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 Division of Investigative & Forensic Services referred an insurer complaint alleging a general lines agent failed to include a wind mitigation form with an application for homeowners insurance, ultimately resulting in cancellation of the policy. Because the discount was not applied, the consumer was billed for additional premium. The agent told the consumer the policy was not cancelled, the discount would be applied, and blamed the insurance company for making a "clerical error". Based on the agent's guidance, the consumer did not pay the additional premium, resulting in cancellation of the policy.
Investigators determined that the agent signed a reinstatement notice for the
customer that was not approved nor produced by the insurance company. Because
the policy cancelled due to the agent's actions, the insurer applied the wind
mitigation discount and reinstated the policy. Investigators requested
documentation from the insurer and found five additional transactions handled
the same way by the agent. Investigators determined that most of the polices
were quoted with inflated wind mitigation credits to make the premium more
Disposition: The agent was arrested by the Division of Investigative & Forensic Services and charged with Insurance Fraud, a third-degree felony, and suspended indefinitely awaiting disposition of the criminal case.
Case: A consumer notified the Department that a
bail bond premium was paid for a defendant who was never released on bond, and
the bail bond agent never refunded the premium. During the course of the
investigation, it was found the bail bond agent never forwarded the premium to
the surety company. Further, the bail bond agent was conducting business out of
his home in a gated community, which violates the Florida Insurance Code. A bail
bond agency must provide an entrance that is easily accessible to the public
with signage that can be read from a reasonable distance.
Disposition: License suspended for three months.
Case: Investigators opened a case after
receiving a complaint that a public adjuster made misrepresentations to the
Department on his license application. The complaint alleged the public
adjuster's contractor's license was revoked by the Florida Department of
Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) due to fraudulent activity.
Investigators determined the DBPR case found that as a contractor, the public
adjuster stopped work on a job after receiving payment, resulting in
subcontractor liens being placed on the consumer's property. The adjuster also
failed to honor a promissory note he gave to the consumer. The customer was
awarded a default judgment from a civil case against the adjuster. Had the
public adjuster disclosed this information on the original application, the
Department would not have issued the license.
Disposition: License revoked.
Case: During a follow-up investigation of a
suspended title agent, investigators determined a licensed title agent was
aiding and abetting a suspended agent in the transaction of insurance and
unlawfully sharing commissions with the suspended agent. Investigators uncovered
evidence that the title agent had an arrangement with the suspended agent under
which he would share commissions from any business she generated for his agency.
The agency inspection revealed the suspended title agent acted as the closing
agent for several closings which included the sale of title insurance for the
Disposition: Fined $5,000 and placed on probation for one year.
Case: Investigators conducting a bail bond
agency audit discovered a bail bond agent working at the agency did not hold the
required appointment to transact bail bond business. In addition, his agency did
not have a designated primary bail bond agent in charge on a full-time basis.
Both the appointment and primary bail bond agent's designation were cancelled
because the bail bond agent had not complied with his Continuing Education (CE)
requirements. Licensees who become CE non-compliant immediately lose all
Disposition: Fined $1,750 and place on probation for one year.
Case: This case was opened when the Financial
Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued a disciplinary action barring a
life and variable annuity agent. The action alleged the agent failed to
cooperate during the course of complaint investigation in which the agent was
accused of misappropriating almost $100,000 from a trust account.
Disposition: Permanently barred from the insurance industry in Florida.