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Dave (Dave)
Posted on Monday, July 31, 2000 - 2:02 pm:   

This just in from an associate in Florida.

Suggested reading for any one considering working for/with the company and /or any affiliates thereof. "Caveat Emptor"


TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner Bill Nelson
today charged that one of the state’s largest property insurers attempted to
"subvert, manipulate and undermine" insurance regulators, and that its
management showed a "lack of trustworthiness."




The charges stem from alleged efforts by Bankers Insurance Co. to
intimidate a state official by hiring a private investigator who pried into
aspects of his personal life - following him to a gay bar and the store where
he shopped for groceries, looking into his bank records and tapping into his
telephone calls.

The charges, outlined in an administrative complaint issued by Nelson,
mean the St. Petersburg-based insurer will have 21 days from receipt of the
complaint to request a hearing, or face a penalty ranging from a fine to the
suspension or revocation of its license to do business.

"Spying on a government regulator for the purpose of intimidation
threatens the state's ability to protect the public," Nelson said today.
"Every consumer in Florida has reason to be outraged by such activity."

Nelson's complaint comes after a review of newly released civil court
records that shed more light on the company's efforts to probe the personal
life of Kevin McCarty, a longtime employee of the Florida Department of
Insurance. Those records were unsealed earlier this month by a judge in a
civil lawsuit against Banker's brought by McCarty, who still works for Nelson
at the insurance department. McCarty's duties at one time included oversight
of a state-created insurance pool, known as the JUA, where Bankers lost a $16
million policy-servicing contract.

Apart from the civil lawsuit, Bankers has been under investigation by the
insurance department since June 1996. The investigator pleaded guilty in 1997
to a federal wiretap charge, but Bankers claimed ignorance of his spying

The company, meantime, has been acting to block Nelson's probe by
fighting his subpoenas in court and trying to keep secret the files detailing
the private investigator's work. Bankers lost its fight to keep those records
sealed earlier this month in the separate civil lawsuit by McCarty. Also this
month, another judge granted Nelson's investigators the right to see such

Documents unsealed in the civil lawsuit indicate Bankers hired the
private investigator in April 1995 and asked for an investigation of
McCarty's personal life, including any romantic relationships. The company
has contended that McCarty seemed biased against it, and claimed it wanted
only to determine why.

Evidence that someone was spying came to the attention of federal
authorities in August 1995, when a Tallahassee telephone company technician
found a wiretap on McCarty's home telephone line and reported it to the
Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The complaint filed by Nelson on Thursday, in part, says that Bankers
violated state insurance laws by "using methods and practices in the conduct
of their business as to render the further transaction of insurance in this
state hazardous or injurious to their policyholders or to the public." The
complaint also names two Bankers subsidiaries, Bankers Life Insurance
Company and Bankers Security Insurance Company - that share certain common
officers and directors.

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