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Forum staff reports, Published July 17 2012

Cease and desist order issued against Fargo-area insurance agent

BISMARCK — Robert Schmitz, a Fargo-area insurance agent, and his agency, Schmitz Insurance Agency, face a cease and desist order issued by state Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm.

The order, which bars Schmitz and his agency from the insurance business in North Dakota, states that Schmitz allegedly failed to pay state and federal taxes and allegedly midhandled premium payments made by clients, according to a release from Hamm.

Schmitz allegedly accepted premium payments and failed to pay premiums on behalf of clients in a timely fashion resulting in notices of cancellation, and allegedly issued checks with insufficient funds, the release stated. He also allegedly issued one or more paychecks with insufficient funds to an employee.

Schmitz was convicted in 2008 of issuing a check with insufficient funds in Traill County District Court, the release stated. In 2010, the Internal Revenue Service filed a tax lien against Schmitz for $371,210; in 2011, the North Dakota Tax Department filed a tax lien against him for $52,808. North Dakota state law prohibits insurance producers from being financially irresponsible.

Hamm encouraged consumers who have done business with Schmitz or the Schmitz Insurance Agency to call their insurance companies to verify their policies.

The release stated Schmitz has the right to request an administrative hearing on the cease and desist order within 30 days.

Schmitz Insurance Agency has offices in Fargo, Finley and Gardner, N.D., and Stephen, Minn. For more information, contact the North Dakota Insurance Department at (800) 247-0560 or go online to insurance@nd.gov.