DOI assessed $52,400 in fines against licensed producers in 2015
Every quarter, the Division of Insurance publishes a list of the enforcement actions it has taken against licensees including, but not limited to, producers, agencies and insurance companies. The total fines assessed vary depending upon the circumstances and actions taken against an individual producer or other licensee. The actions taken by the Special Investigations Unit are released on a three-month basis after the end of each quarter.
For the first time, Agency Checklists has decided to compile a year-end review of these reports to provide Massachusetts insurance professionals with a global outlook on the enforcement actions taken within the past year.
In 2015, for example, the total amount of fines imposed by the Division of Insurance on resident and non-resident producers in the Commonwealth totaled $52,400. The chart to the right breakdowns these fine amounts by quarter:
Fines imposed in the fourth quarter of 2015 vastly outpaced the other three quarters of 2015. This lopsided result was due, in part, to a single fine of $17,000 assessed against a resident producer in Massachusetts. The case, involving a producer from South Hamilton, Mass. was reported in an Agency Checklists article on October 28, 2015.
The Special Investigations Unit was involved in over 50 cases last year
As for the total number of cases handled last year, the Division of Insurance’s Special Investigations Unit was involved in a total of 55 investigations in 2015.
Again the Fourth Quarter of 2015 saw the highest number of cases of the four quarters, with the SIU involved in a total of 21 cases. The remaining three quarters of 2015 had similar levels of enforcement action investigations with 11 cases in the First Quarter, 13 cases in the Second Quarter and 10 cases in the Third Quarter
The following is a list of some of the allegations levied against resident and non-resident producers last year:
Cases reported on in 2015
The following are DOI decisions that Agency Checklists reported on in 2015:
- Insurance Producer’s License Suspended For Lack of Continuing Education
- A $17,000 Fine And License Loss For Premium Conversions
- Agency “No” About Lawsuit Results In No License
- DOI Revokes Producer License & Fines Agent $1000 For Application Misstatement
- DOI Fines Another Agent $7000 For Failure To Report License Revocations and Suspensions
Each quarter the Division publishes a list of enforcement actions taken against resident and non-resident producers
While the primary mission of the Division of Insurance is “…to monitor the solvency of its licensees in order to promote a healthy, responsive and willing marketplace for consumers who purchase insurance products” a major part of that mission involves insurance enforcement.
The DOI engages in a variety of administrative actions throughout the year in order to ensure that the insurance industry and its representatives maintain a marketplace in compliance with Massachusetts law and generally accepted standards of good faith and fair dealing.
To learn more about avoiding enforcement issues, you may be interested in Agency Checklists’ article “One Way to Avoid Large Fines for You & Your Agency”
During the course of regulating the Massachusetts insurance industry, the Division’s Special Investigation Unit will pursue allegations of misconduct against any persons licensed by the DOI including insurance producers, insurance advisers, public adjusters, reinsurance intermediaries, viatical loan brokers and providers, viatical settlement brokers, providers, insurance companies, health maintenance organizations and self-insurance groups.
As part of its investigation into a case, the Enforcement Division may interview witness, question licensees, demand and review documentary evidence supporting allegations of unfair methods of competition or unfair trade practices or any other violation of the insurance law.
In egregious cases, or if a specific investigation warrants further action, the Division may make a referral to the Attorney General’s office. In less serious cases the Division independently may negotiate a settlement, request the Commissioner or his deputies to initiate an adjudicatory administrative proceeding before a hearing officer, agree to accept a cease and desist order with or without a written compliance programs. In more serious cases, a licensee’s conduct may warrant the sanctioning of that producer by license revocation or suspension, restitution, divestment of all insurance businesses in the Commonwealth, or civil fines as allowed by G.L. c. 176D, the Massachusetts Insurer Unfair and Deceptive Practices Act.