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Agents’ Licenses Suspended for Improper Selling of Discount Home Health Care Service Plan

6/22/2007

CONTACT: Tara Klimek or Nina Banister                       
(850) 413-2842   
 
TALLAHASSEE–Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced today that the licenses of two Sarasota insurance agents have been suspended for making “false and worthless promises” to more than 40 elderly Floridians who thought they were buying a home health care services plan but paid nearly $200,000 for access to providers and never received any services.  One of the victims was a 96-year-old blind woman.
 
Michael D. Carll, 49, and James W. Crain, Jr., 41, both of International Life and Health in Sarasota, had their licenses and eligibility for licensure as insurance agents in the state of Florida suspended for a period of 24 months. The two also sold insurance through several other Florida corporations, all of which were located at 2477 Stickney Point Road, Suite 315B in Sarasota.  They cannot apply for reinstatement of their licenses even after the suspension period until full restitution has been made.
 
“It is cruel to sell senior citizens on expensive false promises that will not provide the services they need,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the department.  “If they fail to pay back every penny, they will never get their licenses back.”
 
Carll and Crain pitched their product as a discount home health care service “to provide referrals for homemaker and companion services and custodial care.” Their referral services were sold to approximately 44 elderly Floridians, most in their 80s or 90s.
 
Several were disabled and suffered from diminishing mental capacity, and some already had home medical care coverage, even though the Home Care membership plan’s application required that the purchasing consumer be of sound mind and body, not be blind, deaf, or wheelchair-bound, and that the Home Care membership plan not replace any existing insurance product.
 
The plans sold for between $2,475 and $5,040 and offered a three-payment option plan that amounted to a 25-percent interest charge for premium financing, and the two collected at least $192,700. 
 
The investigation began after victims complained that they were unable to get any referrals or services.  The department’s Division of Agent and Agency Services’ Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation, and the department’s Division of Legal Services issued administrative complaints in June 2006.  Following a contested administrative hearing, an administrative law judge called for the 24-month suspension for both agents. 
 
The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Agent and Agency Services, Bureau of Investigation, investigates various types of insurance violations by agents including health, life, auto, property, workers’ compensation, bail bond and title insurance.  To file a complaint against an agent call 1-800-342-2762 or go to www.fldfs.com.          
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.