Regulator’s crackdown on insurance intermediaries continues with further bans

Hundreds of doctors’ surgeries were left without crucial insurance cover after it transpired that a broker, Mark Hazelwood, had failed to pass on premiums to insurers.

Hazelwood, who defrauded hundreds of doctors’ surgeries by not passing on £400,000 worth of premiums to insurers, is now the subject of an investigation by the Hertfordshire Police Fraud Squad, believed to be tracking him in Asia. The FSA has also banned Hazelwood from performing any regulated activity.

The FSA said that it did not believe any insurers would be left on the hook for the policies, meaning that the doctors’ surgeries would be left without cover in the event of any claim.

Hazelwood sent out fake documents and paid out a number of small claims himself. His company, Synergys Ethical, came on the FSA’s radar when one of Hazelwood’s customers attempted to make a claim on their policy, but received no payment.

Synergys Ethical arranged locum insurance for doctors and covered GP surgeries for any liability they might face while employing temporary or locum medical practitioners.

Hazelwood failed to pass to insurers almost £360,000 in customers’ premiums before the FSA intervened in October 2008. Hazelwood then opened up another company, Aquote, where he failed to pass on a further £25,000 of clients’ premiums to insurers.

Margaret Cole, director of the FSA enforcement and financial crime division, said: “The FSA will not tolerate people like Hazelwood. He has neither the integrity nor honesty to operate in this industry.”

The incident comes as the FSA continues its clampdown on the insurance sector, with another broker director, Stephen Allen, also hit with a ban for “failing in his duties as a director of a regulated firm”. The action taken against Allen, a director of Fabien Risk Services, followed an investigation by the FSA.

It also resulted in the banning of Allen’s co-director Shane Garvey and Fabien office manager Lee Goddard in 2007 for “lacking integrity” over client money, which was used to pay £470,000 owed to insurers, brokers and underwriters.

The FSA said Allen lacked the competence to run a regulated firm.