June 19, 2013
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has fined an insurance company $150,000 after its agents sold unapproved annuities.
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America has agreed to pay the fine.
Before insurance products can be sold in Washington, they generally must be reviewed by the state insurance commissioner’s office to make sure that they comply with consumer protections and other laws, and that they are not unfairly discriminatory. Unapproved products cannot be sold.
Several Allianz Life agents have been fined, suspended or have lost their insurance licenses in recent years for selling unapproved annuities to Washingtonians. In some cases, the customers were flown to Idaho; in others, the agents falsely claimed that the forms had been signed in Idaho or Florida. Kreidler’s office had been raising concerns with the company about these problems since at least 2007.
As required by law, Allianz Life reported the agents to Kreidler’s office and offered refunds to the affected customers. In April 2012, the company implemented procedures designed to prevent illegal cross-state insurance sales.
“I’m glad to see that the company’s taking efforts to rein in this ongoing problem,” said Kreidler. “I understand the pressure to make sales, but agents and companies selling to Washingtonians have to use products that are approved here.”
The consent order will be posted online at https://fortress.wa.gov/oic/consumertoolkit/Search.aspx?searchtype=ord.