Agents E&O Fraud Uncovered by IJ

January 23, 2004

Insurance Journal has discovered that there is an ongoing investigation into Torrance, Calif.-based Manning Riddell Insurance Services Inc. (License #0827722) in connection with the issuance of more than 1,000 phony Errors & Omissions policies for life insurance agents in some 30 states. IJ first learned of this matter when a tip came through from jilted life insurance agent Tom Herz in the San Francisco area, and soon thereafter uncovered another agent who has been affected, William Botsch of New Ideas Insurance Agency in Catonsville, Maryland.

The allegations were confirmed in a letter addressed to Botsch from the San Francisco office of law firm LeBoeuf, Lamb, Green & MacRae LLP. Herz received a similar letter from Los Angeles firm Cotkin, Collins & Ginsburg.

According to the letter, Manning Riddell issued several hundred certificates allegedly through Dakota Specialty Insurance Company, now Aspen Specialty Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited. Dakota reportedly never authorized issuance, and did not collect any premium monies from Manning Riddell.

Botsch said he had been purchasing E&O insurance from Manning Riddell since 2001. He received a copy of his renewal certificate for the 2003-2004 year, but when he tried contacting Manning Riddell, there was no response. The policy was written under Choice E&O RPG.

IJ contacted several listed telephone numbers for Manning Riddell, including (800) 437-4433, (310) 379-3550 (both disconnected) and (310) 465-1426, (310) 465-1412 (both no answer). Manning Riddell’s address is listed at 23639 Hawthorne Blvd. #300, Torrance, Calif. 90505.

The California Department of Insurance (CDI) is currently investigating the case. Phone calls to the CDI for comment have not yet been returned.

Insurance Journal is still investigating the allegations and will bring you the latest as it is uncovered.

If you were insured by Manning Riddell, or you have any information regarding this investigation, please contact Cynthia Beisiegel at (800) 897-9965 ext. 111 or e-mail cbeisiegel@insurancejournal.com.

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