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AREA INSURERS, AGENTS FINED $22,145 FOR VIOLATIONS

The state Insurance Department has levied fines of $22,145 on insurance companies and professionals in Western New York.

The penalties are the result of agreements with the licensees, the department said in its December report of disciplinary actions.

According to the regulatory agency:

CU Life Insurance Co. at 100 Corporate Parkway in Amherst was fined $15,000 for using policy forms that weren't approved by the department. In addition, CU Life failed to immediately notify insurers that their policies were being replaced.

The Alliance Mutual, an insurance company in Albion, was fined $4,400. An investigation revealed that the company failed to pay claims in a timely fashion for certain commercial policies issued between 1992 and 1995. In addition, the company failed to specify reasons on cancellation notices and failed to send refunds directly to clients when canceling policies. The company also failed to substantiate physical changes in insured properties when canceling policies that had been in effect more than 60 days.

Thomas Paruta, an agent at 8 Forsythia Court in Orchard Park, was fined $1,745. He violated insurance law when he replaced a life insurance policy with Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., without disclosing the action to the policyholder.

Lisa J. Benzinger, an insurance agent at 5094 Abbott Road in Hamburg, was fined $1,000. She forged two payroll deduction authorization cards without her client's permission and forged and submitted an insurance application.

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