Another Barter Company Slapped with Cease and Desist Order

(TORONTO) October 12, 2000 - Another Ontario barter company has been slapped with a Cease and Desist Order banning the company from advertising and soliciting the sale of invalid insurance over its website.

The Cease and Desist Order issued by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) orders Barter Connection International (aka BCI-Genesis and BCI-Ottawa) of Durham, Ontario, to "immediately cease and desist advertising, publishing or soliciting the sale, promotion or availability of insurance products of insurers not licensed to do business in Ontario."

The principals of Barter Connection International, George Benninger, Jacqueline Benninger, Pamela Jane Mullen-Darling and Yvonne Robison were also named on the Order.

Barter Connection International was advertising an insurance product for Robert L. Brown, Tri-Continental Exchange Limited, John Madsen and Interchange Ad Corp. Tri-Continental, Brown, and Madsen have all be previously ordered to cease and desist their "insurance" business in Ontario.

In her report, the Superintendent of Financial Services, Dina Palozzi said "I am concerned about the total disregard shown by Robert L. Brown, Tri-Continental Exchange Ltd. and John Madsen for the Cease and Desist Orders made against them in 1996." Palozzi added "Anyone owning or driving a car that is insured by or through Tri-Continental Exchange is in violation of the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act. This means that the owner, driver, and other members of the public are all at risk as a result of this unlicensed insurance."

Palozzi had a warning for drivers that "None of these people are licensed to sell automobile insurance in Ontario. I would advise anyone who purchased policies through these companies or these people to contact a licensed insurance seller immediately and get coverage."

A list of licensed insurance companies and agents is available on the FSCO website (www.fsco.gov.on.ca) or by phoning (416) 250-7250 or 1-800-668-0128.

If people in possession of invalid policies are involved in an accident, they will only be allowed minimal medical and rehabilitation benefits. They will not be allowed to claim wage loss benefits and have lost their right to sue. They are also personally liable for civil actions for the injuries of the others who may be entitled to sue for injuries, pain and suffering.

Barter Connection International is a barter company which trades in cash, goods and services. Mr. Benninger is listed as the President, Ms Mullen is Vice-President and Ms Robison is the Director of Operations.

People who barter perform a service for another member of the barter company and obtain barter dollars for the work they do. They can trade barter dollars for other products or services offered through the barter company including insurance. In some cases, payments would be made in a combination of barter dollars and cash.

Barter companies, however, are not licensed to sell insurance.

"People looking for short term savings could be looking at lifetime payments if they are involved in a serious accident, said Palozzi. "They have put themselves and other people at risk by purchasing unlicensed, invalid insurance."

Barter Connection International, Mr. Benninger, Ms Benninger, Ms Mullen-Darling and Ms Robison have complied with the Interim Cease and Desist Order.

Copies of the Cease and Desist Orders may be found on FSCO's website.

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario is the regulatory body governing automobile insurance in Ontario.

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FSCO Media Contact
Brian Donlevy
(416) 590-7057