Bureau of Insurance Complaint Investigation Results in Return of More than $1.3 Million to Maine Consumer

GARDINER — Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa announced that a complaint investigation conducted by the Bureau of Insurance resulted in the return of more than $1.3 million to a Maine consumer.  The complaint, which was investigated by the Bureau’s Consumer Health Care Division, alleged that the consumer’s insurance producer had engaged in a series of unsuitable annuity transactions.

“Annuities can be effective financial tools for many investors,” Superintendent Cioppa commented.  “However, they are not a ‘one size fits all’ product.  Furthermore, the Bureau of Insurance expects insurance producers to exercise their professional judgment for the benefit and protection of their clients.”

Over the course of four years, the producer sold his client 17 annuities through ten insurance companies, resulting in commissions totaling more than $180,000.  A few sales were replacements of policies the producer had sold to the consumer several years earlier.  In the sale of one product, the producer omitted material information from a suitability document and completed an application with false information.  In another instance, the producer recommended a rider that he later admitted to be unnecessary for the consumer.  Following a lengthy Bureau investigation, the producer signed a consent agreement with the Superintendent and the Attorney General’s Office.

“All of the insurance companies holding active annuities for this consumer have issued refunds, with interest and without penalties,” added Cioppa. “We appreciate the assistance provided by these companies in making the consumer whole.”

As a result of the consent agreement, the producer’s insurance license in Maine was permanently revoked, and he can no longer engage in the business of insurance in Maine.  A copy of the consent agreement is available on the Bureau’s website (www.maine.gov/insurance) or by clicking here.

Consumers with questions about annuities or other insurance types are encouraged to contact the Bureau by calling toll-free 1-800-300-5000 or e-mailing Insurance.PFR@maine.gov.

The Bureau of Insurance is part of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation which encourages sound ethical business practices through high quality, impartial and efficient oversight of insurers, financial institutions, creditors, investment providers, and numerous professions and occupations for the purpose of protecting the citizens of Maine. Consumers can reach the Bureau online at www.maine.gov/insurance; by calling 800-300-5000 in state; or by writing to Bureau of Insurance, 34 State House Station, Augusta ME 04333.

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