Globe Life is being sued by a former executive who claims he was fired for blowing the whistle on “potentially illegal” sales practices.
Scott Dehning claims that Globe Life and subsidiary American Income Life Insurance Co. fired him in May 2023 after he reported “a clear practice of unethical and potentially illegal business practices” to Michigan regulators.
The lawsuit was initially filed in Michigan state court, but Globe Life petitioned to have the case transferred to federal court in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Dehning was vice president of field operations from September 2015 until he was fired. In that role, he supervised about 17 state general agents, the lawsuit said.
In the original eight-page complaint filed in August, Dehning said he viewed certain sales practices with growing uneasiness. Dehning does not detail the behavior in question. He eventually investigated and confirmed the “unethical and potentially illegal sales practices,” sharing his findings with the Globe Life executive team, the lawsuit states.
Globe Life did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit, but the insurer denied all claims in a response to Dehning’s lawsuit. The insurer also filed a motion to dismiss for “lack of personal jurisdiction.” Globe Life is “a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Texas,” the motion noted.
The American Income Life executive team – CEO Stephen Greer, President David Zophin and General Counsel Joel Scarboro – did not take action on Dehning’s concerns, the lawsuit states.
“On numerous occasions, defendants’ executive team chose to ignore, cover up or otherwise conceal the unethical and potentially illegal sales practices reported by plaintiff with an estimated worth of over $2M in sales revenue,” the lawsuit states.
At one point, Dehning told American Life executives that he feared the company would lose its state-issued license to sell insurance, according to the lawsuit. Dehning eventually turned to Michigan regulators himself in September 2022, the lawsuit said.
During a November meeting with the executive team, Dehning said he was told that the Michigan Department of Insurance has opened an investigation into the company. At the end of that meeting, the lawsuit states, Scarboro told Dehning to “stop talking to your friends,” a reference to Michigan insurance regulators.
In the ensuing weeks and months, the executive team would ignore Dehning during meetings and other work settings, the lawsuit states. On May 19, 2023, he was “abruptly terminated without warning,” the lawsuit states. The only reason given for Dehning’s termination was that he was “a risk to the company,” according to the lawsuit.
Globe Life agency named in harassment lawsuit
Dehning left the company one year after another lawsuit was filed accusing a top-selling American Life agency of promoting rampant office drug use, sexual abuse and degradation of agents who missed sales targets.
Filed by agent Renee Zinsky against Simon Arias, Arias Agencies, Michael Russin, and American Income Life Insurance Co., the lawsuit describes shocking acts, such as office wrestling matches, use of date rape drugs and sexual acts carried out in front of employees.
That lawsuit continues in a Pennsylvania federal court.
Amy Williamson is an employment lawyer in Pittsburgh and one of Dehning’s attorneys in the lawsuit. Dehning observed “multiple instances of misconduct such as fraud, racial discrimination, and sexual harassment across the AIL agencies on a broad scale which he reported to AIL executives,” she said.
“Over time, Dehning began to realize that the AIL executives were ignoring, concealing, or otherwise complicit with the misconduct,” said Williamson, who also represents Zinsky. “As a high ranking officer of a publicly traded company, Dehning felt that he was duty bound to escalate his concerns to the proper regulatory agencies.”
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.
© Entire contents copyright 2023 by InsuranceNewsNet.com Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted without the expressed written consent from InsuranceNewsNet.com.
The post Ex-Globe Life exec claims insurer ignored bad acts, brings whistleblower suit appeared first on Insurance News | InsuranceNewsNet.