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Former Raleigh insurance agent charged with fraud

Posted August 4, 2008

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— A former Raleigh insurance agent was arrested Monday on charges that she allegedly pocketed money from false workers' compensation policies.

Mary Grantham Hicks, also known as Mary Linda Hicks, owner of Swift Creek Insurance and Realty, 7985 Fayetteville Road, was charged with one count of embezzlement and one count of obtaining property under false pretenses. Further charges are pending.

Chrissy Pearson, a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Insurance, said Hicks falsified certificates of workers' compensation insurance to area commercial contracting groups.

"Basically, we believe that some construction companies came in to purchase workers' compensation insurance," Pearson said. "She took their money, told them they had insurance, but in reality, she pocketed the money, and they don't have insurance."

In at least one case, Hicks allegedly took payment from a client but failed to remit that payment to the insurance company, Pearson said.

That company notified the Department of Insurance after two employees were injured and were not covered.

Hicks, 58, of 7608 Blaney Franks Road, surrendered her insurance license to the Insurance Commission last year, but continued to own and operate the agency and employed at least one other licensed agent, Pearson said.

Investigators believe she continued to sell the policies to local commercial construction contractors and subcontractors. They also allege that she conspired with subcontractors to provide false documents to general contractors in order for the subcontractors to secure jobs.

Department examiners began an audit of the agency immediately after a search Monday by investigators.

Clients can call 800-546-5664 to check the validity and coverage of their insurance policies.

28 Comments

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  • Andiecat Aug 6, 2008

    Dear Smart Alec,

    True, you can post $85,000 in securities instead of buying liability insurance. However, you deal with the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and not the Commissioner of Insurance. Also, if you can post that much, you really should go ahead and buy insurance that will protect you for a lot more, especially if you are unlucky enough to be hit by someone who has no insurance or less than you do. $85,000 isn't going to help you much if you really goof up on the road. And I'mot an agent or a company person!

  • bosoxbaby Aug 6, 2008

    i worked for a company that did business with this agency. i'm not sure but i think if the insured had a piece of paper stating they had coverage with a particular company, the insurance company represented on said certificate would still have to pay for claims. reason being is that said insured would assume implied authority for the agent to act on the companies behalf in the binding of coverage and presentation of certificate.

    we had a case like this with another agency...seems we still had to pay the claim though we never issued a policy or received money.

  • superman Aug 6, 2008

    Use a litte common sense. If you have a leak and you didnt fix it or repair it-- that is called neglect. If you have a dead tree that falls on your house they wont pay for that either. The homeowner has the responsiblity to miminize the claim. Anytime you have a lot of claims small or large the insurance company is apt to cancel your policy. If they dont cancel-- they will surely increase your rate-- by the way-- insurance companies are in business to make money. If you had a leak long enouogh to rot the floor-- surely you would have seen water on the floor from time to time-- You just ignore it hoping it go away?

  • Thinkb4uspeak Aug 6, 2008

    Insurance can be the most vile form of "corporate welfare". The gov't requires you to have it but it's rarely if ever used. Look at the tallest buildings in virtually every city and it's probably an insurance building. Quite coincidental, huh?-Lizard

    The state requires that you carry Liability Coverage Insurance on your vehicle to protect other drivers against at-fault accidents that you may cause. It is intended to indemnify the not-at-fault party for bodily injury and property damage incurred during an accident. It is neccessary and is used all the time. I am blogging from a local Allstate agent's office with a drive in claims adjuster, I would know. Millions of dollars are paid in claims daily.
    Question. If there were no auto insurance requirements, what would you recommend for when a party causes $10,000 in medical bills and 10,000 dollars in property damage to another not-at fault party. How would you suggest this person get the money that they need and deserve?

  • Thinkb4uspeak Aug 6, 2008

    Without policies like this, there will be scores of inexperienced, uninsured drivers driving around. If NC allowed people to remove inexperienced operators from their policies without following these procedures it would be easy for folks to purchase insurance to get their 16yr old a license...and then remove him from the policy after he has passesd his driving test in an attempt to circumvent the high premiums. Then we've got a buttload of 16 yrs old's driving around with recently cancelled insurance. North Caolina does not want to make it that easy.

  • Thinkb4uspeak Aug 6, 2008

    Here's one for you - my son hasn't lived with me for 8 months but doesn't have utilities or anything in his own name. Geico MAKES me pay an outrageous rate for him on my policy because I can't produce a utility bill in his name to prove he doesn't live with me. I asked them to prove he does live with me - they don't have to. And, the North Carolina Department of Insurance agreed with them when I complained! It doubles my monthly rate and I can pay or not drive...Gork

    Your son must be an inexperienced driver. In the state of NC, if you want to remove an inexperienced driver from your policy you have a couple of options but you must prove either 1.) They live elsewhere, 2.)They have insurance with another carrier (provide declaration pages) or 3.) that they have relinquished their license and therefore do not need insurance.

  • FE Aug 5, 2008

    Any and all appropriate words I have for State Farm would get me permanently booted from GOLO.

    I had SF coverage for nearly 20 years, no significant at fault claims, and they suddenly sent me a "your coverage is canceled as of next week" letter. Seems I had been the "victim" of too much, including vandalism to my property, windshield replacement from a thrown rock, and hit (twice) by at-fault uninsured motorists...hardly a challenge to drivers in the RDU area. Oh yes - they were also claiming a driver on my policy who had NO license ("well, they COULD drive your car.") So could my twelve-year-old child, I suppose.

    I chuckle every time I get a solicitation in the mail from my "good neighbor."

    FE

  • Reader Aug 5, 2008

    State Farm paid to rebuild my kitchen after the leaking dishwasher destoyed the floors and base cabinets. Put us up in a hotel until the mold was gone because my daughter has asthma. I watched my budget carefully (for selecting replacement materials) and the whole thing cost me only my $500 deductible. I'm satisfied!

  • NeverSurrender Aug 5, 2008

    "Always read your policies VERY carefully."

    ---

    In this case, that wouldn't have helped. The documents provided would have indicated insurance in force...the pocketed money not remitted to the insurance company would not have been obvious until a claim which is what caught her out.

  • gohawks Aug 4, 2008

    You are so right Shirleyr1! I never thought that insurance could have so many slimy people. I have insurance, yes I pay good money, but I am protected. I am sorry that some people have had bad experiences but if you find the right company, I think you are in good shape.

    Its these people that don't have insurance that should be taken off the roads.

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