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Crist, Gallagher Announce $5.8 Million Settlement to Multiple Cities and Counties by Brown & Brown

12/8/2006

CONTACT:  Tami Torres
(850) 413-2842

Greater disclosure requirements in agreement will also improve transparency in broker transactions
TALLAHASSEE – Tom Gallagher, Florida's chief financial officer, Charlie Crist, Florida's attorney general and governor-elect, and Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty today announced that Brown & Brown, Inc. has agreed to reimburse up to 400 cities and counties in Florida approximately $4.8 million for collecting undisclosed fees or commissions when it placed various coverages with insurance companies. Brown & Brown, a Florida-based insurance broker, has also agreed to adhere to stricter disclosure requirements in its broker transactions.
 
"Brown & Brown has fully cooperated with our agencies to reimburse cities and counties in Florida for excess fees and commissions it collected and has agreed to fully disclose all fees and commissions in the future," Gallagher said.  Gallagher said that the widespread investigation of Florida's insurance brokers and companies is positively changing the way the insurance industry does business.
 
"Insurance brokers and companies must realize that the people come first," Crist said.  "This settlement is another important step in eliminating hidden charges in this industry."
 
"The enhanced disclosure requirements as a result of this agreement will ensure greater transparency in broker transactions for Floridians," McCarty said.
 
The $4.8 million in refunds are the result of a two-year joint investigation into insurance broker activities conducted by the Department of Financial Services, which Gallagher oversees, the Office of the Attorney General and the Office of Insurance Regulation.  Brown & Brown is also paying $1 million to the investigative agencies for reimbursement of investigative costs. 
Under the settlement, the broker denied wrongdoing but agreed to reimburse its clients without any formal action taken by the three state agencies.
 
The settlements documents are linked below.