Pa. Commissioner Closes Down Operations, Makes Fines of $1.6M

April 16, 2003

Pennsylvania Commissioner Diane Koken has closed down the reported illegal insurance operations of the following entities: Harbour Entertainment and Sports Insurance and its agent Clarence Hall, Vanguarde Asset Group, Inc. and its president Dwayne Samuels. Additionally, she has assessed fines totaling more than $1.6 million.

“These entities and individuals engaged in the business of insurance without being properly licensed to do so,” Koken said. “Unlicensed insurers are not regulated, may not be actuarially sound, and cannot guarantee claim payments if the company goes bankrupt.”

Harbor Entertainment and Sports Insurance offered liability insurance for special events, sporting events and concerts to policyholders across the country as well as Pennsylvania.

“Those involved with this company have shown a total disregard for law and authority, have ignored Pennsylvania insurance statutes and failed to remit policyholder premiums,” Koken explained. “I have ordered that maximum civil penalties be imposed in the amount of $1,275,000 and Clarence Hall be prohibited from transacting business in Pennsylvania for a minimum of 20 years.”

Vanguarde Asset Group, Inc. was providing healthcare benefits in Pennsylvania without reportedly obtaining the required authority to do so. Also, the Choice Plus Plan offered by Vanguarde was not insured. This program was marketed to members of two associations, the American Financial Management Association and the Wedding and Event Videographers Association.

“I have assessed maximum penalties against Vanguarde in the amount of $338,000,” Koken continued. “Additionally, Dwayne Samuels is prohibited from transacting business in Pennsylvania for 20 years and was previously barred from having any dealings with employee benefit plans.

“I can’t stress enough that employers and consumers should take the time to be sure they are dealing with a licensed insurance company. Fraudulent companies may have slick marketing materials or websites, but a simple question should be answered before you buy any coverage. That question is ‘are you licensed?'”

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