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Life Health > Health Insurance

Florida acts against CCRC buyer

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Editor’s note: This article has been updated with new information on the second page.

Florida insurance regulators have announced two enforcement actions involving University Village, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Tampa, Fla.

Kevin McCarty, the Florida insurance commissioner, has imposed one initial order of suspension based on allegations that the CCRC is being run in an improper manner. McCarty has also issued an initial order of suspension based on allegations that the new owners of the CCRC failed to meet Florida CCRC licensing requirements when they took control of University Village.

Representatives of Westport Holdings Tampa L.P., the partnership that controls the CCRC, were not immediately available to comment on the suspension orders. After the original version of this article appeared, representatives for IMH noted that it became the general partner because of the resignation of the former general partner.

The Westport partnership provided a copy of a letter that its lawyer, John Loar, sent to the Florida insurance office. In the letter, Loar says the partnership believes examiners have been harassing the partnership.

A CCRC is a residential development that gives people a chance to live in independent units, and then move into assisted living facility (ALF) units, nursing home units or other types of units if their need for assistance increases. Florida classifies CCRCs as “specialty insurers” and puts them under the jurisdiction of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, insurance office officials say.

University Village, which has been in operation since 1987, has 492 independent living units, 110 ALF beds and 120 skilled nursing beds.

In one order, officials contend that University Village is insolvent, has failed to keep enough reserve funds, violated state CCRC residents’ rights requirements, and continued to write business while insolvent.

In the other order, officials say IMH Healthcare LLC, the partnership that took control over Westport Holdings in March 2015, and the other partnerships that own interests in Westport Holdings, are running University Village without having the necessary insurance office approval to do so.

IMH has filed an application for approval to acquire the Westport Holdings general partnership interest, but the insurance office denied that application March 11, officials say.

Suspension of Westport Holdings’ certificate of authority is necessary to stop licensing violations and protect the public interest, according to officials.

Florida insurance officers have been investigating University Village since early 2015, when they accused the CCRC of having an underfunded reserve account. Regulators said at that time that they wanted to replace the CCRC’s management team.

The Westport partnership provided a copy of a letter that its lawyer, John Loar, sent to the Florida insurance office.

The Florida insurance office has had employees or contractors on the University Village premises since February 2015, Loar writes in the letter.

“Apparently, the ‘examination’ was intended to function as a means to facilitate take-over of the facility by OIR to make good on its precipitous announcement,” Loar says.

Insurance office representatives have been walking the grounds of University Village and encouraging residents to voice negative opinions, Loar writes.

“The implication is unsettling to Westport residents and has them fearful and nervous about their future well-being and care,” Loar says.

Early on, he says, Westport provided hundreds of documents for the examiners without any wrongdoing being found. Since then, he says, the company has responded to more than 130 additional document requests, Loar writes in the letter.

“As the ‘examination’ continues, it appears that OIR will not terminate its presence until it finds a way to make good on its public commitment to replace Westport,’” Loar says.

See also:

4 things to know: Continuing care at home

Brookdale makes $1.2B community management deal


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