The arrest of insurance agents R. Hal Kemp of East Rochester and Luis Estrella of Brooklyn on charges of defrauding their respective clients prompted warnings to consumers from New York State Insurance Superintendent Gregory V. Serio to verify coverage on any policies where they were involved.
Kemp, a licensed New York State Insurance agent, is alleged to have taken money from nine clients and given them invalid insurance binders for homeowner’s insurance. He failed to remit “any of the premium money received to any insurance company nor did he place any of the insurance with the stated companies,” said the NYSID bulletin.
He’s also charged with issuing six false auto identification cards for an auto policy to a client who submitted the cards to the Department of Motor Vehicles to show proof of coverage, who was subsequently fined over $1,300 for lapsed insurance. Kemp also apparently provided a false omnibus policy for a beauty salon, assuring the owner that they had coverage when in fact they did not.
Estrella, whose license to sell insurance was revoked in 1999, is alleged to have sold bogus auto insurance policies to individuals, several of whom were senior citizens in the Hispanic community near the Ariel Travel Agency in Brooklyn, NY. “Some of the consumers learned that their policies were not valid only after they were involved in motor vehicle accidents”, said the announcement.
Serio urged any persons who might have purchased insurance through Kemp, Estrella or the Ariel Travel Agency “to call the insurance company to verify that your policy is valid.” He also indicated that concerned person could contact the NYSID at 212-480-6400, or the Rochester Office in connection with Kemp at 585-325-3274.
Estrella was charged and released on his own recognizance,; Kemp is being held in the County jail on $2500 bond. Both men face prison sentences if convicted. The arrests were the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Insurance Department’s Frauds Bureau, Consumer Services Bureau of the Insurance Department and police officers in Brooklyn and Monroe County.
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