Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced Thursday at the Florida House Insurance Annual Summit its formation and deployment of two new property insurance fraud investigation teams.
The new teams are made up of 13 members in total, including ten law enforcement detectives. The new division is based in Tampa and Orlando and works with federal, state and local partners to investigate property insurance fraud.
Although concentrated in central Florida, investigative teams have the power to pursue cases statewide.
“While my teams devote a tremendous amount of time and effort to holding scammers accountable, we can’t do it alone,” Patronis said. “This is why we use a working group approach with both teams, joining with the state attorneys office, local prosecutors, law enforcement agencies and the insurance industry to better coordinate our anti-fraud efforts to protect Florida insurance consumers. “
Patronis’ Investigative and Forensic Services division encompasses all components of law enforcement and forensics residing within the Department of Financial Services and Investigating Insurance Fraud, Insurance Fraud. compensation for workmen’s compensation, arson and misuse of public funds.
Property insurance fraud in Florida has become a growing crisis for national insurance companies. In 2019, carriers accumulated more than $ 700 million in losses in 2019.
“Each year, as CFO, I have worked to protect Florida consumers and fight rising insurance rates in our state. Whether it’s tackling AOB abuse, tackling post-disaster fraud or shutting down unscrupulous contractors, eliminating fraud is key to controlling insurance costs ” , Patronis said. “Since taking office, our Enforcement Unit has made over 4,500 arrests related to fraud and arson. These efforts resulted in a total of more than $ 173 million in court-ordered restitution. “
Both teams will largely focus on large cases involving organized fraud schemes, contractor fraud, fictitious damage claims, inflated damage claims, and fraudulent water and roof damage claims.
Patronis also highlighted its Residential Resilience Tax Relief Legislative Proposal, which provides a tax exemption for improvements to Florida homes while receiving sales tax relief.