Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has disbanded its Office of Corporate Integrity, a curious move for a state-run company that has seen a 52-percent increase in internal complaints and is being investigated for lavish executive spending and other corporate improprieties.
On Friday, four members of the Office of Corporate Integrity — which is responsible for handling complaints such as internal corruption, sexual harassment or misuse of funds — received termination letters. Citizens has asked them to sign confidentiality agreements.
Citizens claims that it fired the four corporate watchdogs in order to reduce redundancy and ramp up its forensic fraud detection efforts.
“In order to better understand and focus attention on the management of the risk of fraud and how this risk needs to be addressed within the organization, Citizens has determined a need to enlist well-skilled and qualified forensic accountants that have specific experience in the management of fraud in organizations such as Citizens,” said Christine Ashburn, spokesperson for Citizens.
But no forensic accountants have been hired, and no additional staff has been brought on in the wake of the dismantling of the corporate integrity unit.