“..All this without a shred of evidence in their hearing.”
By Ken Hare
Chicago Defender Staff Writer
During the summer of 2011, Kenneth Mannie, CEO of Coordinating Care Health Services, Inc. (CCHS Inc.) – a health care insurer that specialized in Medicare, over 65 clients – was recruited by a Field Marketing Organization (FMO), Healthcare Solutions Team of Lombard, IL whose focus is providing health insurance to clients under 65.
Healthcare Solutions Team – a marketing organization – served as a liaison between larger health care insurance companies like WellCare, out of Tampa, Florida and smaller insurance producers like CCHS Inc.
Already a successful health insurance producer in the country, CCHS’s purpose for joining Healthcare Solutions’ Team was to further penetrate the market, expand its network and partner with Healthcare Solutions, who had articulated their goal of expanding into the over 65, Medicare market.
Mr. Mannie was initially enthusiastic about the newly found relationship with Healthcare Solutions and its manager Peter Benson was mutually excited and supportive of the partnership. Mannie, a resident of Glenwood, Illinois traveled regularly to Lombard, Illinois to attend business and training meetings with the FMO to learn about its policies and procedures.
After attending Monday morning sales meetings for about six to seven months, Mannie began to take notice of how Health Solutions Team soon appeared to lose its desire to expand their services to Medicare clients. According to Mannie, “We joined because we were led to believe that Health Solutions Team wanted to get involved in the Medicare market. Not true, so our relationship soured fairly quickly.”
Mannie stated, “During the meetings, whenever a question came up about Medicare since that was my area of expertise, questions were directed to me. At some point, the Director, Eric Shaw, approached me and asked me to stop answering questions about Medicare.” Mr. Mannie says he obliged and eventually pulled away from the group around the beginning of 2012.
According to Mannie, roughly 18 months later, around November 2013, he received notification from his business banking institution that there were transactions on the account that were “inconsistent” with all the others. Upon investigating, Mannie discovered “four unauthorized transactions going to three different insurance companies, some for over 13 months.” Mannie was able to trace the transactions back to his former supervisor at Healthcare Solutions Team – Peter Benson. Mr. Benson allegedly had the policies going to an address connected to him in Joliet.
The Chicago Defender reached Mr. Benson by phone and he declined to comment on the situation, saying he had just had a stroke.
However, in documents provided to the Chicago Defender, in an email dated August 9, 2014, from Mr. Benson to Christina Austen – a vendor of Healthcare Solutions Team – Mr. Benson states, “Ken Mannie requested from me the accident policy and dental. He was one of my agents who specialized in Medicare Supplements. He wanted the accident policy because he played basketball once a week. He gave me his routing and checking account numbers to submit the polic(ies).”
Mr. Mannie denied that he had requested the insurance policies from Mr. Benson. He stopped the automatic deductions from his account and demanded that the three different insurance companies refund his money in full. The first two insurance companies, Nebco, and Colorado Banker’s Life, immediately complied and refunded the full amounts, but the third company – Times Insurance – gave Mannie a difficult time.
Times Insurance initially sent him two separate checks that totaled $8, according to Mannie, and put a stop payment on the checks. After contacting Times Insurance, he said they sent out another check for a little less that $3,000; however, Mannie contacted the issuing bank and was told there was a stop payment on the check. He said he returned the checks to Times Insurance.
Consequently, Times Insurance contacted the Department of Insurance (DOI) on September 15, 2014, made specific allegations against Mr. Mannie and terminated him “for cause,” according to documents reviewed by the Defender. Mr. Mannie filed a formal complaint against Times Insurance with the DOI on October 27, 2014. DOI, in turn, accused Mr. Mannie, stating, “The licensee altered a premium refund check received from an insurer in an attempt to deprive the owner of its assets.”
The investigation further concluded that Mr. Mannie had engaged in “dishonest practices, demonstrated incompetence, and untrustworthiness in the conduct of business in this state, which is cause for revocation and levying of civil penalties of the Illinois Insurance Code.”
On December 9, 2015, DOI issued a final decision, suspending his license for 18 months, preventing him from working in Illinois as an insurance producer. The agency also fined him $3,000 for a civil penalty and ordered him to pay $665 in court fees.
According to Mr. Mannie, “DOI did all this without a shred of evidence in their hearing. There was no evidence of a forged check, no physical proof, and no proof of how they had conducted their investigation was ever provided to my attorney.” Mr. Mannie has appealed the DOI suspension and his next court date is June 6, 2016.
The Chicago Defender contacted his attorney, who did not respond to our inquiry. Also, at press time, the DOI had not responded to our FOIA request. And WellCare had not responded to our email request.