Little Rock, AR (Law Firm Newswire) March 11, 2011 – Just because someone pays for insurance and gets a receipt, it does not mean they actually have insurance. A person should always confirm that they have it.“This case stunned a whole lot of people who trusted and relied on an insurance agent to do what she said she would do, but ultimately, never did. It seems this case involved an insurance agent/broker who was consistently stealing the insurance premium money from her clients,” said Michael G. Smith, an Arkansas injury lawyer and Arkansas accident lawyer, practicing personal injury law in Arkansas.
The woman’s home community was in shock when they found out the local insurance broker had been stealing premiums from her clients. Unfortunately, it did not appear that this latest case was something new. In fact, two local residents had filed a lawsuit in 2008 after they had an accident and found out they did not have insurance coverage. The light-fingered broker agreed to pay the plaintiff in that case $8,500.
In April 2009, another insurance broker sued the broker in small claims court for $5,100 that was a down payment for 26 car insurance policies. The thieving female broker did not show up for court and there was a default judgment issued. “In May of the same year, the female broker was sued by another insurance agency claiming she sent fraudulent checks that bounced. She once again chooses to not go to court and the plaintiff is awarded a default judgment in the amount of $16,213,99,” Smith said.
In 2010, there were a further two small claims actions against the same female broker, for similar reasons. The end result of all this illegal activity? The woman was charged with 33 felonies on behalf of 13 clients, covering the time period from 2006 to 2010. The key to her scam appeared to be that she sold homeowners and auto insurance, but did not turn in the paperwork or all of the premiums collected. Since the full premiums were not sent in and there was no paperwork, the policies were never issued.
“In one other case involving the female insurance broker, she charged a 94-year old woman close to $3,000 over four years for an insurance policy she did not have. If there had been a fire, the elderly woman would have lost everything she had,” Smith said about a situation too distressing to consider. There are still investigations into who else did not get insurance, despite paying premiums.
“It seems the scams did not end with stealing premiums and the woman also handed out insurance ID cards for invisible, nonexistent auto policies. It turns out that five of her clients were involved in accidents and all of them thought they had insurance, but did not. It is quite the mess and the lesson here is to always make sure you do have insurance,” Smith said.
“This type of conduct is reprehensible and it appears that it is also far too common in the insurance industry. While you may think you know your insurance agent, double check to make sure you actually have insurance,” Smith said.
425 W. Capitol Av., Suite 3700
Little Rock, AR 72201