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Gallagher Bans South Florida Insurance Agent for Selling Bogus Insurance

4/21/2006

CONTACT: Bob Lotane
(850) 413-2842
           
TALLAHASSEE – Tom Gallagher, Florida's chief financial officer, has revoked the license of a South Florida insurance agent for selling bogus health insurance.  Gordon Arthur Esses, 64, of Aventura, was licensed to sell life and health insurance. 
 
"A licensed insurance agent should know whether the product he or she is selling is illegal or properly licensed," Gallagher said. 
 
"Although a majority of agents are not marketing unlicensed plans, unscrupulous agents selling bogus coverage will be held accountable."
 
Esses represented N.A.P.T., an unlicensed entity that sold bogus health insurance policies to thousands of Floridians and subsequently left many with unpaid claims.  Unpaid claims from unlicensed entities are not eligible to be paid from the state guaranty fund which covers the claims of authorized insurers that become insolvent.  The former organizer of N.A.P.T. David A. Weinstein was sentenced to probation for three years, ordered to pay over $600,000 in restitution and costs, and banned from participating in banking and insurance industry activities in Florida.
 
The Department of Financial Services, which Gallagher oversees, has conducted an aggressive campaign to root out unauthorized insurance activity in Florida, acting against over 200 entities, operators, marketers and agents in the last five years.
 
Beginning in 2002, Gallagher implemented the Verify Before You Buy campaign using websites, billboards, radio ads and various news shows and publications to encourage residents to take steps to protect themselves in financial transactions.  To verify if a salesman, agent or company is licensed to sell insurance or financial products in Florida go to www.fldfs.com or call 1-800-342-2762.