Thursday, May 25, 2017

OCS Fines Insurance Companies for Deceitful Ads That Hurt Banks

By on March 11, 2017

The Puerto Rico Insurance Commissioner’s Office (OCS by its Spanish initials) fined two insurance companies, Antilles Insurance Co. and Puerto Rico Home Insurance Agency, for making false statements to consumers against the banking industry, which is in violation of the Puerto Rico Insurance Code. The violations against the two insurance companies were the result of a probe requested by the Bankers Association.

In its decision, the OCS urged the companies to cease and desist their “false advertising.” The OCS imposed more than $7,000 in fines against Antilles Insurance Co. for publishing an ad urging consumers not to let banks keep their insurance money. The ad stated consumers could get back 20% of the premiums they have paid if they have not filed any insurance claims. In a televised interview obtained by the OCS, Roberto López, first vice president of Antilles Insurance, said consumers would get their money back if they protect their property. The ad also suggests that banks were keeping money from consumers.

Puerto Rico Home Insurance received a $5,000 fine and agreed to desist its conduct after reaching an agreement with the OCS. P.R. Home Insurance suggested in its ads, among other things, that banks imposed insurance on homeowners when in reality they can choose their policy.

The Bankers Association in a statement said it was pleased with the OCS finding that the two insurance companies broke the Insurance Code by engaging in deceitful advertisement that promoted mistrust against the mortgage banking industry.

“The Bankers Association is pleased with the OCS determination, and we trust these companies will cease their violations of the Insurance Code and abstain from making false statements against the banking industry for the purpose of instilling doubt among consumers in the highly regulated processes that the banking industry completes when issuing mortgages,” the organization said.

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