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Dishonest auto insurance agents can prove costly

By Bill Gephardt | Posted - Jul. 25, 2014 at 9:31 a.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY — Most auto insurance agents are honest. But buying coverage through a dishonest agent can cost you.

Employees at Utah’s Insurance Fraud Division are spending an increasing amount of time investigating agents who commit fraud.

“We’ve had over 20 insurance agent cases we’ve prosecuted over the past two years,” said Armand Glick, director of the division.

He said some agents commit fraud by using personal and financial information of a client with good credit, to get better rates for clients with bad credit.

“So they’re more likely to insure with that agent, which results in increased commissions for him, bonuses and those types of things,” Glick explained.

Others might try what's called sliding. An agent slips in items the customer didn’t ask for, like a motor club membership or accidental death coverage. The customer pays hundreds of dollars more in the form of a higher premium.

Some dishonest agents pocket the customer’s premium payment.

“So they never put a policy in place,” Glick said. “That, of course, is very dangerous to your customers.”

Glick said one warning sign of premium theft is if customers paid their premium but never received a policy in the mail.

He recommended those drivers bypass their agent and verify coverage directly with the carrier.

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Bill Gephardt

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