Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon issued a Cease and Desist Order to Monroe insurance producer Jerry Dool for including false information on insurance applications, altering or forging names on checks and electronic transfer forms, and receiving commissions based on fraudulent applications. In addition to the C&D, on Aug. 19, Dool was issued a notice of revocation of his producer’s license and a notice of a $4,500 fine due immediately.
On Sept. 11, LDI issued a C&D order, a license revocation and summary suspension, and notice of a $1,500 fine, payable immediately, to Lafayette Parish producer Matthew Sias for alleged misappropriation of premium funds.
Each of the producers has 30 days from the time the individual orders were served to request an administrative appeal on the C&Ds, license revocations and fines become final.
The Reporter was unable to reach Dool to learn whether or not he intends to appeal LDI’s order. The number listed for Dool on LDI’s website as his contact number is no longer in service. The number referenced in the C&D order as Dool’s personal number was busy on several attempts, and a third number answers that the voice mail has not been set up.
Dool held life and accident and health licenses from Oct. 5, 2007, until Sept. 30, 2018, when the two licenses lapsed, according to LDI records.
Prior to his license lapsing, Dool held appointments with three insurers during the past eight years. According to the C&D order, he was appointed by Equitable Life and Casualty from June 18, 2013, until April 30, 2015; by Transamerica Life Insurance Company from May 5, 2016, until April 30, 2018, and by Senior Life Insurance Company from Dec. 4, 2017, to May 7, 2018.
The 18-page C&D order lists 23 customers who were allegedly duped by Dool in various ways. Most instances occurred in the 2015 to 2018 time frame, and all but three involved monthly premium between $50 and $100.
In several cases, Dool issued customer applications for life insurance policies through Transamerica which remain active. In many instances, instead of submitting a voided check to the insurer, Dool wrote notes indicating the customer had run out of checks, and that he, Dool, used a deposit slip to provide the customer’s bank information to the insurance company.
Later – sometimes a couple of months later or in one case as long as four years later – Dool submitted bogus applications to Senior Life or a second application to Transamerica, without telling his customer. In some cases he submitted the voided check that the customer had given him for the earlier policy. He altered the date on the check to coincide with the new application date.
In at least one case, he used the same check on a second bogus application to Senior Life, once again changing the date.
Occasionally, Dool would indicate that customers used only debit cards to pay. No voided check was presented with the application.
In 2018, Customer 1 contacted Senior Life and advised the insurer that she did not apply for either of the two life policies, nor was she familiar with Senior Life. She told Senior Life that Dool was her agent for the Transamerica policy. She faxed a letter to Senior Life requesting the unauthorized policies be canceled and all premiums refunded, whereupon she received the requested refund.
Based on that customer’s information, Senior Life pulled Dool’s book of business and attempted to contact 21 life policy applicants, according to the C&D order.
As LDI describes it, many of the applicants were difficult for Senior Life to contact because of incorrect and/or disconnected phone numbers and/or incorrect addresses on the applications. Several of the applicants who were contacted said Dool was their agent for previously secured life insurance through a different company. Some policyholders contacted Senior Life after they were charged unauthorized premiums for a policy for which they did not apply. The applicants claimed they never submitted Senior Life applications and requested refunds.
In February 2018, Customer 5, sought representation from a different agent, who drafted a cancellation letter on the customer’s behalf. The letter was signed by the customer and the new agent, and the agent filed a complaint with LDI against Dool.
In another instance, Dool submitted a bogus application for a Transamerica policy of insurance on behalf of Customer 6 who already had one policy with Transamerica. The check submitted with the second application had a different first name than the customer’s first name. Not a problem for Dool. According to LDI, he added his customer’s name at the top of the check and drew a line through the printed address, and then added a new address.
In March 2017, Customer 6 notified Transamerica that she was being overcharged and was not aware of the second policy. The second policy was rescinded.
Less than a year later, Dool submitted an application for insurance to Senior Life for the same customer using the same pre viously voided check that was previously sent to Transamerica. The check was further altered. This time with correction tape, LDI said in the C&D order.
In a separate instance in January 2018, an application for Legacy Assurance Membership enrollment was completed on Customer 10. The membership offers funeral merchandise at prices lower than the national average. The membership fee is $3 per month. The hitch is that the customer said she did not know about the membership and did not apply for it.
Dool sent an application for insurance to Senior Life on Customer 11 with the monthly premium to come from an account belonging to Dool’s wife. His wife was not the customer. In any case, the premium payment was rejected due to insufficient funds, and the customer got a letter from Senior Life informing her the payment was refused.
A month later, the payment was again rejected for insufficient funds, and the policy lapsed. The customer called Senior Life and informed the insurer that she did not want the policy and wanted it canceled.
According to Customer 11, Dool called to tell her about the policy after it was issued. According to the C&D order, Customer 11 claims Dool told her his wife would pay for the policy “because it is something she does” for his “good customers.”
Customer 11 alleged that Dool saved copies of old applications and that is how he got her information for the Senior Life application. The customer reviewed the application and wrote a letter refuting the signature on the application. She wrote that she did not know the payer and that Dool was probably trying to increase his commission for the year by getting the policy on her.
Other customers also refuted the signatures on their applications.
Dool listed his own telephone number as Customer 12’s telephone number on an application for insurance. Someone claiming to be Customer 12 called Senior Life from Dool’s telephone number and left a voicemail saying everything on the policy was correct, according to LDI’s order.
Based on the totality of the information, LDI said, Dool “demonstrated a pattern of behavior that is in direct violation of state insurance regulations.”
Transamerica alleges Dool owes the company $9,991.08 in charge backs, and Senior Life alleges Dool owes $1,640.06 in charge backs, LDI wrote in the C&D. “According to alleged victims and evidence obtained, your actions have been ongoing for many years,” LDI wrote.
According to the order issued to Sias, LDI suspended his license for three months on Jan. 9 and fined his agency, MSJ INS LLC. Subsequently, LDI received two complaints involving his failure to remit premium.
In July, a consumer complained that her premium payment for her Lighthouse Property Insurance Corp. homeowners policy was to be included in her closing costs, and the title company issued a check to the agency for $1,086 to cover the premium, but the premium was not applied to the policy, according to the C&D order. When the customer attempted to renew the policy, she learned she had no coverage and confirmed with the title company and her mortgage lender that MSJ had been given a check to pay the premium as part of the closing. In his written response to LDI’s queries, Sias admitted there was a lapse in coverage because the check was not submitted and refunded his customer’s premium. Sais’s failure to remit the premium resulted in a rate increase for his customer. On July 8, MSJ issued a check to the mortgage company for $3,617.08 to cover the increased insurance premium, according to LDI’s order.
The second complaint occurred in September 2020, when the LDI Division of Insurance Fraud received a complaint from The Groom Room in New Iberia whose mortgage company requires proof of insurance annually.
According to LDI, on Sept. 19, 2019, Sias emailed a document to the loan officer at Community First Bank. The document, titled WrightFloodApplication, had Sias’s e-signature and was dated Sept. 17, 2019. The application was not signed by the insured and indicated a balance due for the flood premium.
Upon receiving the declaration page, the bank representative noticed that the policy period was written as from Sept. 17, 2019, to Sept. 17, 2019. Thinking it was a printing error, Sias was asked to review the policy dates and submit a corrected declaration page. Later that afternoon, the insured emailed a document titled untitled00 to the bank. The second purported declaration page reflected a policy period from Sept. 17, 2019, to Sept. 17, 2020. Sias never paid the premium, and coverage was never secured, according to LDI. The insured stated to LDI that Sias refunded the flood insurance premium.
The LDI suspended Sias’s licenses effective immediately. Sias has held a property license since May 5, 2017, and a casualty license since June 16, 2017. All of his licenses were suspended, effective Sept. 8, 2020, according to LDI’s website. “
Anytime a producer does not abide by the code of conduct set out by Title 22, it is a very serious matter,” Donelon said. “I urge any consumers who feel uneasy about any insurance-related transaction to call the LDI Division of Fraud and Enforcement. All callers can request that their involvement be kept confidential.”