New York State
Insurance Department


ISSUED 8/19/2003

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW YORK STATE INSURANCE DEPARTMENT TAKES DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS AGAINST COMPANIES, AGENTS, BROKERS & ADJUSTERS

The New York State Insurance Department has taken disciplinary action against the following licensees. Those categorized as stipulations have been agreed to by the licensee. Department actions that result from Department hearings are subject to judicial review and possible stay of enforcement.

INSURANCE COMPANIES

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States 1290 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY
$25,000 fine
Respondent violated the Insurance Law when it failed to notify the Superintendent of a service agreement at least 30 days prior to providing services; and by using HIV consent forms that did not conform to statutory requirements. In addition, Respondent used unapproved forms in connection with its group annuity business

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company 180 Maiden Lane
New York, NY
$78,700 fine
Respondent violated the Insurance Law and Department Regulations in the following: failing to pay or deny claims within the required timeframe; failing to provide interest on overdue PIP benefits correctly; failing to provide claimant with appropriate lost wages; failing to maintain all communications and transactions within the claim file; failing to make a good faith offer of settlement within the required timeframe; failing to send proper notification in a timely manner for outstanding claims; failing to notify insureds of their right to reimbursement for transportation expenses; failing to notify the National Insurance Crime Bureau ("NICB") in the required timeframe on total theft losses and first and third party losses and vehicles involved in property damage in excess of $2,500; failing to make an appropriate written offer within 10 business days of completing the investigation; failing to provide the inspection report and photographs as part of the claim file in the settlement of all unrecovered theft claims; and by failing to report all fire losses in excess of $1,000 involving applicable property to the Property Insurance Loss Register within the required timeframe.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest 180 Maiden Lane
New York, NY
$82,290 fine
Respondent violated the Insurance Law and Department Regulations in the following: failing to send verification forms within ten business days after receipt of no-fault applications; failing to send follow-up verification forms when originals were not returned within 30 calendar days; failing to pay or deny claims within 30 calendar days of receipt of relevant information and or proof of claim; failing to correctly calculate interest on overdue PIP benefits; failing to provide claimant with appropriate lost wages; failing to maintain all communications and transactions within the claim file; failing to send proper notification in a timely manner for outstanding claims; failing to notify insureds of their right to reimbursement for transportation expenses; failing to notify the NICB in the required timeframe on total theft losses and first and third party losses and vehicles involved in property damage in excess of $2,500; and failing to provide the inspection report and photographs as part of the claim file in the settlement of all unrecovered theft claims.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Life Insurance Company of Boston & New York 21 East 40th Street, Third Floor
New York, NY
$30,000 fine
Respondent violated the Insurance Law and Department Regulations by failing to notify the Superintendent of the services provided to its parent; and by failing to maintain the books of account at its principal office in New York State. In addition, Respondent failed to maintain at its home office a complete file containing a specimen copy of every advertisement along with a notation indicating the manner and extent of distribution of each advertisement.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
North American Company for Life and Health Insurance of New York 990 Stewart Avenue, Suite 200
Garden City, NY
$5,000 fine
Respondent violated the Insurance Law by entering into a limited investment partnership with two affiliated companies which exceeded greater than one-half of one percent but less than five percent of admitted assets without notifying the Superintendent in writing of its intention to do so.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
USF Insurance Company 293 Eisenhower Parkway
Suite 190
Livingston, NY
$45,600 fine
Respondent violated the Insurance Law and Department Regulations in the following: failing to charge filed rates; failing to apply the filed and approved experienced rating schedule rating, IRPM or expense reduction plan in a non-discriminatory manner for all eligible classes of risk; and failing to have individual files contain specific underwriting criteria. In addition, use of unapproved policy forms; failing to report fire losses to PILR within required timeframe; failing to furnish an anti-arson application in the specified timeframe; failing to rescind coverage if an anti-arson application is not returned completed in the required timeframe; and failing to maintain adequate procedures to minimize the occurrence of improperly charged rates.

 

AGENT AND BROKER HEARINGS

Region: Mid-Hudson

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Joseph B. Richardson
(Agent)
126 Renwick Street
1st Fl.
Newburgh, NY
License revoked
Respondent forged an endorsement on a premium refund check which resulted in his conviction of Forgery in the Third Degree. Respondent failed to answer the Department’s correspondence, thereby hampering and impeding the Department’s investigation.

 

Region: Nassau

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Christian A. Savinovich
(Broker)
c/o Latin Travel and Insurance
123 Main Street
Hempstead, NY
$800 fine
Respondent was responsible for issuance of three premium checks that were dishonored by the bank upon which drawn, but were subsequently replaced. Respondent maintained a premium account and otherwise has conducted an insurance business under the name "Latin Travel & Insurance Agency, Inc." an entity not licensed by the Department after its license expired. Respondent failed to fully cooperate with the Department’s investigation.

 

Region: New York City

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
All-Around Insurance Agency, Inc.
(Broker)
2988 Nostrand Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
License revoked
Respondent demonstrated untrustworthy conduct when it collected premium monies from several insureds and failed to remit all or some of said premium monies to the appropriate insurer; and never procured insurance coverage or refunded the money or otherwise properly accounted for it.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Michael J. Baron
(Broker)

t/b/a

New York Excess and Surplus

140 Wadsworth Avenue
PO Box 521
New York, NY
$1,000 fine
Respondent failed to respond to Department’s communication concerning a delay in settling a claim, thereby hampering and impeding the Department’s investigation.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Victoria Belliel
(Agent)
1344 Sterling Place
Brooklyn, NY
License revoked
Respondent violated the Insurance Law by failing to disclose on her agents renewal application that the Insurance Department of another state had revoked her license as a life insurance agent. Respondent failed to respond to Department’s communication, thereby hampering and impeding the Department’s investigation.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
The Divine Agency, Inc.
(Broker)
and

Divine Ayivor
(Sublicensee)

22-46 Jackson Avenue
Long Island City, NY

Same as above

License revoked

License revoked

Respondents violated the Insurance Law by collecting automobile insurance premiums from their client and failing to remit to the insurer. Respondents failed to properly account for the balance of the misappropriated money. Respondent failed to cooperate with Department’s investigation thereby hampering and impeding the investigation.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Sharee Y. Dixon
(Agent)
126-19 Linden Blvd.
Richmond Hill, NY
License revoked
Respondent demonstrated untrustworthiness by failing to comply with the Department’s request for information regarding her bankruptcy.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Emmanuel Esperance
(Broker)

t/b/a

Emmanuel Insurance Brokerage

1738 Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn, NY

Same as above

License revoked

License revoked

Respondent demonstrated untrustworthiness and incompetency by committing numerous violations of the Rules of the New York Automobile Insurance Plan, including issuance of 43 deficient applications, six reports of suspected fraud activity involving himself as the insured on applications he completed, and three producer performance standard violations.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Richard L. Gamache
(Agent)
294 Elizabeth Street
New York, NY
$750 fine
Respondent failed to respond to repeated communications from the Department for information regarding a Disorderly Conduct conviction. His failure to respond to any of the Department’s letters hampered and impeded the Department’s investigation.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Angel Hernandez
(Broker)
264 Sherman Avenue
New York, NY
License revoked
Respondent demonstrated untrustworthy conduct by submitting false Driver Vertification Forms and failing to return unearned commissions as required by the rules of the New York Automobile Insurance Plan (NYAIP). Respondent also permitted an unlicensed person to operate his insurance business.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Jose A. Hernandez
(Broker)
714 West 181 Street
New York, NY
License revoked
Respondent demonstrated untrustworthy conduct by issuing three premium payment checks from the checking account of the travel agency business he co-owned that were dishonored by the bank upon which drawn and were not replaced or otherwise properly accounted for. In addition, Respondent failed to cooperate with the Department’s investigation of his conduct.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Dillman L. Hunte
(Broker)
3439 Olinville Avenue
Bronx, NY
License revoked
Respondent demonstrated untrustworthy conduct by issuing a premium payment check which was dishonored by the bank upon which drawn and not replaced or otherwise properly account for. In addition, Respondent collected an automobile insurance premium from his client and failed to remit all of the payment to the insurer and did not refund or otherwise properly account for the misappropriated money. Also, Respondent conducted an insurance business under the name of an entity not licensed by the Department and failed to cooperate with the Department’s investigation.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Kenneth Jackson
(Agent)
c/o New York Life Insurance Company
420 Lexington Avenue – 15th Fl.
New York, NY
License revoked
Respondent failed to cooperate with the Department’s investigation of Respondent’s bankruptcy.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Robert A. Merlini
(Adjuster)
Kings Nissan
2887 Coney Island Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
License revoked
Respondent demonstrated untrustworthiness by failing to cooperate with Department’s investigation of his arrest. He was directed to furnish details that led to the events and failed to answer any of the Department’s letters.
LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Posa Steven J. Agency, Inc.
(Broker)
and

Stephen J. Posa

(Sublicensee)

9310A Avenue L
Brooklyn, NY

Same as above

License revoked

 

 

License revoked

Respondents demonstrated untrustworthiness by failing to make a timely submission of a NYAIP application; failing to remit or otherwise properly account for premium payments, and by issuing a check which was dishonored by the bank upon which drawn. Respondents also failed to cooperate with the Department’s investigation.

 

Rego Park Management Corp.
(Broker)
and

Fabian Illera

(Broker and Sublicensee)

92-56 Queens Boulevard
Rego Park, NY

25-55 23rd Street

Astoria, NY

License revoked

License revoked

Respondents demonstrated untrustworthiness by issuing 19 checks that were issued in payment of premiums on applications to the NYAIP that were dishonored by the bank upon which drawn. Only seven checks were replaced. In addition, Respondents commingled their premium trust account by paying personal and business expenses from the account.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Jeffrey A. Testa
(Agent)
1290 Avenue of the Americas
7th Fl.
New York, NY
License revoked
Respondent failed to furnish details as to his criminal conviction and did not respond to the Department’s request for information, thereby hampering and impeding the Department’s investigation.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Frederick W. Wall
(Agent)
c/o PMG Marketing
515 Madison Avenue
New York, NY
License revoked
Respondent failed to furnish the Department with details as to a pending criminal action thereby hampering and impeding the Department’s investigation.

 

Region: Suffolk County

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
April J. Branch
(Agent)
c/o Primerica
4580-1 Sunrise Highway
Oakdale, NY
$500 fine
Respondent violated the Insurance Law by failing to disclose to the Department information concerning her bankruptcy. At the hearing, Respondent did furnish the required documents. Respondent’s failure to furnish the required documents in an timely fashion hampered and impeded the Department’s investigation.

 

Region: Out of State

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Brenda S. Berman
(Agent)
1136 E. Lawrence Road
Phoenix, AZ
License revoked
Respondent failed to furnish documents concerning her bankruptcy and failed to cooperate with the Department’s investigation of the matter.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Arlene Hatton
(Agent)
365 Riverdale Drive
Fort Lee, NJ
License revoked
Respondent was fined $500 by the Department for failing to furnish documents concerning her bankruptcy. Respondent’s failure to pay the fine in a timely fashion has resulted in license revocation.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Melinda J. Riesen
(Agent)
38514 South 10th Road
Blue Springs, NE
License revoked
Respondent failed to furnish documentation requested by the Department explaining her bankruptcy, thereby hampering and impeding the Department’s investigation.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Raymond A. Vander Fliet
(Agent)
300 Davidson Avenue
Somerset, NJ
License revoked
Respondent failed to disclose on his agent license application that he had his license suspended by the Insurance Department of another state. Respondent failed to comply with Department’s request for an explanation, thereby hampering and impeding the investigation.

 

Agents and Brokers Stipulations

Region: Albany

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Gary V. Crawford
(Agent and Broker)
16 Garling Drive
Latham, NY
$500 fine
Respondent violated the Insurance Law by issuing three insurance premium payment checks which were dishonored by the bank upon which drawn. All three checks were subsequently replaced.

 

Region: Buffalo

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
David R. Urshel
(Agent)
325 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY
$1,500 fine
Respondent failed to comply with the requirements of Department Regulation 60 regarding replacement of life insurance in connection with the sale of a New England Mutual Life Insurance Company policy to replace a New England Life Insurance Company policy and a Prudential Life Insurance Company policy.

 

Region: Nassau County

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
PRG Brokerage, Inc.
(Broker)

and

Timothy M. Sheahan
(Broker)

and

James D. Granelle
(Broker and Sublicensee)

and

Lawrence W. Blessinger
(Director)

845 Hempstead Turnpike
PO Box 6
Franklin Square, NY

 

14 Warber Lane
Commack, NY

21 Nathan Drive
Bohemia, NY

 

845 Hempstead Turnpike
PO Box 6
Franklin Square, NY

$25,000 fine
Respondents collected service fees from insureds without fully complying with the provisions of the Insurance Law. [This is a correction to the previously released notice in this matter. Lawrence W. Blessinger, Jr., who was erroneously included in the notice, was not a party to the stipulation and had no involvement in the transactions that were the subject of the stipulation.]

 

Region: New York City

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Carmen Crespo
(Broker)
912 Soundview Avenue #4
Bronx, NY
$1,500 fine
Respondent violated the Insurance Law by issuing 56 insurance premium transmittal checks that were dishonored by the bank upon which drawn, but were subsequently replaced. Respondent also commingled her premium account by paying personal and business expenses using premium monies.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Mario DiDomenico
(Agent)
2435 East 23rd Street
Brooklyn, NY
$500 fine
Respondent violated the Insurance Law by failing to disclose on his Application for Agent’s License that he had been adjudged a bankrupt.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Leo Agency & Brokerage, Inc.
(Agent and Broker)

and

Colin C. Leo
(Sublicensee and Agent & Broker)

1777 Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn, NY

 

Same as above

$500 fine
Respondents demonstrated untrustworthiness by submitting an application for automobile insurance to the New York Automobile Plan (Plan) wherein the principal driver was someone other than the applicant/insured and the Respondents failed to properly complete a Driver’s Vertification Form as required by Plan rules.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Mansi International, LLC
(Broker)
and

Ibrahim A. Mansi
(Sublicensee and Broker)

43-05 31st Avenue
Long Island City, NY

Same as above

$1,000 fine
Respondents violated the Insurance Law by issuing 10 insurance premium transmittal checks that were dishonored by the bank upon which drawn, but were subsequently replaced. Respondents also commingled their premium account by paying personal and business expenses using premium monies.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Raul Morrison
(Agent)
c/o New York Life Insurance
420 Lexington Avenue
15th Floor
New York, NY
$500 fine
Respondent violated the Insurance Law by failing to disclose on his original agent’s license application that he had been adjudged a bankrupt.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Steven E. Newman
(Agent)
1623 Third Avenue #31K
New York, NY
License revoked
Respondent violated the Insurance Law on several occasions when he received premium payments from his clients for procurement of insurance policies and failed to procure the insurance policies or otherwise account for the funds collected.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Michael Roth
(Public Adjuster)
c/o H Roth Adjusters, Ltd.
1562 38th Street
Brooklyn, NY
License revoked
Respondent demonstrated untrustworthiness due to his conviction after trial of Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Vinton M. Roye
(Agent)
233-03 118 Avenue
Cambria Heights, NY
$500 fine
Respondent violated the Insurance Law by failing to disclose on his renewal application that he had been adjudged a bankrupt.

 

Region: Rochester

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
R. Hal Kemp

(Agent and Broker)
t/b/a
Kemp Insurance Agency

353 Fairport Road
East Rochester, NY
License revoked
Respondent demonstrating untrustworthiness by receiving premium payments from his clients for procurement of insurance policies and failing to procure the insurance polices or to account for the funds collected.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Joseph S DeFazio
(Agent)
3080 Clover Street
Pittsford, NY
$2,488 fine
Respondent violated the Insurance Law by convincing his client to purchase replacement life insurance coverage and instructing the client to make only one out-of-pocket premium payment to keep the new policy for life, when in fact additional out-of-pocket premium payments were required to keep the new coverage in force.

 

Region: Suffolk

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Wilson Cruz
(Independent Adjuster)
10 Minto Court
Centereach, NY
License revoked
Respondent demonstrated untrustworthiness due to his conviction of Insurance Fraud, 5th Degree.

 

Region: Westchester County

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Barry N. Krane
(Agent)
56 Mayer Drive
Montebello, NY
$500 fine
Respondent violated the Insurance Law by failing to disclose on his Application for Agent’s License that he was convicted of petit larceny.

 

Region: Out of State

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
William D. Gunter, Jr.

(Agent)

3444 Jonathan’s Landing Road

Tallahassee, FL

$500 fine
Respondent violated the Insurance Law by failing to disclose on his Application for Agent’s License that a corporation for which he is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer was fined by agencies of other states.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
William J. Curtin
(Agent)
c/o Global Benefits Solutions
1235 Castile Avenue
Coral Gables, FL
$500 fine
Respondent failed to disclose on his insurance agent’s license renewal that he had been refused a license by an Insurance Department of another state.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Joseph Tuccio
(Broker)
28 Lookout Point Road
Ridgefield, CT
$1,000 fine
Respondent collected premium payments from an insured and failed to remit them to the insurer, thereby causing cancellation of automobile insurance policies for nonpayment of premium. Respondent used applications and temporary New York State Identification cards that had been issued by the New York Automobile Insurance Plan to another broker in violation of the rules of the Plan.

 

LATE FILINGS

The following health maintenance organizations (HMO have been fined for late submissions of their financial statements and Section 308 filings:

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
American Independent Network Ins. Co. of New York 110A Walnut Street

Elmira, NY

$1,500 fine

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
American Independent Network Ins. Co. of New York 110A Walnut Street

Elmira, NY

$1,000 fine

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Managed Health, Inc. 25 Broadway, 9th Floor

New York, NY

$500 fine

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
MVP Health Insurance Company 625 State Street

Schenectady, NY

$500 fine

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
MVP Health Plan, Inc. 625 State Street

Schenectady, NY

$500 fine

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
MVP Health Services 625 State Street

Schenectady, NY

$500 fine

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Wellcare of New York, Inc. 6800 North Dale Mabry, Suite 268

Tampa, FL

$500 fine

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