Illinois Agent Fined $100K for Allegedly Stealing Premiums

The Illinois Department of Insurance as revoked the license of an agent and his agency, and fined him $100,000 for keeping his clients’ payments and committing several other frauds.

Investigators say Earl D. Bertsche, principal of Bertsche and Berry in Pontiac, failed to remit premiums from clients to insurance companies and engaged in other improper insurance-related activities. Among those other activities: issuing fraudulent certificates of insurance and defaulting on a promissory note to an insurer that represented a premium of more than $334,000.

The insurance department investigation found that, in 2007, Bertsche led a client to believe that his insurance premiums — amounting to nearly $75,000 — were placed through two separate insurers for the 2007 and 2008 policy years. Neither insurer, though, ever received payments on behalf of the consumer because, as Bertsche later admitted, he failed to deliver those funds to provide coverage.

In 2008, Bertsche brokered a policy worth more than $114,000 in premiums but failed to pay more than $61,000 of premiums due to another producer. The Department also discovered through its investigation that Bertsche issued four fraudulent certificates purporting to represent commercial property insurance for three Illinois consumers, the cost of which allegedly totaled nearly $115,000. None of the certificates are valid because Bertsche failed to provide the premium funds to the insurer.

In another instance, Bertsche again due to a failure to deliver premium funds paid by a consumer, entered a into promissory note with that insurer to pay more than $334,000 for the unpaid premium, $155,000 of which remains outstanding.

Bertsche and Bertsche and Berry Inc., can request a hearing to rebut the allegations stemming from the Department’s investigation, the department said.

Source: Illinois Department of Insurance