May 19, 2014
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued fines totaling $305,200 against insurance companies, agents and brokers who violated state insurance regulations during April 2014.
The names of the insurance producers are linked to the disciplinary order that contains more information about each action.
Affiliated FM Insurance Co., Johnston, RI; fined $3,700
Affiliated is an approved continuing insurance education provider. It failed to report continuing education of attendees within the timeframe required by state rules, and made errors in giving credit to attendees. Insurance companies rely on companies like this to train employees in accordance with state rules.
McSwain Financial Services LLC, Olympia; fined $250
The company, which is a licensed producer, started a “doing business as” (DBA) health insurance brokerage called Best Choice Health Plan Finder without registering and displayed the official Seal of Washington State on its website, a violation of state law. The company has since registered four DBAs.
Zale Delaware Inc., Irving, TX; fined $300,000 plus $290,220.70 in premium taxes
Zale Delaware Inc., a company connected to Zales Jewelers, Gordon Jewelers and Piercing Pagoda, sold more than 425,000 jewelry service contracts worth $14.5 million to Washington consumers from 1999-2013 without being licensed. We sought a penalty as well as recovery of the 2 percent premium tax that licensed warranty service contract companies pay in Washington. We blogged about this noteworthy case earlier this month.
Agents and brokers
Adrian B. Abenojar, Seattle; fined $250
Abenojar falsely reported completing a continuing education class. Insurance agents and brokers are required to complete 24 hours of continuing education, including three credit hours of ethics education, every two years.
Clete D. Hoiness, Moses Lake; fined $1,000
A consumer sought insurance for a new ATV and was provided two quotes, but never purchased insurance. Later that month, the client submitted a claim for the ATV’s theft under a separate existing policy. After speaking with the client, Hoiness agreed to submit the prior quote as an formal application and failed to inform the insurer that he knew about a claim for losses.The company paid the claim for the stolen ATV. Hoiness was later terminated by his employer.
Kreidler’s office oversees Washington’s insurance industry to ensure that companies, agents and brokers follow state laws. From 2001 through 2013, Kreidler's office has assessed more than $14 million in fines. Fines are deposited in the state's general fund to pay for other state services.
For an insurance question or complaint, please contact the Insurance Commissioner’s consumer advocates at 1-800-562-6900 or online.