November 22, 2019
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler took disciplinary action in October against insurance companies, agents and brokers who violated state insurance regulations. A summary of cases of interest to Washington consumers is below.
UnitedHealthcare of Washington, Seattle; fined $30,000, order 19-0360
Kreidler fined the health insurer for law violations during calendar year 2017, including:
- Failure to maintain an adequate log of consumer complaints and claims appeals to determine if the company is handling them correctly.
- Mishandled certain prescription claims that had prior authorization for coverage based on the medical condition they were treating.
Agents and brokers
Brian Boldman Insurance Agency, Maple Valley, Wash.; fined $3,000, order 19-0385
Brian Boldman, Maple Valley, Wash., fined $2,000, order 19-0386
Eric Wiest, Newcastle, Wash.; license revoked, order 19-0455
Brian Boldman, a licensed producer, owns the Brian Boldman Insurance Agency and employed Eric Wiest . State Farm Insurance Co. reported to Kreidler’s office that it found widespread data manipulation in the agency’s applications for insurance for consumers. Most of the discrepancies resulted in giving policyholders lower rates than they would have paid if the applications were accurate. Several of the falsified auto insurance applications were altered to hide the fact that some of the policyholders had driven uninsured vehicles. State law requires insurance producers to provide accurate information on insurance applications.
Lanceing Huntington, Snohomish, Wash.; fined $500, order 19-0396
A consumer filed a complaint with Kreidler’s office after buying two health insurance policies from Huntington. The first was a short-term policy that specifically excluded a pre-existing condition the policyholder has. Huntington failed to disclose the pre-existing condition on the insurance application. The insurer tried to cancel the policy, but the consumer filed an appeal and was able to keep the policy for the three-month term. Later, Huntington helped the policyholder buy health insurance through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange’s website during a qualifying special enrollment event. He misrepresented the date that the policyholder’s COBRA policy expired by one month, which resulted in getting insurance the consumer wasn’t qualified for. However, the insurer allowed the policyholder to keep the policy so the consumer was not harmed. State law requires insurance producers to provide accurate information on insurance applications.
Claudia Vasquez, Tacoma, Wash.; fined $1,000, order 19-0457
Vasquez submitted a life insurance application for a consumer indicating the applicant was not bedridden or in the hospital. The consumer was hospitalized at the time of the application and Vasquez took the application to the hospital for the consumer to sign. State Farm, the insurer, found out about the policyholder’s status at the time of the application after she passed away and it paid the death benefit. State Farm is no longer allowing Vasquez to sell its policies. State law requires insurance producers to provide accurate information on insurance applications.
Carol Thomas, Port Orchard, Wash.; fined $2,000, order 19-0464
A married couple in their 70s went to Thomas for help changing some of their investments. Among other things, they wanted to roll an existing annuity into a new product with a higher rate of return and liquidity. Thomas advised the couple to roll their annuity with a Dec. 28, 2017 maturity date into a new Wells Fargo product. The couple agreed and signed documents to execute the rollover on Dec. 13. Thomas failed to submit the request before the maturity date and then failed to communicate it to the couple, which caused them to lose more than $23,000 in early surrender penalties.
Murray Becker, Houston, Texas; ordered to cease and desist, order 19-0493
Danny Hudson and Seattle Auto Appraisers, Houston, Texas; ordered to cease and desist, order 19-0494
Hudson owns Seattle Auto Appraisers and Becker conducts auto appraisals for the company. Kreidler ordered all three to stop acting as unlicensed adjusters 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 has assessed more than $28 million in fines, which are deposited in the state's general fund to pay for state services.
The office publishes disciplinary orders against companies, agents and brokers. You can search by name or the year they took effect.
For an insurance question or complaint, contact Kreidler’s consumer advocates online or by phone at 800-562-6900.