X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Vernon D. Smith has been much in the insurance news lately, as Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty appears to be making him the poster boy for certain transactions. In the past week, the Office of Insurance Regulation has ordered Smith to repay $600,000 to Hillcrest Insurance Co. of Gainesville for a bank stock purchase subsequently deemed worthless, and to divest himself of all interest in Hillcrest, of which he is a director. Smith has three weeks to repay the $600,000 and six months to divest himself of Hillcrest. Additionally, the Florida Department of Financial Services fined the insurance firm $10,000. Over his career, the entrepreneurially minded Smith has owned a cattle ranch, citrus groves, radio stations, and a weekly newspaper. He founded Riverside National Bank (the bank involved in the stock buy) in 1982 as an independent “community-style” institution. He stepped down from his top post there in January 2009 as the bank entered its second round of layoffs within a year, amid financial rating downgrades and office closings.

Smith’s daughter and son-in-law currently serve as Hillcrest Insurance’s chairman and CEO, respectively. They formed Hillcrest in 2005, with 90 percent of its ownership coming from a family trust that state incorporation records show Smith controlled.

PropertyCasualty360

Don’t miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed decisions for your P&C insurance business. Join PropertyCasualty360.com now!

  • Unlimited access to PropertyCasualty360.com - your roadmap to thriving in a disrupted environment
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including BenefitsPRO.com, ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
  • Exclusive discounts on PropertyCasualty360, National Underwriter, Claims and ALM events

Already have an account? Sign In Now

Copyright © 2019 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.