State Strips Top UBA Manager Of License - WSMV News 4

State Strips Top UBA Manager Of License

Posted: Updated: March 1, 2010

They're accused of misleading the sick and uninsured, and their actions may now be starting to catch up with them. A Channel 4 I-Team investigation into the company United Benefits of America caught managers teaching employees how to lie to customers. And now, the state has forbidden one of the former top managers from selling insurance.


Video: UBA Manager Forbidden From Selling Insurance


UBA is accused by customers of masquerading as a major insurance company when instead it provides discount cards that customers say don't offer much coverage for serious diseases. Many of UBA's customers have cancer or AIDS.


Now, a consent order means the state believes the company deceived customers, and a former top manager doesn't deny it.


Jon Browning first spoke to the I-Team last May, admitting what the I-Team's hidden camera caught on tape: that managers were training employees to lie to customers desperate for insurance.


The state said when it first interviewed Browning for its investigation, he lied, saying he didn't know about the TAFT tactic. Managers were caught on the I-Team's hidden camera telling their workers to "tell them any f***ing thing."


In the consent order, the state outlines how customers believed they were deceived about limitations of the insurance and that it wasn't major medical insurance. Instead, it was simple discount cards.


The consent order explains that Browning lied because Tim Thomas, the owner of UBA, coached his managers what to say if they were questioned by the state.


"He never bluntly told us to lie," said Browning. "Lying is a harsh word ... Being a loyal employee of the company, we went on the word of the CEO."


After Browning resigned from UBA, he went back and told the truth to state investigators. But he still was stripped of his license, and he said he voluntarily turned it over.


"It was the right thing to do, one of the best things to do," he said. "The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth."


The state confirmed Monday that two other UBA managers applied for insurance licenses and were denied by the state. It's unclear if those two still work for the company.


The state would not comment on what Thomas could face if the state can prove he told his managers to lie to state investigators.


An attorney for UBA had no comment.

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