June 16, 2015
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler disciplined and issued fines in May totaling $36,000 against insurance companies, agents and brokers who violated state insurance regulations.
The names are linked to the disciplinary order that contains more information about each action.
The Hartford Group companies, Hartford, Conn.; fined $20,000,
Eight companies under The Hartford Group filed 16 annual statements for 2013 more than six months late. The filings were due by April 30, 2014 under state law; the companies filed them in November 2014.
Physicians Insurance; Seattle; fined $5,000
A computer error caused overcharges to 10 policyholders from 2008 through 2014, totaling more than $29,000. The company self-reported the violation when it discovered the error and refunded the money plus 8 percent annual interest to the affected customers.
Agencies, agents and brokers
Rachel I. (Cristobal) Castellano, Phoenix; license revoked
Castellano inadvertently emailed a spreadsheet to a customer that contained personal financial information for 225 clients, including several Washington residents. She maintained a spreadsheet containing customers’ names, phone numbers, addresses, Social Security numbers, loan numbers, financial and mortgage information.
Preston B. Leonard, Spokane; issued probationary license
Leonard was licensed in 2011 for life and disability insurance. His license was canceled in 2013 when AFLAC terminated his contract for submitting 13 falsified forms for health services on behalf of two consumers. In 2015, Leonard requested that his license be renewed. The Insurance Commissioner issued a probationary license until his next license renewal date and his license will be revoked if he is convicted of any criminal violation or if any state takes action against any license he holds during the probation.
Top Notch Insurance Solutions and Habib Rashidi, Seattle; fined $750 and issued probationary license
Top Notch is a licensed insurance agency and Rashidi is the designated responsible licensed person for the agency. The Insurance Commissioner started a routine financial examination of the agency in July 2014 and found its accounting system did not adequately track financial transactions or customer and agency accounts, and the agency did not disclose fees to its customers before selling policies. The Insurance Commissioner gave the agency 90 days to correct five violations, which it failed to do. The agency’s and Rashidi’s licenses are on probationary status and the violations must be corrected by Aug. 1, 2015.
Christopher J. Rubio, Lynnwood; fined $250
Rubio applied for an insurance producer’s license in April 2015 and failed to report two criminal convictions from 1992 and 1995, which were discovered through a fingerprint background check.
Matthew John Smith, Camas; fined $8,000
Smith sold at least eight life insurance policies to Washington residents that were not approved for sale in Washington and falsely indicated they were sold in Idaho or Oregon. Smith acknowledged he knew they were not approved for sale in Washington.
Raymond A. Smith, Edmonds; fined $1,500
The Insurance Commissioner fined Smith $1,000 in January 2015 for deceptive practices with a commercial client. While Smith agreed to the fine, called a consent order, he never responded to the order, despite numerous attempts to contact him. The Insurance Commissioner suspended his license for 12 months, effective April 2015. At that point, Smith contacted the Insurance Commissioner and asked for his license to be reinstated and agreed to pay a $1,500 fine.
Shavon Spraggin, Tacoma; fined $500
Spraggin forged a policyholder’s signature on a form.
Bradley N. Thomas, Cabot, Ark.; license revoked
Thomas failed to notify the Insurance Commissioner that his license was suspended in his home state of Arkansas and his license was revoked in Idaho.
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 $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, contact the Insurance Commissioner’s consumer advocates at 800-562-6900 or online.
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Release No. 15-25