July 6, 2017
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler disciplined and issued fines in May totaling $52,750 against insurance companies and people who violated state insurance regulations.
WalMart Stores, Inc., Bentonville, Ark.; fined $20,000, order 17-0017
WalMart sold tire warranties to Washington state consumers without being registered service contract provider, as required by Washington state law. The warranties cost $10 per tire and WalMart sold 112,561 warranties to Washington consumers from June 2014 until July 2016, for a total of $1.1 million. The insurance commissioner ordered the company to cease and desist selling warranties in January 2017. The company has stopped selling the warranties in Washington state until it becomes registered and agrees to pay premium tax on the warranties and a $20,000 fine.
American Insure-All Agency, Lynnwood; fined $250, order 17-0081
The insurance agency required policyholders who wanted to cancel their policies to come to the office in person. By law, Washington state consumers can cancel a policy in writing or verbally; they are not required to visit their insurance producer in person.
Melissa L. Cox, Liberty Lake, Wash.; license revoked, order 17-0084
Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. notified the insurance commissioner that it terminated the employment of Melissa Cox for using her corporate credit card for more than $5,000 in personal expenses and making a false expense report to justify the purchases. Cox’s insurance producer license lapsed in May 2016 and she will not be allowed to reinstate it.
Mark Cunningham, Redmond; license revoked, order 17-0087
Cunningham, a licensed insurance producer, was fired from American Family Insurance for paying clients’ insurance premiums with his own money and for paying for a client’s roof cleaning so the client could obtain homeowner insurance.
Tina M. Martinez, Yakima; fined $250, order 17-0088
Martinez, a licensed insurance producer, improperly issued a certificate of insurance for a cannabis retailer.
Peter Cook, Snohomish; ordered to cease and desist, order 17-0106
Cook was previously a licensed insurance producer but let his license lapse in 2008. The insurance commissioner received a complaint that Cook sold two annuities, an insurance product, to a Washington consumer without a valid license.
Eric Breding, Lacey; fined $2,000, order 17-0020
Breding is a licensed insurance producer and owns Bust You Out Bail Bonds, also a licensed entity. Breding’s business advertised multiple office locations throughout Washington state that were not licensed. He corrected the oversight and licensed his second office in Kelso. Additionally, he allowed an unlicensed producer to sell four bonds with total premiums of $3,160. Breding agreed to pay a $2,000 fine for the law violations.
James D. Hammer, Winlock; fined $500, order 17-0063
Hammer is a licensed insurance producer who owns an insurance agency, Jim Hammer Insurance & Financial Services. Hammer failed to license his insurance agency, a violation of state law. His agency also took the insurance premium for a commercial policy from the wrong consumer’s bank account due to a bookkeeping error, another law violation. The agency refunded the client who unknowingly paid someone else’s premiums, and rectified the billing issue with the policyholder.
Soundpath Health, Federal Way; fined $1,500, order 17-0109
The company, a health care service contractor, allowed 61 insurance producers whose appointments had lapsed to conduct 116 transactions totaling more than $58,680 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.
Sammy L. McKamie, Southlake, Texas; ordered to cease and desist, order 17-0133
McKamie is not licensed to sell insurance in Washington state, but has been contacting Washington state consumers by mail since 2014. The insurance commissioner fined McKamie for that violation in 2014. Now, the insurance commissioner is ordering McKamie to cease and desist from attempting to sell insurance to Washington consumers without a license.
New Alliance Insurance Brokers, Inc., Long Beach, Calif.; fined $250, order 17-0134
New Alliance is an insurance brokerage that is licensed in Washington state. The Texas Department of Insurance fined the brokerage $20,000 for surplus line reporting violations, and the brokerage failed to report it to the Washington insurance commissioner, as required by law. It also failed to respond to the insurance commissioner’s inquiries about the disciplinary action. As a result, the insurance commissioner revoked its license in March 2017. In April 2017, the brokerage sought to reinstate its Washington state insurance producer license. The brokerage agrees to pay the fine and to follow Washington state insurance law in order to reinstate its license.
CRC Insurance Services, Inc., Birmingham, Ala.; fined $500, order 17-0065
CRC, a licensed insurance producer, owns a company called Negley Associates, whose insurance producer license expired in 2006. A third company was selling liability insurance through Negley, which was unlicensed to do business in Washington state. Negley reported that it sold 35 policies with premiums exceeding $1 million from 2014 until 2016. CRC agreed to register Negley as a business to comply with state insurance law and to pay a fine.
Alexander P. Stuwitz, Fresno, Calif.; fined $2,000, order 17-0074
Matthew L. Tracy, Madera, Calif.; fined $500, order 17-0078
Two Washington state consumers filed complaints about insurance producers Alexander Stuwitz and Matthew Tracy, both of whom work for Iyer Health Shield, a marketing call center. They misrepresented products they sold to both consumers as health insurance products.
The insurance commissioner found the following violations of state law:
- Iyer Health Shield is not a licensed insurance producer.
- Tracy is not a licensed insurance producer.
- Stuwitz sold the products without being affiliated with the insurance company.
- The products they sold were not authorized to be sold in Washington state.
Recreation Risk Retention Group, Inc., Burlington, Vt.; fined $3,000, order 17-0034
Recreation Risk Retention Group sold three policies with $21,671 in premiums before it was properly registered in Washington state, a violation of state insurance law.
Monterey Insurance Co., Monterey, Calif.; fined $1,500, order 17-0046
The company allowed 12 insurance producers whose appointments had lapsed to conduct 27 transactions totaling more than $8,611 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.
North American Title Insurance Co., Concord, Calif.; fined $1,000, order 17-0048
The company failed to file its 2015 statistical data report with the insurance commissioner by May 31, 2016, a violation of state insurance law.
Guarantee Trust Life Insurance Co., Glenview, Ill.; fined $1,500, order 17-0064
The company allowed 110 insurance producers' appointments to lapse; seven of the producers conducted 19 transactions totaling more than $3,553 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.
Eagle West Insurance Co., Monterey, Calif.; fined $7,500, order 17-0089
The company allowed 91 insurance producers whose appointments had lapsed to conduct 1,797 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.
Commerce West Insurance Co., San Ramon, Calif.; fined $10,000, order 17-0090
The company allowed 407 insurance producers' appointments to lapse; 242 of those producers conducted 3,588 transactions totaling more than $3.3 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.
Foremost Insurance Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.; fined $500, order 17-0111
The company is a continuing education provider for licensed insurance producers. It failed to keep completed exams for three years as required by law, instead disposing of them after 90 days.
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.