An insurance company has reached a settlement with the Maine Bureau of Insurance in connection with allegations of improper sales practices.
Bankers Life and Casualty Company, Chicago, has agreed to pay a $500,000 civil penalty, bureau officials say.
The Maine bureau and the Maine Office of the Attorney General investigated the company after hearing that an 80-year-old woman responded to mail about Medicare, then bought a $37,000 annuity after meeting with two Bankers Life agents.
In 2007, the Maine Legislature passed a law that bans agents from making appointments to discuss Medicare and then pitching other products. Bankers Life admitted that it failed to train its agents about the law, and it agreed to offer refunds plus interest to anyone who set up a meeting concerning Medicare and then bought another Bankers Life product, officials say.
The company also has agreed to an independent audit that will identify the sales of all non-Medicare products at Medicare appointments after the cross-selling law was enacted. This will give the affected consumers an opportunity to cancel transactions, officials say.
“Bankers has fully cooperated with the Maine Bureau of Insurance and the Maine Office of the Attorney General in identifying, investigating and addressing an issue in our Bangor branch involving the solicitation of non-Medicare products during a Medicare product sales call,” Bankers Life says in a statement about the settlement.
“We have agreed to a plan to rectify the issue and will continue to do everything we can to ensure that the problem does not occur in the future,” the company says.