Oklahoma faults agents working for Humana

(Adds details, Humana comments, share price)

NEW YORK, May 15 (Reuters) - The Oklahoma insurance commissioner has documented widespread misconduct by agents working for health insurer Humana Inc. HUM.N and ordered the company to take corrective action, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

The Times cited the commissioner, Kim Holland, as saying that some agents had enrolled members of the federal Medicare insurance program in Humana products that “they did not understand and did not want,” and that at least 68 agents did not have licenses needed to sell insurance in Oklahoma.

The insurance department could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Times cited Humana senior vice president Thomas Noland as saying that people who chose the company’s products were overwhelmingly satisfied.

“As the guardian of the company’s reputation, I would know if there were any problems,” the paper quoted Noland as saying.

Noland later said in a Reuters interview that the 68 agents who lacked proper licenses in Oklahoma represented about 7 percent of its 950 agents that were examined by the state of Oklahoma.

He said Humana has taken steps to address the criticisms and to improve operations, including changes in the way the insurer routes telephone calls to agents.

“And we’ve strengthened our licensing procedures generally” and provided coaching and counseling to all involved agents, Noland said.

Shares of Humana were up 36 cents to $65.90 in late morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Additional reporting by Ransdell Pierson)

((Reporting by Paritosh Bansal, editing by Tim Dobbyn; 646-223-6000; Keywords: HUMANA OKLAHOMA/

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