Barry Gilway, President/CEO and Executive Director of CItizens Property Insurance Corp. has sent a letter to the Editor of the Miami Herald expressing his disappointment at the Herald’s recent article regarding the closure of the company’s Office of Corporate Integrity. Last week the miamiherald.com reported (and we cited in our last post) that Citizens had dismantled its Office of Corporate Integrity by firing the four officers in charge of these investigations. Among those employees were T.W. Smart, a former senior official with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement who ran the Office of Corporate Integrity; Selisa Daniel, a former economic crimes investigator with the attorney general’s office, and two other employees. At the time Citizens stated that they were let go because they lacked the necessary expertise to handle the type of high-level fraud taking place at the company.
Moreover, the miamiherald.com article continued, no forensic accountants (or any other staff) had been hired since the office was dismantled.
Citizens Executive Disagrees
According to miamiherald.com, Mr. Gilway states in his letter that the company’s corporate integrity functions have not been eliminated but re-aligned and “placed under other business units to ensure we are following corporate best practices for investigating allegations of potential employee fraud or misconduct.” Mr. Gilway further states that “these changes will better define, strengthen and streamline our corporate integrity review procedures, enabling us to more proactively identify, investigate and deter potential internal fraud and policy violations.”
In his letter, Mr. Gilway repeats what a corporate spokesperson said before regarding the former Office of Corporate Integrity lacking people with the financial forensics expertise that would allow the identify and initiate investigations of potential internal fraud or policy violations. In fact, Mr. Gilway continues, most complaints investigated by OCI turned out to be workplace complaints and employee performance issues more appropriately handled by management and Employee Relations.
Forensic Accountants Wanted
Finally, Mr. Gilway says that Citizens is actively looking for the best forensic accountants candidates and that once those are found and hired, they will join the Office of Internal Audit (OIA) as part of a team that will oversee a complete internal fraud prevention and detection program and report directly to the company’s Board of Governors. According to Mr. Gilway, having the Office of Internal Audit report directly to the Board of Governors “will ensure objectivity and insulate investigators from any potential for reprisal”.
According to Mr. Gilway, these situations will be handled as follows: an attorney from their legal department will fill the position of “Citizens Ethics Officer” and will be responsible for processing all ethics policy violation reports and assigning them to the appropriate unit. While internal fraud reports are assigned to the Office of Internal Audit, workplace and performance-related complaints will be assigned to Employee Relations.
The Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano Can Help
You should always have an attorney help you review your policy and advise you on what coverage you should have and for how much. If you are about to renew your policy (with the same insurer or a new one), we can help you review it and make sure you are adequately covered and in a position to avoid costly expenses should disaster strike.
Moreover, please note that if your home has already sustained damages, our team of loss consultants, paralegals, and attorneys will assist you in every aspect of your claim. Our loss consultant will even go to your home to evaluate the damage you sustained at no cost or obligation to you. Contact us today for a free inspection by our loss consultant.
With more than 70 years of combined experience, the Miami Dade County Homeowners Insurance Claims Law Offices of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have helped thousands of Homeowners all over Florida review their policies, present their claims and get the compensation owed them by their insurance carrier. Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today for a free consultation.