N.H. Orders Audit of Insurance Broker Fees

May 27, 2004

The New Hampshire Legislature’s audit division will be looking into fees paid to brokers for handling the state’s insurance contracts.

The joint legislative Fiscal Committee voted unanimously to approve the audit, which would probably take months to complete.

Broker fees became an issue last year when former Benson administration volunteer Linda Pepin was paid $187,000 to work on the state’s health insurance contracts. Then-Personnel Director Joseph D’Alessandro fired the state’s broker and hired Dennis French, who funneled the money to Pepin.

The attorney general’s office investigated and concluded Pepin and D’Alessandro did nothing criminal but acted unethically in orchestrating the arrangement. D’Alessandro subsequently resigned.

Attorney General Peter Heed has gone to court to recover the fees, which the state paid originally to the insurance companies.

In a separate action, the state Insurance Department said Pepin violated a state law that forbids anyone from collecting broker’s fees without a license, and proposes fining her $42,500 for 17 alleged violations.

A hearing in the case concluded last week.

Pepin insists she served as a human resources consultant and was not required to have an insurance broker’s license.

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