For Consumers

Kreidler fines Farmers $50,000 for overcharging 92 Washington consumers

Consumers overpaid more than $470,000 when company charged unapproved rates

Contact Public Affairs: 360-725-7055

March 31, 2017

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued fines in February totaling $58,750 against insurance companies, agents and brokers who violated state insurance regulations.

Farmers Insurance Exchange and Mid-Century Insurance Co., Woodland Hills, Calif.; fined $50,000, order 17-0011

Farmers used the wrong rates for “hospitality business owner” policies from September 2010 through March 2016 due to a computer error. The policies are for hotels, motels, inns, and bed-and-breakfast businesses. The companies overcharged 92 policyholders $471,779 and undercharged 107 policyholders $253,563. The companies issued refunds plus 8 percent interest to the policyholders they overcharged.

American Modern Home Insurance Co., Amelia, Ohio; fined $5,000, order 17-0012

The company issued insurance policies to 11 Washington consumers before the policies were reviewed and approved by the insurance commissioner. The company also failed to respond in a timely manner to inquiries from the insurance commissioner.

Conover Insurance Inc., Yakima; fined $1,000, order 17-0008

Conover Insurance Inc. is an insurance brokerage firm. The insurance commissioner and the state Department of Labor and Industries needed to verify insurance information for some licensed contractors who had insurance through Conover. Conover failed to respond to repeated requests for the information.

Midvale Indemnity Co., Chicago; fined $1,000, order 17-0004

The company allowed eight insurance producers whose appointments had lapsed to conduct 15 transactions totaling more than $4,770 in premiums. State law requires insurers to file a notice and pay a fee to the insurance commissioner for each licensed producer who will act as an agent of an insurer.

Vertical Leap Consulting, Inc., Seattle; fined $500, order 17-0010

Vertical Leap is an insurance brokerage that let its license lapse and allowed people to sell insurance who were not licensed insurance producers.

Andrea Puanani Sayson, Leesville, La.; fined $500, order 17-0019

The insurance commissioner revoked Sayson’s insurance producer’s license in 2012 for failure to pay the licensing fee and failure to respond to inquiries from the insurance commissioner. In December 2016, Sayson applied for an insurance producer license in Louisiana, and the state requires her to resolve her Washington state revocation order before she can be licensed there. Sayson agrees to pay the licensing fee from 2012 and a $500 fine.

Jason M. Briscoe, Minneapolis; fined $500, order 17-0023

The insurance commissioner revoked Briscoe’s insurance producer license in 2010 for failure to respond to the commissioner’s correspondence. The insurance commissioner notified him twice that his fingerprint submission was rejected for being illegible. He agreed to pay a $500 fine in 2010 to settle the case, but then failed to do so. In February 2017, he contacted the insurance commissioner and asked to rescind the revocation. He agreed to pay the $500 fine he owes from 2010.

Oghomwenorughaen Enora Gillespie, Bellevue; fined $250, order 17-0002

Gillespie included her husband’s name on a life insurance application for a separate client without his knowledge and submitted it to State Farm. She later canceled the application and refunded the consumer’s premium payment. State Farm revoked Gillespie’s appointment and the agency where she worked fired her.

Vicki L. Boser and InsuranceTek, Inc., Snohomish; license revoked, order 17-0013

Vicki Boser and her company, InsuranceTek, have both been barred from selling insurance in Washington state. An investigation found that Boser fraudulently signed policies on behalf of clients without their knowledge, overcharged clients, and failed to send clients’ premiums payments to the insurance companies. The case was referred to Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit.

Jacob Cobb, Selah, Wash.; license revoked; order 17-0005

While in discussions to purchase a Farmers insurance agency in Selah from another producer, Cobb was given access to agency’s computer system. Without authorization, he copied the entire client database and emailed it to himself. The database included clients’ contact information and personal financial information. Farmers did not allow Cobb to purchase the agency, and he is no longer allowed to sell insurance in Washington state.

Marc Perez Insurance Agency and Marc Perez, Federal Way; license revoked, order 17-0018

The insurance commissioner conducted a routine financial exam of Marc Perez Insurance Agency in March 2016 and gave the agency 90 days to correct the issues found. The insurance commissioner conducted a follow-up exam in August 2016 to confirm the agency made the corrections and found the agency was missing accurate and complete accounting records from January 2015 through June 2016.

The agency also failed to address other findings from the financial examination, including not keeping customers’ premium payments in a separate account. The agency and Perez stopped responding to the insurance commissioner’s correspondence and requests for documentation. Perez and the agency are no longer allowed to sell insurance in Washington state.

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 $21.9 million in fines, which are deposited in the state's general fund to pay for other state services.

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner posts disciplinary orders against companies, agents and brokers. Consumers can also look up complaints against insurance companies.

For an insurance question or complaint, contact the Insurance Commissioner’s consumer advocates online or by phone at 800-562-6900.

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