Tallahassee


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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

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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 Insurance for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial and Life, health & group coverage as well.

A Florida man has been sentenced to more than a year in prison for his role in a $23 million auto insurance fraud involving chiropractors’ clinics.

The SunSentinel reports 55-year-old Jason Dalley wept in court April 16 as a judge sentenced him to spend a year and nine months in prison and pay more than $1.8 million in restitution

Dalley admitted he was part of a group of clinic owners, chiropractors and attorneys involved in the scheme. Court records show the fraud involving clinics in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties brought in at least $23 million from 10 insurance companies between 2010 and 2017.

Dalley ran a personal injury and criminal defense law firm in Boca Raton. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit health care, mail and wire fraud.

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/04/20/486981.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

 

Please call Lee @ Acentria Insurance at 954-270-7966 for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial, & Life, Group  and financial products as well.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis has released a top 10 list of most wanted insurance fraud criminals and called on local communities to help with finding the individuals.

According to a statement from the Florida Department of Financial Services, each of the following individuals is wanted for various insurance-fraud related crimes:

  • Anthony Fitzgerald Phillips, last known address Fullerton, Calf.: Grand Theft.
  • Huberto Del Sol Puerto, last known address Hialeah/Miami, Fla.: Organized fraud ($50,000 or More), false and fraudulent insurance claims, grand theft (3rd Degree), money laundering, false statement (Jurisdiction of Department of State).
  • Gabriel Sanchez, last known address Miami, Fla.: Racketeering.
  • William Brenes, last known address Hillsborough County: Fraudulently presenting a false statement ($100,000 or more).
  • Jose Alexis Orellana Ramos, last known address North Lauderdale, Fla.: Organized fraud ($50,000 or more), grand theft (1st Degree, $100,000 or more), workers’ compensation fraud (Over $100,000).
  • Joseph J. Beckford, last known address Carrollton, Ga.: False and fraudulent insurance claim.
  • Bernardo Romero-Ortiz, last known address Orlando, Fla.: Workers’ compensation fraud ($100,000 or more); organized fraud.
  • Roland Terencio Delgado, last known address Coral Gables, Fla.: Racketeering, grand theft (2 Counts).
  • Paul Emmanuel Pierre, last known address Orlando, Fla.: Racketeering, false and fraudulent insurance claim.
  • Javier Lopez Rivero, last known address Miami, Fla.: Racketeering, grand theft, false and fraudulent insurance claims.

Please enjoy the full article below

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/04/18/486707.htm

 

Please call Lee at Acentria Insurance at 954-270-7966 for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial & life, group & Financial products as well.

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has approved a slate of policy language changes designed to protect consumers while addressing rising costs of nonweather water loss claims and related litigation that continue to drive premiums higher, according to a statement from the state-run insurer of last resort.

The policy changes will also address issues that have arisen since the Citizens Managed Repair Program was enacted last year and a subsequent rise in litigation the company says has occurred as a result.

The proposed policy changes, approved by unanimous vote at the Board of Governors meeting on Wednesday, would boost incentives for policyholders to participate in Citizens Managed Repair Program while better ensuring that customers who choose not to participate have adequate funds to make permanent repairs following a nonweather related water loss.

The new policy language would limit payment on nonweather related water losses – a broken pipe, a leaking water heater – to $10,000, including $3,000 for emergency water mitigation services. Additional water mitigation exceeding the $3,000 limit would be completed by Citizens managed repair contractors at no cost to the policyholder. The changes would take effect Aug. 1, 2018, if approved by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

Please enjoy the full article below,

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/04/12/486137.htm

Please call Lee at 954-270-7966 for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial and Life, Health and group benefit policies.

 

Please read below how for 3 years in a row now AOB is still not resolved. Our Legislators in Tallahassee receive t much PAC money so why solve problems and help the consumer. instead we will see an average of 15% rate hikes for several years because they cannot agree on to much.

 

SB1168, by Senator Steube, passed two of its committee of three committees, but that’s as far as this onerous version of AOB reform ultimately got prior to stalling out in the Senate. SB1168 also amended current law to provide that a misrepresentation, omission, concealment of fact, or incorrect statement on an insurance application may prevent recovery only if the misrepresentation, omission, concealment of fact, or incorrect statement directly relates to the cause of the claim. If the misrepresentation, omission, concealment of fact or incorrect statement directly relates to the cause of the claim, one of the following must have applied:

  • The misrepresentation, omission, concealment, or statement is fraudulent or is material to the acceptance of the risk or to the hazard assumed by the insurer; or
  • If the true facts relative to the loss claimed had been known to the insurer pursuant to a policy requirement or other requirement, the insurer in good faith would not have:
    • Issued the policy or contract;
    • Issued the policy or contract at a premium rate at least 20 percent higher than the rate actually charged;
    • Issued a policy or contract in as large an amount; or
    • Provided coverage with respect to the hazard resulting in the loss.

In addition, SB1168 also would have amended current law to prohibit an insurer from utilizing “managed repair” controls, such as requiring that a particular vendor make repairs to a dwelling insured on the basis of replacement costs. It also prohibits the insurer from even recommending or suggesting a particular vendor to make repairs to a dwelling insured on the basis of replacement costs.

 

The bill required the assignee to provide a copy of the assignment agreement to the insurer within the earlier of 7 days after execution of the agreement, or 48 hours after beginning nonemergency work if the insurer has a facsimile number and e-mail address on its website designated for the delivery of such documents. It allowed the insurer to inspect the property at any time. If the insurer fails to attempt in good faith to inspect the property within 7 days after learning of the loss and promptly deliver to the assignee written notice of any perceived deficiency in the assignee’s notice or the work being performed; however, the failure may be raised to estop the insurer from asserting that work done was not reasonably necessary or that the notice was insufficient. We worked hard to stop this bill from advancing or being amended onto other legislation.

 

Industry’s preferred AOB bill, SB62 by Senator Hukill, was never scheduled for a committee hearing by the Banking & Insurance committee in the Senate.

 

Meanwhile, the Florida House of Representatives AOB reform, HB 7015 by Representative Trumbull was sent to the Senate in the first week of the legislative session. While the House version was not a perfect solution, the bill makes significant changes to the way property repair vendors are restricted in their use of an “assignment of benefits” or “AOB.”   The bill requires disclosures be provided to insureds before entering into an AOB. It moved to a “loser pays” attorney fee system. The House legislation provided the insured with an opportunity to rescind the assignment within 7 days of entering into the contract with the vendor. Further, the bill increased consumer protections and required vendors to provide written estimates of the work to be completed and required the assignee to notify the insurer of the assignment within 3 days of it being executed.   While it would be better to eliminate attorneys’ fees to repair vendors altogether, this bill would have been an improvement over the current system.

 

In the end, the House and Senate versions of AOB never matched up. This issue will be revisited next session.

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