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ING Group, Amsterdam, issued a statement confirming that Spitzers office issued a subpoena to the company, which it described as a “general request for information” that “contains no allegations against ING.” The company said it is “cooperating fully.”

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On Oct. 20, a San Diego law firm, Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP, filed a civil lawsuit against a broker of life insurance benefits and several major group benefits carriers.

Ted Pintar, a Lerach partner in San Diego, said the suit brings RICO and other civil claims against a San Diego broker, Universal Life Resources, and the following insurers: Aetna, CIGNA, Life Insurance Company of North America, MetLife, Prudential and UnumProvident. The suit alleges payment was made to the broker for “undisclosed charges” including “communication fees,” Pintar added. “ULR would be in the best position to describe what a communication fee is,” he added.

Those fees were passed to client employers, said Pintar. “This goes well beyond the standard commission. It is a separate and stand-alone charge.”

At press time, ULR issued a statement saying it is reviewing the suit but categorically denies any “kickbacks,” as has been suggested in media reports.

Lerach also has been retained by the California insurance department to conduct an examination into the issue of brokerage fees, said a spokesman for the California department.

Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, October 21, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.


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