Weekly Wrap: Broker steals nearly $1mn in bogus health premiums

PLUS: The ACA is driving more producers online, insurance options are narrowing and Oklahoma’s bad weather is inflating price.

Weekly Wrap: Broker steals nearly $1mn in bogus health premiums

Catastrophe & Flood


A 70-year-old New Jersey insurance broker pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing nearly $1 million in health insurance premiums Wednesday, as part of a scheme in which he knowingly sold bogus health insurance coverage.

David Clark and his co-conspirators were accused of defrauding more than 25,000 individuals and several employer groups in New Jersey and other states.

Clark, who owns and operates Real Benefits Associations LLC, began by offering a welfare plan funded through Perfect Health. When Perfect Health was purchased by Health Insurance Programs, the coverage was discontinued.

Clark, however, continued to market and sell the health insurance plans from December 2008 to July 2011, collecting roughly $1,789,596 in premiums He then pocketed $962,207 for his own use, directing it toward college tuition payments, debit and credit card purchases and a relative’s bank account.

Wild weather in Oklahoma is causing home insurance premiums to rise, according to Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak.

The wildfires, high winds, tornadoes, freezing rain and snow that has been ravishing the plains states this year to the point that premiums are increasing upwards of 34%. With more losses in Oklahoma than in any other state in 2013, insurers are trying to recoup losses—particularly on homeowner’s insurance policies.

The state legislature has introduced a bill called the “Natural Disaster Deductible Bill,” which may allow homeowners to save money over time by selecting higher deductibles.

The advent of the Affordable Care Act has forced insurance agents and brokers online, as searches for “health insurance quotes” peaked early this year.

The trend dragged some health insurance producers, previously unwilling to embrace social media, onto the web. In fact, a recent study by LinkedIn revealed that a full 53% of benefits producers are now on LinkedIn, compared to just 18% in 2009.

“Although insurance advisors have historically been slow to adopt to digital marketing, we’ve seen a recent surge in investing in insurance training around digital marking,” Jeremiah Desmaraias, founder of AgencyGrowthAcademy.com, told Digital Journal.

AgencyGrowthAcademy.com cleaned up in 2013, gifting more than $1 million in online sales and marketing training to producers in the health, life, voluntary benefits and property/casualty spaces.


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