Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kreidler orders insurance loan seller to stop doing business in Washington

Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued a cease and desist order against Insurance Finance Corp., headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. The company has been illegally financing insurance premiums in Washington and charging consumers more than allowed under state law.

Essentially, Insurance Finance Corp. sells loans to people who purchase insurance and can’t or don’t want to pay the full premium up front. This type of loan is typically sought by people who purchase commercial insurance policies. Individual policies, including homeowner, renter and auto insurance, typically allow consumers to pay a monthly premium rather than making large yearly or twice-yearly payments.

Kreidler ordered Insurance Finance Corp. to stop doing business in Washington because it violated two state laws – it’s not licensed to do business in Washington and it is overcharging Washington customers. State law limits service charges to $10 per $100,000 per year, and a one-time acquisition charge of $10 per loan.

We identified 429 Washington customers who have purchased loans totaling more than $630,000 from August 2010 through July 2013. However, there could be more customers that we have not identified. We are unable to determine the total amount of overcharges to Washington customers until we can identify all of its customers and loans. Customers may have been referred to the firm by insurance brokers and agents. Washington insurance agents and brokers can help by not referring clients to Insurance Finance Corp. while the cease and desist order is in place.

Insurance Finance Corp. has 90 days to appeal the cease and desist order.

Anyone who sells insurance or insurance products to people in Washington must be licensed by OIC. You can look up a company’s licensing status and see if a company has complaints on our website.