N.Y. Insurance Dept. Fines Agents for Accepting Gifts from Auto Glass Shops in Exchange for Work
October 16, 2009

The N.Y. Department of Insurance fined 43 insurance agents this week for accepting gifts from auto glass shops in exchange for steering work to them. The fines were announced yesterday by the state's insurance superintendent, James Wrynn.

The fines totaled $42,650. The kickbacks came in the form of gift cards for department stores and grocery stores, ranging in value from $35 to $60. The department notes that some of the payments added up to more than $1,000 in value.

The two auto glass shops identified by the state as providing the gifts were Bison Glass in Buffalo, N.Y., and Pat's Glass Inc. in Wyoming County, N.Y. According to Warren Lester of the Consumer Services Bureau, the investigation began when Bison Glass representatives contacted the Insurance Department and advised they were discontinuing the practice as it had become too expensive. Likewise, Pat's Glass provided information to the state after it went out of business.

Neither of the shops were charged, as though it is illegal in New York for agents to accept such payments, it's not illegal for auto glass shops to provide incentives, according to the New York Department of Insurance.

Two of the agents, John B. Conaway and Debra Dillenburg, were each ordered to pay $5,000, the largest fines imposed. Another agent, Kurt Silvestro, was fined $4,000.


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