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: Investigators were alerted by a bail bond
agent that several bail bond agents were employing a former temporary bail bond
agent as a "bounty hunter". At least three bail bond agents hired the
self-styled "bounty hunter" to apprehend defendants and remand them to jail.
Bounty hunters are illegal in the State of Florida.
Disposition: The "bounty hunter" was arrested for kidnapping, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and unlicensed bail bond activity. The subject pled guilty to two felonies and was sentenced to three years in prison. The three bail bond agents were arrested for assorted felonies including kidnapping with a firearm, false imprisonment and furnishing supplies to an unlicensed person. One bail bond agent entered into an agreement with the State Attorneys' office and as a condition, agreed to the permanent revocation of her bail bond agent's license. The other two bail bond agents' criminal cases are pending.
Case: Investigators became aware of a sign used
by an agent advertising "free insurance" if a consumer earned less than $45,000.
"Free insurance" is prohibited by the Florida Insurance Code.
Disposition: The agent was fined $1,500.
Case: An insurance company notified
investigators that a public adjuster had entered into a contract with a consumer
that violated Department regulations. Investigators determined the contract
failed to indicate the type of claim involved, did not include an attestation
that the public adjuster's compensation would not exceed the limits established
by the Insurance Code, and did not include the signatures of all insureds or
provide an affidavit from the other insured giving rights to the consumer who
contracted with the public adjuster to settle the claim.
Disposition: Fined $1,500.
Case: An insurer notified the Department about a
complaint involving a senior consumer. The consumer received a cancellation
notice for nonpayment of premium for her homeowner's policy. The consumer had
paid the entire annual premium in cash to the agent in charge at her insurance
agency. The insurance company conducted an audit, and found the consumer had
paid the full annual premium. The consumer provided investigators with receipts
signed by the general lines agent indicating the policy premiums had been paid
in full. In addition to the diversion of premium funds, investigators found that
three customer representatives employed at the agency were not properly
appointed, and a fourth employee had lost their customer representative license
for lack of appointment and had been working at the agency without a license for
Disposition: Suspended for 12 months. Upon expiration of the suspension, and successful reapplication for her license, the agent will be placed on probation for one year. The Division of insurance Fraud later arrested the agent, charging her with grand theft of a person 65 years or older, and reporting and accounting of funds, both felonies. If found guilty, the agent will be ineligible to obtain a license with the Department.
Case: A customer representative, licensed for 15
years, collected cash payments from numerous agency clients totaling more than
$24,000 and failed to turn the monies over to her supervisor causing numerous
policies to cancel for nonpayment of premium, and created an assortment of
problems for others. The customer representative told investigators that she was
sorry, that she needed the money and had every intention of repaying the money.
Instead, she got in over her head and started moving fully paid policies to
monthly without the consumers' knowledge.
Disposition: License revoked.
Case: A licensed bail bond agent recommended an
attorney to a principal seeking to post a bond, failed to timely refund premium
to an indemnitor after surrendering a principal, failed to provide a statement
of surrender to the principal, and failed to notify the Department of her
Disposition: Fined $3,000, ordered to pay $900 restitution and complete a five hour continuing education course in ethics.
Case: The Department discovered regulatory
action was taken against an insurance agency by the Financial Industry
Regulatory Authority (FINRA), imposing a censure and $175,000 fine. The action
was not reported to the Department within 30 days as required by Florida
Disposition: Fined $1,500 and placed on probation for one year.
Case: The general lines agent submitted two
homeowners applications to an insurer but failed to submit the premium, which
was paid in cash by the consumers. The consumers provided investigators with
receipts bearing the agent's signature proving the premiums were paid in
Disposition: Suspended for two years.