The California Insurance Commissioner issued a Decision and Order imposing a $4,345,000 penalty on American Labor Alliance and CompOne USA for selling workers’ compensation and liability policies to employers of farmworkers without being properly licensed with the Department of Insurance.
Central Valley based American Labor Alliance attracted customers by marketing low workers’ compensation premium rates. It had contracted with fewer than 100 employers and had a small membership roll before 2016, but its membership surged after it introduced its workers’ comp benefit, according to documents from the department. It had more than 400 employers with 30,000 members as of February 2017. “Two-thirds of those employees are seasonal agricultural workers employed by roughly 50 farm labor contractors,” according to documents from the department.
American Labor Alliance and CompOne USA are subsidiaries of Agricultural Contracting Services Association, which is a Nevada not-for-profit corporation headquartered in Clovis, Calif., according to documents from the Department of Insurance. It characterizes itself as a “union labor organization” operating in California, New York and Georgia. Neither Agricultural Contracting Services Association nor any of its subsidiaries is licensed by the California Department of Insurance.
Despite a Cease and Desist Order issued by the Department of Insurance in October 2016 against the Agricultural Contracting Services Association, Incorporated and its affiliates, the American Labor Alliance and CompOne USA, and Board Chair Marcus Asay, and a Decision and Order issued by Commissioner Jones in November 2017 ordering them to refrain from selling insurance policies in California, the company continued to transact insurance without a license.
The new Decision and Order imposes the $4.3 million penalty that represents $5,000 for each of the 869 days that the companies sold workers’ compensation insurance without a license.
Pursuant to California Insurance Code section 12921.8, the Commissioner may also impose a monetary penalty which shall be the greater of five times the amount of money received by the company for which the license was required, or five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each day the company transacted insurance without a license.
FBI agents on behalf of the U.S. Department of Labor served warrants for workplace injury benefit program records in July 2017 at the headquarters office of American Labor Alliance.
Employers transacting business with Agricultural Contracting Services Association, Inc., American Labor Alliance, or affiliate CompOne USA, should contact the Department of Insurance Investigation Division at 661-253-7500 for assistance in determining the validity of their workers’ compensation coverage.