Mike Haning, an agent with Innovative Dealer Services Inc. (ISDI), knew something was up with Automotive Professionals Inc. (API) about a year and half ago. Since that time, he’s been switching over his accounts from API to another company, a move he called a gut feeling.

On March 2, the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, entered an order of conservation against API, freezing the company’s assets and putting the Illinois Office of Special Deputy Receiver in charge of auditing API’s books and supervising its liquidation. Susan Hofer, who works with the Illinois Department of Insurance and is handling the API case, declined to comment for this story.

“I was at the NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) convention and they gave no indication that this was going to happen,” said Haning, who handles the state of Wisconsin for ISDI. “However, that said, in the past year and ahalf I started switching my accounts from API to another company just because API wasn’t doing anything. They were just kind of standing still.

“This was a progressive company, and the rates were no longer attractive. Then the GPR (Guaranteed Price Refund) went away, and once that happened, there was no reason to go to API. I guess you got to call it a gut feeling, as things just weren’t progressing there.”

According to Haning, claims called into API will continue to be processed for all contracts, including those backed by Gulf, Travelers, Ohio Indemnity, and Allstate Credit Division (ACD)’s First Colonial and Northbrook Indemnity. However, no payment will be made until the Office of Special Deputy Receiver completes its evaluation. At that time, all approved claims will be given a payment authorization number.

“This is another delay and complication in the process, but I feel much better knowing the state of Illinois is handling this rather than an independent trustee,” said Hanning, who’s been e-mailing regular updates to his accounts since learning about the company’s demise in a Feb. 12 letter from API to its agents. “At least now there is someone to contact to find out the status of the process.”

Nicole Alley, a spokeswoman for Allstate, said the company is currently working closely with the Office of Special Deputy Receiver. She confirmed that certain agreements written since the fall of 2005 are insured by First Colonial Insurance Company and Northbrook Indemnity Company.

“ACD (Allstate Credit Division) is working with the Office of the Special Delivery Receiver to resume paying valid claims under these VSC agreements,” she said. “ACD plans to honor all valid claims under these VSC agreements with the approval of the Office of the Special Deputy Receiver.”