November 19, 2015
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler disciplined and issued fines in October totaling $397,000 against insurance companies, agents and brokers who violated state insurance regulations.
For more information, search the order number on the Commissioner’s online consumer tool.
AGCS Marine Insurance Co., Seattle; fined $300,000, order 15-0049
The company allowed its agents to issue 6,600 policies without being appointed with the company. It also issued 44 moving insurance certificates that referenced a policy form that was not filed with or approved by the Insurance Commissioner.
The Insurance Commissioner requested information from both companies regarding the financial impact of new Hepatitis C drug therapy costs, which they did not provide in a complete manner, as required under state insurance regulations. The Insurance Commissioner fined the companies $10,000 each, with $5,000 suspended on the condition that they do not violate the same regulations again within two years.
Acme Fuel Co., Cincinnati; fined $750, order 15-0245
Acme sells service contracts for home heating fuel. It filed its required 2014 annual report to the Insurance Commissioner more than two weeks late. The Insurance Commissioner suspended the fine on the condition that it does not violate the same rules again within two years.
Capitol Indemnity Corp., Middleton, Wisc.; fined $6,000, order 15-0200
The insurance company canceled its appointment with a licensed producer who sold insurance policies to Washington consumers. It later canceled 64 policies that consumers purchased from the agent, citing “agent termination” as the reason. It is illegal in Washington state for insurance companies to cancel policies because they no longer have a relationship with the insurance producer who sold them. The Insurance Commissioner asked the company to contact the affected consumers and offer them 45 days to keep their policies or cancel them if they had already found different policies.
Digital Leash, dba Protect Cell, fined $55,000, order 15-0231
Digital Leash sold membership plans to Washington consumers that included cell phone warranties, considered insurance under Washington state law, without being a licensed insurance producer. In October 2014, the Insurance Commissioner issued an order to the company to cease and desist from selling insurance in Washington state. Since then, the company and the Insurance Commissioner have come to a settlement agreement that includes:
- The Insurance Commissioner will lift the cease and desist order no. 14-0204, issued in 2014.
- Digital Leash will pay $65,000 in unpaid premium taxes to the Insurance Commissioner. Premium taxes, which are charged at 2 percent of insurance premium sales, are deposited into the state’s general fund. The Insurance Commissioner will not charge interest or late fees on the premium tax amount owed.
- Digital Leash agrees to a fine of $55,000, with half of the amount suspended as long as the company does not commit any violations of the state insurance law that are the subject of the Consent Order for the next two years.
Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co., Hartford, Conn.; fined $15,000, order 15-0201
A consumer complained that the company did not send an auto insurance policy renewal notice, as required by state law. The Insurance Commissioner asked the company to review its records going back 24 months to determine if any other consumers had not received policy renewals. The company found 40 consumers who did not receive their renewal policy notices in a timely manner as required by state law.
Elizabeth Azmita, Gold Bar, Wash.; license revoked, order 15-0238
Azmita had a nonresident producer license because she reported that she lived in California. However, in 2013, she moved to Washington state and failed to report the move to the Insurance Commissioner. She has failed to respond to inquiries from the Insurance Commissioner regarding her license. She also refused to be interviewed in connection with misconduct where she misrepresented herself as an employee of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange and demanded information about consumers from a hospital.
Antonio R. Carrion III, Federal Way; license revoked, order 15-0237
Carrion falsified information on 25 consumers’ applications for auto insurance to get them a lower rate. He used his own renter insurance information on the applications without the consumers' knowledge or consent.
Tonda Lea Davis, Wilmington, Ohio; fined $250, order 15-0208
Davis’ license was revoked in 2008 when she failed to respond to a request from the Insurance Commissioner to update her fingerprints. In August 2015, she contacted the Insurance Commissioner, asking to reinstate her nonresident insurance producer license.
Houssein Y. Fouad, Ridgefield, Wash.; license revoked, order 15-0224
Fouad gave a false answer on his application for a resident producer license, when he stated he had never been involved in an administrative proceeding regarding a professional license.
Jeffrey B. Gordon, Tulalip; issued probationary license, order 15-0235
Gordon applied for a resident producer license and disclosed three gross misdemeanor convictions for theft and eight pending felony charges that will be dismissed after he completes a 12-month rehabilitation program. Gordon has been assigned a mentor, who is a licensed producer in good standing with the Insurance Commissioner, and will remain on probation for two years, during which time his license can be revoked for failing to meet any of the terms of his probation.
Joshua J. Racanelli, Brush Prairie, Wash.; license revoked, order 15-0230
Racanelli agreed to pay a $1,000 fine to the Insurance Commissioner in July 2015 as a result of a liability insurance transaction he made with a school district. He asked for one extension for paying the fine and then failed to respond or pay the fine.
Levi Lewis Watson, Bothell; license revoked, order 15-0218
Watson, a licensed insurance producer, collected nearly $12,000 in premiums from nine Washington consumers but didn’t forward the money to the insurance company, AmFam, to pay for the policies. In addition to keeping the money, his actions left consumers vulnerable to not having the insurance they bought. AmFam later corrected the consumers’ accounts.
About the Office
Kreidler’s office oversees Washington’s insurance industry to ensure that companies, agents and brokers follow state laws. Since 2001, Kreidler's office has assessed more than $19 million in fines, which are deposited in the state's general fund to pay for other state services.
For an insurance question or complaint, contact the Insurance Commissioner’s consumer advocates at 800-562-6900 or online.
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Release No. 15-48