Overview of Insurance Company Correspondence
A Short Note on Other Activities on the Public’s Behalf within the Industry:
In addition to identifying fraud, problematic conduct, and worse in the marketplace, Breadwinners’ Founder Brian Fechtel has since the mid-1990s tried to convince numerous financial institutions to become the transformative company in the marketplace and effectively market life insurance. Presentations have been made to practically every financial organization that might cross your mind (sometimes multiple presentations were made to the most senior executives). Every effort ended in failure.
In fact, in late May 2008, Brian sent Northwestern’s CEO Ed Zore a long letter to share with his Board of Trustees outlining how Northwestern could cease its deceptive practices and become the industry transforming company. (See “Life Insurance: An Industry Built on Fraud” for a summary of letter’s contents; requests for an actual copy of the letter should be directed to Brian.) Seven (7) weeks later, after non-stop harassment from Northwestern (see Somewhat Humorous Documents Pertaining to Northwestern’s Termination of Agent Fechtel), Northwestern terminated him. Northwestern’s harassment included:
1) refusing to delivery his commission check as it had been delivered for years, in fact charging Fechtel $200 to deliver his May 2008 month-end commission check,
2) issuing a Supervisory Memo regarding his appropriately mentioning a few clients by name in the letter to CEO Zore (Northwestern contends the mere mention of these five clients was inappropriate, but they are just wrong. Moreover, Northwestern was just being silly/stupid – punishing an agent for mentioning to the CEO the names of five policy-holding clients, names that were mentioned specifically to indicate the calibre of some of Fechtel's clients. Indeed, Northwestern’s own actions of releasing the letter to state regulators without redacting the allegedly inappropriately-mentioned names proves this point), and
3) mandating that Agent Fechtel watch a video, and complete a test on Northwestern’s course “The Right Way to Write,” a video that will no doubt be repeatedly cited by others in forthcoming litigation against Northwestern because the video’s advice and extreme defensiveness are virtual testaments to Northwestern’s awareness of the pervasiveness of fraud in the company’s sales and marketing practices.
Good disclosure will (eventually) come to the life insurance marketplace. The battles in the process of accomplishing this objective have been extraordinary. In fact, I would contend that the battles could seem inconceivable (after all, wouldn’t it be assumed that almost everyone would want to end wrongdoing and/or improve a terribly broken and dysfunctional system). But the inconceivable has (sadly) been the reality. There is much more that could be written (should be written) about these battles and their lessons for those interested in public policy and business management, but this is not the moment for those stories to be told.