State cancels insurance agents

  • Article by: JANE FRIEDMANN
  • Updated: March 7, 2011 - 10:06 AM

There were many ways to lose an insurance license last year: Help yourself to millions in escrow funds. Neglect to mention your porn convictions. Teach classes that don't exist. Sell phony policies.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce opened 1,923 insurance-related investigations in 2010 and took disciplinary action against 171 licensees.

There are almost 37,000 licensed insurance producers, often called agents, based in Minnesota. That's one for every 143 residents. An additional 70,000 people have nonresident licenses.

Here are the 15 agents whose licenses were revoked last year.

John C. Povejsil, St. Paul, and Jason E. Fischer, Hudson, Wis., $100,000 fine each

Real Source Title, LLC, a closing and title insurance company co-owned by Povejsil and Fischer, withdrew more than $2 million from customers' escrow accounts and failed to use the funds to pay lien holders.

Two other unlicensed companies under their ownership sold more than 542 insurance policies.

Fischer was disbarred as a lawyer in 2009 and sentenced to four years and two months in prison after pleading guilty to fraud and money laundering. He was ordered to pay almost $4 million in restitution.

Eugene M. Evasku, Owatonna, $30,000 fine

Evasku used "deceptive and dishonest sales tactics" to sell Medicare coverage to elderly couples. He failed to disclose a Wisconsin disciplinary action.

Andrew M. Morris, New Prague, $25,000 fine

Morris forged a name and notarized the forgery. He improperly withheld money and misrepresented the terms of insurance contracts. His company, Morris Abstract & Title Inc., was unlicensed.

Robert W. Huge, Edina, $20,000 fine

Huge conducted classes that gave insurance agents continuing education credits for nonexistent classroom time. One 59-minute class gave students credit for 15 hours. More than 100 students were disciplined in 2010.

James C. Slick, Arden Hills, $15,000 fine

Slick misrepresented the terms of annuities he sold to seniors. Customers were exposed to high surrender charges and the loss of promised bonus payments. He also sold annuities for a company with which he had no contract and for an insurer that was not allowed to sell in Minnesota.

Wesley A. King, Eden Prairie, $5,000 fine (An additional $30,000 was stayed)

King wrote and signed 39 fraudulent policies in order to earn commissions.

Ashley L. Wheeler, Worthington, $2,000 fine

Nicole E. Hernandez, Gridley, Ill., no fine

The women each agreed to the revocation after an insurance company terminated its contract "with cause." The department said that the company's allegations, if true, demonstrate that the agents violated conditions of licensure.

Kevin B. Cannon, Rockford, Ill.

Cannon failed to inform the department of criminal charges and a 2009 felony conviction in Illinois for possession of child pornography.

David J. Glessner, Grand Forks, N.D.

While licensed in North Dakota and Minnesota, Glessner created bogus policies for a customer and kept the premium payments for himself.

Michelle M. Mehle, Minneapolis

Mehle notarized a signed document she received by mail.

Richard A. Ottinger, Lexington

In late 2008, "while in his capacity as an insurance producer in Minnesota," Ottinger pleaded guilty to four felony counts of possession of child pornography.

Deborah L. Schraber, Golden Valley, and Susan K. Stein, St. Paul, agreed to relinquish their licenses rather than face the $2,000 to $3,000 fines that were imposed upon participants in Huge's fraudulent courses.

Hard Data digs into public records and puts a spotlight on rule breakers in the Twin Cities and Minnesota. Contact me at jfriedmann@startribune.com.

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