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Georgia Expands Military Base Sales Practices Probe

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Georgia insurance regulators have started working with regulators in at least 3 other states to investigate allegations of problems with insurance sales practices on military bases.[@@]

Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine recently launched an investigation of a Texas company’s efforts to sell insurance on a Fort Benning, Ga., military base.

Oxendine also asked to look at the books and records of several other companies, and now the investigation includes insurers with headquarters in California, Florida and Wisconsin, Oxendine says.

Commissioners from Florida, Illinois and Texas have joined the probe on an ad hoc basis, Oxendine adds.

“We are all cooperating and sharing information, although each state is just looking now at protecting consumers in [its] state,” Oxendine says. “Other states are likely to join in, and we welcome that.”

In related news, New York State Insurance Superintendent Gregory Serio said at a Senate Banking Committee hearing that insurance regulators already believe they have the authority to regulate insurance sales on military bases.

But, because regulators and the U.S. Department of Defense have had communications problems, “any effort [by the Congress] to help clarify the issue of state regulation of sales practices of sales on military bases would be helpful,” Serio said.

Serio warned against simplistic solutions.

Addressing problems by banning a company from selling insurance on a base might simply push the sales outside the base gates, Serio said.


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