California Department of Insurance seeks to suspend Wells Fargo's licenses

(Reuters) - The California Department of Insurance is seeking to suspend or revoke Wells Fargo & Co's licenses for alleged improper insurance sales practices related to the company's online insurance referral program.

An investigation by the department found the company had issued about 1,500 insurance policies and charged premiums without customers' knowledge or permission, the agency said in a statement late on Tuesday.

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Wells Fargo was not immediately available for comment.

The third-largest U.S. lender by assets last week announced plans to exit the personal insurance business, which includes auto, homeowners, renters and umbrella insurance products, and said it would immediately begin winding down marketing and product promotion activity.

Wells Fargo has been working for more than a year to recover from a sales scandal that has impacted several of its consumer businesses, including some insurance products.

In 2016, the San Francisco-based bank paid $185 million to regulators after an investigation found that Wells Fargo had opened fraudulent deposit and credit card accounts.

Wells has already exited several other insurance businesses, including crop insurance.

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(Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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