Investigation finds New Orleans agency left customers exposed during hurricane season
by jane frost
Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donnellan has taken emergency action to suspend a New Orleans-area insurance agent and agency after a fraud investigation found that customers were denied business during hurricane season.
An investigation by the Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) Office of Insurance Fraud found that the insurance agent, named Syed Azizuddin Baghdadi, and his agency Gator Insurance “in multiple instances” provided false information and misappropriated premiums. LDI.
Louisiana Department of Insurance received reports and complaints of alleged fraud
LDI investigators were tipped off by Citizens Property Insurance Corporation about suspected fraudulent activity at Gator Insured, alleging that the agency had issued two letters with false information on policies and properties, LDI said in the news release.
The LDI also received complaints and evidence alleging that on “numerous occasions”, Baghdadi collected premiums from title companies at the closing stage of real estate transactions, but did not delay in remitting the premiums to the insurer.
According to an LDI news release, Baghdadi admitted failing to pay premiums on time.
Gator Insured was licensed as a manufacturer agency in October 2020, with Baghdadi listed as the named responsible licensed manufacturer for the business.
The LDI summary suspension became effective on 31 October, with Baghdadi having 30 days from that date to lodge an appeal against the action.
“Louisiana residents trust our licensed agents to conduct their policy transactions honestly and send their premiums to secure coverage at their homes,” Donnellan said. “For an agent to falsify policy information and fail to collect premiums puts residents at serious risk of losing their homes and other properties, especially during hurricane season.”
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