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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