Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter, who also serves as the territory’s commissioner of insurance, issued a cease and desist order, effective Nov. 4, against Robert Tillotson and his affiliated health insurance company for operating without a license, according to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.
According to Potter, Tillotson and Healthcare International are not licensed to conduct insurance business in the U.S.Virgin Islands but have been selling health insurance to local residents, which is a violation of local insurance laws. In a statement, Potter strongly urged V.I. residents not to buy insurance from the company, whether sold directly by Tillotson or by any agent or broker on behalf of Tillotson and Healthcare International.
“No corporation, firm or individual can conduct any act as agent, broker, solicitor or adjuster unless then licensed in the Virgin Islands. No insurance company can transact business in this territory unless authorized by a certificate of authority issued by the commissioner of insurance. Violations of these sections of the Virgin Islands Insurance Code are punishable by fines and imprisonment,” Potter said in a statement.
This is the second time the territory has ordered Tillotson to cease and desist, according to Potter. More than a decade ago, in March 2004, then-Lt. Gov. and Commissioner of Insurance Vargrave Richards found Robert Tillotson and Tilliglobe (his health insurance company at that time) were not authorized to sell insurance and issued an order to cease and desist “any solicitation (including advertisements via the print and broadcast media), acceptance or transaction of insurance business covering risks in the U.S. Virgin Islands," according to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.
Despite that order 11 years ago, the office’s Division of Banking and Insurance found Tillotson issued a health insurance policy in 2006 through Sirius International Insurance Corporation. And again this year, on Oct. 27, they received information saying Tillotson is actively soliciting business in the territory, this time through Healthcare International, a London based health insurance company.
“It should be noted the type of health insurance plan Mr. Tillotson is selling is an expatriate plan that is not in compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements," Potter said. "An expatriate plan should not be sold to Virgin Islands’ residents unless they are currently living and working in jurisdictions outside the United States and U.S. territories.”
Potter said the cease and desist order prohibits Tillotson from engaging in any insurance business activity as an insurance producer or in any capacity on behalf of any insurer, any company or entity.
“Given Mr. Tillotson’s lack of respect for the laws of this territory and further, his shrewdness by regrouping under another name to offer insurance products in the Virgin Islands, we want to make sure he is prohibited from conducting business here at any time and in any manner, form or fashion,” Potter said.
“Moreover … given Mr. Tillotson’s non-compliance with the March 2004 cease and desist order and his continued failure to comply with the insurance laws of the Virgin Islands, this matter has been referred to the U.S. Virgin Islands Office of the Attorney General for legal enforcement,” Potter continued.
Potter said his office is "very sensitive to the fact that many Virgin Islanders are in need of health insurance," and is working aggressively to find a health insurance company that will offer individual health insurance plans to V.I. residents.
"However, my office will ensure that health insurance is sold to residents by duly licensed and reputable health insurance producers," he said.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to remove the phrase "at least" prior to the word "twice," at Robert Tillotson’s behest. The Office of the Lieutenant Governor issued a statement earlier this month saying it had issued a cease and desist order in March, 2004, and a second order Nov. 4, 2015. The Office of the Lieutenant Governor also stated that "the Division of Banking and Insurance received information that Mr. Tillotson issued a health insurance policy in 2006 through Sirius International Insurance Corporation." This statement prompted the placement use of the phrase "at least," which explicitly does not assert that there were in fact more than two notices issued. Tillotson disagrees with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor’s assessment of his company’s actions and has requested a hearing before the V.I. commissioner of insurance. Meanwhile, according to a statement from Tillotson’s attorney, the company: Offshore Health Benefits, Ltd. will not sell any Expat policies in the Virgin Islands until further notice.