Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Edmonds man no longer able to sell insurance

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner has revoked the license of insurance producer Earl C. Dennis of Edmonds.

In 2012, Dennis borrowed $210,000 from a 79-year-old insurance client, which was a significant portion of the client’s net worth. Dennis promised to secure the loan with the deed to his house, which he never did. He arranged to repay the client at a 2 percent interest rate; an unsecured personal loan from a bank ranges from 7 percent to 15 percent or higher. Dennis stopped making loan payments and still owes the client $90,000. State insurance law allows the Insurance Commissioner to revoke an insurance producer’s license if they borrow money from an insurance client who is not a family member or financial institution.

In 2011 and 2012, Dennis sold the same client three annuities, which the client paid for by surrendering two annuities that had higher guaranteed interest rates. In addition to having lower guaranteed interest rates, the three new annuities had limitations and penalties that the old annuities did not have. Insurance producers who sell annuities are required to make an effort to verify that annuities are suitable for their clients’ financial needs and they are required to adequately explain the products to their clients. Dennis did not meet those requirements in this case.

The OIC sought to revoke Dennis’ license in August 2014, but Dennis invoked his right to a hearing. The hearings officer upheld the OIC’s revocation, which means Dennis is no longer legally able to sell insurance in Washington state. You can read the findings from the hearing on the OIC’s website.