Friday, February 12, 2010

Washington state fined insurers more than $400,000 last year

Washington state insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler issued more than $400,000 in fines in 2009, as well as revoking the licenses of several insurance agents.

“Most insurers and agents work hard to follow the rules, but when they drop the ball, they’re held accountable,” said Kreidler, the state’s top insurance regulator.

Kreidler’s office collected a total of $407,600 in fines in 2009. That’s considerably lower than the previous year, when the state fined insurers more than $1.2 million.

“Hopefully, it’s a sign that companies are getting better at following the rules,” said Kreidler. “The whole point of fines is to ensure that the consumer protections in state law are followed.”

Fines collected by the state insurance commissioner’s office do not go to the agency. The money is deposited in the state’s general fund to pay for other state services.

The enforcement orders are posted on the Office of the Insurance Commissioner website at Here are some of the major ones:

 Pacificare of Washington Inc., Pacificare Life Assurance Co., and Unitedhealthcare Insurance Co., all of Mercer Island, were fined $100,000 with $60,000 suspended for failing to file health care provider contracts and changes with the state.

 Farmers Insurance Company of Washington was fined $40,000 for issuing policies that weren’t in accordance with the documents they’d filed with the state.

 Nationwide Life Insurance Co. of Minneapolis, Minn. was fined $20,000 for issuing insurance documents that had not been filed with the state, among other violations.
 Kawasaki Motors Corp. of Wilmington, Del. was fined $20,000 for selling service contracts before they had been registered in Washington.