NU Online News Service, Feb. 7, 10:29 a.m. – The Minnesota Department of Commerce has charged American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida and American Bankers Life Assurance Company with “willfully violating” Minnesota insurance law and said it will seek to stop the companies from selling insurance in the state.
Minnesota Insurance Commissioner James Bernstein will also seek at least $10 million in fines, the department said in a strongly worded statement.
American Bankers, Miami, responded Feb. 5 by filing a lawsuit in a Minnesota district court in Ramsey County. The suit asks the court to determine whether the department can impose additional penalties related to a multi-state market conduct examination that dates back to 1998.
American Bankers, according to Jim Sykes, a company spokesman, has already settled the issue through a 43-state agreement with a group of regulators that included the Minnesota department. The 1998 agreement called for a $15 million settlement payment, incluing $750,000 for Minnesota, Sykes says.
A reexamination was agreed to and concluded in the middle of 2001, Sykes adds.
The department, however, contends that the results of a market conduct examination show that the companies have exhibited a “pattern of non-compliance” by illegally issuing more than 200,000 insurance policies to Minnesota residents.