CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Insurance has issued an Order against Daniel Martin Deitz of Bloomingdale and his Schaumburg-based agency Danny Martin CLU and Associates (collectively “Martin”) for distributing fraudulent letters on stationary falsely appearing to be that of the Department. Martin’s letters misled his current or former clients to believe their automobile insurance policies had expired and their driving licenses would be suspended unless they met certain insurance requirements.
In December 2009, the Department learned that some Illinois residents had received letters printed on Martin’s fake Department letterhead advising recipients that their “automobile insurance policy is cancelled” and that their “Driver’s License and/or License Plates will be suspended within 10 days from receipt of this letter.”
The Department immediately launched an investigation and issued a Consumer Alert to ensure consumers knew the letters were fraudulent. The Department quickly traced the fraudulent letters to Martin, who eventually confessed to creating and distributing the letters and to impersonating a public official. Martin also provided the Department with a list of some consumers to whom the fraudulent letters were mailed.
The Department immediately ordered Martin to cease and desist his unlawful conduct. On January 21, 2010, the Department revoked his Illinois insurance producer license and his insurance agency’s business entity license, and imposed a $100,000 fine – the maximum penalties allowed under Illinois law.
“The Department works hard each day to protect consumers from individuals and companies engaged in deceptive insurance practices,” said Michael T. McRaith, Director of the Department. “The Department’s action against Mr. Martin and his company should serve as a sharp reminder to those who carry out fraudulent insurance practices that unlawful conduct will be investigated and punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
The Department does not maintain insurance records on individual consumers, and would not send unsolicited letters, faxes, or emails asking consumers for “proof of insurance” or other personal information. Moreover, the Department does not have the authority to suspend any individual’s driver’s license or license plate.
The Department advises consumers who receive unsolicited letters asking for personal, insurance-related information to take the following steps:
• Inform the Department. If you think you may have received a fraudulent insurance-related letter, please call the Illinois Department of Insurance toll-free at (866) 445-5364. In order to aid the Department’s investigation, you may be asked to provide a copy of the letter and, if applicable, the envelope in which it was mailed.
• Be wary of unsolicited inquiries or offers. You should avoid evasive or pushy salespersons attempting to sell any insurance product. If you have concerns about a particular insurance company or insurance agent, please contact the Department to verify that the company or agent is licensed in Illinois. Never purchase insurance coverage by telephone without first requesting and reviewing all written documentation.
• Protect against possible insurance fraud or identity theft. As always, you should take steps to protect yourself against possible insurance fraud or identity theft. Never give out personal information—including insurance-related documents or credit card information— over the phone, by email, mail, or fax, unless you know who you are dealing with.
Illinois consumers in need of information or assistance should visit the Department’s web site at www.insurance.illinois.gov or call its toll-free hotline at (866) 445-5364. Helpful information can also be obtained at the Department’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ insuranceIL or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/insuranceIL.
The Department’s mission is to protect consumers by providing assistance and information, by efficiently regulating the insurance industry’s market behavior and financial solvency, and by fostering a competitive insurance marketplace. The Department assists consumers with all insurance complaints, including health, auto, life, and homeowner.