The Louisiana Department of Insurance issued cease and desist orders for a Lake Charles producer on Sept. 24 and for two St. Martin Parish producers on Sept. 16.
St. Martin Parish agent Tasey Ann Tolliver-Alexander and her husband, Vincent Alexander, owner of Vincent Alexander Insurance Agency in Breaux Bridge, were issued cease and desist orders and fines for alleged misappropriation of premium funds.
Tolliver-Alexander was engaged in the business of insurance even though her license expired Aug. 31, 2018. She did not attempt to reinstate her license until Aug. 28, 2019, according to the C&D order issued by LDI. She paid the reinstatement fee with a check which bounced (NSF), and her license was suspended Dec. 10, 2019.
Records from the insurer on the automobile policy indicate that Tolliver failed to forward a premium payment resulting in the policy being canceled, according to LDI.
In addition to the C&D, Alexander received a summary suspension and revocation of his producer’s license for failure to adequately supervise the activity of Tolliver.
Alexander has held bail bond, property and casualty licenses since Jan. 7, 1988, and life and health licenses since Jan. 5, 1990. The LDI website’s list of producers’ licenses indicates Alexander’s licenses are active until Nov. 30, 2020.
Tolliver and Alexander have 30 days from the time they were served with the C&D to request an administrative hearing or the C&D, and license suspension and revocation become final.
Alexander told the Reporter he had appealed and his attorney had arranged for a hearing scheduled Nov. 6.
“I did not steal. I did not commit fraud. At the proper time and place, I will prove my innocence,” Alexander said. He said he is currently not doing insurance business as his license is under suspension.
On Sept. 17, KATC News in Lafayette printed the following statement by Alexander:
“The Commissioner of Insurance of the State of Louisiana will soon release information regarding the suspension of my insurance business operations. The action results from the improper activities and violations by an employee in my office of provisions of the Louisiana Insurance Code. As owner and operator, I only became aware of these violations when complaints by insurance clients were brought to my attention. Until that time, I had no knowledge that the employee was engaged in the improper activities and violations of the insurance codes.
“Throughout my 30-year career as an insurance company executive, I’ve run a wholesome and productive insurance company, free of complaints by insurance clients and free of any citations by the Commissioner of Insurance – until the actions by the employee. The employee in question has admitted to the wrongdoing and will sign a statement confirming that I, as owner, knew nothing about her egregious activities.
“I’m obviously disappointed that a person in whom I placed my trust has placed my business in jeopardy – a business I spent 30 years developing. More importantly, the improper actions of one employee now threaten to tarnish my reputation as a successful businessman, a reputation I spent my entire adulthood building up. As owner of Vincent Alexander Insurance Agency, I apologize to our clients who may have been harmed by the actions of my employee. I will continue to work with the office of the Commissioner of Insurance to bring these matters to a resolution.”
Complaint drags on for months
In issuing the C&D to Alexander, the LDI describes a series of events beginning in June last year when Kendall Lewis, a customer of Vincent Alexander Insurance Agency, filed a complaint against Progressive Security Insurance Company. Lewis presented four receipts from Vincent Alexander Insurance Agency showing that he paid the premium on his insurance policy from January 2019 through May 2019. The receipts were handwritten and signed “T. Alexander,” LDI said in the C&D order.
LDI said that according to Progressive, Lewis’s policy went into effect Dec. 7, 2018, and was canceled Jan. 22, 2019, due to non-payment of premium. Progressive received only one premium payment of $224 on Dec. 7, 2018. Lewis said he did not know his policy had been canceled until he was involved in a motor vehicle accident.
According to LDI’s order, LDI directed Alexander to respond to Lewis’s complaint, providing information, documentation and a detailed explanation. Alexander failed to respond. On July 8, 2019, LDI sent correspondence to Alexander via certified mail to his address of record, giving him until July 18 to respond to Lewis’s complaint. Again, Alexander failed to respond. On July 19, 2019, LDI told Alexander via certified mail that he was in violation, and LDI fined Alexander $250. Alexander was ordered to pay the fine immediately and submit the requested response.
On July 21, 2019, LDI received a response, which read, “We have reached out to Progressive to correct the issue. Also we have submitted to have the flags removed from his driving records.” The response came through LDI’s Industry Access System. (No indication who actually sent the response.)
LDI found the response inadequate, and on July 23, 2019, requested more information and documents. Alexander did not comply.
On Aug. 8, 2019, LDI mailed Alexander a notice of an administrative fine to his address of record. He was fined $250 for failing to respond.
On Aug. 16, 2019, representatives of Progressive met with Tolliver at the agency. Alexander was not present at the meeting, LDI said, and Alexander’s wife, Tolliver, told investigators that she had been working at the agency since 1997 and that she and Alexander were the only two employees. She told the Progressive representatives that she quoted and sold most of the policies and that she accepted cash despite a sign in the office indicating the agency does not accept cash, effective Dec. 18, 2014. The reps from Progressive asked Tolliver about her expired license, and she claimed to be unaware that the license was expired.
On Aug. 23, 2019, LDI said, a Progressive representative spoke to Alexander via telephone. According to the Progressive rep, Alexander advised her that he was generally in the office four to five hours a day; that he recently had surgery and was undergoing physical therapy. Alexander told the Progressive rep that he was unaware of the agency visit the previous week, and he was unaware of the missing premium payment issues with Lewis. Alexander told the Progressive rep that procedures he had in place regarding cash payments were not being followed, but that would change. At that time, Alexander said he was unaware that Tolliver’s license was expired. Alexander told the Progressive rep that he was going to review files to ensure the signatures and documentation were complete and valid. Alexander admitted that it was his responsibility to oversee all agency activities and apologized for the issues identified.
On Sept. 17, 2019, Progressive emailed the agency notice of termination of the producer’s agreement.
On Sept. 27, 2019, Alexander received a letter from LDI staff attorney, Dominique Jones, informing him that the $250 civil fine had not been paid.
On Oct. 24, 2019, Alexander issued a cashier’s check to Lewis for $1,776.50, which was a refund of $726.50 and $1,050 for Office of Motor Vehicle reinstatement fees due to lack of insurance.
On Feb. 19, 2020, a C&D order and notice of a fine was mailed to Alexander. The order addressed Alexander’s use of unapproved and unregistered trade names for his insurance agency and bail bond businesses. He was ordered to stop using the names Vincent Alexander Insurance Agency Inc. and Vincent Alexander Bail Bond Services until the trade names were registered per the Louisiana Insurance Code. In addition, Alexander was fined $250 for this violation.
On Feb. 28, 2020, Alexander appealed and requested a hearing, according to the C&D order. Alexander claimed he did not receive the July 8, 2019, and July 19, 2019, letters from LDI. He claimed he did not receive the Notice of Fine and that whoever signed for them did not give the letters to him. Alexander enclosed a payment for the $250 fine associated with Lewis’s consumer complaint. Alexander wrote to LDI that he was not aware of Lewis’s complaint until Progressive called him on his cell phone.
Alexander wrote to LDI, explaining that when he questioned his wife, it seemed that “she made errors and tried to cover it” without telling him. Alexander expressed embarrassment about his wife’s “behavior/errors” with Lewis and said he had a “special meeting” with his wife about the incident.
More consumers complain
On May 8, 2020, LDI received a consumer complaint from Twana Casey, in which she alleged she made a cash policy renewal payment of $308 on Feb. 7, 2020, for her homeowners policy. Casey alleged she gave the payment to Tolliver and received a receipt. Casey said that between February and April, she repeatedly requested a policy copy from Tolliver. The copy was not forthcoming, so Casey contacted the underwriting company directly and learned that her original policy written in February 2019 had been canceled on March 31, 2019, because the underwriter, RPS Covington, did not receive the down payment, photos and value justification. Notice of cancellation was mailed to Casey, and a notice of cancellation was emailed to Alexander at his msn.com address and Tolliver at her yahoo.com address on March 1, 2019. On April 4, 2019, RPS sent an email to Tolliver showing a return premium for the cancellation, which was applied to Alexander’s statement.
On May 13, 2020, Tolliver emailed RPS Covington requesting a declaration page for Casey’s policy. Tolliver was notified that the policy had been canceled.
On May 27, 2020, Alexander called RPS Covington regarding Casey’s policy and mentioned that he had not been working in the office for quite some time and that his wife was running the office, according to LDI investigators.
On June 11, 2020, LDI received a consumer complaint from Contractor Tara O Design alleging that Tolliver provided fraudulent certificates of insurance on behalf of Tara O Design’s sub-contractor, Anthony Robin dba Tony’s Electric. The certificate of insurance showed that Robin had general liability and workers’ compensation coverage. LDI investigators say they have not determined that the certificates of insurance were fraudulent, but Tara O Design was assessed $1,373 in adjusted workers’ compensation premium because Robin did not have workers’ compensation coverage.
On Aug. 31, 2020, LDI received a consumer complaint from Rachel Dugas alleging that she submitted Progressive premium payments to Tolliver in the form of money orders. Progressive did not receive the money orders, and Dugas’s policy was canceled for non-payment of premium.
In June 2020, Tolliver allegedly told Dugas the money orders would be traced, but Dugas claims to have received one check from Vincent Alexander Insurance Agency in the amount of $310. In the meantime, Dugas said she and her husband have $1,060 in fines to pay to the Office of Motor Vehicles for lack of insurance on their vehicles. Dugas also said every time she received a letter from Progressive notifying her that she did not have insurance, Tolliver would instruct her (Dugas) to bring the notices to Tolliver because there was an error. The Dugases claimed they did not have coverage from September 2019 through May 2020.
According to LDI’s order, Alexander stated that Mr. Dugas came to Alexander’s home on Father’s Day and informed him (Alexander) that he (Dugas) did not have coverage. Alexander took Dugas to his office where Alexander purchased coverage for Dugas through The General. Alexander paid the premium on Dugas’s policy, but the policy was canceled the following week.
Lake Charles producer C&D’d
A C&D and summary suspension and notice of revocation of a producer’s license was issued to Valerie M. Muse for alleged misappropriation of premium after she confessed to her employer that she had misappropriated funds and issued falsified certificates of insurance to customers.
Muse was employed by Insurance Unlimited of La. LLC in Lake Charles. After Hurricane Laura hit the Louisiana coast on Aug. 27, damaging property in the Lake Charles area, Muse admitted on Sept. 1 that she had taken funds intended to cover clients’ premium and had issued altered certificates of insurance to clients over the previous 12 months.
Muse was arrested on Sept. 9 by the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office and was still in custody on Sept. 22 when LDI issued the cease and desist order.
Muse held a P/C license since Oct. 12, 2012.
The Reporter was unable to reach Muse for comment on Oct. 8. The telephone number listed for her on LDI’s website was for Insurance Unlimited, and the number for her in public listings is no longer in service.