How Florida Insurance coverage Executives Siphon Off Tens of millions and Depart Their Firms Bankrupt | Property Insurance coverage Protection Legislation Weblog

Insurance coverage firms are closely regulated to protect in opposition to monetary break, leaving policyholders with out the promised monetary security web. Traditionally, many insurance coverage firms would cost unsound actuarial charges, take premiums or surplus from the treasury and provides it to insurer executives, and make illusory insurance coverage contracts that paid little following a loss. Because of this the trade is regulated on a state-by-state foundation.

An article written by journalist Lawrence Mowry: Florida insurance coverage firm execs noticed large payouts in years with out hurricanes, helps make clear why Florida’s insurance coverage firms have change into a non-public piggy financial institution for his or her traders and executives whereas failing to construct up surplus and claims cost capability throughout non-hurricane years. The article famous:

In 2015, State Farm’s CEO earned $13.3 million overseeing America’s largest property insurance coverage firm.

That very same yr at Tampa-based Heritage Insurance coverage Holdings, certainly one of quite a few small Florida-based owners insurance coverage firms, its CEO made $27.3 million — regardless of overseeing 0.3% of the variety of insurance policies and accounts of State Farm.

Florida-based insurance coverage firms have been going out of enterprise the previous few years or elevating charges by double-digits. Business teams and Gov. Ron DeSantis have blamed extreme litigation, and Republican legislators are poised this week to restrict the incentives to sue insurers.

However state lawmakers have largely ignored a problem that has been straight blamed for quite a few previous firm failures — and allowed some executives to make eye-popping sums of cash over the past decade, when firms have been wildly worthwhile due to years and not using a storm.

Between 2014 and 2018, the CEO for Fort Lauderdale-based Common Insurance coverage Holdings made between $14 million and $25 million annually, company filings present. The corporate has lowered its insurance policies in Florida over the past yr.

At St. Petersburg-based United Insurance coverage Holdings, whose insurance coverage arm fell below state supervision final week, the corporate awarded thousands and thousands of {dollars} in inventory dividends, most of which went to firm officers and administrators, even whereas its income shrank, in line with company filings.

…Whereas insurance coverage firms in Florida are intently regulated, with caps on payouts and income, their mum or dad and sister firms are largely unregulated.

State regulators have lengthy been conscious of the risks of out-sized preparations between insurers and their sister and mum or dad firms.

Giant payouts to executives have been on the coronary heart of the largest insurer collapse within the state’s historical past: the 2008 failure of the Tampa-based Poe Insurance coverage Group, which left Floridians on the hook paying roughly $850 million in excellent claims from the 2004 and 2005 storms. The state sued to recoup $143.5 million in dividends the corporate paid to house owners and their members of the family between 2004 and 2005.

Since then, extreme payouts have been a constant theme among the many graveyard of firms which have failed. Monetary autopsies on firms that went bancrupt between 2011 and 2018 have repeatedly blamed excessive salaries and charges to affiliated firms. In a single case, the post-mortem mentioned one insurer’s officers have been ‘stripping [their] firm of money.’

How did this occur? The place have Florida’s regulators been whereas permitting these abuses? Why weren’t legal guidelines and rules made to stop this? Many of those identical elected officers voting right this moment on the proposed laws, which can take away longstanding policyholder rights, have been paid thousands and thousands in marketing campaign contributions, typically by non-public political motion committees (PACS.)

There must be full transparency of those affiliated firms, their relationships, and the quantities of cash siphoned off by administration agreements and customary possession. Then, we want regulatory leaders with braveness and efficient legal guidelines to permit them to pretty regulate the regulated. At present, it appears as if Florida’s regulatory and political management are utterly in mattress with insurance coverage firm executives and traders to assist conceal these hidden funds from insurers’ treasuries, which ought to be there for the policyholders.

Thought For The Day

There’s a sufficiency on the earth for man’s want however not for man’s greed.
—Mahatma Gandhi

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