- Keeping you informed is what it's all about
The Department has seen a rise in claims denied by carriers due to misrepresentations made in the application for insurance. Many times these representations were due to the agent or customer representative not diligently reviewing all the questions on the application with their customer. These could also be simple mistakes caused when the agent or representative does not properly ask a customer about a prior DUI, bankruptcy, or claim. You must remember to never assume anything, even if the customer is well known to you, such as a close friend or family member.
When a claim is denied, it can be especially detrimental to your customer. Depending on the circumstances, it could also result in an E&O claim for you. We encourage you to become familiar with Section 627.409, Florida Statutes, to ensure that you are knowledgeable about one of your duties as a licensed insurance professional.
Please remember your responsibilities to your customers and be sure they understand the importance of answering all insurance application questions completely, accurately, and truthfully. Be sure to ask each question on every application every time, and never assume anything.
[See 627.409, Florida Statutes]
The Florida Department of Financial Services ("Department"), Division of Agent and Agency Services, is alerting the Florida agent community of possible instances of multi-state sales of fraudulent insurance focusing on commercial general liability coverage, particularly targeting apartment buildings, condominium developments, hotels, and other commercial risks.
Please be sure to carefully review binders of coverage or insurance policies obtained from Michael A. "Mike" Ward, or his related company, JRSO, Inc. Neither Ward nor JRSO, Inc. is licensed to transact insurance business in Florida. The NAIC has warned various states that this unlicensed individual may be providing invalid binders of coverage or insurance policies to the insurance producing community. There are concerns that Ward/JRSO, Inc. is working with others who are marketing the invalid coverage to retail or surplus lines agents.
These possibly invalid binders of coverage or insurance policies purport to be underwritten by:
The Department has received information that these binders and/or policies are suspect and may not be legally valid insurance. For any North American Specialty or North American Capacity policy questioned, contact North American Specialty (603-634-5204), to confirm whether the binder or policy purporting to be issued by North American Specialty or North American Capacity is a valid policy. If North American Specialty advises the policy is not valid, please contact Mr. Steven O'Hern in the North American Specialty legal department (913-676-3186). For any AIX Specialty policy questioned, contact Mr. Brian Carvell at AIX Specialty (860-683-5026), to confirm whether the binder or policy purporting to be issued by AIX Specialty is a valid policy.
Please know that the above referenced companies are approved to conduct business in Florida. However, other states have alerted that Mr. Ward has purportedly used their names, binders and/or policies without their approval. The Department wants to be sure that you are alerted and that you should be suspect of any transactions you may have been involved in with Mr. Ward.
For any coverage that is determined not to be legitimate, valid coverage should be immediately obtained for your customers and the Department should be contacted.
If you have any questions about this matter generally, or if you specifically conducted business with Mr. Ward or JRSO, Inc., please contact the Department's Bureau of Agent and Agency Investigation by email at askDFS@MyFloridaCFO.com. Consumers in need of information or assistance should visit the Department's website at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Consumers or call our toll-free hotline at 1-877-My-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).