Volume 4, No. 2 - February 2015

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 investigation of a life, health & variable annuity agent alleged she teamed up with an unlicensed agent from another state to sell annuity products to Florida consumers that had an unfair advantage over other annuities sold in Florida. The agent and her partner convinced 11 Florida consumers to invest in annuities and sign applications affirming that they were signed by the consumer in the other state. The consumers were told that the agent had an out of state office and that by signing it as an out of state sale would provide the consumer with additional benefits, which also led them to believe the transaction was lawful.
Disposition: License revoked of the Florida agent. A Notice of Intent to Issue a Cease and Desist Order was ordered against the unlicensed person.

Case: An investigation of a bail bond agent alleged that while he was working at an agency owned by his father, who was also the primary agent, he had altered several bonds. He had taken a copy of a previously executed power, changed the number on the power, and then delivered it to the jail. The altered bonds were not reported to the surety company, as the original power has been reported, and the agent would pocket any premium received. Staff at the jail reported the suspicious bonds to the surety company's managing general agent who in turn notified the Department.
Disposition: Licenses revoked for both bail bond agents.

Case: An investigation of a life including variable annuity agent revealed where he had started a pattern of selling automobile insurance to consumers though he did not hold the proper general lines agent license type and appointment. The agent was enrolling consumers with an online insurance company by accessing the insurer's website and even charged the consumers for his "service".
Disposition: Fined $2,500 and placed on probation for one year.

Case: The Department received a Public Adjuster Apprentice Employment Report from a supervising public adjuster. The report submitted certified that an apprentice had worked for the adjuster after the expiration of the apprentice's temporary license. In addition, the supervising public adjuster had never appointed the apprentice.
Disposition: Fined $500.

Case: An investigation of a life, health & variable annuity agent alleged that he offered residents a $100 meal card as an inducement in exchange for a "no obligation private consultation" with him to review their finances and to generate interest in the purchase of an insurance policy. He provided each of the participants a form to complete that prominently displayed the restaurant offer and solicited contact information and a signature from each participant.
Disposition: Placed on probation for two years and ordered to pay costs of $2,500.

Case: An investigation of a life & variable annuity agent alleged she submitted multiple life insurance applications to an insurer that contained invalid social security numbers, questionable bank information, nonworking phone numbers, and questionable or forged signatures on many of them. When the insurer questioned the agent about the applications, she admitted the forgeries and begged the insurer for a second chance.
Disposition: License revoked and the insurer terminated the agent's appointment.

Case: An investigation of a title insurance agent alleged that she failed to charge the proper rates for title insurance policies, overcharged consumer for recording fees, and offered illegal inducements for the referral of title insurance business by sponsoring open houses for real estate brokers.
Disposition: Fined $5,000 and placed on probation for one year.

Case: An investigation of a life & health agent revealed he was not authorized to administer continuing education tests but a now-defunct CE provider allowed him to do so. The agent would hand out the tests and provide answers to CE course exam questions to test-takers.
Disposition: Fined $2,500 and placed on probation for one year.

Case: An investigation of a title insurance agency revealed where it had not paid the $200 annual title administrative surcharge by January 30 as required of all title agencies.
Disposition: Fined $500 in addition to having to pay the $200 surcharge.