Maine Preparing Questionnaires for Largest Brokers

November 18, 2004

Maine has joined a nationwide investigation into price fixing and other abuses in the insurance industry.

Maine Insurance Superintendent Al Iuppa said his department is working with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners as part of the information-gathering part of a collaborative investigation.

He said his department is preparing questionnaires for insurance brokers, agents and companies. There are thousands of insurance agents in the state, but only the largest brokerage houses will be asked to fill out the questionnaires as part of the probe, Iuppa said.

The national effort was spurred by a criminal investigation launched last month by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Some of the largest insurance brokers in the country are accused of rigging prices and steering business to insurers in exchange for kickbacks.

The scandal has led to high-level resignations, employee layoffs and guilty pleas by some executives.

Maine is now working with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners on how to better protect consumers, Iuppa said.

The association last month formed a task force to come up with ways to prevent abuses in the insurance industry.

The group on Monday released draft model legislation designed to ensure that consumers are provided the necessary information to understand how brokers are compensated for the sale of insurance products.

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