Company Fined $500,000 for Travel Insurance Product

April 14, 2003

Washington’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) reached a $500,000 enforcement agreement recently with Insurance Company of North America (INA) of Pennsylvania for reportedly issuing over 140,000 unapproved certificates for travel insurance and other related insurance products in Washington.

The entire $500,000 fine will go to Washington’s General Fund.

“INA and their agent, Travel Guard, repeatedly violated state law over a number of years, and I believe a $500,000 fine is a fair and equitable settlement,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “I appreciate INA’s cooperation throughout the settlement process.”

OIC issued a cease and desist order last August against both INA and Travel Guard Group, Inc.of Wisconsin. Both were ordered to stop selling unapproved plans and to stop excluding terrorism-related claims. Travel Guard, with 60 percent of the travel insurance market nationwide, was ordered to stop representing itself as an insurance company to Washington consumers.

INA filed their insurance products with the OIC in May of 1997. Despite OIC’s disapproval, Travel Guard reportedly continued to sell INA products in Washington. After several consumer complaints in April of 2002, OIC learned that Travel Guard was continuing to sell unapproved INA products. INA submitted their products for approval again in May of 2002 and once again, they were disapproved. During this time, Travel Guard allegedly kept selling the unapproved INA products to Washington consumers and denying coverage for terrorism-related claims until the cease and desist order.

INA and Travel Guard products were finally approved on Sept. 5, 2002, after a substantial one-on-one expedited review by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

Separate settlement discussions have been initiated with Travel Guard for their specific violations of state law.

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