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Duluth insurance agency fined for exploiting AIG situation

October 22, 2008

Duluth insurance agency fined for exploiting AIG situation

For Immediate Release: October 22, 2008
Contact: Bill Walsh: 651-296-7531

Newspaper ad solicits AIG customers who may be "nervous" about their insurance company.

(St. Paul, MN) - The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced today it has taken action against a Duluth insurance agent and agency for creating and publishing a newspaper advertisement that solicits business from current policyholders of American International Group (AIG) insurance companies by questioning the financial health of their parent company, AIG. The department has repeatedly affirmed the financial solvency of AIG's insurance companies, despite the troubles associated with the parent company.

Gregory Brisky, a licensed insurance agent working for the Dwight Swanstrom Company of Duluth agreed to pay a $2,000 fine for placing the advertisement. The Swanstrom agency agreed to a $3,000 fine.

The Department alleged that Brisky and the Swanstrom agency did not take any action to verify the financial condition of any specific AIG insurance company before placing the advertisement and attempted to induce AIG policyholders to replace their insurance. It is against Minnesota law to make any misleading representation as to the financial condition of any insurer.

 "These enforcement actions give us another opportunity to assure Minnesota consumers that AIG's insurance companies, regulated by the states, are solvent and financially strong," said Glenn Wilson, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce. "If someone tells you to replace any policy because an AIG insurance company is in trouble and may not be able to pay your claim, that is not only untrue, it could be against the law, and we will take action like we did today."

The Commerce Department also said it is investigating several other potential violations of the law relating to the misrepresentation of insurance and annuity products because of the turbulent economic times.