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ALDOI To Interview Brokers, Companies Involved in NY Probe

Seeking Information from Firms that Have Been Charged in New York

Contact: Ragan Ingram, Assistant Commissioner

334-241-4146

10/21/2004

The Alabama Department of Insurance will interview brokers and companies that are tied to entities that have attracted the attention of prosecutors in New York and other states.

New York prosecutors say they believe that several companies and brokerage firms that specialize in commercial insurance have engaged in bid-rigging and price-fixing.

“There have been serious allegations of criminal conduct involving some of the nation’s largest insurance companies and brokerage firms,” Commissioner Walter A. Bell said. “We are engaging in a fact-finding mission to see if similar behavior has been conducted in Alabama.

“To that end, we have coordinated with the Governor’s office, Attorney General Troy King, and other state insurance departments.  We have no evidence at this point of any wrong-doing in Alabama. But if any company or broker has abused the system for personal gain, rest assured we will pursue appropriate charges.”

The states’ insurance commissioners met via conference call on Wednesday to formulate strategies to deal with the situation, which primarily involves commercial insurance lines. 

“The coordination between the states is an important one because we can share information,” Commissioner Bell said. “Our first priority at the Department is consumer protection. No one – an individual, a family, a small business or a large company – should be taken advantage of. We will investigate to what extent, if any, these practices have occurred in Alabama, and we will determine the proper course of action.”

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