Maine officials have warned consumers and industry professionals about a scam involving an unlicensed company using a name and logo similar to those of The Hartford, the well-known insurer, and one of its duly licensed subsidiaries.
Superintendent of Insurance Alessandro A. Iuppa reported that as a result of a Maine consumer’s inquiry, the insurance bureau became aware that The Hartford insurance company’s name and logo have been used illegally to defraud consumers. An unlicensed company that calls itself Hartford Casualty Insurance is fraudulently soliciting business by using a name similar to The Hartford’s, according to Iuppa.
The bogus company has copied The Hartford’s logo on its Web site to further associate it with legitimate Hartford, the bureau added.
The bogus Hartford Casualty Insurance appears to be targeting agents, professionals, home inspectors, and people in the real estate industry by offering quotes on errors and omissions, general liability and legal defense liability insurance coverage. Offers are reportedly sent by both e-mail and printed material that directs people to the unlicensed company’s Web site at www.hartfordcasualtyinsurance.com.
The bureau said that correspondence with the bogus company is conducted by fax. Activities of the unlicensed company are currently under investigation, Iuppa reported.
“Unfortunately fake insurance is not always easy to recognize and perpetrators can be very devious,” said Iuppa.
He advised consumers that The Hartford does have a licensed and registered underwriting subsidiary with a similar name – Hartford Casualty Insurance Company – which issues coverages including auto, home, business property and liability insurance.
“Just like counterfeit money, fake insurance may appear to be legitimate, but it is actually illegal and worthless,” he commented. “If you buy fake insurance, you’ll pay premiums, but your claims won’t be paid.”
According to Maine law, with very few exceptions, no insurance product can be sold by individual agents, brokers, or companies without the approval of the Maine Bureau of Insurance.
“If consumers will stop, call, and confirm before they buy insurance, they may save themselves the pain of unpaid claims,” said Iuppa. “They also can help us track down and take action against the con artists who sell fake insurance.”
The Bureau of Insurance is part of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, which encourages sound ethical business practices through high quality, impartial and efficient regulation of insurers, financial institutions, creditors, investment providers, and numerous professions and occupations for the purpose of protecting the citizens of Maine. Consumers can reach the Bureau through its Web site at www.MaineInsuranceReg.org; by calling 800-300-5000 in state; or by writing to Bureau of Insurance, 34 State House Station, Augusta ME 04333.
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