People's Trust Insurance Company

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People’s Trust Insurance Company is a Florida based homeowner's insurance company. Founded in 2007 by Michael Gold, the company has recently moved its corporate headquarters from Boca Raton, Florida, to the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University in Deerfield Beach.[1] People’s Trust provides insurance coverage to over 100,000 Florida homeowners.

As of November 2013, People’s Trust has over 400 full-time employees statewide and by operating all major corporate functions internally, the company claims that it is able to maintain control and consistency throughout the total customer experience – sales and customer service, underwriting, inspections, claims processing, and home restoration.

In August 2013, rating agency Demotech affirmed the "A" Financial Stability Rating assigned to People’s Trust Insurance Company.[2]

Distribution[edit]

People’s Trust was initially launched with a direct-to-consumer sales channel utilizing in-house insurance agents and customer service representatives, however, since 2012, after having its license suspended for using unlicensed agents, the company developed a network of over 300 independent insurance agencies statewide that is now able to offer the company’s insurance coverage.

Criticism[edit]

Michael Gold’s original theory was to create a “direct-to-consumer” insurance company that eliminated the “insurance agent” and saved customers money. Right away, Gold’s policies were selling rapidly, saving each customer 20-25 percent per annual premium. But by doing so, in March 2009, regulators threatened to pull his license for using unauthorized people to sell his insurance. In March 2009, Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty suspended People's Trust Insurance Co.'s ability to sell new policies until it complied with McCarty's requirements. People’s entered into a consent order with the Florida Department of Financial Services.

In a later case, a witness from the Department testified about the conduct that led to that consent order, including the assertion that People’s was “advertising rates that were much too low” so that “there was no way that they could support them.” In addition, unlicensed agents were giving quotes “based on every available discount”; People’s software auto-populated the discounts whether or not an applicant claimed to have a device that would warrant a discount.Court Opinion, Florida 4th District Court of Appeal

Among other violations, Gold’s practice was shut down to new sales, fined $155,000 and ordered to deposit $500,000 with the state. Although this violation created quite a stumbling block for People’s Trust, Michael Gold said carrying out such orders and willingly fixing the problems that caused violations would only make them stronger, according to FloridaTrend.com. People’s Trust immediately complied with all regulatory requirements mandated by the Office of Insurance Regulation and the Department of Financial Services. In part, the company was required to have more reinsurance; it has been reported that this was accomplished by Gold forming a new company to provide the reinsurance.

People's Trust Insurance Company has been the subject of consumer complaints. Claims have been made that its business model is not to pay out building structure claims, bur rather, the company requires policyholders to use an affiliated repair company to allegedly fix the problem, reportedly without utilizing the services of a licensed insurance adjuster. Additionally, the company reportedly requires the homeowner to pay the deductible prior to any repairs, and reportedly will finance that payment through yet another affiliated company.

People's Loses Recent Lawsuit[edit]

In November, 2013, an appellate court upheld a jury award of $766,258.06 to a Florida policyholder who had lost his home in a house fire. That court stated "After his home was destroyed by a fire, appellee Raymond Roddy filed a claim with his insurer, appellant People’s Trust Insurance Company. People’s denied coverage for numerous reasons, one being the claim that Roddy had made material misrepresentations on his application for insurance. The case was submitted to a jury, which awarded Roddy $766,258.06 in damages. The court upheld the jury award.Court Opinion, Florida 4th District Court of Appeal

Current Executives[edit]

• George Schaeffer - Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

• Mitch Politzer - President

• Steve Martindale - Chief Financial Officer

• Rosie Sicre - Chief Claims Officer

• Mark Bowsher – Chief Underwriting Officer

Past Company Executives[edit]

Awards and Recognition[edit]

DateAward
January 21, 20142013 Enterprise Florida Governor's Innovators in Business Award[4] in a mega market[5]

References[edit]