NU Online Service, Nov. 1, 9:00 a.m. – Texas Insurance Commissioner Jose Montemayor issued emergency cease-and-desist orders yesterday directing two European entities to stop issuing insurance policies to small employer health insurance plans in Texas without the licenses required by state law.

The cease-and-desist orders name MarkeTrends Insurance Ltd. of the Republic of Cyprus and North American Indemnity IV (NAI) of Brussels, Belgium, and its directors, Euan David McNicoll and John Fowler Anderson of Scotland.

A number of Houston-based insurance plan administrators have used NAI and MarkeTrends to provide the insurance for the employer health plans they administer, according to the Texas Insurance Department.

The Texas insurance code requires all companies issuing such insurance policies to Texas employers to be licensed by the Texas Department of Insurance for the protection of consumers.

NAI has allegedly failed to pay at least $12.5 million in health claims, resulting in a federal class action lawsuit in Houston involving as many as 332 employers from around the country, the department says.

MarkeTrends covers at least 64 employer groups in Texas alone. One Texas employer complained to the department that not a single health claim was paid during the six months the employer had coverage from MarkeTrends, the department says.

According to department officials, both NAI and MarkeTrends have ignored the department’s requests for information about their business in Texas.

The department says it is also investigating third-party administrators that have used NAI and MarkeTrends.