The insurance company should have known it had a problem when it discovered that its new agent, David, had failed to disclose on his securities application a felony arrest for drug possession with intent to distribute. The insurance company should have known something was wrong when its new agent, David, attempted to sell variable life insurance to an 85-year-old woman with no investment experience and at a premium cost that would have consumed more than half of her income. The company should have known something was up when its new agent showed up for work with a new car after buying a new house and other new toys, even though he had meager sales of company products. The company should have done something when it discovered illegal marketing materials in the agent’s customer files along with unprocessed applications and large personal checks on his desk. The company was supposed to closely supervise all its new agents, but it ignored these and other warning signs. Worse yet, it didn’t bother to alert or even check with the customers with whom the agent had been dealing.
Debra was one of those customers. When she later complained to the company that its agent had wrongfully acquired virtually her entire life savings, the company sent its investigator to Debra’s home, and had Debra sign a complaint form that exposed the agent’s fraud and undue influence but exonerated the company. When Debra asked for her money back, the company refused, claiming the agent was not acting on the company’s behalf when he wrongfully acquired her money. So Debra called Barker Law Firm, LLC. Her lawsuit uncovered the agent’s pattern of self-dealing and repeated violations of securities regulations. Her lawsuit also revealed that the agent’s misconduct had been committed under the noses of the company’s supervisors who were specifically charged with monitoring the conduct of the agent it had hired in spite of his documented history of untrustworthiness. When the puzzle pieces were gathered and set into their proper place, the judge concluded that the company’s recklessness had jeopardized its customers, including Debra, and ruled that the jury would be allowed to impose punitive damages against the company at the upcoming trial. Rather than facing a jury’s scrutiny and verdict, the company agreed to pay Debra a confidential sum of money that restored to Debra all that had been taken from her, and then some.