Volume 6, No. 6 - June 2017

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 Investigative and Forensic Services for criminal investigation.

Case: An investigation was opened after receiving a complaint from an insurer's Special Investigative Unit (SIU) alleging a life, health and variable annuity agent misrepresented the replacement of an existing annuity on a new annuity application and did not submit the required replacement and annuity disclosure forms. In their statement to investigators, the senior consumers said they were misled by the agent's advertised "bonus" rate of 20% which motivated them to surrender their annuities. The agent instructed the consumers to notify him when they received their checks. Surrender charges totalling more than $16,000 were assessed and the failure to file for a 1035 Exchange resulted in a taxable event.
Disposition: Fined $6,500.

Case: An investigation was opened on a life, health and variable annuity agent when consumers filed complaints with the insurer regarding the replacement of 28 annuity contracts and life insurance policies. Investigators met with the consumers and reviewed application documents and found many included false information which the consumers attested to in their statement to investigators. During the investigation, investigators also determined the agent enlisted the help of several insurance agents to target policies of an elderly couple who had recently relocated to Florida.
Disposition: License revoked.

Case: An investigation was opened when a consumer filed a complaint against a bail bond agent alleging his son was returned to jail and the bail bond agent refused to refund the premium for the bail bond in the amount of $1,600. The son had not violated any terms of the contract, but the indemnitor on the bail bond did not want to be on the bond any longer. Investigators obtained an affidavit from the consumer, court documents and a statement from the bail bond agent who admitted the son had not violated the terms of the bond. The bail bond agent continued to refuse to refund the premium. An Administrative Complaint was filed by the Department and the subject failed to respond or answer.
Disposition: License suspended six months.

Case: This case was opened when investigators received a complaint from another licensee alleging a bail bond agent was operating a bail bond agency from his place of residence not registered with the Department and not having the required signage designating the location as a bail bond agency.  During the course of the investigation, the agent moved his operations to a new business location that was properly designated as a bail bond agency and registered himself as the primary bail bond agent at the location.  However, investigators discovered two of the listed owners/officers of the agency were not licensed as bail bond agents.  This matter was brought to the attention of the licensee, who failed to take corrective action. 
Disposition: License suspended for one year.