A task force has been established by Florida Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher in an effort to determine whether activities uncovered by New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer exist in Florida.
The establishment of the task force is the second step, following the establishment of a preliminary review by department attorneys. Its goal is to investigate whether or not such activities have been done in transactions by brokers and insurance companies in Florida.
Three weeks ago, Spitzer filed a civil lawsuit against Marsh & McLennan. He alleged that the nation’s largest insurance brokerage had created an elaborate scheme that included bid-rigging, kickbacks and improper payments. Those practices, he said, could have forced corporate customers into paying much higher prices for property and casualty insurance.
Spitzer has since widened his probe, which started in April, to look at the activities of health and life insurance companies.
Tami Torres, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Financial Services, said Gallagher initially asked for a preliminary review by department attorneys and now has set up a more formal review. The task force includes Steven Burgess, Florida’s insurance consumer advocate.
“If brokers and insurance companies are manipulating the law for personal gain and driving up insurance costs for consumers, then we need to seek restitution where appropriate and take swift action to prevent further abuses,” Gallagher said.