August 31, 2017
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler took enforcement actions and issued fines in July totaling $322,750 against insurance companies, agents and brokers who violated state insurance regulations.
Dealers Alliance Corp., Columbus, Ohio; fined $150,000, order 17-0171
Dealers sold nearly 57,000 service contracts to Washington consumers worth more than $761,000 in premiums from August 2012 until February 2016 without authorization. The company failed to report some of the premiums it sold and failed to notify the insurance commissioner about its change of address.
Discount Tire, Scottsdale, Ariz.; fined $100,000, order 17-0188
Discount Tire sold 1.4 million tire warranties worth $32.2 million to Washington consumers from January 2014 until June 2016 without being authorized by the insurance commissioner.
Farmers Insurance Co. of Washington, Mercer Island; fined $10,000, order 17-0180
The company paid $4,350 in commissions to 23 insurance producers for selling flood insurance policies before the producers proved they had completed the required training. The federal government requires insurance producers to complete training before they are allowed to sell flood insurance, a federally regulated product. The producers sold 45 policies from January 2015 through August 2016 and collected $28,912 in premiums.
Dental Health Services, Seattle; fined $3,500, order 17-0159
Dental Health Services allowed its lead auditor to hold that position for more than five years. State insurance rules require that companies appoint a new lead auditor after completion of the fifth year.
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington Options, Inc., Seattle; fined $2,500, order 17-0165
The health insurer filed 13 of its 2016 health insurance rates between seven and 83 days late.
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest, Portland, Ore.; fined $2,500, order 17-0166
The health insurer filed 42 of its health 2016 health insurance rates between four and 29 days late.
Delta Dental of Washington, Seattle; fined $2,500, order 17-0167
The health insurer filed three of its health 2016 health insurance rates between 22 and 30 days late.
Premera Blue Cross, Mountlake Terrace; fined $2,500, order 17-0168
The health insurer filed seven of its health 2016 health insurance rates between two and 159 days late.
Endurance American Insurance Co., Wilmington, Del.; fined $4,000, order 17-0136
Endurance allowed 10 of its producers’ appointments to lapse from December 2015 through January 2016. It allowed another 10 producers who had never been appointed to complete 27 transactions worth more than $930,000 in premiums. In order to appoint producers to sell its products, the insurer must file a notice and pay a fee to the insurance commissioner for each licensed producer who will act as an agent of an insurer. The company also failed to notify the insurance commissioner that its address changed.
Connecticut General Life Insurance Co., Hartford, Conn., fined $10,000, order 17-0173
The company issued policies to consumers that were not filed with and were not approved by the insurance commissioner. It issued the unapproved policies for three years to 39 large-group plans with more than 9,800 Washington consumers enrolled.
Triton Insurance Co., Fort Worth, Texas; fined $3,000, order 17-0138
Triton allowed producers’ appointments to lapse for nearly a month at the end of 2016. In order to appoint producers to sell its products, the insurer must file a notice and pay a fee to the insurance commissioner for each licensed producer that will act as an agent of an insurer. During the lapse, 43 producers sold 332 policies worth more than $171,000 in written premium.
Rice Insurance LLC, Bellingham; fined $5,000, order 17-0132
Rice, a licensed insurance producer, failed to disclose to consumers its fee and commission-sharing arrangement with Vertical Leap Consulting, Inc., which at times was not licensed to sell insurance in Washington state. In 2014 and 2015, Rice sold 29 policies using this arrangement and collected more than $41,000 in commissions on the policies.
Mary Elizabeth Pitts, Gold Bar; fined $250, order 17-0100
Pitts sold a commercial vehicle policy to a consumer that undervalued the vehicle and equipment by more than $15,000. Soon after the policy went into effect, the vehicle was totaled. After the vehicle was totaled, Pitts failed to modify the value of the vehicle, even though the insurer would have accepted the updated value.
Billie Jo Harrington, formerly Sahlberg, Spokane; fined $300, order 17-0129
The insurance commissioner revoked Harrington’s adjuster license in March 2006 for failing to respond to requests for a new fingerprint card. In April 2017, Harrington contacted the insurance commissioner, seeking to reinstate her license. She agrees to pay the fine for failing to respond in order to reinstate her license.
Nicole Marie Schuerenberg, Snohomish; ordered to cease and desist, order 17-0190
Schuerenberg, who is not a licensed insurance producer, illegally sold insurance to Washington consumers and was paid commissions by the insurance agency she worked for. She misled the insurance agency about her status as a licensed producer. She has since quit her job at the insurance agency and is ordered to cease and desist from selling insurance in Washington state.
Quadell Spradley, Reading, Penn.; ordered to cease and desist, order 17-0202
National Brokers of America, Reading, Penn.; ordered to cease and desist, order 17-0203
Spradley works for NBOA, neither of which is licensed to sell insurance in Washington state. Spradley sold a health and a dental plan to a Washington consumer, and neither product was what the consumer requested. Spradley and NBOA are ordered to cease and desist from selling insurance in Washington state.
XCEL Testing Solutions, Jacksonville, Fla.; fined $1,200, order 17-0160
XCEL provides continuing education for licensed insurance producers. Its online training system was allowing insurance producers to print course completion certificates without completing the required study time and without taking the required exams.
Pia of Washington and Alaska, Vancouver, Wash.; fined $500, order 17-0183
The company offers continuing education for insurance producers. It failed to get approval from the insurance commissioner before offering a course, and failed to maintain attendance records for two Washington state licensed insurance producers.
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 $22 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 Kreidler’s consumer advocates online or by phone at 800-562-6900.