Trustage Insurance Agency Mailed Solicitations for Insurance Policies that Appeared to Come from New Yorkers’ Credit Unions -- Prompting Many Consumers to Sign Up without Necessarily Understanding They Were Doing So and that Premiums Would ...
New York, NY - February 16, 2018 - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement with Iowa-based Trustage Insurance Agency, which mailed solicitations for Accidental Death and Dismemberment policies that appeared to come from New Yorkers’ credit unions. Trustage is a wholly owned subsidiary of CMFG Life Insurance Company, which markets a variety of insurance products to credit union members, including Accidental Death and Dismemberment policies. The settlement requires Trustage to make a number of changes to its solicitations based on concerns raised by the Attorney General’s office, and pay $75,000 in restitution, penalties, costs, and fees.
The Attorney General’s investigation revealed that Trustage’s Accidental Death and Dismemberment policy solicitations mailed to consumers prominently featured the logo of consumers’ credit unions and did not make clear that the solicitations were from Trustage. The solicitations contained other features that, coupled with the credit union logos, may have caused consumers to sign, complete, and return the policy enrollment form without fully understanding that they were signing up for a policy and were agreeing to have premiums deducted automatically from their credit union savings or checking account. For example, the solicitations featured prominent language advising consumers that their signature was requested on the enclosed “STATEMENT OF BENEFITS” and directed consumers to “SIGN and RETURN” in large red letters at the top of the page.
“New Yorkers have a basic right not to be misled by those seeking their business,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “This settlement ensures full restitution for impacted consumers, as well as key reforms to Trustage’s business practices.”
The settlement requires Trustage to make a number of reforms to its solicitations for insurance products, including:
Prominently including its logo at the top of any solicitation.
Clearly and conspicuously disclosing that the solicitation is for an insurance product offered by Trustage.
Requiring consumers to supply the account number from which they are authorizing Trustage to deduct premiums.
Pursuant to the settlement, Trustage will pay $75,000 to be used for restitution to any consumers who were harmed by the solicitations and file complaints within the next six months. Any remaining funds will be retained as penalties, costs, and fees.
Consumers who believe they may be entitled to a refund should notify the Attorney General’s office by filing a complaint online or by calling 1-800-771-7755.
This investigation was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Amy Schallop and Emily Auletta, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Laura J. Levine and Bureau Chief Jane M. Azia, all of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau. The Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau is overseen by Executive Deputy Attorney General of Economic Justice Manisha M. Sheth.