guilty to first-degree theft in Lewis County Superior Court on Jan. 26. He is accused of misappropriating more than $30,000 in consumers’ premium payments. The court set a trial date of April 15.
The charges were filed after an investigation by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU). Kreidler revoked Gingerich’s insurance producer license in February 2016.
Gingerich was fired from employment with American Family Insurance after an audit revealed that he misappropriated some customers’ premium payments and concealed them by placing holds on the accounts so the customers would not receive notices that their policies were canceled for nonpayment. American Family was able to correct the policies of all but one affected consumer, whom they could not identify.
Kreidler’s CIU investigates insurance fraud and works with the state Attorney General’s Office and local prosecutors on criminal cases. Insurance fraud costs the average family $400 to $700 per year in increased premiums. Insurance companies are required by law to report fraud to the Commissioner. Consumers can report suspected insurance fraud on the Insurance Commissioner’s website.