Insurance Insights header
Volume 6, No. 11 - November 2017

In The Know

- Keeping you informed is what it's all about

GUARANTEE INSURANCE COMPANY – NOTICE OF RECEIVERSHIP (LIQUIDATION)

On November 27, 2017, Guarantee Insurance Company (“GIC”) was ordered into receivership for purposes of liquidation by the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Leon County, Florida. The Florida Department of Financial Services (“Department”) is the court appointed Receiver of Guarantee Insurance Company.

GIC is a workers’ compensation insurance company located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

GIC was originally licensed in Florida in 1977 as a foreign insurer. On January 5, 2007, GIC was redomesticated to Florida from South Carolina.

GIC was licensed in forty states and the District of Columbia, and wrote business in thirty-one states and the District of Columbia at the time of liquidation.

The states other than Florida where GIC had in-force polices at the time of liquidation are Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

POLICY ISSUES: GIC had approximately 8,600 active policies as of November 13, 2017, including 1,250 in Florida. Under the liquidation order, all GIC policies are cancelled effective on December 27, 2017, unless otherwise terminated prior to that date.

CLAIMS ISSUES: Claims Filing Deadline: Under the liquidation order, the deadline for filing claims in the GIC Receivership is May 28, 2018. There are different processes for filing claims against GIC. Some claims are covered by guaranty associations and some claims can only be filed against the estate of GIC because guaranty associations do not cover them.

Information regarding the method for filing claims in the liquidation proceeding will be available on the Department’s website at www.myfloridacfo.com/division/receiver in the near future.

With the entry of the liquidation order, the guaranty associations of the states where GIC wrote business are activated to help pay outstanding covered workers’ compensation claims for GIC policyholders. The processing and payment of pending workers’ compensation claims will be made in accordance with the statutes of each of the affected states. Some states exclude workers’ compensation claims of high net worth insureds and workers’ compensation claims under large deductible policies. These claims will become the responsibility of the policyholder. Contact your state guaranty association for additional details.

Consumer/Claims Calls:

Until further notice, consumers with questions regarding GIC should use the following contact information:

Guarantee Insurance Company – Direct Contact Information:

General Information: 800-948-2651 (toll free) or 954-556-1600 (main phone)

Claims (all States): GIC Client Service Center: 1-877-886-4334 (toll free)

Receivership Questions

If you have any non-claims related questions regarding the receivership, please contact the Department using the “Contact Us” form at www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/Receiver or by calling (850) 413-3081 or toll free at 1-800-882-3054. Additional information regarding GIC and the receivership process will be available soon on the Department’s website, www.myfloridacfo.com/division/receiver. Copies of the Liquidation Order and other relevant information will be available on the Department’s website.

Note:

All active GIC agent appointments will be cancelled. Agents that have or had policyholders with GIC are reminded of the notice requirements under s. 631.341, F.S. Written notice of the insolvency of the delinquent insurer must be sent by the agent to the last known address of any/all policyholders by registered or certified mail, or by email with a delivery receipt required.

 

 

citizens

Agent Updates

Report Suspected Hurricane Irma Fraud
November 1, 2017

According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, insurance fraud costs Americans at least $80 billion a year, nearly $950 per family. Agents play an important role in identifying insurance fraud. In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and the considerable number of resulting claims, Citizens wants agents to be aware of potential fraud and deceptive claims practices, and report:

  • Suspected adjuster, repair vendors and/or policyholder fraud via the Contact Us section on the Citizens website. Select Report Suspected Fraud from the Topic menu options, and provide full details.
  • Suspected insurance fraud that may involve policies or claims of other insurance companies to the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) Bureau of Insurance Fraud by calling 800.378.0445. More information is available on the bureau's website.

Potential fraud and deceptive claims practices include:

  • Public adjusters directly or indirectly referring or steering any claimant to any person with whom the adjuster has an undisclosed financial interest. A public adjuster must not enter into a contract or accept a power of attorney that vests in the public adjuster the effective authority to choose the persons who shall perform repair work.
  • A public adjuster soliciting their services and representing themselves as an adjuster for or directed by Citizens in order to secure a contract with the policyholder
  • Individuals engaging in the practice of public adjusting if they are not licensed by DFS

According to DFS, the definition of a public adjuster, as explained in Section 626.854, Florida Statutes, is any person, except an attorney, who, for money or any other thing of value:

  • Prepares, completes or files an insurance claim form for a policyholder
  • Aids a policyholder in any manner in negotiating for or effecting the settlement of a claim
  • Advertises or solicits for employment as an adjuster of such claim

    Note: This definition excludes a person who photographs or inventories damaged personal property or a person performing duties under another professional license, if such person does not otherwise solicit, adjust, investigate or negotiate for or attempt to effect the settlement of a claim.
  • A public adjuster charging, agreeing to or accepting anything of value in excess of 10 percent of the amount of residential insurance claim payments. Governor Scott declared a state of emergency on Sept. 4, 2017, which prohibits excess payments for one year.
  • Policyholders providing deceptive or false claim information regarding the loss, inflating the value of damaged property or providing false repair bills or receipts
  • Claims adjusters, contractors or repair vendors providing inflated repair estimates or claim information or possibly receiving kickbacks

Citizens' agents can help increase awareness of insurance fraud and the ways to prevent it and can help curb assignment of benefits (AOB) abuse by helping your customers understand the importance of calling Citizens first as soon as they know or suspect they have damage. Refer to the Insurance Fraud and Assignment of Benefits sections of our website and the Assignment of Benefits brochure, located in the Learning section of our website.

 

 

Florida Insurance Fraud Detective Earns Medal of Heroism for Irma Rescue

 

During a recent meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Governor Rick Scott awarded insurance fraud detective Barry Lewis with the Medal of Heroism for his role in a joint rescue during Hurricane Irma. The Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) Detective Lewis, alongside the Florida Highway Patrol’s (FHP) Corporal John Schultz and Sergeant David Contessa, waded into rising flood waters in Fort Myers to rescue FHP Lieutenant Greg Bueno and his parents when the roof of their house collapsed as Hurricane Irma pummeled Southwest Florida.

Rescue Group

CFO Patronis said, “These men didn’t think twice before launching into action when they received their colleague’s call for help. Without blinking, they did what they do best – rush to offer a helping hand to a fellow Floridian. In the heart of a hurricane, they walked through flood waters in the dead of night to perform this rescue, making them all heroes in my book. I’m proud to see one of our own recognized today, and I’m grateful to live in a state full of heroes like Detective Barry Lewis, Corporal John Schultz and Sergeant David Contessa.”

DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes said, “I am extremely proud and forever grateful for FHP Corporal John Schultz and Investigator Barry Lewis, who heroically rescued one of our own Florida Highway Patrol troopers and his family. These heroes answered the call for help in the midst of a hurricane, setting aside their own personal safety, and Florida is a better, safer place because of them.”

Detective

On September 10, FHP Lieutenant Greg Bueno took shelter from Hurricane Irma at his lakefront Fort Myers home. He was joined by his parents and a family pet. During the eye of the storm, a large section of the home’s roof collapsed, allowing rain to pour in. The waterfront property was already at great risk as the overflowing lake had flooded the area and trapped the family inside. Lt. Bueno attempted to call for help, but poor signal prevented a clear call, and he hung up unsure whether anyone had heard his plea for assistance.

While uncertain of the exact situation, Corporal John Schultz and Detective Barry Lewis knew the lieutenant needed immediate assistance and left the Lee County Emergency Operations Center to offer aid. The two arrived at the entrance of the neighborhood, which was unpassable by car, so they proceeded to the home on foot. Corporal Schultz and Detective Lewis arrived at Lt. Bueno’s home shortly before FHP Sergeant David Contessa, who arrived with a towing company to transport the group to safer ground. The family was unharmed and spent the night at the Lee County Emergency Operations Center.

Hurricane Irma hit Southwest Florida as a category 3 storm. More than 800,000 Irma-related insurance claims have been filed, and damage estimates currently exceed $5.5 billion.

 

CFO Patronis Sponsors Resolution to Raise Awareness for Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease

 

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis sponsored a resolution raising awareness for type 2 diabetes as a potentially life-changing medical condition. An estimated 29 million Americans have diabetes, a chronic condition that considerably raises an individual’s risk for developing cardiovascular disease. A recent study indicates that while diabetes necessitates strict monitoring of personal health, 52 percent of adults who have it are not aware of the additional heart health risks. State Representative Gayle Harrell, who co-sponsored a legislative resolution with Senator Kelli Stargel, and Lisa Dwyer, who works in the pharmaceutical field, joined CFO Patronis for the Cabinet resolution presentation.

CFO Patronis said, “Floridians who have more information about their health make better, more informed health decisions. I thank Senator Stargel and Representative Harrell for joining me in raising awareness about two potentially life-threatening diseases. I hope this resolution serves as a reminder that Floridians should closely monitor their personal health and the health of their families. It’s important to see a doctor regularly and to speak up as any health concerns arise.”

To view the resolution, click here.

Diabetes-Resolution-Cabinet-Affairs

 

online sunshineThe 2017 Florida Statutes Are Available Online

The Florida Statutes can be viewed at Online Sunshine