For Consumers

Kreidler fines T-Mobile $20,000 for illegal rebates to consumers

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September 4, 2018

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued fines in July totaling $115,050 against insurance companies, agents and brokers who violated state insurance regulations.

Agents and brokers

T-Mobile USA Inc., Bellevue; fined $20,000 order 18-0085

T-Mobile, a cell phone carrier, is also a licensed insurance producer in Washington state. The company offered to pay off phone loans and early termination fees for Verizon customers who switched to T-Mobile and purchased its insurance between May 31 and Aug. 2, 2017. The offer is illegal in Washington state because it induces people to purchase insurance. During the promotion, 927 Washington consumers purchased the plan, which cost $15 per month. 

Linna A. Callaham, Bainbridge Island, Wash.; license revoked, order 18-0288

Callaham collected insurance premiums from a commercial client but failed to send them to the insurance company, causing two policies to be canceled and a commercial building to be uninsured for eight months. She never refunded the unpaid premium of more than $5,000 to the client. 

APPS Insurance Services Inc., Puyallup, Wash., and James M. Shirreff, Fircrest, Wash.; fined $3,000, order 18-0303

The insurance commissioner conducted four financial examinations that found APPS delayed sending premium refunds totaling nearly $1,500 to three commercial clients. Shirreff is an insurance producer and is responsible for APPS, an insurance agency.

Geoffrey Wayne Leininger, Plano, Texas; license revoked, order 18-0319

A consumer filed a complaint with the insurance commissioner after Leininger placed a homeowner’s policy without the consumer’s consent. The insurer, Liberty Mutual Insurance, refunded the $649 premium payment to the consumer and canceled the unwanted policy.

GSIS, Inc., and Glenn Stebbings, Redondo Beach, Calif.; fined $2,500, order 18-0243
Kenneth E. Kukral, Beachwood, Ohio; fined $3,500, order 18-0246

GSIS and Stebbings were not licensed to sell surplus lines insurance policies in Washington state. To avoid becoming properly licensed, they used Kukral as a “courtesy filer” at least 49 times to obtain surplus lines policies, a violation of state insurance laws. 

The insurance commissioner disciplined the following insurance producers for failing to notify the agency of administrative actions against them:

  • Daniel Lee, New Orleans; fined $250, order 18-0192
  • Horace Thomas Gaines, Nashville; fined $250, order 18-0193
  • Walter A. Ringfield, Phoenix; fined $500 and revocation rescinded, order 18-0197
  • One Resource Group Corp. and Todd Jeffrey Stewart, Roanoke, Ind.; fined $500, order 18-0281
  • Alex Belfort, Sinking Spring, Penn.; license revoked, order 18-0302
  • Benjamin Stutts IV, Sandy, Utah; license revoked, order 18-0322

Insurance companies

The insurance commissioner fined the following companies for filing their rates late or using the wrong rates:

  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington Options, Inc., Seattle; fined $3,500, order 18-0222
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, Seattle; fined $3,500, order 18-0228
  • Regence BlueShield, Seattle; fined $2,500, order 18-0224
  • Crestbrook Insurance Co., Columbus, Ohio; fined $50,000, order 18-0251

The insurance commissioner fined the following companies for violating other state insurance laws:

  • GEICO, Chevy Chase, Md.; fined $2,500, order 18-0126
  • First National Insurance Co. of America, Keene, N.H.; fined $20,000, order 18-0275
  • Pennsylvania Manufacturers Indemnity Co., Blue Bell, Penn.; fined $1,500, order 18-0332

Others

The insurance commissioner fined the following organizations for violating state insurance laws: 

  • Pioneer Title Co. of Walla Walla, Inc., Walla Walla, Wash.; fined $250, order 18-0258
  • Oregon Association of Health Underwriters, Portland, Ore.; fined $800, order 18-0304

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 $24 million in fines, which are deposited in the state's general fund to pay for 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 online or by phone at 800-562-6900.