CDI Searches California Agencies In Effort to Uncover Possible Fraud

February 16, 2001

Search warrants were executed at more than 10 locations in California in the past two weeks, according to the California Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Branch.

Investigators were hunting for evidence of unlicensed insurance products being sold in California, specifically policies for taxicab companies, para-transit companies and construction firms. Among those agencies searched were Target Financial and Insurance Services, American Continental Claims Service, Kehrlein Insurance Agency, Above and Beyond Insurance Agency of San Francisco Bay Area, Rahi Insurance Agency, Petacsil Insurance Agency and Paul Batmale Insurance Broker with Y.A. Tittle Insurance Agency.

The searches covered San Diego, Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin Counties. CDI investigators reported evidence that fraudulent certificates of insurance have been issued to more than 100 taxicab companies operating throughout California, as well as more than 70 construction firms.

Many of the certificates, which were issued to various local municipalities, corporations, homeowners and others, also listed co-insureds. The entity that appears to be behind the policies is Tri-Continental Exchange Limited and Combined Services Limited, domiciled in St. Vincent in the Caribbean.

According to the CDI, the entity is “not known to be licensed by any state, foreign government or regulatory agency,” and several states have issued Cease and Desist Orders to Tri-Continental, without success, during the past several years. Tri-Continental has allegedly been using the names Nationwide Insurance, Globe Indemnity Insurance and others on its issued policies.

Insurance Commissioner Low is urging anyone who has received such a certificate to contact the CDI at 800/927-4357.

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