Wash. Man Ordered to Stop Selling Fake Insurance

December 15, 2004

A Washington state man was ordered Monday to stop selling what officials characterized as phony insurance in Montana.

Dr. Rev. Joseph-Michael Gardinier, of Puyallup, Wash., had no certificate of authority from Montana to act as an insurer, but was selling health, auto, home equity and life insurance products, said Auditor John Morrison.

Gardinier runs The Global Healings Society, which is described on its Web site as a nonprofit church ministry that helps the less fortunate.

He called the allegations “fraudulent” and “frivolous.”

“We don’t sell insurance, we aren’t licensed to sell insurance and we don’t want to be part of the insurance industry,” Gardinier said Monday.

The group does offer members “financial responsibility” through auto, health, home equity and “benefit for life” bonds as an alternative to insurance, he said. Members are asked to make a donation for the services.

Morrison, who is also the state’s insurance commissioner, said Gardinier and his group violated the Montana Insurance Code by soliciting and selling fake insurance.

“Montana citizens should be able to feel that their insurance products are safe and secure,” he said. “My office will work to halt any questionable insurance operations that openly defy and challenge Montana law.”

Morrison said his office plans to propose legislation in the 2005 session to better fight phony insurance.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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