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Florida insurer airs dirty laundry list

Feb. 28, 2013 at 11:46 AM

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Florida's Citizen's Property Insurance Corp. released internal documents in an effort to clear the air about personnel misconduct, the firm's president said.

"This review is an important piece of Citizens' ongoing efforts to strengthen internal policies to ensure that our employees are held to the highest standards of corporate integrity," President Barry Gilway said in a statement.

"All complaints were addressed and corrective action taken in accordance with Citizens' policies in place at the time," Gilway said.

But the effort could backfire, the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times reported Thursday.

In releasing a list of internal complaints, the company looks sincere in its effort to come clean, but it also exposes a significant number of improprieties, the newspapers said.

The insurance company, which is backed by taxpayer funds, has been in the spotlight ever since it fired four investigators in its Office of Corporate Integrity, which it said was part of a restructuring effort.

The office was then disbanded. This occurred soon after the firm's Internal Auditor Joe Martins censored much of a critical internal report.

The allegations are extremely broad, ranging from overpaying executives to corporate fraud to using the company credit card to pay for a visit to a strip club.

The list of complaints broadens that list to include allegations of theft, office affairs and even supervisors "wearing too much cologne," Martins said in a statement.

"Where we found weaknesses, we are making necessary improvements to strengthen our complaints and disciplinary procedures," Martins said.

Critics of the company's dirty laundry include Gov. Rick Scott.

"People shouldn't be doing these things," Scott said.

In a recent interview, Scott called the behavior of some of the company's personnel "'outrageous' and 'foolish' and 'ridiculous,'" the newspapers reported.

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