After fines and three suspensions, insurance agent’s license is revoked

By: - April 4, 2022 4:12 pm

After facing three previous license suspensions, a former central Iowa insurance agent has been permanently barred from selling insurance in Iowa. (Photo by Mohamad Faizal Bin Ramli/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

After facing three previous license suspensions, a former central Iowa insurance agent has been permanently barred from selling insurance in Iowa.

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen recently issued the order against Gary D. Marcum, formerly of Clive, and now a resident of Kodak, Tennessee.

The order permanently revokes Marcum’s resident insurance producer license and orders him to pay $30,000 in civil penalties for having violated a previous enforcement order from 2019.

Marcum is the CEO of Retirement Solutions Group, which was once based in Iowa and recently relocated to Tennessee.

State records indicate that in 1982, Marcum’s insurance license was suspended for one year and then placed on probation for two years for allegedly converting customers’ policy premiums to his own personal use.

In 1986, Marcum surrendered his license for two additional years. That penalty stemmed from Marcum selling insurance while under suspension, and allegations that he had forged the signature of another agent and engaged in misleading advertising.

In 2000, Marcum applied for a new license without informing the Iowa Insurance Division of his past discipline. For that, he was fined $250 and issued a new license.

In 2019, Marcum’s license was suspended for 18 months and he was fined $22,000 after he was accused of unlawful or deceptive acts in connection with his treatment of six Iowa consumers. Shortly thereafter, state investigators obtained a search warrant for Marcum’s emails.

Based in part on those emails, Marcum was accused last year of violating the board’s 2019 order by continuing to sell insurance products while under suspension. As part of that scheme, he was accused of using the insurance license of his new wife, the former Deborah Christie Long, to stay involved in insurance sales.

At a hearing in January, some of the emails between Marcum and his assistant were presented as evidence. In one email, the assistant asked Marcum what clients should be told regarding their cases being shifted from him to his wife.

Marcum allegedly responded that although he had to contend with a license suspension “due to dumb— complaints” against him, the clients were to be told the company was adjusting his workload for better customer service.

At the January hearing, Marcum suggested some of the contacts he had with consumers while under suspension were actually emails and in-person contacts made by his wife. He was then questioned about an email sent to clients that was signed with his name, sent from his email account, and which encouraged the customer to “call me” at his personal cell phone number.

“Oh, yeah,” Marcum allegedly testified in what Ommen later described as a sarcastic voice. “You got me there.”

After the hearing, Ommen revoked Marcum’s license and rejected Marcum’s defense that it was his wife who handled clients’ cases while identifying herself as her husband.

“It is absurd that Marcum’s best defense would be that his wife was lying about her own identify to a client, which, if true, would subject her to license discipline,” Ommen ruled.

Although Marcum could have been fined $10,000 for each of 13 violations of the board’s 2019 order, Ommen imposed a $30,000 fine.

In a press release, Ommen stated, “Assisting Iowans with their insurance and retirement needs is an important duty and is a privilege … Mr. Marcum’s actions won’t be tolerated and his insurance producer license is now permanently revoked and he will be paying a $30,000 fine for his actions.”

In the order revoking Marcum’s license, Ommen noted that while the “personal and financial loyalties” of Marcum’s wife are understandable, he found her “knowing participation” in Marcum’s scheme to be “very concerning.”

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.

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