Please call  Lee from Calle Financial, Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance & Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, and Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to them.

A former Miami insurance agent has been arrested for allegedly stealing more than $1.7 million in insurance premiums from two insurance premium finance companies, according a statement from Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis.

Antonio Jesus Zoghbi, owner of Florida Insurance Agency of Miami, is accused of using fraudulent and stolen identities to submit fake premium finance contracts and divert policy funds into his business account.

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2019/07/15/532177.htm

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Please call  Lee from L & S Insurance, Inc. Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance & Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, and Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to them.

Lot’s of bills to not only see what passed, but what did not pass, what is pending, what is close & why we have to wait. Please read the full article below & be informed.

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2019/06/27/530569.htm

 

 

Please call  Lee from L & S Insurance, Inc. Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance & Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, and Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to them.

Long-awaited reforms for Florida’s assignment of benefits (AOB) crisis that the insurance industry and consumer advocates say has led to less coverage and higher rates for Florida property owners will officially become law July 1.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 7065 on Thursday, marking the end to a seven-year battle by the industry and reform advo

The bill’s provisions:

  • Define “assignment agreement” and establishing requirements for the execution, validity, and effect of such an agreement
  • Prohibit certain fees and altering policy provisions related to managed repairs in an assignment agreement
  • Transfer certain pre-lawsuit duties under the insurance contract to the assignee and shifting the burden to the assignee to prove that any failure to carry out such duties has not limited the insurer’s ability to perform under the contract
  • Require each insurer to report specified data on claims paid in the prior year under assignment agreements by Jan. 30, 2022, and each year thereafter
  • Allow an insurer to make available a policy prohibiting assignment, in whole or in part, under certain conditions
  • Revise the state’s one-way attorney fee statute to incorporate an attorney fee structure in determining the fee amount awarded in suits by an assignee against an insurer
  • Require service providers to give an insurer and the consumer prior written notice of at least 10 business days before filing suit on a claim.

The bill also requires savings be passed along to Florida consumers who are covered by Citizens Property Insurance Corp., which has borne the brunt of AOB abuse.

In South Florida in particular, AOB lawsuits have exploded over the last 10 years and Citizens has filed for rate increases to offset litigation costs. It proposed rate increases for 97 percent of its homeowners policyholders for 2019.

cates seeking a solution to escalating abuse of the policyholder benefit.

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2019/05/24/527402.htm

Please call  Lee from L & S Insurance, Inc. Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance & Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, and Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to them.

Nine individuals and business owners have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a large-scale organized scheme to defraud insurance companies out of more than $600,000 in fraudulent insurance claims, according to a statement from Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis.

The arrests came after a year-long joint insurance fraud investigation dubbed “Operation Rubicon” that included fraud detectives with the Florida Department of Financial Services, the Miami-Dade Police Department and Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s office.

The joint fraud investigation was initiated after several insurance companies notified authorities of suspected fraudulent residential insurance claims in the South Florida and Tampa areas. Detectives believe that The Rubicon Group, a public adjusting company owned by Barbara Maria Gonzalez, committed organized fraud and grand theft.

Gonzalez allegedly utilized the services of unscrupulous Florida companies, including water mitigation and restoration companies, insurance agencies and agents, appraisers, and willing homeowners to allegedly commit the fraud, DFS said. The investigation remains open and ongoing and more arrests are expected.

Patronis joined Rundle and Miami-Dade Police Department Director Juan J. Perez to announce the arrests at a press conference on Tuesday.

“Today, we arrested nine individuals who are the ringleaders of an elaborate fraud scheme, with more arrests to come,” Patronis said.

Those arrested include:

  • Barbara Maria Gonzalez
  • Rafael Exposito
  • Rigoberto Lopez
  • Ricardo Alvarez
  • Jose Gonzalez
  • Romy Valdespino Rodriguez
  • Alessandra Kruger
  • Alicia Pardey
  • Ricardo Tello

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2019/05/02/525286.htm

Please call  Lee from L & S Insurance, Inc. Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance & Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, and Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to them.

The insurance industry and consumers advocates say the abuse has caused higher insurance premiums in the state and made insurance harder to obtain.

The bill’s provisions:

  • Define “assignment agreement” and establishing requirements for the execution, validity, and effect of such an agreement
  • Prohibit certain fees and altering policy provisions related to managed repairs in an assignment agreement
  • Transfer certain pre-lawsuit duties under the insurance contract to the assignee and shifting the burden to the assignee to prove that any failure to carry out such duties has not limited the insurer’s ability to perform under the contract
  • Require each insurer to report specified data on claims paid in the prior year under assignment agreements by January 30, 2022, and each year thereafter
  • Allow an insurer to make available a policy prohibiting assignment, in whole or in part, under certain conditions
  • Revise the state’s one-way attorney fee statute to incorporate an attorney fee structure in determining the fee amount awarded in suits by an assignee against an insurer
  • Require service providers to give an insurer and the consumer prior written notice of at least 10 business days before filing suit on a claim.

The Senate bill was sponsored by Senator Doug Broxson, chair of the Banking & Insurance Committee.

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2019/04/24/524700.htm

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In an effort to keep the Florida assignment of benefits (AOB) crisis from further worsening in the state, Florida’s insurance industry, regulators and consumer advocates are on high alert for AOB activity in the wake of Hurricane Michael and working to educate consumers on the pitfalls of signing over their policy rights.

“Consumers need all the information they can get to help navigate making repairs to their homes and vehicles, and we’re working hard to provide resources to help prevent Floridians from becoming victims of AOB scams,” said Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which spearheads the Consumer Protection Coalition, formed in 2017 to tackle the state’s AOB epidemic.

pressuring some to sign an assignment of benefits contract. Check with your insurance agent, insurance company, or call my office before you sign anything,” Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis warned in an Oct. 15 press release from the Department of Financial Services. “Storms bring out the best in people, but unfortunately, they bring out the worst in some. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Florida’s AOB problem has stemmed from unlicensed water remediation and roofing contractors who have homeowners sign over their insurance policy rights in exchange for needed repairs to their homes, and then file inflated or fake claims with the insurer. When those claims are disputed or denied, these contractors file a lawsuit that insurers are often left footing the bill for.

Carriers across the state have seen an increase in litigation because of inflated claims, which is leading to increased costs for policyholders. According to the Florida Department of Financial Services, there were 405 AOB lawsuits across all 67 Florida counties in 2006, and by 2016 that number had risen to 28,200.

State officials have warned that the AOB issue could become even worse in the aftermath of a large-scale disaster, such as Hurricane Michael, due to a large number of claims triggering a contractor shortage, and people who are anxious to get repairs started on their homes assigning their insurance policy benefits to contractors.

Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier said before Michael hit that scenario was one of his biggest concerns, and noted the quick handling of claims would help ensure people are not taken advantage of

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/10/18/504876.htm

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Ohio-based Demotech — which rates 397 companies nationwide, 57 of which are in Florida —said Monday that it has suspended ratings guidelines it uses in Florida due to what it is calling an uncertain operating environment in the state.

The ratings firm says no Florida insurers it rates are in danger of failing but there are about 10 to 15 that could see downgrades in March.

Demotech said it will eventually revise its general guidance but, in the meantime, it is advising carriers individually to ensure they are adequately capitalized to handle the now uncertain operating environment

The uncertain operating climate that concerns Demotech refers to Florida’s escalating assignment of benefits crisis that has caused the number of litigated water loss claims to skyrocket over the past few years, particularly for the state-run insurer Citizens. The problem has begun affecting Florida’s private market insurers as well, with many pulling out of areas of the state where the abuse is the most rampant and filing for rate increases.

In addition, two court cases decided at the end of 2016 that Demotech said reversed “industry claims procedures that remain intact in other operating environments” will create unanticipated challenges for insurers that Demotech said it now needs to take into consideration to properly rate companies operating in Florida

Please enjoy the full article below;

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2017/02/07/441177.htm