Volume 1, No. 2 - July 2012

Case Notes

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 licenses of a title insurance agent and her title agency were both revoked after she pled guilty to mortgage fraud. The agent then allegedly continued to conduct title insurance transactions and closings through another licensed title insurance agency that had a licensed title insurance agent. She was an authorized signer on the bank accounts of the licensed agency, would also handle disbursements of closing proceeds and withdraw monies from the operating account. An agency inspection of the licensed agency was conducted by the Department, which found her to be engaged in unlicensed activity.
Disposition: The revoked title insurance agent was arrested by the Division of Insurance Fraud and charged with Transacting Insurance Without a License and 3rd Degree Grand Theft. She is currently scheduled for a jury trial.

Case: An investigation of a former life, health, and general lines agent, alleged that he had been employed by an insurance agency and conducted insurance business despite having previously been issued a Notice of Revocation and a Cease and Desist Order. The revoked agent allegedly continued to act as an insurance agent on behalf of an insurance agency. He also previously applied for and was denied licensure as a resident general lines insurance agent (property and casualty).
Disposition: Fined $50,000 and Cease and Desist Order issued.

Case: An investigation of a life agent alleged that he targeted retired teachers, convincing them to invest their DROP funds into his investment firm. He allegedly convinced retired consumers to invest nearly $400,000 of their retirement funds into his investment firm. When consumers tried to reach him regarding their investments, they were unable to contact him or to obtain information on where their funds had been invested.
Disposition: License revoked.

Case: An investigation of a life agent alleged that he made a material misrepresentation on his application for licensure by failing to disclose that the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission took action against him. Their action referenced him misrepresenting the potential monetary gains/losses to his clients, failing to disclose his losing track record in investing, and using fraudulent and deceptive practices to get clients to invest in foreign currency. The losses to his clients allegedly totaled over $2 million. The Commission determined that he owed nearly $150,000 in restitution to five victims, along with a $600,000 civil monetary penalty, froze his personal assets, and permanently banned him from ever trading on the Commodities Exchange.
Disposition: License revoked.

Case: An investigation of a life agent alleged that she failed to report an administrative action taken against her by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) which included a fine of $27,000.
Disposition: License revoked.

Case: An investigation of a bail bond agent alleged that he aided and abetted a revoked bail bond agent in the transaction of bail bond business, used the services of a convicted felon, aided in the submission of fraudulent Temporary Bail Bond Agent Employment Records for two temporary bail bond agents, failed to maintain proper bail bond records, and failed to properly supervise or manage the overall operation of the agency location while designated as the Primary Bail Bond Agent.
Disposition: License suspended for 24 months.

Case: A couple, who owned a small business, had signed an application for a Garage Keepers & Garage Liability insurance policy with a general lines agent. The consumers issued a down payment check to the agent's insurance agency in the amount of about $2,000 and agreed that the balance be financed. An investigation alleged that the agent not only failed to submit the correct information on the application to the insurance company, but she also failed to forward the down payment to the finance company. As a result, the insurance company cancelled the consumers' policy. The agent proceeded to abandon the agency soon after.
Disposition: License suspended 12 months; restitution to the consumers of the down payment.

Case: An investigation of a public adjuster alleged that he submitted an adjusting contract to Citizens Property Insurance Corporation with a value greater than ten percent (10%) for services rendered to a consumer and charged an unlawful fee for adjusting services.
Disposition: License suspended for three months; restitution to the consumer; shall not collect a fee for the original offer submitted by Citizens; shall offer to execute a new contract with a fee value not greater than ten percent for adjusting services performed for the consumer; and shall not charge a fee with a value greater than ten percent for adjusting services to any Citizens policyholder.

Case: An investigation alleged that when a general lines agent hired a young man to be his office manager it was with the understanding that he would become a licensed customer representative. The young man assumed that when he took the pre-licensing course, got his certificate, and had his fingerprints done, that he was licensed. He never submitted an application for licensure or paid a licensing fee. When the Department received a complaint from an unhappy consumer and met with the agent and office manager, the agent claimed he failed to follow up on the representative's licensing status and did not realize that a customer representative needed to be appointed to the agency, if not him as a general lines agent.
Disposition: The agent's license was placed on one year of probation and fined $5,000. The young man's subsequent application for licensure was denied due to the disqualification period for felonies involving moral turpitude.

Case: An investigation of a bail bond agent alleged she was in violation of the Florida Statutes for failing to include the bail bond agency's address in advertisements and failing to maintain a bail bond agency that was open during reasonable business hours.
Disposition: Fined $1,500; placed on probation for 12 months.