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Agent Who Left Thousands without Health Insurance, Bilked Companies Is Facing Revocation of License

6/17/2002

TALLAHASSEE-Florida Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher today announced that the Department of Insurance has filed a complaint seeking to revoke the license of a South Florida agent who organized an unauthorized entity that left 5,000 Floridians with more than $3.7 million in unpaid health insurance claims.

The administrative complaint filed against Geoffrey Alexander Cole Sr., 39, of 8125 S.W. 52nd Ave. in Miami, further alleges that the agent bilked two premium finance companies out of nearly $6 million through his Miami-based insurance agency, Colesons Insurance Group Inc. Cole allegedly funneled money taken from the two premium finance companies to try to financially prop up the unauthorized entity, Well America Group, Inc., which folded in August 2000.

The complaint charges Cole with deception and being unfit to engage in the business of insurance. Cole has 21 days to respond to the administrative complaint. He can accept a final order from the department, request an informal hearing with the department, or request a formal hearing with the Department of Administrative Hearings to refute the charges.

The department began investigating Well America after receiving complaints of slow payments. Cole was president and chief executive officer of Well America, formerly located at 3400 Coral Way, when the company folded in August 2000. Cole was charged with operating an insurance company without a license, a third-degree felony. The Dade County State Attorney's Office is handling the prosecution.

Through Colesons, an insurance agency he operated with his father, Cole allegedly misappropriated several million dollars from two premium finance companies -- $4.3 million from First Insurance Funding Corp. and about $1.5 million from Total Funding Corp. Cole allegedly completed premium finance agreements in the name of actual insureds for which no insurance coverage was obtained or completed premium finance agreements in the name of fictitious insureds. He then allegedly issued checks from the two companies' accounts to the insurance agency but spent the money for personal use.

The administrative complaint against Cole stems from investigations conducted by the Division of Insurance Fraud and the Bureau of Agent and Agency Investigations. To report fraud, call the Department of Insurance Fraud Hotline at 1-800-378-0445.