Friday, November 26, 2010

N&O Includes Insurance Commissioner Goodwin in 2010 Thanksgiving Column

The Raleigh News & Observer's long-running "Under the Dome" column recognized key State officials and newsmakers on Thanksgiving Day yesterday about those things for which they may be thankful from the past year. Included was this nugget:
Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, aka the "Capeless Crusader," should be thankful for the accolades and national attention he received this fall from President Barack Obama, "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart and The Wall Street Journal, among others. The praise began to pile up after Goodwin announced in September that Blue Cross and Blue Shield would refund $156 million to its customers and had agreed to a less-than-expected rate increase for 2011.
Apparently the fine folks at the N&O have been visiting the "Wayne's World" blog! We thank you and encourage you to drop by again sometime.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Non-insurance Options involving Faith-based Organizations

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin participated in a TV interview this week that focused on non-insurance options involving faith-based organizations.
Because religious organizations such as Samaritan Ministries International are not State-regulated insurance companies, there is no legal guarantee that dues-paying organization members will receive payment for health-related claims, medical bills, and the like.
"It's a matter of faith, and I fully respect why a person or family may choose that option" said Insurance Commissioner Goodwin. "However, it's important for folks to know what they're paying for, and that it is not insurance. While for some persons this type of 'coverage' may be an option, most persons want the peace of mind knowing that their Department of Insurance has verified that a company is solvent to pay claims, that the entity is legitimate and licensed and not scamming or embezzling monies, and that the Department has authority to enforce the full complement of consumer protections within the law that are not available with faith-based, non-insurance coverage. If we receive a complaint about a particular practice or error by an entity selling non-insurance coverage of the kind discussed here, then by law there is nothing we can do to help a victim."
Goodwin said that, to his knowledge, he is not aware of any formal complaints received from current or former members of Samaritan Ministries.

To learn more about your options and the consumer protections that regulated insurance provides, and to know the difference between regulated insurance and non-insurance, please call the toll-free Consumer Helpline at the North Carolina Department of Insurance: 800-546-5664.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Raleigh Business Owner Charged With Illegally Dropping Health Insurance for Employees

North Carolina's Insurance Commissioner, Wayne Goodwin, and the Department of Insurance are going after yet another person charged with illegally dropping health insurance for employees of a small business. See the accompanying WRAL-TV video about it or check out the official press release from the Department here.

According to WRAL-TV:
Tonja Jordan Austin, 38, of 109 Hilary Place in Cary, was arrested Thursday and charged with two counts each of failing to pay group health insurance premiums and failing to properly notify people covered by the policy that the premiums were no longer being paid.

Austin was the co-owner of Integrated Family Solutions, a community-based mental health agency that recently closed its offices in Raleigh and Durham. The state Department of Insurance said Friday that she didn't pay premiums to United Healthcare, and the nonprofit's health policies were terminated on Dec. 1 and April 1.

State law requires that employers give workers 45 days written notice if they are canceling or terminating health coverage.

"In instances like this, most people will not know until it's too late," Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said.

One Integrated Family Solutions [employee] complained to the DOI, prompting the state investigation, after amassing more than $13,000 in medical bills that weren't covered by insurance, Goodwin said.

"It causes tremendous heartbreak and havoc for family finances," he said.

Goodwin said such cases occur more often in a soft economy because companies try to cut costs by dropping insurance coverage. So far this year, the DOI has investigated 41 cases, resulting in eight arrests and two convictions.

"These are serious allegations and certainly serious criminal acts that affect anywhere from a few employees to thousands of employees," he said.

People who have health insurance through their employer should double-check that the premiums are up to date before before having a major procedure, he said.
The Tar Heel state Insurance Commissioner actively fights insurance fraud of all kinds, and indicates that such crime has dramatically increased over the last year or so, directly resulting from the worst economy in our lifetimes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin Teaches Cleveland County Junior Firefighters

Knowing that it's never too early to reach out and recruit firefighters and to educate folks on the ingredients for home fire prevention, State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin is shown here extolling the virtues of his message to a gaggle of firehat-wearing 1st graders from Shelby, North Carolina. He met with students, educators, and local officials at the Cleveland County Agriculture Fair. Goodwin also serves as the statewide elected Commissioner of Insurance.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank you, USA Veterans!

On this Veterans Day 2010, we offer many thanks and limitless appreciation to our hometown heroes and all the American heroes where ever they may be past and present, who fought to protect us, our rights and our freedoms.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Part 2: Capeless Crusader Wayne Goodwin Fights Insurance Fraud

The exploits of North Carolina’s Insurance Commissioner as crime fighter have been well-documented on this site and in other places, including countless news accounts and the official website of the Department of Insurance.

As a public service to those who join Wayne Goodwin in the never-ending battle for Truth, Justice and the American Way, here is a sample of insurance fraud cases closed in recent months by his team.

They include:

An agent who submitted false life insurance applications in Lenoir County

Two sisters, both of whom are insurance agents, who embezzled premiums in Durham

A Cary subcontractor who submitted a fraudulent certificate of insurance to a homebuilder

A Stanly County woman who exploited her grandmother for insurance money in Albemarle

A Greensboro insurance agent who also embezzled monies

A Burlington jewelry thief whose name - Minx VonParis DeMaxzmohr - is worthy of a James Bond villain

A car shop owner and customer in Martin County jointly conspiring to swindle insurance monies
"As our Insurance Commissioner and the elected head of a law enforcement agency, I take protecting consumers and fighting insurance crime very seriously,” said Wayne Goodwin. “It’s not about partisanship, but right versus wrong, justice versus the lawbreaker, and competence versus inexperience, as well as protecting State-based regulation for the benefit of consumers and small businesses each and every day.”
North Carolina’s Commissioner of Insurance and the Department of Insurance employ 20 sworn law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating claims of insurance fraud. So far in 2010, these criminal investigators have seen more than 268 cases successfully closed with more than $18.5 million in restitution and recoveries, 54 criminal convictions and 89 arrests.

An estimated 10 cents of every dollar paid in premiums goes toward the payment of fraudulent claims. To report suspected fraud, contact the Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division at 919-807-6840. Callers may remain anonymous. Information is also available at

Accordingly, the battle for justice and public security is never-ending. To do his part, it may be comforting to note that Insurance Commissioner Goodwin has already been described by an "Under the Dome" blogger for the Raleigh News & Observer in October 2009 as
"apparently an action hero, by elected-official standards."
And as every good action hero knows, it is a 24-7 job.