News: 2022 Press Release
LOS ANGELES — Formerly licensed insurance broker Robert Minero, 39, of Downey, was arraigned on five felony counts including insurance fraud and grand theft. The charges were filed after an investigation by the California Department of Insurance revealed Minero allegedly sold auto insurance policies to customers but failed to send his customers’ premium to the insurance companies, resulting in uncovered losses of more than $10,000 to at least two victims.
The Department began its investigation after a victim attempted to submit a claim to his insurance company, and discovered the auto insurance policy he purchased from Minero was cancelled prematurely, resulting in an uncovered loss of $5,000. The Department was later notified by an insurance company that Minero’s personal information, including contact and bank information, was connected to more than a dozen other policies.
After Minero’s insurance license expired in September 2018, Minero continued to sell insurance to more than a dozen customers between 2018 and 2021. Minero collected premium payments from victims and at times failed to remit any or all of the premiums to the insurance companies, resulting in policies being cancelled for nonpayment. At least one additional victim experienced an uncovered loss of more than $5,000 due to Minero’s actions. Other victims experienced lengthy gaps in coverages, and some policies were cancelled by insurance companies after they could not verify information on the policies Minero had purchased.
In total the Department is aware of more than a dozen victims, mostly individuals who are low income and primarily Spanish speaking who paid in cash. Anyone who has placed a policy with Minero should check with their insurance company to ensure their policy is active and up to date, or contact the Department of Insurance at 800-927-4357.
In April 2022, the Department issued Minero a Cease and Desist Order for transacting insurance without a license. The criminal case is being prosecuted by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Auto Insurance Fraud Division.
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Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation’s largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud. Consumers are urged to call 1-800-927-4357 with any questions or contact us at www.insurance.ca.gov via webform or online chat. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.
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