If you have recently bought a used vehicle, take a moment to read the following story and then check your vehicle identification number (VIN) on our VIN Check web page. Some 120 wrecked rental fleet vehicles were fraudulently resold in Florida, unknown to both dealers and buyers.
Part of a double-sided scam, the perpetrators defrauded insurance companies by declaring the cars as total losses, and then sold the cars to dealers who repaired them and sold them to unsuspecting consumers. The titles do not reflect that the vehicles were reported to insurance companies as totaled or salvage status.
The damage to the vehicles may not have been as bad as originally reported on the insurance claims, but the cars may be less valuable because records show the cars were totaled.
To check your vehicle’s VIN number to see if it matches any of the 120 resold vehicles, go to www.MyFloridaCFO.com and click on “Fleet vehicle resell scheme VIN check” at the top of the page. Enter your VIN number and follow the instructions if the entry matches a number and description in our database.
Read on for more information on this resell scheme. For your and your family’s safety, please make sure you are not inadvertently driving a dangerous vehicle.
If you have information about this scheme, please call our Fraud Fighters’ Hotline at 1-800-378-0445.
GALLAGHER, HOUSE AND SENATE INSURANCE CHAIRS TELL CONGRESS: PASS NATIONAL CATASTROPHE PLAN
GALLAGHER SAYS NATIONAL PLAN WOULD STRENGTHEN FLORIDA’S INSURANCE MARKET AND IMPROVE AVAILABILITY OF COVERAGE
Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer, joined Sen. Rudy Garcia and Rep. Dennis Ross to renew calls on Congress to support legislation to create a national catastrophe insurance plan. Garcia and Ross are sponsoring a legislative memorial which outlines the need for action by Congress to establish the plan. The call for such a program represents one of numerous reforms Gallagher has proposed to stabilize Florida’s property insurance market.
“Just this past week we have seen tornadoes in the Midwest, wildfires in Texas and the plains, and levees and dam breaks caused by heavy rains in California and Hawaii,” said Gallagher. “With 115 major disaster declarations in more than 30 different states over the past two years, we - as a nation - need to share the cost of preparedness for catastrophes.”
“Floridians are bearing the burden of paying higher insurance premiums, and too often they are not able to find insurance coverage at all,” said Garcia, chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee. “A national catastrophe plan is a long-term solution for improving our insurance market and would back up our state’s catastrophe fund.”
“Floridians have been through eight hurricanes and over $30 billion in losses over two years, and we have seen other states suffer severe losses as well,” said Ross, chairman of the House Insurance Committee. “Experts predict that it is a question of when, not if, one of the state insurance markets eventually fails. I don’t want Florida to be one of those states.” CONTINUED
GALLAGHER TAKES ACTION AGAINST NATION’S LARGEST BROKER FOR BID RIGGING AND PAY-TO-PLAY SCHEMES
GALLAGHER ANNOUNCES $8 MILLION IN RESTITUTION
Zurich American Insurance Co. agrees to refund customers in Florida
Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer, announced that his department, as part of a multi-state coalition, has entered into a settlement with Zurich American Insurance Company in response to bid-rigging and price-fixing allegations. Florida victims – businesses, non-profit organizations and governmental entities – will receive nearly $8 million under the settlement.
"Bid-rigging and ‘pay-to-play’ schemes will not be tolerated in Florida,” said Gallagher, who oversees the Florida Department of Financial Services. “Insurance companies and brokers will not get away with deceiving their customers, inflating prices and corrupting the insurance marketplace."
Zurich allegedly paid undisclosed contingent commissions to insurance brokers and conspired with certain insurance brokers in a "pay-to-play" scheme to overcharge customers for commercial insurance policies. In addition, Zurich allegedly submitted fake bids in order to create the illusion of a competitive bidding process, when in fact the broker had pre-designated another insurer as the winner at an inflated price. Zurich was allegedly rewarded for submitting fake quotes by receiving protection from competition on other lucrative accounts.
The multi-state coalition did an extensive investigation of Zurich's conduct. Zurich is one of the first insurance companies to agree to reimburse customers, disclose future contingent commission payments, and implement conduct reforms that change the way the company does business. The multi-state settlement provides $171.7 million in restitution to nine participating states, including Florida.
Gallagher launched an investigation into insurance broker activities in November 2004. His office is still investigating the conduct of other insurance brokers and insurance companies. “Insurers and brokers that engage in unacceptable conduct will be held accountable," Gallagher said.
The settlement will be enforced through a judgment in state court, as well as through a multidistrict federal action in New Jersey. It is still subject to court approval.
Read the settlement agreements at
FRAUD DIVISION’S AGGRESSIVE PURSUIT OF WORKERS’ COMP FRAUD LEADS TO REDUCTION IN PREMIUMS
CFO GALLAGHER ANNOUNCES CONSUMER CHECKLIST
Pro-consumer measure will empower homeowners
Gallagher along with Governor Bush and the other members of the Financial Services Commission approved the final checklist for use. All insurance companies will have to have their agents include a completed checklist on the front of every homeowners, mobile homeowners, or condominium insurance policy.
“This checklist is another important step toward continuing to create a culture of preparedness in Florida,” said Gallagher. “By arming Floridians with the tools and information they need to prepare their finances, their homes, and their families, we can help reduce the toll future storms may take on our state.”