I had barely finished my speech with Nicole Vinson at the Georgia Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (GAPIA) Spring Conference this morning when news broke that Jim Beck, Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner had been indicted in a 38-count criminal complaint for a fraudulent scheme involving insurance inspections and invoices. It alleged that Beck, a former insurance company lobbyist and executive, embezzled more than $2 million, used a Christian group in the scheme, and that some of the money went to his campaign.
Ironically, Jim Beck ran on a very strong anti-fraud platform. The Atlanta Magazine ran a story quoting Beck speaking about his long history of fighting insurance fraud:
When I was a young man, my grandmother was the victim of an insurance scammer. This thief not only robbed her of much of her life savings but also her peace of mind. I am very proud to say that in my prior service as deputy commissioner, I directed not only the Insurance Department Fraud Unit but also a team of consumer investigators that collected tens of millions of dollars rightfully owed to consumers by Georgia insurance companies. All too often Georgia’s seniors are targeted by unscrupulous high-pressure sales tactics, and this is exactly why on day one, I will double the penalties on insurance companies guilty of victimizing a senior or an honorably discharged veteran. Working closely with local law enforcement and prosecutors, the fraud unit will very aggressively identify and prosecute fraud.
Another report says Beck and his representatives are going to vigorously fight these charges. Everybody should remember that Beck should be considered innocent until proven guilty.
Nevertheless, the next AntiFraud Task Force Committee meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners should be interesting and a little uneasy. Jim Beck is a member of that committee.
A Quote Which Should Lead To A Thought For The Day
You must pursue this investigation of Watergate even if it leads to the president. I’m innocent. You’ve got to believe I’m innocent. If you don’t, take my job.
—Richard M. Nixon