Cap on Fines Against Insurance Agents Rises in North Dakota

January 4, 2010

Possible insurance department fines against insurance agents who violate North Dakota laws governing their conduct are increasing from a maximum of $1,000 to $10,000 per incident.

Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm said the change was motivated by some high-profile cases that resulted in huge losses for consumers.

In one case, Fargo insurance agent Larry Atkins pleaded guilty to fraud in connection with a Ponzi scheme that cost clients more than $3 million. Atkins was sentenced last February to eight years in prison.

Under the previous law, the insurance department could fine Atkins only $1,000, Hamm said.

“Over the last few years, there have been a number of cases … where consumers have been financially devastated,” Hamm said. “(The new law) gives us more flexibility, a higher potential fine, more of a deterrent effect.”

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