Texas Judge Orders Boat Insurer to Pay $1 Million

January 30, 2003

A judge in Austin, Texas ordered a London- and Canada-based organization to stop marketing boat and other watercraft insurance in Texas without a license and to pay a $1 million fine imposed last year by Commissioner Jose Montemayor.

According to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), Judge Patrick O. Keel of the 345th State District Court issued a permanent junction this week against International Marine Safety Foundation, also known as International Water Marine Safety Foundation or International Water Safety Foundation. The injunction was requested by TDI and the Office of the Attorney General.

In addition to the foundation, the injunction names its top officers, Gerard Beaudoin, Gregory Quail and Andrew Evans. The foundation’s Web site lists addresses in Quebec and London, England. Beaudoin is believed to live in Quebec while Quail and Evans are believed to reside in London.

The insurance carrier for International Water Marine Safety Foundation is an unlicensed Panamanian company, North American Marine General Insurance Co.

International Water Marine Safety Foundation advertises on the Internet and has sent faxes offering Texas insurance agents inducements to market watercraft insurance coverage on its behalf.

TDI said it has reason to believe that as many as 130 Texans have bought insurance through the foundation.

“Unauthorized insurance is illegal for a very good reason—to protect the public from incompetence, financial insolvency, criminality and other bad qualities that result in unpaid consumer claims,” Montemayor said.

He added that it’s important for consumers to verify that an insurer is licensed or otherwise eligible to sell insurance in Texas before handing over their premium dollars. A call to TDI at (800) 252-3439 is all it takes.

TDI took its case against the foundation to court after the foundation disregarded cease-and-desist orders and failed to pay a $1 million fine ordered by Montemayor on March 26, 2002, for violating Texas’ law against unauthorized insurance.

Judge Keel entered a default judgment against International Water Marine Safety Foundation after it failed to respond to the state’s lawsuit.

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