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Gallagher Launches Probe into Questionable Broker Activities in Florida

11/4/2004

CONTACT: Tami Torres
(850) 413-2842
    
TALLAHASSEE – Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher announced today that he has established a legal task force to investigate whether any of the activities outlined in New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer's civil suit are taking place among insurance brokerages and companies in Florida, including bid-rigging, kickbacks and improper fees.  Spitzer's suit alleges civil and criminal misconduct involving insurance brokers steering business to insurance companies for a commission.
 
"If brokers and insurance companies are manipulating the law for personal gain and driving up insurance costs for consumers, then we need to seek restitution where appropriate and take swift action to prevent further abuses," said Gallagher, who oversees the Florida Department of Financial Services. 
 
Don Dowdell, the department's Deputy General Counsel, will chair the task force, and work with a team of lawyers and investigative staff to scrutinize insurance broker and company sales practices.  Gallagher has also asked Steve Burgess, Florida's Insurance Consumer Advocate, to serve on the task force.
 
Gallagher is also directing the task force to determine if legislative action is needed to require transparency in insurance company transactions and agreements to prevent abusive practices and protect the insurance-buying public.