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Gallagher Orders Unlicensed Entity to Stop Selling Unregulated Health Insurance in Florida

4/30/2001

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher today ordered a Pennsylvania-based association operating as an unlicensed "health insurer" in Florida to immediately stop issuing new policies in this state and to turn over its claims-handling process to a licensed third-party administrator.


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Order



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The association primarily uses the initials N.A.P.T. but has also sold insurance policies under numerous other names including the National Association of Professionals & Technicians, the National Association of Professional Truckers, and the National Association of Professional Traders. Department regulators believe that they have been selling these unauthorized insurance policies since 1999. None of the affiliated associations nor the administrator, David Weinstein, 42, has ever been licensed as an insurer in Florida.

Department of Insurance regulators were made aware of the unlicensed entity through consumer complaints of cancellations for no reason and without proper notice as well as slow, and sometimes no, payment of claims. Department regulators believe tens of thousands of Florida residents may have insurance policies with N.A.P.T. or its affiliated organizations. Policies were sold mostly to employers, both large and small, throughout Florida

"An unlicensed entity like N.A.P.T. is luring in employers with low rates for health insurance coverage, often through slick TV advertising, but what they are really offering is a false sense of security," Gallagher said. "Unlicensed entities are not regulated, may not be actuarially sound and are not required to guarantee payment of claims if their company goes bankrupt."

N.A.P.T. is falsely marketing to insurance agents and consumers that they are a qualified Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plan, which under federal law may be exempt from state regulation. However, any plan that sells insurance policies to more than one employer does not meet the federal exemption requirement and must be licensed and regulated by the state. An ERISA plan allows an individual employer to establish and self-fund a health plan for its own employees.

The Immediate Final Order that Gallagher issued today requires the organization to notify current policyholders that they should obtain new coverage, to turn over its claims-handling processes to a qualified third-party administrator in 15 days and to continue to pay claims until further order of the Department. N.A.P.T. and Weinstein have five days to request a hearing to appeal the order.

"Under the order, the association remains responsible for honoring the policies it has issued," Gallagher said. "Nevertheless, I believe it is in the policyholders' best interests to look for new coverage. This insurer has no license and therefore has not undergone the regulatory scrutiny that licensed companies do."

The following is a list of all the names insurance department regulators have so far determined are associated with the organization:

N.A.P.T.

NAPT

National Association of Physical Therapists

National Association of Professionals & Technicians

National Association of Professional Technical

National Association of Professional Truckers

National Association of Professional Traders

National Association of Chiropractic Professionals

National Association of Dental Professionals (Dental Division)

National Tourism & Hospitality Association (or Division)

National Veterinarian Association

National Real Estate Association (or Division)

Physician's Choice Limited or Physician's Choice LTD.

Various addresses for the associations refer to Philadelphia, PA and Wyndmoor, PA. Weinstein has addresses in Philadelphia and Wyndmoor as well as Cherry Hill and Moorestown, N.J.

Under Florida law, licensed insurance agents who sell unlicensed policies may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including revocation of their license, and could face criminal charges. If an unlicensed insurer fails to pay claims, agents may be held responsible for unpaid claims.

Policyholders with questions about today's order can call the Department's toll-free Consumer HelpLine at 1-800-342-2762.