Wisconsin OCI Orders Agent to Repay Over $1 Million
Madison, WI—The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) has determined insurance agent Blanche Berenzweig violated Wisconsin insurance law when she engaged in multiple unfair trade practices involving an elderly consumer. Specifically, she appointed herself the consumer’s power of attorney, effectuated personal financial transactions, and knowingly allowed herself to become beneficiary of the consumer’s annuities, all violations of state law.
OCI is responsible for overseeing the operations and marketing of insurance companies and agents in Wisconsin.
Each month, OCI releases an administrative action report which details all actions taken by OCI against agents and insurers. This particular administrative action was notable for its gravity.
"OCI Staff Attorney Lauren Van Buren, Advanced Insurance Examiner Renee Fabry, and many other individuals inside and outside of OCI work diligently to ensure consumers are protected from insurance agents, such as the agent in this case, who seek to benefit or profit from violations of insurance laws," stated Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel. "We're hopeful this case will serve as a warning to others who are considering taking advantage of vulnerable, elderly insurance consumers."
In addition to over $1 million in repayment, Ms. Berenzweig's insurance license has been permanently revoked. Ms. Berenzweig is ordered to pay an additional $3,000 in forfeiture, and she may not receive, retain or benefit in any way from the proceeds of the annuity contracts involved.
Final Decision and Order
Created by the Legislature in 1870, Wisconsin's Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) was vested with broad powers to ensure the insurance industry responsibly and adequately met the insurance needs of Wisconsin citizens. Today, OCI's mission is to lead the way in informing and protecting the public and responding to its insurance needs.