As a fraud investigator prepared to revoke the license of a Lafayette insurance agent and fine her $10,000, there was one final step before taking action: getting approval from Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon. FraudInsurance Industry
But the fraud investigator, Nelda Lawrence, alleged in a lawsuit filed this month in the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge that Donelon delayed the case so he could use it as part of a media campaign to improve his popularity ahead of his 2023 re-election bid.
Lawrence further alleged that Donelon and the other department officials violated state laws that protect employees from reprisals if they object to an illegal practice.
She also claimed protection under the state’s whistleblower protection statute for public employees who disclose improper acts.
Her suit says she investigated allegations in 2021 against insurance agent Wendy Fox-Breaux and, in August, submitted the report to her supervisor in the insurance fraud and enforcement division. She recommended that Fox-Breaux’s license be revoked and that the agent be fined $10,000, for not sending a policyholder’s premium to the insurer, among other things.