CFO


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A restoration contractor company owner has been arrested over an alleged assignment of benefits (AOB) fraud scheme that impacted 19 homeowners in eight Florida counties and one Texas county, according to a statement from Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis.

Timothy Matthew Cox, owner of Nationwide Catastrophe Services, Inc. and Restoration Response Services, Inc., is alleged to have stolen nearly $140,000 for home repairs related to damages from tropical weather events that he never provided. As a result of Cox’s alleged activity, the victims’ homes sustained additional damage from significant weather events, including Hurricane Irma, the statement said.

The Florida Bureau of Insurance Fraud, a division of the Florida Department of Financial Services, found that Cox and his team targeted Brevard, Clay, Escambia, Flagler, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia Counties and Tarrant County, Texas.

These areas were impacted by tropical storms and hurricanes, and according to DFS, Cox is alleged to have pressured homeowners to sign an AOB contract to have damages repaired. Cox received $139,444.97 from the 19 victims and their insurance carriers.

After receiving the insurance payments, Cox’s team never started any of the work they were contracted to perform on the 19 homes, according to the statement. The payments made to Nationwide Catastrophe Services, Inc. and Restoration Response Services, Inc. were deposited into bank accounts controlled by Cox, who used the money for personal use, DFS said

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/06/13/491931.htm

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Like thousands of other Floridians, I recently received my homeowner’s insurance renewal statement only to learn that my premium was increasing by a double-digit percentage – nearly $600 annually. But like most homeowners who have a mortgage and who pay insurance and property taxes through an escrow account, I won’t have to pay anything out-of-pocket yet. It will be a year from now when the pain will come.

I will receive a new escrow calculation showing that my monthly mortgage payment will increase – not only to make up for the shortfall from the previous year’s premium increase, but also to pay the increased premium for the following renewal year – a total of $1,200 for the year, or $100 extra per month.

And if rates continue to increase as they did this year, I and virtually every other Florida homeowner will continue to see our mortgage payments increase this way year after year after year.

Seniors on a fixed income, working families struggling to make ends meet, people saving for college or retirement, and the rest of us who would simply rather keep more of our earnings will suffer. It will feel no different than a huge tax increase, but at least taxes pay for useful things like schools, roads, police, and firefighters. The proceeds from this increase will be used to pay fraudsters.

Real estate values will also take a hit because the more we spend on insurance, the fewer dollars we can apply to the actual mortgage payment. If you want to sell your house, there will be fewer people who can afford it. Lower demand means lower prices. We have only recently experienced in the last decade how a soft real estate market drags down the overall economy.

There is only one entity that can act to reverse course on these rate increases and protect our real estate-driven economy: the Florida State Legislature. There are two reforms legislators can enact that will provide relief from relentless insurance premium rate hikes: 1) reduce systematic fraud by preventing abusive and needless assignments of benefits litigation, and 2) lower the cost of reinsurance by reforming the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, a move that would decrease rates by 8 to 10 percent.

The time to act is now. Even if the proposed reforms are passed during the next legislative session in 2019, homeowners will have to wait until 2020 or beyond to feel relief through mortgage payments that go down instead of up.

That’s a long way off – way past the November elections. But candidates we elect in November will be the ones who must act.

If we want lower rates in the future we need to commit to do two things today: 1) get candidates to state on the record that they will fight for both reforms, and 2) have memories like elephants if they don’t. There are plenty of special interest groups who will pressure them to resist. Go to http://www.floridainsurancereform.org/petition to learn more about these two specific reforms and sign a petition demanding action. Elected officials must fear accountability from Florida voters more than the pressure of special interest groups. We need at least a quarter million signatures to show them that we expect and deserve action

Please enjoy the full article below and respond as well

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/06/07/491458.htm

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Guess what? He was a Public adjustor?? No way?? Kidding!!!

A Florida man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in an arson insurance fraud scheme that spanned multiple Florida counties and was ordered to pay $1.9 million towards restitution to the more than 14 carriers affected, according to a statement from the Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s office.

Jorge Fausto Espinosa Sr., owner of the public adjuster company Nationwide Adjusters LLC, pled guilty last month to racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, organized scheme to defraud, and more than 28 counts of arson as well as multiple counts of insurance fraud and grand theft. He was sentenced by Judge Mark Blumstein t

 

o 20 years in state prison in addition to paying $1.9 million towards restitution.

Fausto Espinosa Sr. was one of many defendants originally charged in a series of collaborative investigations by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis’ Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, and the Miami-Dade Police Department called Operation Flames and Flood I and Operation Flames and Flood II.

The investigations found that Espinosa intentionally set multiple homes on fire as well as caused water damage to other homes with the sole purpose of filing false and fraudulent insurance claims. The homeowners were recruited by Espinosa as part of his “Arson for Hire Scheme” involving homes in Miami-Dade, Lee and Collier County.

More than 14 insurance carriers, including Citizens, Tower Hill and United Property and Casualty, were impacted by the 50-plus false claims that cost insurers and policyholders more than $14 million in losses.

Pleas enjoy the full article below

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/06/05/491223.htm

 

 

Please call Lee from Acentria Insurance for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial & Life, group benefits and Commercial policies as well.

The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team (DFSAT) have been deployed across the state to protect Floridians from post-storm fraud that could occur in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Alberto, according to a statement from Florida CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis.

With a state of emergency now declared in all 67 counties, Patronis activated the team to be on alert for fraud in the event of major flooding and damage.

“Unfortunately, storms can bring out the worst in people,” said Patronis. “To get ahead of any attempt to take advantage of those who may need repairs done to their property, we’re activating now so we can quickly ward off fraud. With the 2018 Hurricane Season less than a week away, it’s important consumers are alert and aware of the potential for post-storm scams.”

Patronis issued the following indicators of post-storm fraud that policyholders should be aware of:

  • A contractor or restoration professional who offered to waive or discount an insurance deductible.
  • A contractor or restoration professional that has received payment and has failed to provide any repairs to a home.
  • A contractor or restoration professional who offered to provide repairs at a cash-only discounted rate and has failed to provide repairs to a home.
  • A contractor or restoration professional who pressured a policyholder to sign an assignment of benefit (AOB) and has failed to provide any repairs to the home or stopped responding to contact attempts.

Anyone who experiences or witnesses these types of activity are encouraged to reach out to Patronis’ Fraud Tip Hotline by calling 1-800-378-0445. Callers can choose to remain anonymous

We are the most Fraudulent state in the country! Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/05/30/490562.htm

Please call Lee from Acentria Insurance at 954-270-7966 for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Business Policies & Life, Health and group products for all sizes.

Policymakers need to find a way to get banks involved in property mitigation if Florida is to improve its hurricane resiliency, according to a former state insurance commissioner.

Banks are currently unmotivated to protect mortgages through mitigation because the government steps in and bails them out when there is a crisis, Kevin McCarty, who was insurance commissioner of the state for 13 years, told the audience of the Florida Association of Insurance Reform (FAIR) Foundation’s conference in Tampa on May 2.

McCarty spoke about resiliency and mitigation, emphasizing the need for both in the catastrophe prone state.

“We know we are going to have more storms; we also know there is a lot of uninsured property,” McCarty said. “We also know somebody is mysteriously not at the table.”

He was referring to banks, which he said continue to be bailed out by the government and therefore will continue to make money no matter what. He referenced the financial crisis as an example of how banks are not motivated to protect their financial assets.

“Until banks actually have skin in the game, they are not going to be at the table,” he said.

McCarty’s said it’s important to think about what strategies could work to hold banks accountable and bring them to the table.

“If I as a taxpayer have to pay for it, it should be part of the law that if you have a federally backed mortgage you have to have an all-perils policy – and that means all perils,” McCarty told the audience, which responded with big applause.

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/05/08/488539.htm

Please call Lee from Acentria Insurance for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial & Life, group & Financial quotes as well.

In an open letter to Citizens President, CEO an Executive Director Barry Gilway, Patronis said the state-backed insurer should be subject to the same rules as state agencies and organizations when it comes requiring lobbyists be registered, but as of now that isn’t the case.

“Currently, lobbyists and private insurers are not statutorily required to disclose their efforts on behalf of clients and private interest they represent before Citizens Property Insurance Corporation,” Patronis wrote.

Citizens Legislative Affairs staff currently do register as lobbyists. Patronis’ letter says it is targeted towards those who represent third parties and private interests, such as businesses, and lobby Citizens.

Patronis wrote transparency is “one of the best ways we can ensure accountability,” and that it should be “crystal clear who is interested in influencing Citizens policy changes or securing contracts with [Citizens].”

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/05/04/488273.htm

Please call Lee from Acentria for free Insurance quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial & Life, group & financial products as well.

An insurance agency owner in Florida has been arrested after he admitted to stealing more than $60,000 in insurance premiums, according to a statement from the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS).

Michael Christopher Hensley, owner BOSC Insurance Company and Hensley Insurance Company, admitted to stealing $61,954 in insurance premiums between 2011 and 2018 in Orange County, Fla

The theft was discovered after an investigation by the DFS Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team (DFAST) revealed that Hensley had solicited various commercial businesses to procure property and casualty insurance under both of his companies BOSC and Hensley Insurance. Hensley has had no active appointments on his license since 2010, making his licensed expired as of 2014 and unlicensed as of March 9, 2015.

After the impacts of Hurricane Irma, a commercial business property sustained extensive damage caused from the storm. The business owner attempted to contact his insurance agent, Hensley, for guidance on the claim process. After multiple calls and no response from Hensley, the owner contacted the listed insurance carrier on the Certificates of Insurance that Hensley had been providing the business with annually since 2012. An insurance representative with the listed company informed that the business was not insured with them nor had he ever been insured with the insurance company. Upon this revelation, the owner of the business contacted the CFO’s Orlando Field Office for assistance.

As a result of the DFS investigation, Hensley admitted to collecting monthly insurance premiums payments from nine different commercial business and providing them with false Certificates of Insurance coverage. Hensley went to various insurance company’s websites and made copies of their general liability policies. He would then take the companies information and transfer it to Certificates of Insurance and provide the fraudulent documents to the unsuspecting businesses as proof of insurance. Hensley further admitted to using the money that he obtained from the victim businesses for his own personal benefits

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/04/19/486791.htm

 

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