You discover that you have a serious illness, a circumstance beyond your control. Then, you learn that your nice, neighborly insurance agent had sold you a fake health policy. You urgently need treatment, but you don’t have coverage. Taking care to choose an honest agent was in your control, but now it’s too late.
Most agents are honest, but regrettably, we’ve seen a wave of agent fraud stories lately. Victims paid into all kinds of coverage they later discovered were fake.
In Missouri, an insurance agent sold homeowner and auto policies without a license, and pocketed clients’ premiums. She pleaded guilty this week to 20 counts of fraud.
In Oklahoma, an agent is charged with deliberately miscoding workers compensation policies to make roofing companies illegally eligible for coverage. Suspected victims were issued certificates of insurance that were not backed by actual policies. They discovered, as many do, that they’d allegedly had paid into a plan that didn’t cover them.
In New York, Norman Michaels was arrested for selling forged health policies to more than 400 individuals. Prosecutors say his victims were lured by the promise of cheap insurance. The insurance was cheap because the coverage allegedly didn’t exist.
The New York Alliance Against Insurance Fraud is arming consumers with important advice to empower themselves against crooked agents.
Among key tips:
- Make sure the insurance agent is licensed in your state
- Get a copy of every form you sign
- Read your policy closely before you sign. Know the details of what your policy does and doesn’t cover.
In Spanish we say, “it’s better to prevent than to cure.” Let’s make sure that’s true when considering cheap insurance policies.
About the author: Jennifer Tchinnosian is communications specialist for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.