WRAL Investigates

Family of insurance agents agrees to pay fines to keep licenses

Posted December 19, 2011
Updated December 20, 2011

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— A family of insurance agents in Johnston County accused of violating state law have reached an agreement with the North Carolina Department of Insurance that requires them to pay fines in order to keep their insurance licenses.

A state audit in September alleged that Brad Cooper and his wife, Holly, overcharged customers at their two insurance companies by more than $60,000.

The Coopers bought Commercial and Farmers Insurance in Selma and Affordable Choice Insurance in Wendell from Holly Cooper's parents, Bill and Karen Honaker, who are accused of overcharging customers by more than $42,000.

The Honakers also sold an insurance agency in Clayton to their daughter, Holly Richardson, who is accused of overcharging clients by $9,000.

The Coopers, Richardson and the Honakers' son, Will Honaker, who owns Smithfield Insurance Agency, all use the parents' finance company, Premium Service Inc. of Selma, for billing, the audit states.

The Coopers, Honakers and Richardson all signed a settlement agreement with the Department of Insurance Monday, admitting they violated state insurance laws by charging service fees without the required disclosures and documentation.

Johnston County insurance companies fined for overcharging clients Johnston insurance companies fined for overcharging clients

Under that agreement, the Coopers will have to pay a $100,000 fine. Richardson and the Honakers were each fined $50,000. All the agents are also required to repay clients who make a written request for a refund.

If they comply with those terms, they can keep their insurance licenses, the agreement states.

None of the agents could be reached for comment.

A Spring Hope couple first reported suspicions about dealings with Brad Cooper to the Department of Insurance and Attorney General.

Janine and Kent Schroeder allege that Brad Cooper forged a signature on an insurance policy with a 25 percent interest rate. The couple said that they never would have agreed to such a high rate and, when Janine Schroeder went to Brad Cooper's office to take a look at the original document, she said the signature did not match her or her husband's handwriting.

She told WRAL Investigates in September that she confronted him right away.

"He forged our name and he knew he did," she said.  

The couple did receive a refund for the $90 they overpaid.

33 Comments

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  • dnabailbonds Dec 21, 2011

    I AM HIGHLY DISAPPOINTED WITH WAYNE GOODWIN AND THE DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE!!!
    THIS IS A DISGUSTING MESS! NO ARRESTS, NO FELONY CHARGES FOR THEM TO HAVE TO FIGHT UNLIKE SOME PENDING BAIL AGENT'S CASES! MY HUSBAND CHARGED LESS, AGAIN, LESS THAN ORIGINALLY PUT ON PAPER YET HE'S BEEN CHARGED WITH FELONY OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE AND PERJURY ALL BECAUSE OF WHO HE BONDED OUT WHICH WAS AN EX-BAIL AGENT! HOW THE HECK DID HE OBSTRUCT JUSTICE BY CHARGING LESS AND WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN HIS MOTIVE TO LIE ABOUT IT!!! THE MONEY ONLY BENEFITS THE BAIL AGENT AND THE INSURANCE COMPANY YOU ARE A POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR! AS LONG AS THEY GET THEIR PERCENTAGE THE MONEY DOES NOT EFFECT ANYONE! THEN THERE IS A BAIL AGENT FROM CHATHAM COUNTY, CHARGED WITH FORGING A SIGNATURE OF AN ATTORNEY ON A MOTION TO SET A BOND ASIDE AND HE WAS ARRESTED AND ALSO CHARGED WITH FELONY ATT. OBTAIN PROP. FALSE PRETENSE AND FORGING NAME TO PETITION....SO AN INSURANCE AGENT DOES THE SAME THING (FORGERY) YET GETS OFF WITH A SLAP ON TH

  • sjackson7173 Dec 21, 2011

    Wayne Goodwin needs to go back and read his pledge to the people of NC. He pledged and is pledgeing as he runs for reelection to fight FRAUD especially if it is an agent...
    If he is really concerned with agent fraud why did he not take a stand on this blatant spit at the law by these four agents? They not only hid the fact that they were stealing from the insureds they were forging left and right and that little fact was not even addressed by this settlement. Forging a finance agreement especially when your Mother and Father in Law are the owners of the finance company speaks volumes about the connspiracy of what went on here.They can say they did not know they that these agreements were forged all they want to but they have employees that would testify that they knew and reaped the benefits of all the excess stolen money. Also the Audits showed stealing went on in 2008 and 2009 and at that time the agencies were owned by the parents, Karen and Big Bill Honaker. Based on rhe settlement

  • blessed4sure777 Dec 21, 2011

    Can you spell CORRUPTION ? Do you recognize CORRUPTION? Well buck up buddies this is a shining example of North Carolina Good Ole Boy Corruption ! Wonder how much money hit the campaign fund for ,in my opinion a useless Insurance Commissioner ! Where was he when these folks he was supposed to be supervising gave away the Dignity and Respect that this department is supposed to command. Who were the DOI representatives that had a handshake in making this very bad and very stupid decision? You guys have effectively set an unbelievably risky precedent for the insurance agents of NC . So much for fairness and upholding the law.

  • samanthawood2006 Dec 21, 2011

    You have got to be kidding me! They get to keep their license and only have to pay back customers that submit a written request!?

  • blessed4sure777 Dec 21, 2011

    This is such a sad day for the insurance buying client of North Carolina because today we got proof positive that our justice system is "FOR SALE " thru the Department of Insurance. Allowing this Family of thieves to keep thier licsence is like giving a terrorist back his bomb. So now when you buy insurance make sure of what your FEES are up front and never sign a blank
    form no matter how much you trust that agent. Mark my words a tiger does not change his spots and theses predatory agents have only been empowered by being allowed to keep thier license. The only true solution is for us as the insurance buying public to boycott these agencies and show them that they did not skate by with a fine ! Just like DRUGS ...just say NO to the Cooper and Honacker Agents ! NOW THAT"S JUSTICE !

  • Its the who what Dec 20, 2011

    Ultimate betrayal of your customer. Why would there be a situation where the Dept of Insurance felt that they could do the insurance any good by allowing them to keep their licencse. I could see that a long suspension could occur if it were negligent but they WILLFULLY committed fraud against their trusting customers. They should not be allow to sell insurance under the most severe observation!!!!! Make you think even less of the industry as a whole. Terrible settlement by Dept of Insurance and Attorney General. That is bad because I used to feel pretty good about the Attorney General :(

  • esteryates69 Dec 20, 2011

    Be aware of life insurance Company's all though you had your life insurance for years,they say we will not pay because you had a persistence condition.Where when you took out the polices you did not.But developed it later.We have a friend who wife died and her life insurance company is Refugio to pay.

  • iwasjustsaying Dec 20, 2011

    I am a licensed agent of an independent insurance agency and this sickens me. Our customers are supposed to be able to trust us. They should all have their licenses taken away. This is a disgrace!

  • codymegan Dec 20, 2011

    As a licensed NC insurance agent, I can't believe they still have their license! I guess they had to share with the DOI :/

  • ABar Dec 20, 2011

    WHY do they get to keep their license?, Why aren't they being prosecuted?
    Theft is theft. This is just plain stupid!!

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