Louisiana insurance agent and agency suspended in emergency fraud action

Investigation found New Orleans agency left customers uncovered

Louisiana insurance agent and agency suspended in emergency fraud action

Insurance News

By Jen Frost

Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has taken emergency action to suspend a New Orleans area insurance agent and agency following a fraud investigation that found the business left customers uncovered during parts of hurricane season.

A Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) Office of Insurance Fraud investigation found that the insurance agent, named as Syed Azizuddin Baghdadi, and his agency Gator Insured had falsified information and misappropriated premiums “in several instances”, according to a news release shared by the LDI.

Louisiana insurance department received alleged fraud tip off and complaints

LDI investigators were tipped off to suspected fraudulent activity at Gator Insured by Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, which alleged that the agency had issued two letter with falsified information on policies and properties, the LDI said in the news release.

The LDI also received complaints and evidence that alleged that on “multiple occasions”, Baghdadi collected premium from title companies in the closing phase of real estate transactions but did not remit else delayed remittance of premiums to an insurer.

Baghdadi admitted to failing to remit timely premiums, according to the LDI news release.

Gator Insured was licensed as a producer agency in October 2020, with Baghdadi listed as the designated responsible licensed producer for the business.

The LDI summary suspension became effective October 31, with Baghdadi having 30 days from that date to lodge an appeal against the action.

“Louisiana residents rely on our licensed agents to honestly conduct their policy transactions and remit their premiums to secure coverage on their homes,” said Donelon. “For an agent to falsify policy information and fail to remit premiums puts residents in grave danger of losing their homes and other assets, especially during hurricane season.”

Louisiana property insurance – hurricane fraud and incentive bids

In May, the insurance commissioner levelled $2 million in total fines against Texas law firm, McLenny Moseley & Associates (MMA) and associated partners over what Donelon called an “egregious” and “illegal” hurricane fraud scheme.

Hurricane-prone Louisiana has grappled with an ailing property insurance market and carrier exits and insolvencies in recent years, with the state having set up an incentive plan to encourage further capacity into the property insurance market.

Donelon, who has been in post for 17 years, confirmed in March that he would not be seeking re-election.

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