Case: When a premium finance company noticed a discrepancy between the amount financed and the premium on a commercial policy, the company contacted the agent who told the company it was a surplus lines tax and “carrier fee”. The premium finance company’s research into the transaction resulted in a referral to the Department. An investigation was opened and evidence indicated the general lines agent submitted 12 fraudulent premium loan contracts over a two-year period totaling $1.3 million dollars to the premium finance company.
The investigator contacted the insurance companies involved and received certification that the policy declaration pages were not legitimate. Bank records showed the agent deposited the premium finance checks into his agency account and paid a portion of the monthly payments to keep the transactions hidden. Bank records also revealed large wire transfers and internal transfers to the agent’s personal bank account from the agency operating account, and payments for personal expenses including travel and art. The agent is currently a defendant in civil court in an action brought by the premium finance company.
Disposition: Permanent bar from the Florida insurance industry.
Case: Investigators scheduled an inspection of a bail bond agency’s operations to determine whether it was complying with the Florida Insurance Code.
Investigators arrived at the agency at 10:00 a.m. and found the agency closed. There was no notice on the door stating when the bail bond agent would return. Investigators left and returned an hour later and the agency remained closed. Investigators called the agency and spoke with the bail bond agent who told investigators that she was out of town due to a death in the family and would not be able to come to the office that day.
Investigators returned two weeks later and again found the agency closed without notice indicating when it would open. Investigators called the bail bond agent and left a message stating they were at the agency. There was no return phone call and investigators left a business card under the door of the agency.
During the next six months, investigators returned to the agency on multiple occasions at varied times and found the agency closed. Each time investigators called the bail bond agent and left a message on the stating they were at the agency and left a business card under the door. The bail bond agent never contacted investigators.
Disposition: The bail bond agent was fined $2,500 and is required to keep her agency open during normal business hours.
Case: Investigators opened a case to review the underlying allegations that caused a life insurer to terminate an agent’s appointment. Affidavits obtained from several consumers indicated the agent obtained personal information from them, then submitted numerous fraudulent insurance plan applications without their knowledge or consent. The plans included accident protection, disability, dental and vision among others. In one instance, a consumer’s bank account was debited $1,200 without his consent. To further conceal the fraudulent activity, the agent was found to have posed as consumers in verification calls with the insurer.
Disposition: Suspended nine months.
Case: A surety company filed a complaint with the Department indicating a bail bond agent failed to remit $3,779 in premiums for unreported bail bonds and forfeited a bond for $10,000. The subject was found to have secured an appointment with another surety company, swearing under oath she owed no premiums to any surety company, nor did she have any forfeitures.
Investigators determined the bail bond agent closed her office and moved her bail bond business to her home without notifying the Department, had no business bank accounts, was transacting business in cash, and submitting premiums to the surety company by money order.
Case: A case was opened on an applicant for a general lines license to confirm information submitted to the Department on the applicant’s Agent Qualification and Verification of Experience Form and to determine whether the unlicensed individual was transacting insurance without a license. In addition, investigators verified the duties of the subject and whether she had been working under the direction of a supervising general lines agent.
The investigator reviewed agency production records for a specific period. The production report indicated the unlicensed individual worked with agency customers with last names between “P” and “Z” in the alphabet, a total of 1,036 insureds.
Agency files reviewed by the investigator contained emails from the unlicensed individual to insureds and insurance companies indicating she could quote insurance products and discussed policy benefits and features in detail. Some emails instructed applicants to sign and return applications with the premium she quoted so she could bind coverage or issue endorsements on the policies.
In her affidavit provided to the investigator, the unlicensed person admitted she had been working at the agency for years and her duties included providing quotes, binding and explaining coverage to customers. The individual later contacted the investigator to advise after checking her records with the Department, she found she did not have a license of any type. The unlicensed person then applied for a customer representative’s license.
Disposition: The unlicensed individual was granted a customer representative license and fined $2,500. The agent in charge, the general lines agent responsible for the supervision of all agency employees whether licensed or not, was fined $7,500 and placed on probation for one year.
Case: The Department received a complaint with documentation from a surety company stating a bail bond agent failed to return collateral in the amount of $84,205. The surety company reimbursed this amount to the consumers involve and used the bail bond agent’s BUF (Build Up Fund) account to offset $4,913 of the unreturned collateral. However, the bail bond agent owed $79,291 to the surety company. The subject did not respond to Department notifications regarding the allegations.
Disposition: Permanently barred from obtaining any license type issued by the Department.
Case: Investigators received an allegation an unlicensed person was acting as a public adjuster. Investigators determined the subject placed several advertisements on social media platforms advertising the subject as an “insurance specialist.” More ads were found quoting the subject as saying “we very much enjoy representing the home owner in the insurance claim process.” Investigators found one instance in which the subject identified himself as an insurance adjuster when soliciting a consumer for repair work.
Disposition: An Order to Cease and Desist from acting as a public adjuster was issued by the Department. Violation of the Order could result in felony criminal charges against the subject.