Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

 
 

Apollo: Service will resume soon

 


Insurance provider Apollo Medi Trans, a company providing low-cost coverage for emergency medevac flights, has renewed its license with the Alaska Division of Insurance, though it still can’t sign up new members or renew old ones.

Apollo MT was embroiled in an investigation by the division after its license lapsed March 1.

Bret Kolb, director of the division of insurance, said Apollo MT had its license renewed Aug. 23 and is approved to begin selling policies again, as far as the state is concerned. “There is nothing they are waiting on from us,” Kolb said.

Haines resident Rodger Tuenge, though, said he was told this week the company still can’t renew his and his wife’s policies, which they have held for five or six years.

Tuenge said his policy was set to be automatically renewed Aug. 1, and he called Apollo MT Aug. 5 to see why he hadn’t been billed and because he had seen stories in the newspaper about the company’s issues.

“I was told there was no problem at all and it would just take about a week... then I called a month later and they said ‘It’s going to take some major paperwork on our part, so call in a week and I should be fully ready to reinstate you,’” Tuenge said.

Apollo MT’s chief fiscal officer Robert Bonestroo said the reason the company still can’t sell or renew policies is because it has to get the license renewal paperwork squared away with Unified Life Insurance Company, which underwrites its policies.

“Just a little bit more paperwork and we should be back up and running here,” Bonestroo said.

Bonestroo said he hopes to be soliciting new customers and renewing policies by Friday, but said he wouldn’t be surprised if it takes two weeks.

The $125 per year price tag for a household will remain the same, Bonestroo said.  

When asked why Apollo MT allowed its license to lapse, Bonestroo attributed it to an “administrative error.”

“We didn’t realize it was coming up due and as soon as we realized that, it had happened,” Bonestroo said. “We had continued to sell policies and that is what got us into trouble. We hoped it would be a small thing and we would just pay a fine or something, so we just kept selling policies.”

However, division of insurance director Kolb said the company was sent multiple notifications that its license was going to expire.

Kolb and Bonestroo would not comment on any punitive action taken against Apollo MT for continuing to sell policies without an active license, although Bonestroo did refer to a “settlement with the state.”

Policy holder Tuenge pointed to non-profit Airlift Northwest, which recently began offering cheap medevac insurance coverage to Haines residents, as a possible solution to his troubles.

“If these people keep messing with us, we’ll just use the alternative,” Tuenge said.