There has been a vicious rash of bogus coverage sales as property owners desperately seek new protection.
According to a recent homeowners insurance news release by the California Department of Insurance, yet another arrest has been made as property owners in areas at a high fire risk have fallen victim to a fake policy scam.
The report identified 57 year old Dean Joseph Basler of Ventura as the latest embezzler.
It stated that the Ventura County Sheriff had arrested Basler following a homeowners insurance investigation conducted by the Department of Insurance in the state. This is being seen as another important reminder to consumers that they must be especially vigilant in confirming the validity of an agent, broker, or policy before they start making payments or sign any documents. Basler has now been accused of having embezzled over $250,000 in property insurance premiums from bogus policies that have now left families uncovered against wildfire damage.
The families were scammed into thinking that they had homeowners insurance coverage that they did not have.
According to Dave Jones, the California Insurance Commissioner, “Basler violated his fiduciary responsibility by allegedly ripping off consumers for his personal financial.” He went on to say that “Basler put homeowners at great risk for financial loss by taking their hard earned money and not purchasing policies. His greed left them vulnerable.”
What the department’s investigation determined was the Basler, who has been a licensed insurance agent as of 1993, had been collecting premiums from customers who were paying him for home insurance coverage. However, at the same time he was not actually placing the policies with an actual insurer. Fake certificates were issued by Basler to his customers in order to cover up his illegal activities.
That said, this left Basler’s customers without homeowners insurance and they were entirely unaware of this fact. This placed them at considerable risk of financial devastation, particularly because many of those customers had property in areas that were labeled as being at a high risk of fire. Investigators even found that Basler was sending out renewal quotes and that customers were sending checks directly to his agency in order to have their policies renewed. One customer owner had been paying for five years without knowing that they were entirely without coverage for that whole time.