Recent News​ and Events

Florida Justice Report Institute Report - 2018 AOB Date shows 18% Increase in legistlation

April 1, 2019

The data shows a 900% increase in legislation since 2008.  Additionally, a fifth of all property AOB litigation is filed by just 5 firms representing 6 lawyers.  AOB Litigation is Outpacing the Population Growth.  

Florida's 135,000 AOB Lawsuits in 2018 fuelling a re/insurance crisis

March 25, 2019

Through November 2018, the State of Florida has seen a 70% increase in AOB lawsuits since 2013.  

Florida Insurance Commissioner Debunks Top AOB Myths

March 25, 2019

Myth vs Reality - Should you really sign an AOB?  Top five myths on AOB's.  Learn the facts before you sign.  

Florida Attorney General Files Complaint against Kinnecorps and Roger Van Den Bosch

March 11, 2019

Office of Attorney General files Complaint against Kinnecorps and Roger Van Den Bosch, JR

Office of Attorney General sues defendants seeking temporary, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, restitution, disgorgement of ill-gotten monies, civil penalties as well as other equitable relie

Is Bad Politics Behind AOB Reform in Florida

December 11, 2018

If nothing is done to rein in the AOB crisis, the average homeowner insurance premium for a standard HO-3 policy on a new $150,000 home is expected to rise from $1,232 last year to $1,595 in 2022 -- an increase of 29.5 percent in five years.

The Florida Property and Casualty Insurance Fraud Task Force issues press release - Hurricane Michael

October 11, 2018

The Florida Property & Casualty Insurance Fraud Task Force believes that it is important to remind Florida consumers affected by Hurricane Michael to avoid being hit by a second disaster – Insurance fraud. In the aftermath of this devastating storm, Floridian’s are returning home and surveying the damage. We know there are individuals and groups that may attempt to take criminal advantage of policyholders when they are most vulnerable. Don’t become a victim of fraud after a disaster.  

Cape Coral Contractor Arrested for Fraud

September 6, 2018

Christopher Cheney, the owner of Southern Premier, was booked on one count of fraud-swindle (obtaining property $50,000 or more) after dozens of people said he took their money but didn't do the work.

Miami-Dade Police Lieutenant and ex-wife accused in insurance fraud scheme.

August 15, 2018

Lt. Alexander Diaz de Villegas and his ex-wiefe, Barbara Diaz de Villegas charged with organized fraud, filing false insurance claims and grand theft.  

CFO Jimmy Patronis: $140,000 AOB Fraud Scheme Across Eight Florida Counties Lands Contractor with Grand Theft and Racketeering Charges

June 13, 2018

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis announced the arrest of Timothy Matthew Cox, owner of Nationwide Catastrophe Services, Inc. and Restoration Response Services, Inc., for an alleged Assignment of Benefits (AOB) fraud scheme that impacted 19 homeowners in eight Florida counties and one Texas county. Cox stole 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.

Jorge Espinosa pleads guilty on arson, insurance fraud, racketeering and other charges

May 28,2018

Espinosa pleads guilty to multiple counts following his arrest in 2014 as part of the Flames and Flood investigation.  

AOB CASE - Nicon Construction v Homeowners Choice and B & M Clean

May 14, 2018

RichText.When the phrase "any and all insurance rights,
benefits, and causes of action under my property insurance policy" is read in the context
of the entire assignment and the purpose for which it was entered into, it is evident that
Mr. Prager was assigning all his rights under the policy to payment for the services
performed by B&M Clean—not all his rights to payment for the entire covered claim.
Accordingly, the assignment to Nicon was valid, and it was error for the trial court to
enter summary judgment in favor of Homeowners Choice.

Point of View - AOB Lawsuit for Profit Scheme - Palm Beach Post.com

April 18, 2018

With no real action taken by our leaders in Tallahassee the AOB issue remains and rate increases will continue

April 9, 2018

Lack of reform dealing with AOB's causing carriers to cancel policies and leave the State.  Interview of insurance expert Dulce Suarez-Resnick.  The situation is not limited to South Florida.  

Carlson Enterprises In the News - Accepting Money - Not Completing Jobs

March 14, 2018

Several news stories reporting that Carlson Enterprises took insurance funds and did not start work or obtain permits.  Owners start new business.

     News4Jax - Day Care paid thousands to Carlson - Work not completed

    CBS 47 - Carlson Roofing Executive start new business after complaints

    CBS 47 - Customers Accuse Carlson of taking money, not doing work.

Florida Office of Insurance Regulation Releases Report on the Impact of AOB's -

February 22, 2018

The frequency of water claims in the most recent two-and-a-half-year period has increased 44.1%, which is just slightly less than the total increase in frequency for the almost six-year period (46.3%) studied in the prior report. The severity of water losses has also increased significantly in recent years. In total, water losses were increasing at a rate of 14.2% per year in the prior report. Since 2015, the rate has increased to 42.1% per year. These increases are occurring in all regions of the state; however Southeast Florida and Central West Florida show the highest rates of increase in water losses. These trends are evident in rate filings submitted to the Office and are resulting in significant premium increases to homeowners across the state.

Fraud suspect plotted to hire hitman to ‘take care of’ Miami prosecutor, state alleges

February 15, 2018

State alleges that former public adjuster Jorge Espinosa plotted with a fellow inmate to hire a hitman to assassinate the prosecutor

TSK Exteriors Follow Up News Story - WFTV - Are you possibly a victim?

February 13, 2018

If you believe you may be a victim contact The Florida Division of Investigative and Forensic Services 1-800-378-0445

Owner of TSK Exteriors arrested on several counts of insurance fraud. WFTV News Story

February 12, 2018

Michele Krisle of TSK Exteriors arrested on three counts of insurance fraud related to charging insurance companies for Irma repairs that were not performed.  More victims of an AOB.   Liens placed on homes far in excess of the amount of damage

 

Florida Peninsula Insurance Special Investigation Unit conducts an investigation into the actions of TSK Exteriors leading to referrals to the Division of Investigative and Forensic Services.  

Florida Keys Agent arrested for faking roof inspection

November 20, 2017

Insurance agent arrested on four felony counts of insurance fraud by the Bureau of Insurance Fraud.  Agent accused of cropping dates from outdated roof photos and copying the electronic signature of a roof inspector.  

October 11, 2017

With people across Volusia County still recovering and seeking repairs to properties damaged by Hurricane Irma, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office launched its second recent sting operation targeting unlicensed contractors looking to cash in on the work.

Volusia County sheriff’s detectives in cooperation with the State Attorney’s Office, Daytona Beach Police Department, and state insurance and fraud regulators, conducted a two-day undercover operation, which culminated today (Friday), zeroing in on unlicensed contractors in Deltona and Daytona Beach. The sting, dubbed “Operation Hurri-Con,” was designed to catch those who prey on victims of hurricane damage by advertising or offering services such as A/C, electrical or roofing jobs – all work that requires licensed contractors.

October 11, 2017

The State has dispatched three anti-fraud strike teams to investigate suspicious activity and alert residents on how to recognize red flags.  If you suspect that someone is committing insurance fraud contact the Florida Department of Financial Services.  

Property Fraud Task Force Hurricane Irma Press Release

The Florida Property & Casualty Insurance Fraud Task Force believes that it is important to remind  Florida consumers affected by Hurricane Irma to avoid being hit by a second disaster – Insurance  fraud. In the aftermath of this devastating storm, Floridian’s are returning home and surveying  the damage. We know there are individuals and groups that may attempt to take criminal  advantage of policyholders when they are most vulnerable. Don’t become a victim of fraud after  a disaster.  

Florida Insurance Rates Could Double

August 22, 2017

CBS News Story on the impact of AOB's on insurance rates affecting Florida Insurance Consumers.  

Nationwide Catastrophe Again in the news - Action 9 News

June 21, 2017

Homeowners sign AOB with Nationwide Catastrophe Service and report that contractor never completed the job after cashing the insurance settlement check. 

Insurance Company employee arrested for stealing $1Million from employer

March 1, 2017

 Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced the recent arrest of Jennifer Summerlott, a licensed Customer Service Representative, following a scheme that allegedly bilked her Ft. Lauderdale-based employer, Fairway Insurance Group, LLC (Fairway) out of more than $1 million. Summerlott is accused of orchestrating an elaborate scheme to defraud her employer through the use of fake insurance invoices to reroute company funds for her personal financial benefit.

WFTV Channel 9 News - Action 9 investigates hidden insurance rate hikes

February 23, 2017

Excellent story on the rising number of water related claims, increased litigation and the cost to consumers. 

Florida Chamber of Commerce - Video: Don't Sign Away Your Rights

February 3, 2017

In Florida, there’s a rapidly growing scam in which a few shady home repair vendors pressure homeowners to sign away the rights and benefits of their insurance policies as a condition of performing work. This practice has led to grossly inflated claims and an explosion of Assignment of Benefit lawsuits against insurers, which is driving up the cost of homeowners’ coverage for consumers.

Unlicensed Miami Public Adjuster Arrested Following $100,000 Fraudulent Water Claims Scam

December 22, 2016

The Department of Financial Services’ Division of Investigative and Forensic Services (DIFS), which operates under the direction of Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, today announced the arrest of Julian Garcia-Sellek of Miami on multiple felony fraud and grand theft charges. The arrest follows an investigation that discovered Garcia-Sellek, while acting as an unlicensed public adjuster, allegedly went to great lengths to inflate the costs associated with multiple insurance claims in addition to filing several fraudulent claims to cover water damage that did not exist.

Former Tavares Mayor Robert Wolf admits to insurance fraud

December 7, 2016

WFTV News Story - Former mayor of Tavares, Robert Wolfe takes plea deal on insurance fraud charge. 

Sustainable Roof System - Florida Lien Law

December 1, 2016

Homeowner has to pay twice for roofing job due to Florida's lien law. .  Insured hired Sustainable Roof Systems.  Contractor Robert Mack has license suspended.  Business address is a drop box.   The Better Business Bureau reports that the business has violated the use of the BBB name and logo and the business is not accredited.   

ABC Action News - High Tower Restoration

October 25, 2016

AOB Strikes Again - High Tower Restoration - Once again a roofer is charged with stealing almost 1 million dollars from dozens of homeowners on Florida's West Coast.  Once again the promise of a free roof leads to frustration and unrepaired roofs.    Read ABC Action News Story

AOB's have insurers on edge following Hurricane Matthew

October 17, 2016

Property insurers dodged major losses in the wake of Hurricane Matthew – with initial estimates falling from $50 billion to $8.8 billion – but a controversial legal provision is causing some industry discomfort.  Insurance Business Magazine

NBRC Roofing Defendant Ordered to Pay $631,000 in Investigative and Prosecution Costs

September 12, 2016

News Channel 8 Update on NBRC Roofing Investigation.  Stacy Dunko ordered to repay 100 victims $631,000 and pay $8500 in prosecution costs.  Her husband, Carlton Dunko was sentenced last year to two years in prison.  This is a story that the task force has been following for years and many of our members played an active role in the investigation of this company. 

Following Hurricane Hermine, Insurance Scams Reported in Taylor County

September 6, 2016

As Hurricane Hermine recovery efforts continue, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and the Department of Financial Services has heard reports of insurance scams occurring in Taylor County. The Department is currently working with Taylor County officials and FDLE to investigate reports of scammers claiming to be Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials who are demanding a $150 deposit in exchange for helping consumers file hurricane-related insurance claims. There is no fee to file a FEMA claim and Floridians who encounter this scam should report it by calling the Department’s Consumer Insurance Helpline at 1-877-693-5236. Consumers can also utilize this helpline to get free help with the filing of hurricane-related insurance claims.

March 23, 2016

The Florida Property and Casualty Insurance Fraud Task Force released the following statement today in reaction to the investigative report by Orlando’s WFTV9ABC Investigative Report on questionable roof claims.

 

The Florida Property and Casualty Insurance Fraud Task Force applauds the efforts of local news outlets in the recent focus on an alarming trend in questionable roof and water claims.

 

The Florida Property and Casualty Insurance Fraud Task Force has reviewed a report recently released by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation which reveals a significant rise in costs in property insurance claims where the repair contractors, plumbers, roofers and water remediation service providers have policyholders sign a legal document called an assignment of benefits form. (AOB)

Task Force Consumer Brochure - Guide to protecting you and your property following a disaster

July 12, 2016

Consumer Brochure - How to avoid a disaster after the disaster.  The Task Force has created a brochure to help protect you and your property after a loss.

WFTV Channel 9 News Story on ELR Roofing - Homeowner reports ELR hijacked his insurance claim

April 13, 2016

Action 9 Story - Homeowner reports that ELR through an AOB hijacked his insurance claim.  Roofing expert finds no hail damage as reported by ELR. 

Is a "free" roof really a free roof? WFTV Channel 9 News Story on ELR Roofing

February 16, 2016

Action 9 Story shows how offers of free roofs drives up the cost of insurance.  

The OIR releases report following AOB Data Call - Data shows financial impact to insurance consumers.

February 9,2016

The HO-3/DF frequency of water claims per 1,000 policies has increased by 46%

since 2010.

 

The average severity of HO-3/DF water claims increased by 28% since 2010.

 

The combined impact of changes in frequency and severity result in an average

14.2% increase in water losses each year.

 

Southeast Florida has the highest frequency and severity of HO-3/DF water

losses; however, the highest combined change in frequency and severity actually

occurred in Central Florida. All regions are seeing significant increases in water

losses.

 

Claims with an Assignment of Benefit (AOB) generally have a higher severity

than claims without an AOB

 

There has been a significant increase in the use of AOBs since 2010, from 5.7%

of the claims to 15.9% of the claims. This increase in the use of AOBs is being

seen across all regions.

WKMG Story on Unethical Roofers

June 2, 2015

Roof investigation finds questionable wind damage claims

Dozens more arrested in Operation Flames and Floods 2

May 2015

Operation Flames and Floods began in November 2012 as a joint investigation between the Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Arson Unit. In February 2014, 14 people were arrested after 13 homes were intentionally set on fire and five more reported staged water damage. As a result of the fraud, multiple insurance carriers incurred more than $7.6 million in reported losses.

Arrests made on NBRC Roofing Investigation

October 2, 2014

TAMPA – Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced the arrests of five NBRC Roofing Company employees for organizing a $525,000 insurance fraud scheme. The Tampa-based company is accused of leaving 97 homeowners in Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota counties with unfinished roof repairs and liens on their homes after stealing insurance money intended to pay subcontractors.

Roofing Stimulus - Is it Real? Jacksonville

August 11, 2014

Usually, the complaints about roofers are from consumers, but this time it is the roofing industry complaining about a roofing promotion.

CFO Atwater announces arrest of Port Charlotte women

May 23, 2014

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced the arrest of Nancy Amieva for filing fraudulent insurance claims after intentionally flooding her home and setting her kitchen on fire. The claims, totaling more than $70,000, were never paid when suspicions were raised about their legitimacy. If convicted, she faces up to five years in prison.

NBRC Roofing - Homeowners now losing homes.

March 14, 2014

News story from WFLA Channel 8 news on how homeowners are losing their homes due to Florida's Construction lien law and assignment of benefits. Outlines the number of bank accounts identified and the large number of victims idenfitied.  The Division of Insurance Fraud continues their investigation.

Operation Flames and Floods

February 4, 2014

CFO Atwater Announces 14 Arrests After Investigation Known As 'Operation Flames and Floods' Exposes Multi-Million Dollar Insurance Fraud.

Thank you to the the several law enforcement agencies and the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office that have worked this case for over 2 years.

Operation Leaky Pipes Nets 12 Miami-Dade Homeowners

January 29, 2014

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – State insurance fraud agents call it Operation Leaky Pipes–a countywide effort to bust homeowners who inflated or created water damage in their homes and filed phony insurance claims to have repair work done.

Twelve Miami-Dade homeowners were arrested Wednesday morning in a case that dates back more than two years

State Cracking Down on Insurance Fraud

October 22, 2013

Florida is aggressively pursuing insurance cheats, trying to cut down on fraud in the industry by arresting more than 1,500 people so far this fiscal year.

Division of Insurance Fraud Annual Report 2012- 2013

November 18, 2013

Florida Department of Financial Services - Division of Insurance Fraud Annual Report

State investigators with the Department of Financial Services say they are investigating the business practices of NBRC Construction in Tampa.

April 22, 2013

During the first three quarters of 2011, there were 74,944 QCs referred to NICB. During the first three quarters of 2012, that number increased to 87,684, and it increased again during the first three quarters of 2013 to 93,053. Overall, comparing the first three quarters of 2011 to the first three quarters of 2013, the numbers of QCs increased 24 percent.

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