Rogue agent targeted and preyed upon senior citizens for personal gain
HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Insurance Department has revoked the license of Jay Cohen, formerly of Bryn Mawr, imposed a $10,000 civil penalty and ordered Cohen to pay more than $13,000 in restitution for conduct unbecoming an insurance producer, acting Insurance Commissioner Michael F. Consedine said today.
"Consumers seek advice and information from trusted, reliable insurance professionals, but Cohen used his position as a licensed insurance agent to prey on vulnerable older adults for his own financial gain," Consedine said. "Simply put, Cohen cannot be trusted with the bank accounts, finances and personal information of his customers."
The department found that Cohen duped older Pennsylvanians by offering services described in promotional materials as "non-legal, financial and estate-planning services" and claimed he was an accredited "certified senior advisor." Once payment was received, Cohen failed to disclose that he collected commissions and fees from these insurance transactions, some of which were obtained even though agreements existed prohibiting the collection of such fees.
As outlined in the adjudication and order, Cohen:
- Failed to disclose that he was receiving commissions under the guise of financial planning;
- Operated a business entity that was not licensed with either the departments of Insurance or State;
- Failed to comply with insurance laws;
- Misappropriated funds belonging to his clients and inappropriately charged fees;
- Demonstrated conduct that was fraudulent, dishonest, coercive and unfit for licensure.
As a result of his actions, Cohen must pay $13,093 in restitution to three former clients and will pay a civil penalty of $10,000. His insurance license is revoked for a minimum of ten years and he is barred from re-applying for an insurance license until the restitution and civil penalties are paid in full.
"An insurance producer who deliberately undermines his clients and inflicts financial harm is incapable of the trust necessary in the insurance profession," Consedine concluded. "The department will pursue actions against anyone who uses a dubious title or accreditation to mislead consumers about their abilities or the scope of services being performed."
Consumers with general questions about an insurance producer or any insurance policy may call the department's toll-free, automated consumer hotline at (877) 881-6388, or any of the department's Bureau of Consumer Services' regional offices: Harrisburg at (717) 787-2317; or Philadelphia at (215) 560-2630. Consumers may also verify the licensing status of an individual or a company at www.insurance.pa.gov.
Media contact: Rosanne Placey or Melissa Fox, 717-787-3289
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Insurance