Mansell, Engel & Cole

State regulators: we’re not putting up with this insurer’s conduct

“[C]harging consumers for policies that they weren’t even aware of.”

That insurer’s deplorable conduct was spotlighted by industry regulators in one state recently. We referenced the matter in our January 8 blog post, and turn to the key details of that story in today’s entry.

The national bank entity Wells Fargo is no stranger to adverse media headlines and controversy. The company has been embroiled in litigation relevant to bad-faith sales tactics and related matters for several years now.

The story line recently took a decided and novel twist, though, with a withering spotlight illuminating the bank’s purposeful and sustained efforts to defraud customers in a manner not previously noted.

That harsh glare revealed this: the bank’s nearly decade-long practice of duping consumers by signing them up for insurance products they hadn’t requested.

In fact, a reported 1,500 or so bank customers weren’t even aware that they were policyholders and paying premiums to the bank, sometimes for periods spanning many years. A recent Insurance Journal article notes that bank employees in many cases treated customers’ information supplied merely to obtain a quote as formal insurance applications, knowing that such was not the case.

That activity clearly spelled fraud and bad faith, stressed the California Department of Insurance last week pursuant to an announced settlement inked with the bank that addresses its misconduct.

That pact mandates a $10 million payment from the bank and its agreement to cease doing insurance-linked business in that state during the remaining terms of its existing licenses. The company may reapply for a business grant in the future, but state regulators reserve the right to turn it down.

Oklahoma policyholders with questions or concerns relating to an insurer’s conduct pursuant to a policy matter can turn to a proven Oklahoma City pro-consumers’ insurance law firm for guidance and, when necessary, diligent legal representation.

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