Mark Colbert EnterprisesHas Someone Taken A Policy Out On You Without Your Knowledge?
by Mark. J. Colbert, Owner of Mark J. Colbert Enterprises

A brief review of various Internet sites, newspaper and magazine articles, law journals and trade publications will show that, in the past, it has not been at all uncommon for life insurance professionals to misrepresent the terms, conditions and/or benefits of their policies. Many of the larger insurance companies have paid huge amounts of money in fines and restitution to law firms, regulatory agencies and policy holders who have discovered, too late, that their best interest was not given the priority it deserved.

In the past, I’ve discovered that Life Insurance Fraud is not a term specifically earmarked for these agents and/or their companies. This beast can take many different faces and affect anyone at any given time. It has the potential to devastate friendships, families, relationships, and the inherent trust most of us have for our fellow man. - all for the sake of greed? Possibly, but there are other avenues one must consider. Nevertheless, the potential trouble some insurance consumers bring upon themselves seldom ceases to amaze me.

Here are a few actual questions that I have received. Here is a true story: An agent was contacted by a young lady-friend who asked about purchasing a policy on her parents. Her father is in his late 50s and smokes 2 packs of cigarettes a day. He drinks heavily at times and occasionally shares his wife’s blood pressure medication. Her mother drinks a little and only smokes 1 pack a day. Her high blood pressure is controlled by medication and she takes hormone replacement medication daily. The daughter wants to purchase a $250,000 policy on her dad, a $50,000 policy on her mom and cannot afford a huge premium. Can the agent help her? (Those of you with experience in field underwriting who are laughing at this point need to stay with me on this.)

The agent met the daughter at her parent’s home. Without disclosing that either of the proposed insured smoke, drank alcohol or took medication, he completed that applications and had the policy illustrations signed. The very next day, he submitted the whole package to underwriting. A medical exam was scheduled seven days later at 7:30 PM.

On the day of the exam, the agent and his 17 year-old daughter showed up at mom and dad’s house at 6:45 PM. The agent let them know they would both be required to give urine samples and only the husband would have his blood drawn. Just prior to the examiner’s arrival (she called to let them know she was on her way) both the agent and his daughter took turns going into the restroom and “helping out” with urine samples of their own. A short time later, while in the process of completing the medical questionnaires, the examiner asked each of them to “fill the cup.” The husband went into the restroom, closed the door and filled the vial with the sample the agent had left on the edge of the sink. The woman did likewise with the sample left by the young lady. After taking a blood specimen from the man and completing her paperwork, the examiner left.

New policies were issued approximately three weeks later. The husband was given a Preferred Non-Smoker rating, the wife was rated Standard Non-Smoker and the agent made a first-year commission of approximately $2,200.

Note: When the husband and wife were deposed almost three years later, we could not believe how this agent could have been so bold. I discovered shortly thereafter that this agent was in a class encompassing the top 15% of the very best (most productive/highest incomes) agents in the nation. As I’ve stated many times; when it comes to fraud, an agent’s (or insured’s) imagination is the only limitation.

Here are more questions that I have received over the years: In answer to the above questions are as follows:

Yes, someone can take your wallet. If someone stole your wallet Georgia, it would have been wise to report this to your local police department right away. You should have also notified any credit card companies, your bank, Social Security, Dept. of Motor Vehicles, labor union, etc. If they use information contained therein to assume your identity, it is considered Identity Fraud and is illegal.

Yes, another person could assume your identity but, in order to get married, I'm fairly certain they would be required to produce several forms of positive ID. A blood sample test may be required, certificate of live birth, Social Security information, etc. If you suspect that someone may have been married using your personal information, you may want to research that particular State's requirements and/or notify the authorities.

Yes, it is also possible for someone to purchase life insurance on you without your knowledge or consent. It is also possible for someone to take your life. Homicide, however, ranks even higher on the list of things Thou Shalt Not Do than identity theft.

Here are more questions: The purchase of a life insurance policy using altered, forged, or otherwise falsified signatures is against the law. Although the statutes or code in your area may differ slightly, CA Penal Code #470 is quite specific: Every person who, with the intent to defraud, knowing that he or she has no authority to do so, signs the name of another person or of a fictitious person to any of the items listed in subdivision is guilty of forgery. And forgery is punishable by law. Unfortunately, this seems to be happening more and more often. Possibly due to our society's heightened level of awareness, fraud is becoming more recognizable than ever before. In these, and cases just like them, I've successfully worked with individuals and/or their attorneys to resolve concerns about "bogus" insurance policies.

If you have questions or concerns about life insurance policies purchased without permission, help is available. Life insurance policy searches can be conducted and, in some cases, lost policies found. Below are web sites that may be able to help you find lost insurance policies:

Find Your Policy
Lost Life Insurance Finders

If you'd like more information or have any questions, please contact us by e-mail at or complete our contact us form.

Mark J. Colbert Enterprises
Insurance Services
California Insurance License #0809888
Life Insurance Fraud Investigations / Consulting Services / Expert Witness
1328 Fairway Drive
Atwater, CA 95301
(209) 357-3423 Office
(209) 357-3387 Fax
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