RE: July, 2007 Insurance Networking News' Cover Story: Keeping Agents Honest Legally and Ethically: Dear Editor,I read your feature article on Keeping Agents Honest (Legally & Ethically) in the July issue and generally have to agree with your statements. There are some important areas that you have left out, or had not considered.  The "other unethical - though maybe not illegal- sale practices" could just easily be directed at the companies that offer the products. The "Death Spiral" is intentional in the way the product is conceived by the company. The basic assumption for term life and its pricing is that the company will not have to pay claims, the policy will expire first. You talk about how companies have to keep a sharp eye on independent agents, and that it is hard to prove fraud, but companies do find fraud and cover it up all of the time. The first reaction is to protect the reputation of the company, not the customer or the general public.  In my own town we had an agent that was "let go" by a direct writer, allegedly for fraud. That agent then opened an independent agency and got appointments from some companies. Within two years other agents were receiving complaints about not getting policies, about paying premiums at the agency, but not getting anything from the company until they had a claim, etc. These complaints were sent on to the companies involved. It took almost another year before the agent lost his appointments and was back on the street looking for another opportunity, and he found it in another nearby city, working for a direct writer (a different one).  Why, one must ask, were the companies willing to allow this person to keep his license? If any one of them had reported their actions to the Department of Insurance action might have been taken to revoke that license. Companies are as responsible for the fraud committed by agents, captive or independent, if they refuse to report that fraud to the state DOI. Are they really interested in cleaning house, or just protecting their names? Sincerely, Jim Gislason, CPIA Account ExecutiveUnited Insurance Services, Inc.509 Main St.Vincennes, Ind. 47591   Dear Editor,  I feel compelled to respond to your article that portrays "independent agents" as unethical thieves. While there may be a few agents that act unethically there are far more that are honest and truly work hard to do the best for their customers. My family and our agency have represented the independent agency system honestly and ethically for over 75 years and we greatly offended by your defamation of our character and ethics. Your article was poo rly written and the three examples you provide do nothing to prove that actual "independent agents" were involved in any of them. Could it be that the examples you gave were actually "captive agents" like State Farm, Farmers, Allstate, and Geico?  I ask that you immediately take my agency Martin Insurance, Inc. 1122 Idaho Street Lewiston, ID 83501 off of your mailing lists and never send another copy of Insurance Networking News. I also want you to know that I will be emailing a copy of your article to the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America to see what they have to say about your portray of their members. Mike Martin Jr.Martin Insurance, Inc.Via E-mail

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