New York State
Insurance Department


ISSUED 11/03/2003

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
Conseco Life Insurance Company of New York 350 Jericho Turnpike, Suite 304
Jericho, NY
$75,000 fine
Respondent violated the Insurance Law by issuing a policy rider form contrary to a specific condition approval and issuing an unapproved application form. In addition, Respondent modified in force policies through the issuance of a rider without a writing signed by insureds covered under those policies and by modifying in force policies through issuance of a rider reducing coverage without a writing signed by insureds covered under those policies.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Merchants & Business Men’s Mutual Insurance Company PO Box 1633
Harrisburg, PA
$264,290 fine
Respondent violated several sections of Department Regulations Nos. 68 and 64 of the Insurance Law during various periods in 1999, 2000 and 2001. These include, but are not limited to, the following no-fault requirements: an insurer must send a no-fault application within five business days after receipt of notice of claim at its claim processing office; an insurer must send vertification forms within ten business days after receipt of a completed application for no-fault benefits; and an insurer must send follow-up no-fault application if the original application is not returned within 30 calendar days. The Company also violated numerous physical damage loss requirements. These include but are not limited to the following: after notification of a loss, the insurer will have six business days to make an inspection of the vehicle and make a good faith offer of settlement; if the insurer uses electronic data processing equipment to generate its repair estimate, the insurer shall furnish a detailed written estimate of the cost of the repairing the damages resulting from the loss, specifying all appropriate deductions, to the insured or the insured’s designated representative; and in calculating the value of a total loss, the insurer shall use the Redbook and N.A.D.A (or other manuals approved by the Department) and shall provide the insured, no later than the date of payment of the claim, a detailed copy of the calculations made in arriving at a settlement figure.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Westport Insurance Corporation 5200 Metcalf, PO Box 2979
Overland Park, KS
$34,950 fine
Respondent violated several sections of Department Regulations Nos. 57 and 129 and the Insurance Law. These include but are not limited to the following: an insurer must charge filed rates; an expense reduction plan shall permit only reductions that can be demonstrated and provide for proper documentation by the insurer; individual underwriting files shall contain the specific criteria relative to the risk being rated and document the particular circumstances that support each debit or credit; Schedule and IRPM rating plans may not provide modifications of rates in excess of +/-15%; that combining schedule and experience rating plans may not provide for modification of rates in excess of +/-25%; and that an audit to determine the final premium under which the initial premium is based on an estimate of the insured’s exposure base shall be conducted within 180 days after the expiration of such policy and may not be waived.

AGENTS AND BROKER HEARINGS

Region: Buffalo

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Frank J. Popeck
(Agent)
66 Danebrock Drive
Amherst, NY
License revoked
Respondent failed to cooperate with Department in its investigation of Respondent’s bankruptcy, thereby hampering and impeding the Department’s investigation.

 

Region: Nassau County

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Michelle Keitt
(Agent)
c/o Primerica
4580-1 Sunrise Highway
Oakdale, NY
License revoked
Respondent failed to cooperate with Department in its investigation of Respondent’s bankruptcy, thereby hampering and impeding the Department’s investigation

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Eric M. Schatkun
(Agent)
136 Bishop Road
West Babylon, NY
License revoked
Respondent unlawfully represented himself as a producer for insurers without their appointment of him as an authorized agent. In addition, Respondent transacted business under an unlawful trade name that appeared on his insurance stationery and business cards. Respondent also misrepresented this trade name on his stationery and business cards as "independent insurance brokers" when he was not licensed as a broker.

 

Region: New York City

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Allen Batties
(Agent)
44 Court Street
Suite 305
Brooklyn, NY
License revoked
Respondent failed to cooperate with a Department investigation of his alleged bankruptcy following a Department hearing. Respondent was ordered to pay a fine. When Respondent failed to pay the fine, his license was revoked.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Thomas Dzurenko
(Independent Adjuster)
254-40 39th Avenue
Little Neck, NY
License revoked
Respondent failed to comply with Department’s request for information concerning a criminal conviction.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Julio Garcia
(Broker)
110th Street
Corona, NY
$2,000 fine
Respondent had violated the Insurance Law previously by issuing six premium checks that were dishonored by the bank upon which drawn, but were subsequently replaced. Respondent was fined at that time and agreed to take all necessary steps to prevent the recurrence of similar violations. Subsequently, Respondent engaged in activity violative of his stipulated representations to the Department by issuing four premium checks that became dishonored by the bank upon which drawn, but were subsequently replaced.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
MS Brokerage, Inc.
(Broker)

and
Enid S. Hernandez

(Sublicensee)

623 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY

Same as above

License revoked

License revoked

Respondent demonstrated untrustworthiness by issuing numerous checks to accompany applications to the NYAIP that were dishonored by the bank upon which drawn. The Respondent also failed to answer a question truthfully on her renewal license application; failed to submit timely NYAIP applications which led to gaps in coverage for insureds; and failed to cooperate with the Department’s investigation.

 

Region: Suffolk County

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Michael A. Cohen
(Independent Adjuster and Broker)
8 Saint George CT
Melville, NY
License revoked
Respondent collected service fees without a valid service fee agreement in connection with general liability policies placed on two properties. Respondent also failed to allow an audit of his books and records, thereby hampering and impeding the Department’s investigation. .

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Paul D. Mertz
(Independent Adjuster)
2 Fairview Road W
Massapequa, NY
License revoked
Respondent demonstrated untrustworthy conduct by failing to cooperate with the Department in its investigation of his criminal arrest for insurance fraud.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Stargate Agency, Inc.
(Broker)

and
Mara A. Trapasso
(Broker and Sublicensee)

1227 Main Street, Suite 301
Port Jefferson, NY

C/o Industrial Coverage Corp.
3237 Route 112
Suite 3
Medford, NY

License revoked

License revoked

Respondents violated the Insurance Law on several instances by failing to submit automobile insurance payments to insurers. The Respondents also demonstrated untrustworthiness by failing to furnish explanations of their conduct and to produce their files as requested. This hampered and impeded the Department’s investigation.

Region: Westchester County

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
1-8002- Insure Agency, Inc.
Broker

and
Harry W. Correa
(Broker and Sublicensee)

183 West Lincoln Avenue
Mt. Vernon, NY

Same as above

License revoked

License revoked

Respondents violated the Insurance Law by having an unlicensed person conduct their insurance business, and issuing numerous premium checks that were dishonored by the bank and not replaced. Respondents also failed to cooperate with the Department’s investigation.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
R&L Brokerage, Inc.

(Broker)
and
Hubert A. Rechais

(Broker and Sublicensee)

15 Palisade Avenue
Yonkers, NY

Same as above

License revoked

License revoked

Respondents violated the Insurance Law by failing to submit an application and premium payment to the New York Automobile Insurance Plan (NYAIP) for full automobile insurance coverage in a timely manner. The automobile was stolen and not covered because of Respondents’ delay. The vehicle owner obtained a judgment against Respondents for $15,617.20 including interest and court costs. Respondents did not pay any money to the vehicle owner pursuant to said judgement. The failure of Respondents to compensate the vehicle owner following the judicial judgment and order after all appeals efforts had been exhausted) demonstrated untrustworthy conduct.

 Region: Out of State

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Marla L. Graham
(Agent)
3207 W Kimberly Way
Phoenix, AZ
License revoked
Respondent failed to respond to three letters from the Department seeking information regarding a conviction in a criminal action. Following a Department hearing, Respondent was fined $1,500 for hampering and impeding the investigation. Her failure to pay the fine led to the revocation of her license.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
James J. Peck
(Agent)
Progressive Casualty Insurance Co.
6300 Wilson Mills Road, E4G
Mayfield Village, OH
License revoked
Respondent demonstrated untrustworthy conduct by failing to provide an explanation or to furnish documentation requested by the Department in regard to his conviction in a criminal action.

AGENT AND BROKER STIPULATIONS

Region: Binghamton

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
David Kithcart
(Independent Adjuster)
104 Mount Carmel Road
Windsor, NY
$500 fine
Respondent failed to disclose on his Application for an Independent Adjuster’s License that he had been convicted in a criminal action in 1990 and was sentenced to a conditional discharge and to payment of restitution.

Region: Buffalo

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Gina M. Lostracco
(Agent)
8400 Niagara Falls Blvd.
Niagara Falls, NY
$500 fine
Respondent failed to disclose on her license application that she had not been adjudged a bankrupt in 1992.

 Region: Mid-Hudson

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Mid-Hudson Valley Brokerage, LLC
and
Joseph J. Cannizzaro
(Sublicensee)
1895 South Road, Suite 95
Poughkeepsie, NY

Same as above

$500 fine
Respondents failed to disclose on their insurance broker’s applications that Respondent Cannizzaro had been adjudged a bankrupt in 1991.

Region: Nassau County

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Thomas K. Kurian
(Agent)
9 Laura Drive
Westbury Hills, NY
$1,000 fine
Respondent issued five insurance premium transmittal checks that were dishonored by the bank upon which drawn, but were subsequently replaced and commingled his premium account by paying personal and business expenses using premium monies.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Thomas J. Monahan
(Agent)
c/o Premier Financial Group
1400 Old Country Road, Ste. 309
Westbury, NY
$500 fine
Respondent failed to disclose on his Agent’s Renewal Application that he was convicted of a criminal action in 1996.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Yong S. Pong

(Broker)
t/b/a

Yong’s Insurance

64 Lynwood Drive
Valley Stream, NY

Same as above

$500 fine
Respondent collected a service fee from her client without securing a fee agreement as required by Section 2119 of the Insurance Law.

Region: Suffolk County

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Yvonne Hernandez
(Broker)

T/b/a
Herz Insurance Brokerage

4-A Suffolk Avenue
Central Islip, NY

Same as above

$2,000 fine
Respondent issued three insurance premium transmittal checks that were dishonored by the bank upon which drawn, but were subsequently replaced.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Joseph Moscatello
(Indepenent Adjuster)
34 Lodge Lane
E. Setauket, NY
License revoked
On May 1, 2002, Respondent was convicted, upon his plea of guilty, of Insurance Fraud 3rd Degree, which was subsequently reduced to Insurance Fraud 5th Degree, a class A misdemeanor, at Respondent's sentencing on June 27, 2003.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Sandra A. Peguro
(Broker)
C/o Alisandra Multiservices
1622 Brentwood Road
Bay Shore, NY
$1,000 fine
Respondent issued a premium check that was dishonored by the bank upon which it was drawn, but was subsequently replaced. In addition, Respondent commingled insurance premium funds in a bank account with non-insurance business funds.

Region: New York City

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Gerard M. Gonzalez
(Broker)
t/b/a

G M Brokerage

85 East route 59
Spring Valley, NY

Same as above

$1,500 fine
Respondent issued two insurance premium checks that were dishonored by the bank upon which they were drawn, but were subsequently replaced. In addition, Respondent commingled his premium account by paying personal and operating expenses using premium monies.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Juan F. Pena
(Broker)
61 Street Apt. 2
Glendale, NY
$1,000 fine
Respondent demonstrated untrustworthy conduct by issuing four insurance premium payment checks that were dishonored by the bank upon which they were drawn, but were subsequently replaced. In addition, Respondent commingled insurance funds with non-insurance business funds in two bank accounts held in the names of unlicensed entities.

Region: Rochester

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Tina M. Gravino
(Broker)
c/o Nichols Financial Services
241 E Union Street
Newark, NY
$1,500 fine
Respondent failed to disclose on her Application for Broker’s License that she had been convicted of a criminal action in 1995.

Region: Westchester County

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Karsanidi Group, Inc.
(Broker)

and
Alexander Karsanidi
(Agent, Broker and Sublicensee)

174 Boardway
Dobbs Ferry, NY

Same as above

$500 fine
Respondents failed to disclose on their insurance license applications that they had had been fined by another state agency, the Florida Insurance Department, in 1996.

Region: Out of State

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Thomas J. Currier
(Agent)
145 Bradywine Avenue
Elk Grove, IL
$500 fine
Respondent failed to disclose on his license application that he had been adjudged a bankrupt.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Raymond C. Encomienda
(Agent)
2724 N. Howard Street
Baltimore, MD
$500 fine
Respondent failed to timely provide information and documentation relating to his bankruptcy.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Dawn M. Forleo
(Agent)
671 Austin Farm Road
Exeter, RI
$500 fine
Respondent failed to disclose on her insurance license application that she had been adjudged a bankrupt in 1996.

 

LICENSEE ADDRESS PENALTY
Howard Herzog

(Broker)

2711 East Coast Highway
Suite 106
PO Box 11059
Newport Beach, CA
Licensed revoked
Respondent was President, Director and Secretary of IJB Jewelers Block & Fine Arts Broker, Inc., which is licensed as an insurance broker and excess line broker under New York Insurance Law. Respondent acknowledges that during calendar years 2000 and 2001, IJB failed to pay premium taxes on excess line business written by IJB in the amounts of $74,350.00 for calendar year (CY) 2000 and $98,502.70 for CY 2001. Respondent agreed to pay the total amount owed the State of New York, including interest and penalties, in the amount of $93,681.00 for CY 2000 and $112,293.07 for CY 2001. Respondent has surrendered any and all licenses issued to him by the Department, and consents to the denial of any and all pending applications for licenses. Such surrender and denial have the same force and effect as if said licenses had been revoked or denied after a hearing.

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