Every insurance agency transacting insurance business in Florida must be licensed, if it is not already.
Only specified persons owning or managing an insurance agency may sign an agency license application. The following persons are required to sign the license application: each owner, partner, officer, director, president, senior vice president, secretary, treasurer, and limited liability company member who directs or participates in the management and control of the agency, whether through ownership of voting securities, by contract, by ownership of an agency bank account, or otherwise. A third party may complete, submit, and sign an agency license application on the agency’s behalf, however the agency is responsible for ensuring that the information provided by the third party is true and correct and is accountable for any misstatements or misrepresentations.
Agencies owned and operated by a single licensed agent who conducts business in his/her name and does not employ or use any other insurance licensees are exempt from the agency licensure requirement.
See section 626.172, F.S.
A branch agency is not required to be licensed if it: (1) transacts business under the same name and federal tax identification number as the licensed agency and has designated with DFS a licensed agent in charge of the branch location; and (2) has submitted to DFS for inclusion in the licensing record of the licensed agency the address and telephone number of the branch location within 30 days after insurance transactions began at the branch location.
Information relating to any branch agency must be provided on the agency license application. Such additional information includes the name, address, and e-mail address of the agency’s registered agent or person authorized to accept service on the agency’s behalf; the physical address of the branch location, including its name, e-mail address, and telephone number; the date that the branch office began transacting insurance; and the fingerprints of each individual required to be listed in the agency application.
See section 626.112(7)(b), F.S.
When choosing a name for your insurance agency, please note that the Department may disapprove the use of any true or fictitious name, other than the bona fide name of an individual, if it violates certain guidelines. The name cannot:
The provisions above do not prohibit you from using the word “state” or “states” in the name of your agency as those terms do not, in and of themselves, imply that the agency is a state agency.
A fictitious name, or as more commonly known, doing business as (DBA), must be properly registered with the Department of State, Division of Corporations; however, the Department has determined that the use of multiple fictitious names (DBAs) is misleading to the public. Accordingly, no insurance, bail bond, or title agency, adjusting firm, or any other business entity regulated by the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services may use more than one DBA per business entity.
Each person operating an insurance agency and each location of a multiple location agency must designate a licensed and appointed agent in charge for each location.
An agent in charge (AIC) is defined as the licensed and appointed agent responsible for the supervision of all individuals within an insurance agency.
Each business location established by an agent or insurance agency must be in the active full-time charge of a licensed and appointed agent holding the required licenses for the lines of insurance transacted at the location. The AIC of an insurance agency may be the AIC of additional branch locations if: (1) insurance activities requiring licensure as an insurance agent do not occur at the location(s) when an agent is not physically present and (2) unlicensed employees at the location(s) do not engage in insurance activities that require licensure as an insurance agent or customer representative.
Each insurance agency and branch office is required to designate an AIC and to file the agent’s name, license number, and physical address of the insurance agency location with DFS at the DFS website. Adding and removing an AIC can be done by going to www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Division/Agents and logging in to the agency's account in MyProfile.
A change of the designated AIC must be reported to DFS within 30 days, and becomes effective upon notification to DFS. An insurance agency location is precluded from conducting the business of insurance unless an AIC is designated by, and providing services to, the agency at all times. When the agent in charge ends her/his affiliation with the agency, the agency must designate another AIC within 30 days. If the agency fails to make such designation within 90 days after the designated agent has ended their affiliation with the agency, the agency license automatically expires 91 days after the designated agent ended their affiliation with the agency.
The AIC of an insurance agency is accountable for misconduct or violations committed by the licensee or agent or by any person under her or his supervision acting on behalf of the agency. However, the AIC is not criminally liable for the misconduct unless she or he personally committed the act or knew or should have known of the acts and of the facts that constitute the violation.
If you sell your insurance agency you can arrange for the business name, assets, liabilities, building and equipment to transfer to the new owner as part of the sale, however, neither your license nor appointment is transferable. A license or appointment issued under the Florida Insurance Code is valid only to the person or entity named and is not transferable to another person. Please see section 626.441, F.S.