Magazine article American Banker

Barnett's Annuities Marketer Given Reprieve from Fla. Insurance Regulator

Magazine article American Banker

Barnett's Annuities Marketer Given Reprieve from Fla. Insurance Regulator

Article excerpt

James Mitchell & Co., a controversial annuities marketer through banks, has obtained a reprieve in its battle against Florida's Insurance Department.

The San Diego marketing company obtained a stay of enforcement this week that stops the Insurance Department from carrying out a final disciplinary order against Mitchell's marketing program at Barnett Banks Inc.

The stay will remain in effect while Mitchell appeals the final order in court.

Last week, the state Insurance Department ordered Mitchell to severely limit sales and advertising of annuities offered through Jacksonville-based Barnett. The order followed the findings of a state administrative hearing officer who contended that Mitchell's program had been "deceptive and misleading" to bank customers.

Mitchell & Co. has maintained that its program, which operated in Barnett's 600 branches, adheres to all appropriate state and federal laws.

James K. Mitchell, the company's founder, feels his company will be vindicated once the matter moves into open court. "We're anxious to present our appeal in a judicial forum," he said.

Mr. Mitchell also acknowledged that Barnett, encouraged by a recent Supreme Court decision supporting annuities sales by banks, may decide to operate the program itself.

If Barnett goes that route, Mr. Mitchell said his company would still proceed with its appeal as a way of clearing his name and his company's. Mr. Mitchell also said his company would hope to supply Barnett's annuity program with processing, record keeping, and other office support. …

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