Case: The Department conducted an investigation of a life, health, and general lines agent after receiving information from FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority). The insured confirmed signatures on beneficiary change forms for life insurance policies he owned were not his.
The investigation determined the agent submitted modifications to life insurance policies designating his family members as beneficiaries when there was no insurable interest in the life of the insured.
FINRA imposed a three month suspension from association with any FINRA member in any capacity and a $5,000 fine. The subject failed to report the action within thirty 30 days
of the final disposition as required by the Florida Statutes.
Case: The Department indefinitely suspended a customer representative who was charged with several felonies directly related to the financial services industry.
A premium finance company alleged the subject had issued 256 premium drafts to several insurance companies for a total of $765,377. The company stated the drafts were made payable to insurance companies, but they were deposited into a bank account belonging to the agent.
During the course of the investigation, investigators determined the subject had similarly misappropriated an additional $311,245 related to funds issued for 400 cancelled accounts from a second premium finance company. A third premium finance company obtained a judgment against the subject for her failure to return $13,417 in unearned commissions, which are considered premium funds. In all, the subject misappropriated more than $1.1 million dollars belonging to premium finance companies.
Investigators also determined the subject was operating her insurance agency without a designated general lines agent in charge. The agency's former agent in charge was contacted as applications had been submitted by the agency using that agent's credentials. The agent confirmed the signatures on the applications were not his and he did not authorize the use of his signature or credentials by the subject or the agency.
Disposition: License revoked and permanently barred from the insurance industry in Florida. The related criminal case resulted in a sentence of 10 years' probation. Law enforcement was able to recover more than $1 million dollars in misappropriated funds.
Case: The Department received a Termination for Cause notification from an insurer which was due to the agent's refusal to cooperate with an investigation into applications she submitted.
The insurer said the agent submitted two life insurance applications within six months for an insured who died within the two-year contestable period. During the investigation, discrepancies between the two applications were found. Review of the insured's medical records found the applicant was hospitalized in an Intensive Care Unit and intubated at the time of the second application and would have not been able to electronically sign the application. The insured passed away within three hours of the application being signed.
Case: The Department received a complaint from clients of a public adjuster they contracted with to assist them with a claim for damages caused by Hurricane Matthew. The consumers alleged the public adjuster delayed the claims process, altered one of their signatures on the adjusting contract, and charged them a 20% fee. The maximum fee a public adjuster may charge is 10% when the Governor issues a Declaration of a State of Emergency, which occurred in this case.
The subject failed to provide the consumers with an executed copy of the public adjusting contract, submitted a Notice of Loss to the insurer that did not include an accurate floor plan for the insured home, and used several addresses on his contracts that were not reported to the Department.
A review of the subject's records found additional consumers were charged a 20% fee for services for claims incurred while a Declaration of Emergency was in effect. Other consumers who were contacted told investigators the subject also refused to allow the insurer's adjuster on the insured property.