For Consumers

Kreidler fines Sears $95,000 for illegal tire warranty sales

Others fined $226,000 for insurance law violations

Contact Public Affairs: 360-725-7055

January 31, 2018

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler disciplined and issued fines in December 2017 totaling $321,000 against insurance companies, agents and brokers who violated state insurance regulations.

Athene Annuity and Life Co., West Des Moines, Iowa; fined $4,500, order 17-0218 
The company allowed 430 insurance producers’ appointments to lapse; it allowed 17 of them to conduct 20 transactions totaling more than $1.6 million 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.

Titan Indemnity Co., San Antonio, Texas, and Victoria Fire & Casualty Co., Cleveland, Ohio; fined $60,000, order 17-0221
The companies identified a computer error that was charging different rates than those approved by the insurance commissioner. The company overcharged 5,130 policies a total of $938,944, which they refunded to the affected consumers. 

Ameritas Life Insurance Corp., Lincoln, Neb.; fined $10,000, order 17-0293
The company charged incorrect rates to some of its dental insurance policyholders from January 2013 to June 2016. It undercharged 166 policies by $9,710.26 and overcharged 16 policies by $186. Only 404 policies were charged the approved rates during that period.

Washington Casualty Co., Maple Valley, Wash.; fined $7,500, order 17-0315
The company allowed 24 insurance producers’ appointments to lapse; no producers sold policies during the lapse. Additionally, the company allowed 11 producers who did not have an appointment to complete insurance transactions. 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. Insurers must also file a notice of appointment for each producer within 15 days. 

Lumico Life Insurance Co., Jefferson City, Mo.; fined $1,000, order 17-0432
The company allowed one insurance producer’s appointments to lapse; it allowed the producer to conduct 14 transactions totaling more than $1,435 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.

Depositers Insurance Co., Des Moines, Iowa; fined $10,000, order 17-0392
The company canceled 23 insurance policies without providing the policyholders a specific reason for the cancelation, a violation of state law.  

WAGDCO LLC, Wilmington, Del.; fined $50,000, order 17-0323
The company sold 336 new and renewal prescription drug savings club memberships from November 2015 through June 2016 without being licensed as a healthcare discount plan, as required by state law. 

Sears Holdings Corp., Hoffman Estates, Ill.; fined $95,000, order 17-0494
Sears illegally sold 53,717 tire warranties to Washington consumers from 2010 through May 2017. Its revenue from the policies was more than $2.2 million.

Sixt Rent-a-Car, SeaTac, Wash.; fined $75,000, order 17-0427
Sixt let its insurance producer license lapse from February 2015 until July 2017. While lapsed, it sold 9,054 personal accident insurance policies and 24,320 supplemental liability insurance policies worth more than $615,475 in commissions to rental car customers. A portion of the fine -- $30,000 – is suspended as long as the company follows the terms of the order and commits no further violations for two years. 

Federal Warranty Service Corp., Atlanta; fined $3,500, order 17-0386
The company is a registered service contract provider and is authorized to sell only non-vehicle service contracts. It illegally sold nine vehicle service contracts worth $17,265. 

Gregory P. Morris, Oakland, Calif.; fined $250, order 17-0416
Morris, a licensed insurance producer, failed to report an administrative action against him by the state of Virginia within 30 days, as required by state law. 

William Mecklenburg, Santa Ana, Calif.; fined $250, order 17-0417
Mecklenburg, a licensed insurance producer, failed to report an administrative action against him by the state of Virginia within 30 days, as required by state law. 

David Ostrowski, Crystal Lake, Ill.; fined $250, order 17-0347
Ostrowski, a licensed insurance producer, failed to report an administrative action against him by the state of Florida within 30 days, as required by state law. 

Jennifer Dumont/Atlantic Risk Specialists, Inc., Sarasota, Fla.; fined $250, order 17-0426
Dumont is a surplus lines insurance broker in Florida and is not licensed to sell insurance in Washington state. She sold a policy to a Gig Harbor, Wash., business from Atlantic Risk Specialists, which is also not licensed in Washington state. 

Patrick J. Dittrich, Jr., Texas; fined $500, order 17-0428
Dittrich acted as an adjuster on behalf of Allstate Insurance without being licensed in Washington state. He handled 35 claims and charged $11,540 in fees. 

ALIA, Inc., Reno, Nev.; fined $500, order 17-0429
ALIA, a licensed insurance producer, allowed an unlicensed employee to solicit a law firm to buy professional liability insurance. The employee also made inaccurate and defamatory statements about the law firm during the solicitation process. 

Thaxton & Associates Creative Insurance Services, Studio City, Calif.; revocation reversed, fined $500, order 17-0446
The firm, a licensed insurance producer and surplus lines broker, failed to pay its surplus lines tax in 2017 and failed to respond to the insurance commissioner’s four inquiries about the overdue taxes. The insurance commissioner revoked its license in October 2017; a few days later, a Thaxton representative contacted the insurance commissioner to ask how it could keep its license. Thaxton & Associates paid its past due taxes in November 2017, agreed to pay its taxes in full and on time, and to pay the fine. 

MSIS Inc., Valdosta, Ga.; fined $2,000, order 17-0447
MSIS mailed 3,228 solicitations for Medicare supplemental insurance to Washington consumers that did not identify the name or address for the insurer, or identify which insurer that was selling the policies. The company estimated it sold 205 policies to Washington consumers as a result of the solicitations. State law requires that every solicitation clearly identify the name and address of the insurer.  

Worldwide Rescue & Security/Emergency Assistance Plus/On Call International, Phoenix; ordered to cease and desist, order 17-0486
Worldwide Rescue offers emergency evacuation services, which only requires a certificate of authority if services are offered more than 100 miles from the policyholder’s home. Worldwide offered emergency assistance within 100 miles of consumers’ homes. Since 2014, it sent 190,000 solicitations to Washington consumers and sold 1,708 policies. 

About the Office 

Kreidler’s office oversees Washington’s insurance industry to ensure that companies, agents and brokers follow state laws. Since 2001, Kreidler has assessed more than $23 million in fines, which are deposited in the state's general fund to pay for other state services. 

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

For an insurance question or complaint, contact Kreidler’s consumer advocates or call 800-562-6900.