September 23, 2014
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued fines in August totaling $27,450 against insurance companies, agents and brokers who violated state insurance regulations.
The names of the insurance producers are linked to the disciplinary order that contains more information about each action.
Agents and brokers
Bobbi’s Bail Bonds, Inc., and Bobbi Jo Van Alstyne, Seattle/Milton, WA; fined $500
Van Alstyne failed to pay a forfeited bond to Renton Municipal Court and failed to notify the Office of the Insurance Commissioner of action taken against her business license by the Department of Licensing, which she is required to do within 30 days.
Sandra Cooley Allen, Gig Harbor; fined $3,500 with $2,500 suspended; revocation rescinded and probationary license issued
Cooley Allen exercised her right to a hearing when the OIC revoked her license in November 2013 based on several complaints about her practices while selling life insurance. Cooley Allen and the OIC agreed to issue her a probationary license for 24 months as long as she has no more violations of the insurance code, works with a mentor assigned to her, pays the fine, completes 10 hours of ethics training and notifies the OIC if she leaves her current employment.
Leanne Crisp, Spokane; license revoked
Crisp worked for a Northwestern Mutual Life insurance producer who gave her access to his checking account to pay bills. Crisp admitted in December 2013 to embezzling more than $50,000 from the insurance producer’s account. She has since been fired from her job.
William F. Davis Insurance Agency, Inc. and Roger W. Davis, Renton; fined $500, issued probationary license
The OIC conducted a financial examination of the agency and found several violations of state insurance code, including failure to maintain records, failure to account for premiums and retain records of all transactions, failure to set up separate accounts for premiums and operating expenses. During a follow-up financial examination, the OIC determined the agency had failed to follow the OIC’s instructions for ensuring the agency complied with financial practices.
Victoria R. Holleman, Ellensburg; probationary license
Holleman applied for a resident insurance producer’s license in June 2014. She was sentenced for two counts of third-degree theft in Kittitas County Superior Court in June 2014 and was ordered to make payments toward outstanding debt starting in July 2014. Holleman’s insurance producer’s license will be on probationary status until her court debt is paid in full.
Sean S. Howell, Bellevue; license revoked
Allstate Insurance, Howell’s employer, terminated his employment after discovering he had written seven life insurance applications for himself in order to receive the commission on them. He did not follow through on completing six of the seven applications and Allstate subsequently took back the commissions. However, Howell had access to the six commissions totaling more than $308,000 for up to 45 days. Howell falsified information on some of the applications, such as stating he was older or a smoker, in order to increase the dollar amount of the policies.
Kara M. Russell, Orting; license revoked
One of Russell’s clients complained to the OIC about a policy on a house the client owned and was renting to someone else. The consumer requested a dwelling landlord policy and Russell repeatedly told the consumer the house was properly and adequately covered. However, the consumer found out during a refinance of the property that Russell had never secured the policy on the house and the mortgage company had subsequently obtained a forced-place policy that cost more than four times the amount of the policy the consumer requested. The insurance company has since terminated its appointments with Russell’s agency, the Todd D. Russell Insurance Agency. Russell on several occasions provided misleading information to the consumer and to the OIC and has also repeatedly failed to respond to inquiries from both parties.
Nathan R. Trodahl, DuPont; fined $750
Trodahl misrepresented a client’s height and weight on a life insurance application in order to get a lower premium for the client.
Careington International Corp., Frisco, TX; fined $20,000
Careington is licensed to market discount insurance plans in Washington. When it was originally licensed in 2012, it notified the OIC of two marketers it had contracted with and renewed its license twice with that information. In its last renewal, the OIC found the company had 12 additional contracted marketers it had not disclosed, in violation of state law. The 12 marketers had sold 332 discount plan memberships in Washington worth $19,457.
Group Health Options, Inc., Seattle; fined $2,000
Group Health denied a consumer an appeal through an independent review organization (IRO). The consumer’s complaint had to do with Group Health’s determination that some medical tests are diagnostic and therefore subject to cost-sharing, rather than routine preventive services, which are not subject to cost-sharing. Group Health later identified eight more Washington consumers who had been eligible for but denied an IRO appeal. Group Health refunded the out-of-pocket expenses for all nine consumers including 8 percent interest, in addition to agreeing to pay the fine the OIC imposed.
Quest Continuing Education Solutions; Milwaukee, Wisc.; fined $200
Continuing education providers must submit their courses to the OIC for review and approval. They provide continuing education to insurance professionals, which are required to maintain their licenses. Quest failed to get a course approved by the OIC before it offered it to two Washington insurance professionals.
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 $18 million in fines, which are deposited in the state's general fund to pay for other state services.
For an insurance question or complaint, please contact the OIC’s consumer advocates at 800-562-6900 or online.