Okla. Agent Allegedly Fails to Remit Tornado Victims’ Premiums

March 31, 2006

The Oklahoma Insurance Department suspended a Locust Grove, Okla., insurance agent’s license for failing to send in premium payments for several victims of this month’s tornado in Delaware County, the Associated Press reported.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland will forward the findings of the investigation of Leslie “Les” Kern of Locust Grove to the attorney general’s office for consideration of criminal charges. Kern will have 30 days to appeal the suspension before his license is revoked. Kern, 47, did not return telephone calls for comments.

Kern failed to remit 16 applications and premium payments to Oklahoma City-based Union Mutual Insurance Company, and policies never were issued, records indicate. Those premium payments were made from July 3, 2004, to Feb. 13, 2006, documents claim.

On March 13, Kern reportedly submitted insurance binders to Union Mutual Insurance on 16 applications backdated to show an effective date of March 11, 2006, through April 11.

Records show that four supposed policyholders filed for claims March 15, three days after a twister damaged homes in Delaware County, said Marc Young, a spokesman for the state Insurance Department.

Following the twister, “a bundle of these applications for coverage arrived on the desk of Union Mutual,” Young said. “That kind of sent up a red flag.”

Union Mutual has agreed to honor at least two of Kern’s policies, and “that number could go higher,” Young said.

Information from: Tulsa World, www.tulsaworld.com.

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