New York State
Insurance Department


ISSUED 06/19/2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SUPERINTENDENT MILLS’ PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT AIMED AT PROTECTING CONSUMERS FROM FAKE INSURANCE COMPANIES

        Superintendent of Insurance Howard Mills today announced that a public service announcement (PSA) he taped to educate consumers on protecting themselves from being hurt by fake insurance companies has been distributed to major television stations statewide.

        "Fake insurance companies defraud the public by collecting premiums, with no intention of paying claims," Superintendent Mills stated. "These companies often look and sound legitimate but are actually unauthorized entities attempting to sell worthless policies and plans."

        Superintendent Mills’ PSA is part of the ‘Stop, Call, Confirm’ advertising campaign developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in which consumers are urged, if unsure of an insurer’s legitimacy, to stop before signing any documents, and then call their state insurance department to confirm whether the company issuing the policy is licensed in their state.

        New Yorkers can assess an insurer’s status by logging onto the New York State Insurance Department’s web site at www.ins.state.ny.us, clicking the ‘Consumers’ icon, and then linking to a database that lists all of the state’s licensed entities. Those without access to the internet can call a toll-free number, 1-800-342-3736, to obtain this information.

        The NAIC also issued recently a list of additional warning signs that insurance consumers ought to watch for:

If a policy costs far less than what other companies are charging, it is probably not legitimate insurance.

Instances when an agent or company becomes evasive when you ask about state insurance licenses.

When an agent or company insists on cash payments.

Sales pitches in which an agent or company tells you that this is a one-time offer or your last chance for special savings.

Companies that boast they will insure anyone, regardless of history or risks.

Situations in which an agent or company asks you for detailed personal information, such as bank account numbers, data that is not needed to complete an insurance transaction.

        Superintendent Mills’ PSA on fighting fake insurance can be viewed online at www.ins.state.ny.us by selecting the public service announcement link from the Department web site’s home page. Television stations seeking a copy of the PSA can request one by calling the Insurance Department’s Public Affairs office at 212-480-5262.


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