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 Investigative & Forensic Services for criminal investigation.
Case: A complaint was received that an agency was operating without being properly licensed. Our investigation confirmed the agency was operating and marketing itself to Florida consumers. Florida Statutes require that any business, firm or entity holding itself out to the public as an insurance agency must obtain a license to lawfully transact insurance business in the state.
Disposition: The agency was required to obtain a license, fined $2,500 and placed on probation for one year.
Case: Investigators received a referral from our Division of Consumer Services alleging a general lines agent allowed a Customer Representative to transact insurance outside of the office without the required supervision by the general lines agent, who was the CR's designated supervising general agent.
Investigators obtained a statement from a consumer and documents from the insurer and premium finance companies which proved the CR charged the consumer’s credit card for the total policy premium and contracted for premium financing without the consumer's knowledge and consent. Unearned premium paid by the consumer was refunded to her after the Department intervened.
Disposition: Fined $3.500 and suspended for six months.
Case: A consumer notified the Department that a bail bond agent was soliciting at the jail, charging excessive fees, and was using other people’s collateral for his personal benefit.
Our investigation discovered this bail bond agent kept an indemnitor’s vehicle for more than a year after the bail bond was discharged to use for his personal benefit. We also learned the indemnitor had been charged more than $5,000 in storage fees, while the vehicle was at the bail bond agent’s home. An agency audit was conducted and we found other bail bonds that had been discharged and the collateral was not returned, and this bail bond agent had employed a person who had pled no contest to a felony charge.
Disposition: License suspended for 24 months.
Case: This case was opened after an insurance company notified the Department a life, health, variable annuity and general lines agent signed a consumer's name on a life insurance application. Investigators reviewed recordings between the consumer and an insurance company employee, during which the consumer stated she never received or signed an application. The agent admitted to signing the consumer's name on the application in a statement recorded by the insurance company claiming the consumer gave him permission and he did "not see anything wrong with it".
Disposition: Fined $3,500 and placed on probation for one year.
Case: An investigation was opened based on a referral from our Division of Consumer Services alleging an unappointed all-lines adjuster was conducting business as a public adjuster.
Consumer Services determined the subject delivered and executed a public adjusting contract to the consumer. Investigators obtained a statement from the consumer who identified the subject as the person sent by the adjusting firm to determine the scope of the damages and solicit the public adjusting contract. The subject provided a statement to investigators claiming his duties were limited to estimating, appraisal and conducting inspections.
Disposition: License suspended for three months.
Case: This case was opened on a life and health agent after receiving a complaint the subject had used false and deceptive practices to gain access to schools for the purpose of soliciting insurance business. The complaint also alleged the agent presented false and misleading information to school employees while attempting to sell them insurance products and retirement planning services. During the course of the investigation, investigators obtained statements from several school employees confirming the subject misled them to believe he represented the Florida Retirement System and an insurer he was not actually appointed with, and gave inaccurate information to several employees about their retirement eligibility.
Disposition: Fined $2,500.