Probe Has Found Problems, Commissioner Kreidler Reports

February 26, 2005
By Melissa Allison, Business Reporter
The Seattle Times

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said his investigation of insurance brokers and underwriters has turned up some disturbing information. But he declined to name the firms involved or say what types of activities he has found in his three-month investigation.

"It is too early," he said.

Kreidler said he has not turned up anything on the scale of what New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer found at the nation's largest insurance brokerage, Marsh & McLennan.

In January, Marsh agreed to pay $850 million in restitution to settle allegations of bid-rigging and price-fixing involving mainly corporate clients. "I'm not anticipating we're going to find anything of the same magnitude as what we saw coming out of New York City," Kreidler said.

He was in New York on Wednesday meeting with Marsh to find out what the settlement means for clients in Washington and other states.

Kreidler heads a work group for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to evaluate the settlement Marsh made with Spitzer's office and the New York Insurance Department.

Next week, he expects to have a list of the 30 to 35 most egregious cases Marsh has identified nationwide. The brokerage has until May 20 to notify policyholders if they are eligible for restitution.

Kreidler said that information will help his investigation and those in other states.

"This will speed up the process," he said, adding that he and other state insurance commissioners thought Marsh had more information about individual cases than it does.

Copyright 2005 The Seattle Times Company

Click here to return to our homepage