The California Department of Insurance launched an investigation Monday into allegations that Wells Fargo employees signed up consumers for Prudential Insurance policies without their authorization.
California investigators are looking into possible violations of California laws that require people selling insurance to have state licenses. California will also examine Prudential Insurance's practices through a joint investigation with the New Jersey Division of Insurance.
The New York Times reported Saturday that three former managers in Prudential's corporate investigations division alleged that Wells employees appeared to have signed up customers for insurance without their consent. The former Prudential employees filed a wrongful termination suit claiming they were fired in November for trying to escalate the issue internally.
"Investigators with the California Department of Insurance will investigate new allegations of fraud and misconduct made by former Prudential employees regarding Wells Fargo and its employees," California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a press release. "Former Prudential employees who filed a whistleblower lawsuit allege that Wells Fargo signed up consumers for Prudential insurance policies without consumer permission much as Wells Fargo admitted its employees illegally signed up consumers for bank products without permission."
Wells paid $190 million in September to settle allegations with regulators that 5,300 employees opened 2 million unauthorized accounts in order to meet sales goals.
Prudential has a partnership with Wells Fargo to sell insurance products to Prudential customers.
Wells Fargo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.