Insurance Insights header
Volume 3, No. 2 - February 2014

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: The Department received a complaint from an insurance carrier that an insurance agency was allowing used car dealerships to issue auto policies for consumers. Because the sales people were not licensed insurance agents, incorrect discounts were applied, addresses were incorrect, and when the consumers were unable to reach the agent in charge, they contacted the carrier for assistance. The Department found the agency was being operated by a customer representative and an unlicensed individual. The general lines agent in charge was allegedly "out on an appointment" - the same excuse given to several consumers who attempted to contact the agency for help.
Disposition: Licenses of the agent and the agency were both revoked.

Case: A general lines agent pocketed more than $1,200 of a consumer's insurance premium that was earmarked for a community association's general liability policy. The agent's actions not only put the insured at risk, but also exposed the community's homeowners to a potential loss. Compounding matters, the agent defiantly rebuffed the Department's requests to obtain her agency records on the transaction.
Disposition: License revoked.

Case: A general lines agent worked for an agency where cash premium payments were made by consumers. It was determined that she would often collect a lesser than required premium, provide a receipt for the full amount due and then issue a check from the agency's trust account to the insurance company. This agency was a satellite office in another city and therefore, the ownership was unaware until the owner of the agency, during a visit, had a consumer walk in and offered to pay him less than what the monthly premium was.
Disposition: License surrendered for two years.

Case: An investigation revealed that a bail bond agent failed to remit premiums owed in the amount of $4,020.00 to a surety company. It was also discovered the bail bond agent failed to perform all contractual obligations with the Managing General Agent, failed to notify the Department of a change in business location, and failed to make records available to the Department.
Disposition: License suspended for 18 months.

Case: A general lines agent was the manager and direct supervisor of a customer representative at a branch office of an insurance agency. In order to meet quotas set by the agency, the agent instructed the customer representative to alter county property appraiser records to falsely show the insurance applicant's home ownership on 27 applications for auto insurance, lowering the premium and generating additional business.
Disposition: License of general lines agent suspended for 18 months and customer representative's license was revoked.

Case: A life and health agent received two group applications from another agent and then submitted the two group applications as her own to an insurer. The agent forged the business owner's signatures on acceptance forms and forged each employee applicant's signature on the individual applications. In the agent signature area, the agent attested to "personally" contacting and verifying the information for the two groups.
Disposition: Fined $6,000 and placed on probation for two years. The insurer canceled their contract with the agent.

Case: An investigation of a bail bond agent revealed that she executed bail bonds while a judgment entered on a bond issued by the agent remained unpaid for more than 35 days.
Disposition: Fined $1,500 and placed on probation for one year.

Case: An investigation of a title insurance agent alleged that she failed to take reasonable measures to identify the persons executing documents in a real estate transaction. Because of this numerous problems ensued. She was charged with disbursing escrow funds to parties not entitled to receive the monies.
Disposition: Fined $1,000 and placed on probation for six months.