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Volume 2, No. 1 - January 2013

News You Can Use

- Updating you on what's going on

CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Conviction of Tampa Senior Scammer

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced the conviction of Richard M. Incandela, 60, for defrauding two Tampa seniors out of nearly $490,000 in life insurance premiums. Based on investigations conducted by the Florida Department of Financial Services' divisions of Insurance Fraud and Agent and Agency Services, Incandela, who was never licensed in Florida as an insurance agent, was sentenced to 34 months in prison followed by 25 years' probation and ordered to pay full restitution to the victims.
Click here to read the press release >>

Former Coach Arrested Scamming Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars from Coaches, Teachers, and Parents in a Ponzi Scheme

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation commends the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in the arrest of a former Cypress Lake High School baseball coach who scammed roughly $200,000 from fellow coaches, teachers and parents in a Ponzi scheme. Robert Kale Schnepp was arrested for nearly three dozen felony charges for defrauding investors in Florida. According to the arrest affidavit, Schnepp misled investors by claiming he was a registered investment dealer, and monies collected from investors would be pooled to invest in the stock market. Instead, the Ponzi scheme used investors' money to pay previous investors and to pay for personal expenses.
Click here to read the press release >>

Office Orders Three Entities to Cease & Desist the Unauthorized and Unlicensed Sale of Insurance in Florida

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation issued cease and desist orders to three entities for engaging in the unauthorized and unlicensed sale of insurance in the state of Florida. The three entities include: Arkidus Home Protection, International Pacific Assurance Associates, and Dental Care Alliance, LLC d/b/a Dentrite Dental Services.
Click here to read the press release >>

Office of Insurance Regulation Releases 2012 Fast Facts Report

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) announced the 2012 Fast Facts report is now available on the Office's website, and is located under the "Industry Data" and "Newsroom" tabs.

Every year, the Office creates this report to provide interested parties with important statistical data about Florida's insurance market. The report is a compilation of financial and regulatory information to include categories highlighting Office resources, insurance premium volume, number of domestic insurance companies and related entities, enforcement actions/consumer recoveries, public hearings and more.

The Fast Facts report also includes four "Top 20" lists with information about insurance companies in Florida writing insurance for personal residential, personal automobile, life and annuity, and the accident and health lines of business.

FSLSO Service Fee to Increase from 0.1% to 0.2%

The service fee charged by the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office (FSLSO) will be increased from 0.1% to 0.2% effective April 1, 2013.

All new and renewal policies/certificates with an effective date on or after April 1, 2013 will incur a service fee of 0.2% of the total gross premium as defined in Florida Statute 626.9325. All new and renewal policies/certificates with an effective date prior to April 1, 2013 will incur a service fee of 0.1% of the total gross premium. The service fee percentage charged on the premium is based on the effective date of the policy; the FSLSO service fee is applicable to single state Florida policies only.

The service fee for all endorsements, audits, installments, cancellations or return of premium transactions applicable to policies/certificates effective prior to April 1, 2013 will be the same percentage as the inception date of the policy/certificate being endorsed.

Again, the service fee percentage charged on the premium is based on the effective date of the policy. For an electronic copy of the service fee bulletin, please visit: http://www.fslso.com/publications/news.aspx?ID=521.

For further information contact the FSLSO toll-free at 1-800-562-4496 or visit www.fslso.com.

Protect Nest Eggs to Ensure Financial Independence

February is National Senior Independence Month and provides an excellent opportunity for Florida's seniors to evaluate their finances to ensure they have made the best financial decisions to protect their nest egg and meet long-term goals. As we age we would like to maintain our physical independence and most assuredly our financial independence. Unfortunately, older adults are often targeted by scam artists offering fraudulent investment deals and phony requests for charitable contributions. The Department of Financial Services' On Guard for Seniors website provides alerts on these and other scams along with online videos and tips to help seniors protect their nest egg.

Below are some tips you can share with your clients if they tell you they have been approached with a questionable offer:

  1. End the conversation: Simply tell the person, "I am sorry, I am not interested. Or tell anyone who pressures you, I never make investment decisions without first consulting my ____," (Fill in the blank with whomever you choose).
  2. Turn the tables around and ask questions: Before you give out information about yourself or sign on the dotted line ask, "Are you a licensed securities broker? Is that investment registered?" Check out the seller and the investment by calling the Department or going to their website.
  3. If the agent or salesperson offers you a reduced commission fee, be wary. They want you to feel like they are giving you something in return for placing your investment through them.
  4. Avoid making a financial decision before checking out an agent or company. Always make sure you are working with a licensed agent and/or company.
  5. Don't be rushed into making a decision. If the deal is good today, it will be good tomorrow.
  6. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

To learn more about how seniors can protect themselves from falling victim to financial exploitation please visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/OnGuard or call the Department's Consumer Helpline at 1-877-My-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).



Make Sure You Don't Miss Important Information From Us

Add our domain MyFloridaCFO.com to your email software's Trusted or Safe Senders List to ensure you are able to receive all notifications from us. Licensees who have a valid email address on file with the Department, as required by law, receive important email notifications when something that affects their application, license, continuing education, or appointment(s) occurs. Additionally, we will keep you informed with warnings regarding new schemes and scams being marketed to licensees. You can update your contact information through your MyProfile account. We want to keep you informed in a timely manner of pertinent information. You are still required to abide by the Florida Insurance Code regardless of whether you read the information we provide or attempt to provide.