A Nebraska insurer has agreed to pay a $10,000 fine to the Delaware Insurance Commissioner's Office after being accused of trying to deceive senior citizens.

Physicians Life Insurance Co. said it would stop mailing letters on stationery that made them appear to be official government documents. It also will offer refunds to Delaware customers who responded. For the next year, all mailings from Physicians Life must be submitted to the state office for approval.

The mailing to about 30,000 Delaware households had an "Office of the Senior Resource Center" return address and the phrase "Official Business." Inside, the letters' typography was similar to documents from the IRS and Social Security Administration, said state Insurance Commissioner Matt Denn.

"I realized this is not from Social Security, but from someone who wants us to think it is, at least on first glance," said retired schoolteacher Judy Goldhammer, 69, the Dover woman who alerted the office to the letter.

A statement from the company's parent said, "Physicians Mutual and our subsidiary, Physicians Life Insurance Co., are always willing to work with state regulators. We deeply regret if our mailing was confusing or misleading to consumers."

About 100 people responded to the offer for policies, either purchasing a one or asking for information. The office urges citizens to notify it about questionable mailings.

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