Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Abortion Business Uses Bogus Malpractice Insurance

http://www.lifenews.com/nat726.html

Abortion Businesses Endanger Women With Bogus Malpractice Insurance
by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer

August 16, 2004Fargo, ND (LifeNews.com) -- An investigation into a bogus insurance company has found that abortion facilities across the country apparently have purchased medical malpractice insurance from it. As a result, thousands of women who have abortions at the facilities may be unable to receive compensation if they suffer from a botched abortion.During an investigation into a malpractice insurance company that has been deemed a scam by insurance commissioners in several states, the president of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers admitted that her own North Dakota business uses the insurer, and that the company's malpractice insurance is widely used by abortion clinics nationwide.
Following the lead of several other states, Jim Poolman, North Dakota's Insurance Commissioner, issued a cease and desist order to prevent Professional Liability Insurance Company, Ltd. (PLIC) of Bermuda from transacting business in his state.
According to the orders, PLIC is not licensed to do business in any U.S. state, nor in its listed home country of Bermuda.
Jane Bovard, president of NCAP and owner of Red River Women's Clinic, the only abortion business in North Dakota, refused to provide Poolman's office with details of her insurance arrangement with PLIC.
However, she did say her business purchased insurance from the company's agent, Unimed, out of Atlanta. Bovard has since been subpoenaed to provide proof of her insurance.
"To the best of my knowledge, every clinic that I know of that has coverage through Unimed-PLIC has been vigorously defended in any malpractice lawsuit or complaint," Bovard told the insurance commissioner's office, adding that many abortion businesses rely on PLIC's malpractice insurance.
Bovard was not available for comment, and NCAP did not respond to inquiries from LifeNews.com.
In addition, abortion businesses affiliated with NCAP would not identify their malpractice insurers.
Ted Bader, chief investigator with the Washington State Insurance Commissioner's Office told LifeNews.com that his department suspected PLIC was a fraudulent company when their Consumer Protection department could find no record of PLIC.
Bader said he noticed that the company had been prohibited from doing business in several states, and fined $235,000 by the Texas insurance commissioner for ignoring a 1995 cease and desist order.
Despite the problems, Bader told LifeNews.com that clients of PLIC argued with him, and pleaded to be allowed to continue to send their premiums to PLIC.
Like Bovard, they told Bader that claims had been paid, but could not name specifics of who had claims paid on their PLIC policies.
Bader encouraged them to contact their associates who had claims paid by PLIC and forward the proof to his office, but he never received word of any successfully paid claims.
Bader did, however, find several claims across the country that had not been paid by PLIC. He did not say whether the unpaid claims were related to failed abortions.
Unimed-PLIC appears to have been involved with the abortion industry.
Ingnatius Angelo "Iggy" DeBlasi, a representative of Unimed, is listed as a co-sponsor of a 2003 conference by Abortion Clinics Online, a web site referral service for abortion businesses.
According to the web site, DeBlasi participated in panel discussions, including one addressing state regulations and malpractice insurance costs.
That abortion businesses would contract for false malpractice insurance isn't a surprise to one attorney who has helped women injured by abortions.
Vicky Conroy of Legal Action for Women told LifeNews.com that abortion practitioners rate on the high end of malpractice risk indexes, which leads to high premiums. While some may list a different specialty, such as dermatology, to obtain less expensive premiums, low-cost insurers, as Unimed advertises itself to be, appear attractive.
In fact, Bovard told Poolman's office that she bought insurance from Unimed "when I could not find other affordable malpractice insurance."
Conroy said the use of fraudulent malpractice insurance adds insult to injury for women who receive abortions, as it adds another complication to the difficult task of collecting on malpractice suits against abortion practitioners.
In an interview with LifeNews.com, Conroy explained that the abortion practitioners, not the facilities, carry the insurance.
In cases where the practitioner does not carry malpractice insurance, abortion practitioners often make themselves "judgment-proof" by putting all assets in their spouse's name, or keeping their money in offshore accounts.
Such practices make it difficult for women injured by an abortion to collect damages, even if they are awarded by a judge or jury.
Conroy said that a fake malpractice insurance company like PLIC/Unimed would render malpractice lawsuits fruitless since the company would likely not pay the claim.
That Bovard and Red River Women's Clinic are unwilling to provide information about their malpractice insurance makes it appear to some that they are willing to cover up for a bogus company offering insurance premiums for unrealistically low rates.
"I don't understand why they do not want to help bring an illegal insurance company to justice in North Dakota," Poolman told LifeNews.com.
The insurance commissioner in Washington identified several other names under which PLIC did business, as well as a list of individuals involved in the fraud. The company names included Professional Liability Company, Ltd. in Bermuda, Unimed, Professional Liability Insurance Corporation, Physicians Malpractice Analysts, Inc., and PLIC Claims Management, Inc. in Atlanta.
Individuals' names included William A. Ledee III, who is listed as the primary agent for several of the companies, James Reynolds, an admitted alias of Ledee, DeBlasi, Matthew Reed, Mishima Murasaki, Bertha Louise Ledee, Judy Frese, Jennifer Anderson aka Brooke Harris, Robert Edward Ledee, Suzanne Suhrie, and Charles Bailey, M.D.
Bermuda officials have stated that PLIC is not a registered business entity in their country, and that the Bermuda address in use is a mail drop at a Mailboxes Unlimited store.
A Pak Mail franchise employee in Atlanta confirmed for LifeNews.com that Unimed's address, listed on their website, is actually a mailbox at Pak Mail. The suite number listed on the website matches the mailbox number.
While Unimed is not listed by the Georgia Secretary of State's office as a registered business in Georgia, Unimed's widely advertised phone number is also that of Physician's Malpractice Analysts, which is listed by the Secretary of State as a dissolved company with William Ledee as primary agent.
Unimed claims on its web site to have been "created by a team of malpractice insurance defense attorneys." However, Ledee was sued in 2001 for fraud and posing as an attorney.
His accomplice, an attorney, was disbarred as a result of related complaints. The Georgia court also noted that Ledee has a federal criminal record, for transporting false and forged securities across state lines.
In 2001, the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld a $110,000 jury award against Ledee for fraud, negligence, conspiracy, infliction of emotional distress and the unauthorized practice of law. He had promised to file a woman's slip-and-fall lawsuit but it never got to court.
The company has been prevented from doing business in Washington, Florida, Alabama, Illinois, Mississippi, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Related Sites:Legal Action for Women (LAW) - http://www.legalactionforwomen.org