CFO Jimmy Patronis has formed and deployed two new teams to investigate the fraud – a total of 13 members, including detectives.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla – Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis announced at the Florida House Annual Insurance Summit on Thursday that he has formed and deployed two new fraud investigation teams to property insurance.

The new teams are made up of 13 members in total, including 10 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 prosecute 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 by 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 investigates insurance fraud, fraud in workers’ compensation, arson and the misuse of public funds.

Property insurance fraud in Florida has become a growing crisis for national insurance companies. In 2019, all common carriers combined recorded 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,” Patronis said. “Whether it’s tackling AOB (benefit attribution) 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 have resulted in a total of over $ 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.

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