State agency placed under state oversight due to fraud allegations

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by Mark Greenblatt / 11 News

khou.com

Posted on February 28, 2011 at 10:57 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 8:09 AM

AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Insurance Commissioner has placed Texas Windstorm Insurance Association under administrative oversight, amidst allegations of insurance fraud involving senior managers at Texas Windstorm.   

"The Commissioner of Insurance has determined that the Texas Windstorm Insurance Associate ("TWIA") is in a condition that makes its continuation in business hazardous to the public or to its policyholders, as it appears that its management does not have the experience, competence, or trustworthiness to operate TWIA in a safe and sound manner, and that TWIA should be placed under administrative oversight," wrote Department of Insurance Senior Associate Commissioner Danny Saenz in a letter hand-delivered to Texas Windstorm General Manager Jim Oliver.

The letter says the insurance commissioner has the power to step in and effectively take control of TWIA during certain times of crisis.

The Department of Insurance has cited concerns among senior managers Reggie Warren and Bill Knarr, who both recently resigned from Texas Windstorm.  

The department informed Texas Windstorm five days ago it was investigating Warren and Knarr and requested detailed information about why they resigned, along with requesting a narrative explaining any and all ongoing issues related to their departure.  

Angela Garrett, the Department of Insurance’s director of rehabilitation and liquidation oversight, will serve as the commissioner’s representative while TWIA is under administrative oversight, the letter says.

"In multiple instances, an outside claims adjuster was paid for adjusting work that appears not to have been performed and that b) TWIA management was aware of this and failed to report it…to the Department’s insurance fraud unit," the letter adds.

In November of 2009, KHOU-TV first exposed allegations of wrongdoing involving Warren, who allegedly pressured a TWIA vendor to purchase a truck for his brother. 

The revelations came to light in a trove of documents released to Houston attorney Steve Mostyn, who represented multiple homeowners in lawsuits against TWIA.

Initial documents came to light as part of the discovery process during the lawsuits. It was unclear Monday afternoon as to what new information may have prompted the insurance commissioner to step in now.

 

 

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