M. Clark Fain, III
The Office of Georgia's Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner, John Oxendine, announced a criminal investigation into Southeastern US Insurance Company, Inc. saying the company allegedly submitted inaccurate financial reports to the state.
Oxendine released a list naming about 20 Middle Georgia governments and school boards as SEUS policy holders. He says the company had 209 policy holders across the state.
According to Oxendine, the criminal investigation comes after a Fulton County judge ordered the company's liquidation in October of last year.
Wendy Dennis tracks the number at Dodge County's Board of Education. She says SEUS threw her an equation she didn't expect.
"There's no way to prepare for something like this, it just came out of the blue," said Dennis.
She says the board held a policy with SEUS in 2007 and 2009. Last year's deal left the school board out $18,000 in pre-paid premiums, and 14 unresolved workers comp cases when the state of Georgia decided to shut the company down.
"We're just going to have to pay all of the doctor visits, the therapy bill, the prescription bills until these claims are closed. We'll have to pay a third party administrator to administer these claims," said Dennis.
The Dodge County School Board is joined by the boards of education of Baldwin, Dooly, Montgomery, Putnam and Washington Counties. The cities of Butler, Byron, Cochran, Dublin, Eastman, Forsyth, Gray, Hazlehurst, Helena, McRae, Ocilla, Reynolds, Rochelle and Tennille were also included.
The Baldwin County Board of Education says it has at least nine claims it could be responsible for. Dooly County Schools has at least two, and Washington County Schools has about three.
"This is nothing more than Enron accounting, they were filing papers with us that said one thing and they had something else," said Oxendine.
He says his office is criminally investigating SEUS as well as the company's CEO M. Clark Fain, III. He says the company purchased a $10 million quail preserve in Southwest Georgia for its officers to hunt, making the situation worse.
"That was money that needed to be there to keep the company solvent and one of the reasons the company went insolvent is because they went and made this purchase illegally," he said, "the tax payers are gonna get stuck paying for these public employees that have these workers comp injuries because of this fraudulent activity that this insurance company and its officers took."
"This is just another expense that's making it harder and harder on the schools," said Dennis. She says that's in addition to $10 million worth of cuts to the school. Leaving Dodge County Schools to do the best they can with what they'll have left.
13WMAZ tried to reach some Central Georgia SEUS policy holders, many said they switched carriers last year when they found out the state was looking into the company.