If the facts are true, a lawsuit filed by Lloyd’s America against a Texas public adjuster1 will be placed in the truth is stranger than fiction category.
Before getting into the Lloyd’s lawsuit, I presented an ethics course for the California Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (CAPIA) on Tuesday. One of the main points of emphasis was that California demands conduct of public adjusters that are in the public interest. This public interest requirement is found in virtually all states and all licenses involving insurance. Insurance is a heavily regulated product because it serves the public trust. Those licensed by a state first must comply with rules that support trust in the insurance business.
The Insurance School is an excellent school that helps public adjusters prepare for licensing examinations. A Texas study guide notes:
A code of ethics for public adjusters that fosters the education of public insurance adjusters concerning the ethical, legal, and business principles that should govern their conduct;
Texas has adopted a Public Adjuster Code of Ethics to underscore that legal and ethical considerations are of prime importance to a public insurance adjusters’ professional conduct. However, this Code of Ethics is not intended to exhaust the legal or ethical requirements that govern public insurance adjusters. The Texas Public Adjuster Code of Ethics is similar to the codes of ethics adopted by local and national public insurance adjusters’ professional organizations.
Licensees must conduct business fairly with their clients, insurance companies, and the public.
The Texas public adjuster in question, Eric Ramirez, has an impressive resume on his website. It seemingly shows a person with credentials and experience who could be an excellent public adjuster. It even notes cases where he testified as an expert witness.
All of this is going to be lost if the facts of the lawsuit filed by Lloyd’s are true. Among the many allegations in the lawsuit are the following:
…Ramirez has waged war on Lloyd’s and Lloyd’s America. Ramirez has filed baseless lawsuits, made countless administrative complaints, and accused Lloyd’s of illegal business practices and criminal behavior all in an effort to force payment of additional “damages” beyond those determined by the appraisal panel.
6. As part of this strategy, Ramirez now has formed entities in Texas using Plaintiffs’ names and trademarks. Specifically, Ramirez formed entities using the names “Certain Underwriters at Lloyds London, Inc.” and “Certain Underwriters of Lloyds London, LLC.” Ramirez has also registered those entities to do business in California.
7. Ramirez has even used one of those newly created entities, Certain Underwriters at Lloyds London, Inc., to apply to federally register the trademark CERTAIN UNDERWRITERS AT LLOYDS LONDON. Minus Ramirez’s punctuation error, the policies issued through the Lloyd’s marketplace are offered under that name, i.e., “Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London” subscribing to a specific policy.
8. Ramirez has taken these actions as revenge for the perceived wrongs of Lloyd’s and to obtain leverage over Plaintiffs to extort additional payments, including attempting to use his newly formed companies to obtain service of process on insurers at Lloyd’s.
56. Apparently dissatisfied with his legal options, on May 26, 2023, Ramirez formed the Defendant Texas Corporation “Certain Underwriters at Lloyds London.” He then formed a limited liability company with the similar name: “Certain Underwriters of Lloyds London, LLC.” Next, he then filed an assumed name certificate that “Certain Underwriters at Lloyds London, Inc.” is doing business as “Certain Underwriters of Lloyds London.” In addition to forming these entities in Texas, Ramirez has also registered his corporation and LLC to do business in California.
57. On June 6, 2023, Ramirez, acting on behalf of this newly formed entity, Defendant Certain Underwriters at Lloyds London, Inc., filed an application to register CERTAIN UNDERWRITERS AT LLOYDS LONDON as a federal trademark.
61. Upon being notified that his scheme and application have been discovered and that his use of the marks violated Plaintiffs’ rights, Ramirez denied that he is currently offering the very services he has sworn, under oath, that he is offering, stating that he has no intention to keep the names of the companies he has registered, seeking to use the companies he has formed to obtain service of process for his lawsuits, and threatening to file allegations with the IRS, FBI, Texas Secretary of State.
74. On November 9, 2023, Ramirez sent an e-mail to the IRS, FBI, Texas, California, and New York Attorney Generals, various “Lloyds Counsels,” “Clients Counsels,” and “LAPIA’s Client” stating that he has a responsibility to appoint agents to accept lawsuits in Texas and California on behalf of Certain Underwriters at Lloyds London and Certain Underwriters of Lloyds London because he owns those entities. This demonstrates Ramirez’s intention to create confusion for entities insured through the Lloyd’s market.
80. Ramirez’s intent is clear from his actions. Ramirez filed a frivolous lawsuit against Raizner Slania LLP and Andrew Slania, the law firm that shared a client with Ramirez. That lawsuit was dismissed. Ramirez then refiled the same lawsuit in Harris County Justice Court against Raizer Slania, LLP and Andrew Slania, adding Certain Underwriters at Lloyd[‘]s London as parties.
81. On November 9, 2023, Ramirez sent an e-mail to a number of federal and state government officials alleging Lloyd’s was “not authorized in many states to transact business for over 30 years.” The e-mail also states that “Certain Underwriter[s] at Lloyd[‘]s London and Kevin Hromas and Associates have performed illegally together for over 10 years in Texas deceiving Policyholders, Public Insurance Adjusters, Courts, Judges/Umpires, etc., some might consider this as Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).” (emphasis in original removed).
82. Ramirez sent this e-mail not only to various government officials, he also sent the e-mail to multiple private citizens, including attorneys at the law firms Donato, Brown, Pool, & Moehlmann, Martin, Disiere, Jefferson, & Wisdom, Raizner Slania LLP, Mendes & Mount LLP, and Foley & Lardner LLP, and to employees of BNC Equities, a Dallas real estate investment and property management company, and unidentified individuals with Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL e-mail addresses, respectively.
The allegations in this lawsuit by a very worthy and longstanding player in the insurance industry are the types of actions that should cause any state department of insurance to conduct an immediate investigation into the fitness and competency of a public adjuster.
Thought For The Day
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.