Volume 6, No. 9 - September 2017

Case Notes

The following are instances in which licensees or other persons violated the Florida Insurance Code and the administrative action the Department has taken against them. Note: All administrative investigations are subject to referral to the Division of Investigative & Forensic Services for criminal investigation.

Case: A complaint from an insurance company alleged a public adjuster’s contract was not in compliance with Florida law. Investigators reviewed the contract in question and found it did not include the proper language regarding the consumer’s right to cancel. The contract also failed to indicate if the claim was emergency or non-emergency and whether it was a supplemental or new claim. When contacted by an investigator, the public adjuster advised the right to cancel language was located on the back of the contract. The investigator was able to obtain a copy of the back of the contract; however, the public adjuster refused the investigator’s request to provide a copy of the back page to the insurance company to complete the contract. Failure to provide a full, unaltered copy of the contract to the insurance company is a violation of Florida Statutes. The investigator’s examination of the back page of the contract revealed the consumers signed the right to cancel section on the same date the contract was executed. The public adjuster maintained that while the consumers did sign the section regarding cancellation, they did so by mistake and did not actually intend to cancel the contract. During the course of the investigation, an additional contract was found executed by the public adjuster which contained the same violations.
Disposition:
Fined $1,500.

Case: The Bureau of Investigation received a complaint a contractor was acting as a public adjuster without being licensed. During the course of the investigation, Investigators found several advertisements placed on various social media platforms in which the contractor claimed to be an “insurance specialist.” Additional advertisements were found in which the contractor stated, “we very much enjoy representing the home owner in the insurance claim process.” Investigators also found one instance in which the contractor identified himself as an insurance adjuster when soliciting a consumer for repair work.
Disposition: An Order to Cease and Desist was issued by the Department, demanding the contractor cease and desist from acting or operating as a public adjuster in Florida; advertising or holding himself out as a public adjuster in Florida; soliciting consumers to hire him as their public adjuster; engaging in or attempting or professing to engage in any transaction or business for which a license or appointment is required under the Florida Insurance Code; and violating any provisions of the Florida Insurance Code. Engaging in insurance activities without the required license is a third-degree felony. Failure to comply with the Order could also result in a fine of up to $50,000.

Case: A central Florida bail bond agent will no longer be authorized to conduct bail bond business in Florida following an investigation which found numerous violations. A consumer filed a complaint alleging the bail bond agent revoked her bond, would not let her pay the remainder of the premium and surrendered her to jail. While the investigator was looking into the consumer’s complaint, a surety company representative contacted the Department to complain the bail bond agent owed premium for executed powers. Upon further investigation, it was found the agent failed to submit premium owed to the surety company for 51 executed powers in the amount of $5,160 and executed 29 bonds failing to submit premium in the amount of $4,410. The investigator found the agent failed to return collateral upon final termination of liability on a bond, failed to properly refund premium to a defendant, failed to return collateral to an indemnitor within twenty-one days of discharge of a bond, misappropriated money received in the conduct of bail bond business, misappropriated money belonging to a surety and failed to properly maintain records.
Disposition: License revoked and permanently barred from licensure as a bail bond agent.