CFO Patronis Announces $27.6 M in Workers' Compensation Premium Refunds
Tallahassee, Fla. (06/17/20) - Today, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced that $27.6 million in workforce premiums are being refunded over the next few months to nearly 13,000 policyholders of the Florida Workers' Compensation Joint Underwriting Association (FWCJUA). The Florida Legislature created FWCJUA in 1993 as a self-funding plan to provide workers' compensation and employer's liability insurance to employers who are required by law to maintain such insurance but are unable to purchase insurance through the voluntary market.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, "Today's announcement that over $27 million is going back to thousands of policy holders is a great example of how our businesses can benefit when government operates efficiently and is accountable to its customers. This is how the system is supposed to work. With COVID-19 and the corresponding government shutdowns impacting many Florida businesses bottom lines, we're working at every level of state government to identify areas where we can help our employers re-open and get back to work."
CFO Jimmy Patronis: Life Insurance Search Ruling
a Win for Florida Consumers
Tallahassee, Fla. (06/04/20) - Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis released the following statement on a ruling Wednesday by the First District Court of Appeals (DCA) that upheld the constitutionality of a 2016 Florida law placing requirements on life-insurance companies to determine whether policyholders have died and to contact beneficiaries to inform them of the benefits owed to them. If a life insurance company cannot locate; notify and pay the beneficiary, the funds are required to reported and remitted to the state of Florida as unclaimed property. Since taking office in July 2017, CFO Patronis has recovered and returned more than $960 million to Floridians.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, "This ruling is a major victory for Florida consumers. Requiring insurance companies to conduct yearly checks of master death records and notify beneficiaries of funds owed to them could put millions of dollars back into the pockets of Floridians. Special thank you to my friend and former CFO Jeff Atwater for spearheading this important initiative and helping to ensure consumers come first."
Hurricane Season is Here: Review Your Insurance Coverage Now
Tallahassee, Fla. (06/02/20) - With the official start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) is reminding Floridians to review their insurance policies and coverage now.
"I urge all Floridians to review their insurance policy now and be prepared this hurricane season. It's also important to know that most homeowners' insurance policies do not include flood coverage. Consumers should reach out now to their agent or insurer to make sure they have the coverage they need," said Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier.
"My office has been actively planning for the 2020 Hurricane Season. As we consider social distancing and other important safety measures in response to COVID--19, we are encouraging insurers to identify new ways of doing business, such as deploying virtual claims handling, to protect consumers. It will always be my expectation that insurers clearly communicate with policyholders and provide prompt, efficient, and fair claims adjustment service.
"OIR provides the following consumer tips to ensure Floridians are prepared this hurricane season:
Create a Home Inventory
A home inventory is a list of significant items within the room, broken down by room, with an estimate of the item's current value, including photos and proof of ownership. These types of inventories can make it easier for consumers to file an accurate, detailed insurance claim in case a home is damaged. Once the home inventory is completed, consumers should check with their insurer or agent to determine if they need additional coverage.
Click here for several options to assist consumers in completing a home inventory.
CFO Jimmy Patronis Highlights 'Prepare Florida' Disaster Preparedness Initiative as the 2020 Hurricane Season Begins
Tallahassee, Fla. (06/01/20) - On the first day of the 2020 Hurricane Season, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis highlights Prepare Florida, an initiative to encourage Floridians to prepare now before a hurricane makes landfall. CFO Patronis' PrepareFL.com website serves as a one-stop-shop for disaster preparedness information and resources to help Floridians ensure they are prepared to weather the next storm.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, "As we begin the 2020 Hurricane Season, it is my top priority to ensure Floridians have the tools and resources they need to prepare for the next storm before it takes aim at our state. While Floridians know all too well the devastation hurricanes can have on their lives, it's easy to not take the threat seriously. An active hurricane season is predicted, with the possibility of up to six major hurricanes. As we saw with Hurricane Michael, hurricanes can form and strengthen quickly, leaving little time to prepare and evacuate.
The time is now to prepare and protect your home and business. Do not wait until a storm is approaching. Prepare now, Florida!"
Palm Harbor Man Sentenced in Promissory Note Scheme
Tallahassee, Fla. (05/12/20) - The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) announced that James Harold Hosner was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a promissory note scheme targeting an elderly victim. In February, Hosner was found guilty of securities fraud, selling unregistered securities, selling securities as an unregistered person, and communications fraud (scheme to defraud) by a Pinellas County jury.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, "Orchestrating a fraud scheme to take advantage of Floridians is despicable and it's especially heinous when it's our seniors who fall victim. These individuals worked their entire lives to build a nest egg and unfortunately scam artists like this will do anything to steal their hard-earned money. I thank Commissioner Weigel and my Division of Insurance Agent & Agency Services for their hard work in uncovering this scheme and bringing this fraudster to justice."
OFR Commissioner Russell C. Weigel, III, said, "I thank OFR's outstanding investigative team for their work on this case. We continue to be committed to protecting Floridians and their financial interests - and helping put criminals behind bars. I appreciate the diligent work of the Pinellas County State Attorney's Office in securing this positive outcome for the people of Florida."
Hosner operated the investment scheme through his company, Phoenix Insurance Services, Inc., based in St. Petersburg. Exploiting his existing relationship as the victim's insurance agent to pitch the phony promissory notes, he issued and sold at least three notes totaling approximately $48,500 to the elderly victim. The securities were purportedly 7% fixed notes due in 2020; however, Hosner assured the victim that the money could be returned at any time upon request. As part of the scheme, he lied about plans to purchase another insurance agency and used portions of the victim's funds to pay insurance premiums and cover payroll. The OFR's investigation was opened in May 2018 as a result of a referral from the Department of Financial Services' Division of Insurance Agent & Agency Services.
Read the press release>>