Ohio Insurance Director Lee Covington filed a petition to intervene in a New Mexico lawsuit that, according to the Ohio Department of Insurance, could impose another state’s insurance laws and increased costs on Ohio insurance consumers.
Covington filed the motion Feb. 19 to intervene as a party defendant in Enfield v. Old Line Life Insurance Company of America, a suit filed in district court in Bernaillo Co., New Mexico. Plaintiff’s attorneys are seeking to have the case certified as a national class action suit.
The lawsuit claims that insurance policyholders who pay their premiums monthly or quarterly (modal) instead of annually are being unfairly discriminated against because they are asked to pay an additional fee for the right to make modal premium payments.
While not taking a position on the nature of the premium payment dispute, Covington is seeking to intervene, claiming that a court in New Mexico cannot adequately address the concerns of Ohio policyholders and does not have the jurisdiction to determine how or what insurance premiums will be charged in Ohio.
“The Ohio Department of Insurance has been given the responsibility to protect Ohio insurance policyholders and to address their concerns,” said Covington. “I am fundamentally against allowing a court in New Mexico or any other state to make policy that will affect Ohio insurers and insurance consumers.
“It is important that it remains clear that the Ohio Department of Insurance is the sole authority in this state to regulate the business of insurance,” added Covington. “Lawsuits such as these have the potential to significantly undermine the Department’s authority to fulfill its mission.”
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