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Posted on Sat, Aug 24, 2013 : 9:12 a.m.

Ypsilanti and Owosso LA Insurance agencies suspended pending hearing

By Ben Freed

The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services has suspended the licenses of three Michigan LA Insurance agencies, including two in Ypsilanti, effective immediately.

The three agencies, all owned by Jennifer and Laurence Essak, participated in the unlawful sales of insurance policies by unlicensed and unappointed insurance agents and added additional “coverages” to policies without consumers' knowledge or consent, according to the state.


LA Insurance Agency #117 located at 420 E. Michigan Ave. in Ypsilanti.

Photo courtesy Dwight Burdette via Wikipedia Commons

Mike Cox, an attorney representing the Esseks, said that the couple plans to dispute the findings of the DIFS investigation in a hearing that will occur no more than 20 days from Friday.

“There were a couple innocent mistakes made, but this has it completely wrong,” he said. “Their facts and complaints are 180 degrees off base.”

The two Ypsilanti agencies named in the order are LA Insurance Agency #100 on Washtenaw Avenue and LA Insurance Agency #117 on Michigan Avenue. LA Insurance #179 in Owosso has also been suspended.

The suspension order alleges that Jennifer Essak, who is the president and designated responsible licensed producer at the three agencies, allowed an unlicensed individual to sell, solicit and negotiate insurance policies.

Other charges stem from the addition of road service to automobile insurance. In the suspension order, agents at the three LA Insurance locations are accused of selling membership to National Safe Drivers Motor Club (NSD) in order to generate a profit.

According to the order, memberships with NSD were misrepresented as part of insurance packages and some consumers were shown to have purchased multiple memberships that provided the same service.

Cox said that combining road service with automobile insurance is common among insurance agencies, including AAA.

“They’re not going after the big guys on this so I don’t know why they’re going after the LA Insurance franchises,” he said.

“… You can imagine the hardship this is for a small business like these franchises.”

According to the DIFS release, consumers who have purchased insurance through these agencies or agents should contact the insurance company named on their policy to ensure that the coverage is valid. Consumers are also recommended to review their policies to ensure that no additional coverages were added without their knowledge or consent.

Cox said that the investigation into the LA Insurance Agencies began in May and that the Essaks had cooperated fully with the investigation. He said the suspension of the agents and agencies came “completely from left field.”

According to the order, a hearing with an administrative law judge will be scheduled for the suspended agencies and agents within 20 days. According to the DIFS releas, agents at the listed agencies cannot sell insurance in Michigan until the hearing is held.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Get in touch with Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2


Slim Jim

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 1:14 a.m.

I saw a sign outside the Washtenaw office that offered a 7 day auto liability policy. Is this a way to buy a policy, go next door to Sec of State and renew your plates, then drive without insurance for the rest of the year? Is this even a legal policy? Kind of scary. . . .

Ann English

Sun, Aug 25, 2013 : 11:25 p.m.

They just opened the Washtenaw Avenue location last week; I was wondering what kind of insurance they sell.

Never Hire a lawyer

Sun, Aug 25, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

insurance is all a scam, the cesta que trust covers unlimited commercial liability.


Sun, Aug 25, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

they should let them conduct business until proven guilty.


Sun, Aug 25, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

Ben: Here's some more information gleaned from the Summary Suspension Order, found here: 1. The unlicensed individual who sold, solicited or negotiated insurance policies was Brandon Kiminaia, working at the LA office in Owosso, There's no allegation that Kiminaia did this in the Ypsilanti offices. 2. State investigators found that Ronnie Kassab, a properly licensed individual who worked in the two LA Insurance offices in Ypsilanti, sold 750 Integon insurance policies when he was not an appointed agent of Integon. 3. The state alleges that the Jennifer Essak, either by herself or with Larry Essak, Kassab and/or Kiminaia "devised a scheme to defraud insureds" by selling them the NSD memberships. After interviewing 110 customers, state investigators found that "only two customers requested and were fully aware they had NSD memberships for roadside assistance and tow. The remaining customers were not aware they had signed any application for NSD membership, or that they had paid for NSD memberships with money charged above the cost of the insurance premium." 4. "The customer paid a retail rate for the membership with as little as $9 going to NSD and as much as $241 going to [the Essaks, Kassab and Kiminaia]."

Never Hire a lawyer

Sun, Aug 25, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.

never contract with the legal fiction known as the STATE. that entity has no life until you give it some, then it will turn and tear you up financially, socially, politically, and toss you out after the Cesta que trust is obliterated.

Never Hire a lawyer

Sun, Aug 25, 2013 : 10:07 a.m.

"Their facts and complaints are 180 degrees off base." consider the source of that statement!


Sat, Aug 24, 2013 : 4:58 p.m.

Kids, the building in which you purchase insurance should NOT be this colorful. That's your advice for the day.


Sat, Aug 24, 2013 : 3:26 p.m.

"The three agencies, all owned by Jennifer and Laurence Essak" then "Mike Cox, an attorney representing the Esseks" Is it Essak or Essek?

Never Hire a lawyer

Sun, Aug 25, 2013 : 10:10 a.m.

the more pertinent question is : " Is this Mike Cox the guy who 'investigated' murder at the mansion?"

Usual Suspect

Sat, Aug 24, 2013 : 6:07 p.m.

The thing is, when they somehow win awards, they never credit the people who are doing all the editing work.

Fat Bill

Sat, Aug 24, 2013 : 4:59 p.m.

Think of the money that saves by having a dedicated group of volunteer editors...