Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is fining three companies a total of $605,000 for violating Washington insurance laws.
“Our insurance laws protect consumers and maintain a level playing field in the insurance market,” said Kreidler. “Break the law and you’ll face the consequences.”
The fines were as follows:
PacifiCare of Washington (now known as UnitedHealthcare of Washington, Inc.) has agreed to pay a $400,000 fine for what state financial examiners concluded were improper royalties paid to an affiliated company. The company contended that the payments were administrative fees, but acknowledged that it had failed to annually reconcile the payments with actual costs to show that the company wasn’t overpaying.
In addition to the fine, the company has recovered the $72.9 million it paid between 1999 and late 2006.
STA Travel Inc., based in Texas, agreed to pay $115,000 for allowing unlicensed staffers to sell insurance policies in Washington. The company is a travel agency specializing in international college student travel. It sells travel insurance as part of its travel services.
Although the company’s office manager was a licensed insurance agent, under Washington law, all staff selling travel policies needed to be licensed. Policies were sold by unlicensed staffers from 2005 to 2011.
Lenovo (United States) Inc., incorporated in Delaware, has agreed to pay $90,000 for improperly selling 1,327 service contracts in Washington. The company failed to register as a service contract provider, as required by state law. The service contracts were sold from mid-2008 through mid-2012.
Fines collected by the 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.