The Iowa Insurance Division’s investigation of allegations of improper and illegal activities by an insurance agent resulted in the revocation of his license earlier this month.
Dennis Stephens, of Lake Mills, Iowa, with insurance offices in Clear Lake and Gladbrook, had already been under a suspension of his license while the case moved through review. Stephens has 30 days to appeal the ruling.
Stephens was reportedly found to have violated an Iowa regulation expressly prohibiting the solicitation of loans by an insurance agent from his or her client, a practice which could place the agent in a position of undue influence over his clients. On a number of occasions, even after a cease and desist order directed him to stop the practice, Stephens reportedly asked for and received money from his clients to finance the continued operation of his business or to pay other debts. The Administrative Law Judge presiding over this action rejected Stephens’ attempt to contest the charges and cited evidence produced by the Insurance Division that indicated that were it not for these loans, Stephens’ business would be more than $200,000 in debt.
The opinion of the judge stated that “…he has subordinated the interests of his clients to his own. He seems to have come to regard them less as clients to be served than as assets to be mined…”
Further, in a statement of concern for those who have loaned Stephens money, the judge observed that the deficit in his business without these loans “…raises the prospect that those clients may never see their loans repaid.”
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