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Volume 2, No. 6 - August 2013

Case Notes

Bureau of Investigation

The following are instances in which licensees or other persons violated the Florida Insurance Code and the administrative action the Department has taken against them. Note: All administrative investigations are subject to referral to the Division of Insurance Fraud for criminal investigation.

Case: An insurance company notified the Department that a licensed life & health agent submitted five bogus applications for insurance. The business entity was real, however the social security numbers and addresses on the applications for five employees were false. Initially, the agent claimed she submitted the applications at the direction of her sales manager. She later claimed to be conspiring with her manager to the submit fraudulent applications. She stated that the manager completed the applications and she signed her name, hoping they would be rescinded before any problems arose. Her license was suspended for three months. However, during the suspension period she allegedly falsified an email she received from a Department employee so it appeared as if her license was active and not suspended. She forwarded the email to a carrier she was submitting life insurance applications to in order to get them to accept the business.
Disposition: License revoked. She was arrested and is currently facing criminal charges.

Case: An investigation of a general lines agent alleged that he blatantly allowed his unlicensed staff members to transact personal lines insurance to unsuspecting consumers. Compounding matters, he also systematically overcharged his clients, failed to submit their premiums and withheld their refunds. In at least one instance, he even brazenly issued fraudulent auto insurance I.D. cards.
Disposition: License revoked.

Case: An investigation of two bail bond agents was opened after a complaint was filed with the Department by a bail bond indemnitor and defendant stating they were handcuffed and held against their will in a bail bond agency by two unidentified individuals until they were able to raise additional funds to pay toward the balance due on the bail bond. The Department's investigation revealed the unidentified individuals were bounty hunters hired by the owner of the bail bond agency. The bail bond agent who wrote the bond was also at the agency when the two were held against their will. The Department filed charges against both alleging they used threats and coercion to collect a debt related to the issuance of a bail bond and allowed unlicensed individuals to apprehend and hold the two against their will.
Disposition: The bail bond agent's license was suspended for three months. The bail bond agency owner was fined $5,000.

Case: A title insurance agency held monies ($1,000) from a closing to ensure that an expired permit was satisfied. The sellers rectified the permit issue but when they sought the release of their monies from the title agency they discovered that the title agency had dispersed the monies to a repairman and refused to reimburse the sellers. The title agency had no formal written agreement concerning the holdback and were ordered to reimburse the sellers, which they did.
Disposition: Fined $1,500.

Case: An investigation of a nonresident life & health agent revealed that Colorado issued a Final Agency Order against her, after they determined that she abandoned 521 consumer files, failed to comply with a rental agreement, and failed to respond to an inquiry by the Colorado Commissioner of Insurance. She was ordered by Colorado to pay $2,200 in fines. She was found untrustworthy and incompetent by the Colorado Commissioner of Insurance for improperly disposing of files that could have led to the unlawful disclosure of sensitive information about insureds. Due to her actions the Florida Department of Financial Services found that she demonstrated a lack of fitness or trustworthiness to engage in the business of insurance in Florida. She also demonstrated a lack of reasonably adequate knowledge and technical competence to engage in the transactions authorized by a license or appointment. In addition, she failed to timely notify the Department of the Final Agency Order issued by the Insurance Commissioner of Colorado within 30 days of final disposition as required by Florida law.
Disposition: License suspended for 12 months.

Case: The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) entered into a Final Order permanently barring a life & health agent from seeking securities registration in the State of Florida and ordering him to refrain from engaging in selling or offering to sell any securities within or into Florida, refrain from acting as an investment advisor refrain from offering such services to a Florida resident. He failed to report the administrative action taken against him by OFR, demonstrated a lack of fitness and trustworthiness to engage in the business of insurance, and failed to notify the Department in writing after a change of principal business address and contact telephone number with 30 days.
Disposition: License revoked and permanently barred.

Case: A life & health agent submitted two life insurance applications to an insurer where the owner was taking out life insurance on her adult son and also on her boyfriend. During an investigation by the insurer it was revealed that the agent signed as a witness to the named insureds' signatures. However, both named insureds stated they did not sign the application and the policy owner admitted to signing their names to the applications. The Department filed charges against the agent alleging she knowingly made fraudulent misrepresentations on two insurance applications for the purpose of obtaining a commission from the insurer.
Disposition: License suspended for 12 months.