The FSA has banned an insurance company director for lying to his customers and the regulator, as well as failing to pass on insurance premiums.
Mark Hazelwood operated Synergys Ethical Limited from Whitwell in Hertfordshire, but his customers were located across the United Kingdom due to the specialised nature of his business which focused on arranging locum insurance for doctors. This type of insurance covered GP surgeries for any liability they might face while employing temporary or locum medical practitioners.
Synergys was referred to enforcement when the FSA became aware that one of Hazelwood’s customers had attempted to make a claim on their policy, but received no payment. Hazelwood ignored any attempt at contact by his clients, a fact borne out by computer email evidence later seized. Further investigation showed that Hazelwood had failed to pass to insurers almost £360,000 in customers’ premiums.
In October 2008 the FSA took action to stop Synergys’ regulated business and issued a consumer alert warning that the firm was no longer permitted to conduct any regulated activities and may have failed to pass on clients premiums to insurers.
Search warrants executed at Hazelwood’s residential and business addresses uncovered documents regarding a new unauthorised business called Aquote. Evidence showed that Hazelwood had failed to pass on a further £25,000 of customers’ premiums to insurers.
Hazelwood has now been banned from performing any regulated activity in the financial services industry as he lacks the honesty and integrity required to hold this type of position.
Hertfordshire Police’s Fraud Squad are currently conducting its own investigation into Hazelwood and his business activities.
Hazelwood’s Aquote firm is unconnected to a legitimate company with a similar name ‘A Quote’, which is a trading style of Hero Insurance Services Limited.
Margaret Cole, director of the enforcement and financial crime division said that Hazelwood has deliberately and dishonestly deceived his customers into believing they had purchased insurance policies when in fact he kept their premium payments himself.
She said: “It is clear from Hazelwood’s behaviour that he never intended to pass on the premiums