By now, everyone is familiar with the Washington State Insurance Commissioner’s investigation of National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) Associate Member Vicki Boser and InsuranceTek. While details are still sketchy, several victims have come forward to discuss the absorption of policies under InsuranceTek by Cochrane Agency, Inc. Cochrane Agency is, as well, a NAMFS Associate Member. Cochrane Agency’s President, Tom Cochrane, and Brian Carney, Executive Vice President, released a joint statement back in October, stating in part,
Cochrane & Company has exercised commercially reasonable efforts to identify the policies of insurance issued to the policyholders and to account for the premium payments made to InsuranceTek, or Vicki Boser.
The NAMFS Board of Directors and Officers were also made aware of the turmoil with policies at the same time according to Carney. Problem was that Eric Miller, NAMFS Executive Director, refused to make anyone aware of this information until mid December and then only through a cloistered and generic Newsletter release to the NAMFS Rank and File. For months, victims of InsuranceTek lived in limbo. Ironically, all the way into November of this year, Boser’s staff continued to attempt to collect monies upon these policies. Nothing new when it comes to the types and growing sophistication of fraud ongoing under the mantle of NAMFS Membership.
Foreclosurepedia began investigating the matter a week ago. Since then we have had the opportunity to speak with victims in what appears to be criminal insurance fraud wherein while victims paid for insurance, it would appear that the Underwriters, Western Heritage Insurance Company and/or Scottsdale Insurance Company, both owned by Nationwide Company, were never paid. We left messages at both firms and Nationwide and have not received a response at the time of publication.
Foreclosurepedia spent the better part of today in calls and emails between the Washington State Insurance Commissioner’s office, Cochrane Agency, and with Eric Miller, the NAMFS Executive Director. Miller, whom is paid over $120,000 per year; Miller’s salary which consumes over seventy five percent of all NAMFS member dues, is feeling the pressure. We will get to that in a moment, though. First, we are going to talk about Miller’s pal, Brian Carney, the Executive Vice President of Cochrane Agency.
Foreclosurepedia spoke, by phone, with Carney last night with respect to the investigations ongoing against NAMFS Associate Member, Vicki Boser and InsuranceTek. Carney verified that Cochrane Agency was cooperating with Washington State Insurance Commission investigators and that Eric Miller and the NAMFS Board of Directors were informed months ago. He gave me the name and number of one of the investigators whom I was unable to reach before the time of publishing. That is where the world became a very strange melange of low tech email subversion and what I consider to be a declaration of cyber war upon Foreclosurepedia by the Cochrane Agency. You see, Carney sent me an email with the information with respect to the names and contacts of the investigators via email. Carney knew that I had been talking to victims and I believe presumed that I would forward that email to they. Carney appears to have embedded a tracking pixel, which generally connects to a GIF file stored on a web server. Each time a tracking pixel is viewed, it generally pulls the GIF file from the server, creating a logged event that lets a person know exactly how many times someone accessed the message or forwards it.
Cochrane Agency is an interesting creature. Strangely, the Big Three; Brunswick Companies, York – Jersey and Leonard, were, for years, the only insurance companies allowed to operate in the Mortgage Field Services Industry. Safeguard Properties (SGP) forced this and most other firms merely buttressed it by and through their acquiescence. Recently, though, the Industry has begun to allow for specifically selected NAMFS Associate Members to provide an entire myriad of services, direct to Labor, including insurance policies. NAMFS performs ZERO due diligence nor allows for transparency upon either its Members nor those whom are providing materials. Additionally, NAMFS never has and never will remove a Member. This is why we have victims, Minority Females and Labor, strewn across the United States like a Civil War battlefield.
In full disclosure, Foreclosurepedia interviewed Michelle Hirsch, Senior Vice President of Brunswick Companies, several years ago with respect to the appearance of rebating from this precise policy.
While tracking pixels are not illegal, when you put them into play as an insurance provider whom is participating in an ongoing criminal insurance investigation, it leaves little room for belief that Cochrane Agency is looking out for the best interests of consumers. In fact, in a letter delivered to Eric Miller, Brian Carney and the State of Washington’s assigned insurance investigators, I stated that it felt like a totalitarian Nazi Regime. I believe Carney was attempting to target my information flow between myself as a journalist and identify victims to target them all over again. I stand by that belief. When this question was out to Carney, he has yet explain his actions.
I have no love nor respect for Miller and his cronies whom created the cover up on behalf of Boser and only of late chose to release their sanitized version of events. With respect to Brian Carney, though, I take personal offense. For a consumer orientated organization to freely, willingly and with overt intention attempt to subvert the privacy of a journalist; criminal investigators, and victims themselves speaks volumes with respect to the character which they possess. Make no mistake that Foreclosurepedia takes cyber warfare extremely seriously and there is no measure of the length nor breadth of legal actions we will employ to protect both ourselves and these victims from Carney’s illicit activities.
You know what else speaks volumes? One NAMFS Associate Member taking over the fraudulent left overs of another NAMFS Associate Member. To me, it stinks of cover up. See, here’s the deal. InsuranceTek was hocking their wares through two firms identified by Cochrane Agency, Western Heritage Insurance Company and/or Scottsdale Insurance Company. Both of these firms are now owned by Nationwide Company. I found it VERY INTERESTING that Nationwide Company refused to back the play of InsuranceTek. Then, lo and behold, Cochrane Agency came rushing in, at the last moment, and rescued Vicki Boser and InsuranceTek. I would really like to see the financial liquidity backing that Underwriting Cochrane states they are covering. Nothing like a good old fashion margin call to get those juices flowing, I always say! NAMFS Members protecting each other and attempting to keep it as quiet as possible, if you ask me. No way in hell this was a sweeping under the carpet. This smells like a full blown cover up! I’ll give you a couple items which ring home to me heavily. When Carney was confronted with the fact that one of InsuranceTek’s clients was not going to pony up yet more money for the insurance policy they already bought, Carney waived the cost according to the victim. And while that may be noble, in part, fact of the matter is that it could be extremely illegal.
(1) Except to the extent provided for in an applicable filing with the commissioner then in effect, no insurer, insurance producer, or title insurance agent shall, as an inducement to insurance, or after insurance has been effected, directly or indirectly, offer, promise, allow, give, set off, or pay to the insured or to any employee of the insured, any rebate, discount, abatement, or reduction of premium or any part thereof named in any insurance contract, or any commission thereon, or earnings, profits, dividends, or other benefit, or any other valuable consideration or inducement whatsoever which is not expressly provided for in the policy.
I am not sure what the Washington State Insurance Commissioner deems as a rebate as I am not a lawyer nor giving legal advice. What I do know is that Cochrane Agency and Carney himself wanted this matter to rapidly disappear. I know that Carney’s email possessed an email tracking pixel in it when I received it directly from his company email. I know that Eric Miller has only one other time in history asked me to correct the record with respect to that which I write. I know that the State of Washington established a secure email server connection for Foreclosurepedia to send and receive emails which would tend to lead me to believe that they are concerned about the integrity of communications and this only happened when I provided they with the documentation about Carney’s tracking pixel.
Where does it end? I mean, when you have a Trade Association which appears to be so entirely dedicated to fraud, waste and abuse that it refuses to publicly address anything other NAMFS Members whom have not paid their dues, there is a serious problem. And while Cochrane Agency may or may not be yet another chapter in this murky world of deceit, what is for sure is that Eric Miller failed not only his Membership, but the US Government as well. If there ever were a time to call for Miller’s impeachment, now would be that time.
At the end of the day, there are some serious atrocities ongoing under the roof at NAMFS. Eric Miller’s protection of Heather Berghorst, the former and now disgraced NAMFS Secretary, merely tops the list. The problem with this case, though, is that Miller and Company erroneously believed that fraud, of any sort, could merely be forgotten about. Insurance fraud, though, is one of those pesky things which, much like herpes, you cannot cure. There isn’t going to be the run-of-the-mill, shot in the ass, for this one.