For Consumers

Renton dentist ordered to stop selling illegal dental plans

Kreidler disciplines, fines insurance professionals $60,000 in October

Contact Public Affairs: 360-725-7055

November 10, 2016

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler disciplined and issued fines totaling $60,000 in October 2016 against insurance companies, agents and brokers who violated state insurance regulations.

For more information, search the order number on the Commissioner’s website.

Dr. David Ford, Renton; ordered to cease and desist, order 16-0250
Ford, a dentist, was selling a dental plan to clients who didn’t have traditional dental insurance. Patients could pay $450 per year for a set number of services that included two cleanings and X-rays. Ford was not licensed to sell or offer insurance in Washington state, and indicated that about 65 of his patients had purchased the plan. It is illegal to sell or offer insurance in Washington state without being licensed by the Insurance Commissioner.

Regence BlueShield, Seattle; fined $10,000, order 16-0203
The company didn’t file a form related to its 2016 approved health plan before it sold the plan to consumers starting Jan. 1.

Group Health Cooperative, Seattle; fined $5,000, order 16-0161
Group Health Options, Inc., Seattle; fined $5,000, order 16-0162

Group Health failed to include commissions as part of the premiums on their 2014 and 2015 annual statements for the Hospitality Industry Health Insurance Trust association. Although no consumers were affected, there are impacts on the collection of premium taxes and regulatory fees. Since Group Health should have reported higher premiums (including commissions) for the association, the reported premium taxes and regulatory fees should also have been higher. The companies agreed to pay unpaid premium taxes and regulatory fees they owe in addition to the fines.

Delaware Life Insurance Co., Wilmington, Del.; fined $10,000, order 16-0243
The company allowed 882 insurance producers’ appointments to lapse for 37 days. During that time, 51 producers whose appointments had lapsed conducted 90 transactions totaling more than $5.3 million. 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.

United States Fire Insurance Co., Wilmington, Del.; fined $25,000, order 16-0192
USFIC sells pet insurance through a subsidiary called Fairmont Specialty Insurance Agency (Fairmont). The Insurance Commissioner conducted a market conduct examination and found that, from Jan. 1, 2013 through April 30, 2015, the company issued 486 pet insurance policies that used forms that did not match the forms approved by the Insurance Commissioner. USFIC also allowed 59 call center employees to sell insurance without an insurance producer’s license and without being affiliated with Fairmont. The unlicensed producers sold 424 pet insurance policies with a total premium of $49,925. USFIC also sent letters to 611 policyholders that did not identify the legal name of the insurer.

American Modern Home Insurance Co., Amelia, Ohio; fined $5,000, order 16-0199
From 2014 to 2016, the company issued 62 travel insurance policies to Washington consumers on a form that was not filed with or approved by the Insurance Commissioner.

Holley Anne Thomas, Virginia Beach, VA; license revoked, order 16-0242
GEICO reported to the Insurance Commissioner that it fired Thomas for altering 43 policies to result in $19,846 in unauthorized refunds sent to her. Two of the policies were for Washington consumers. The Virginia Bureau of Insurance revoked Thomas’ producer license in August 2016.

About the Office

Kreidler’s office oversees Washington’s insurance industry to ensure that companies, agents and brokers follow state laws. Since 2001, Kreidler's office has assessed $20.8 million in fines, which are deposited in the state's general fund to pay for other state services.

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

For an insurance question or complaint, contact the Insurance Commissioner’s consumer advocates online or by phone at 800-562-6900.

# # #