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Insurance agent retires rather than pay fine

Ad violated state code, agent says

TAMPICO – A longtime Tampico insurance agent who is being fined $1,000 by the Illinois Department of Insurance voluntarily gave up his license and retired on March 25 rather than pay the fine.

IDI spokeswoman Kimberly Parker declined to release details of Terry L. Gaskill’s violation, saying the agency does not do so in cases of voluntary license revocations.

Gaskill said he decided to retire rather than pay the fine because a Sauk Valley Media newspaper ad he placed violated the department’s advertising code.

Gaskill, a life and health agent, was also a member of the Tampico Lions Club. He had worked for Royal Neighbors of America since 1990. His business no longer was profitable, he said, and he was facing a license renewal fee and a premium for errors and omissions insurance, so the 67-year-old decided to retire.

March 29, 2011, Gaskill published an ad in which he promoted family and group health insurance and higher guaranteed interest rates on 401(k) rollovers and annuities.

IDI had three issues with the ad, according to an email it sent to Gaskill that he provided to SVM:

The ad didn’t provide the name of the insurer for the annuity and life insurance it advertised, Liberty Bankers Life, which violated the department’s code; Gaskill did not obtain prior approval from Liberty before running the ad, which violated his contract with Liberty; and the ad was for FICF Insurance Agency, a business that wasn’t licensed with IDI.

Gaskill said FICF is not an insurance agency, but rather a designation he earned through Royal Neighbors of America: Fraternal Insurance Counsellor Fellow.

He contacted Liberty Bankers Life after arranging for the ad to run.

“I kind of put the cart before the horse,” he said. “I put the ad together, then I sent it to the insurance company.”

The agency asked him not to run the ad, he said, and he called SVM to cancel, but it already was in print. He canceled the rest of its run.

“I tried to run it as a generic ad, and they [IDI] just don’t allow that kind of an ad,” he said. “I learned the lesson the hard way.”

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