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Florida CFO Atwater Announces Arrests of Charlotte County Insurance Professionals for Selling Bogus Insurance

9/30/2011

Contact: Alexis Lambert
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE – Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced today the arrests of a Charlotte County insurance agency owner and customer representative for selling unauthorized insurance products.  Jack C. Alexander, Sr., 60, and Kristin R. Decker-Hopkins, 26, of Insurance Depot of Charlotte County were charged with representing an unauthorized insurer after selling more than 20 individuals unauthorized boat insurance policies. 
               
“As insurance consumers, Floridians place trust in their insurance professional and these individuals deliberately broke that trust,” said CFO Atwater. “My office will continue to hold insurance professionals to the highest standards of honesty and integrity and protect your hard-earned money.”

Investigations by the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Agent & Agency Services and Division of Insurance Fraud revealed that Alexander, owner and agent in charge of Insurance Depot of Charlotte County, and Decker-Hopkins, a customer representative, knowingly represented an unauthorized insurer, the International Water Safety Foundation (IWSF).  They allegedly sold IWSF boat insurance policies to more than 20 consumers, and the investigations revealed that at least two consumers filed insurance claims and have not been compensated by IWSF. The Division of Consumer Services assisted in collecting information from complainants.

Under Florida law, anyone who sells an unlicensed insurance product can be held personally responsible for unpaid claims arising from an unauthorized insurance policy they sold.  The Division of Agent and Agency Services has issued administrative complaints seeking disciplinary action against both licensees.
                                                     
Alexander and Decker-Hopkins surrendered to detectives and were booked into the Charlotte County Jail then released on bond.  If convicted, each faces imprisonment of up to five years and a $5,000 fine for the third-degree felony charge.

Consumers are asked to visit the Department’s website at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/consumers   or call the CFO’s Consumer Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236) to verify both the insurance company and insurance professional they are considering doing business with are licensed. If you believe you have purchased a marine vessel insurance policy with IWSF, please contact the Consumer Helpline to obtain assistance from the Department.

Anyone with information regarding suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0445. Individuals who provide tips can remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward of up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction in an insurance fraud scheme.  The Department of Financial Services to date has awarded almost $250,000 to approximately 40 citizens as part of its Anti-Fraud Reward Program.

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services.  CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending.