- Keeping you informed is what it's all about
There were a significant number of laws passed during this year's legislative session that affect our licensee population, many of which will become effective on October 1, 2012. We strongly encourage you to review summaries of those in the May 2012 and August 2012 issues of our newsletter.
The Department occasionally receives calls and emails from customers whose license or licenses have expired. Accordingly, we are including information as a reminder on this requirement.
A Florida insurance license authorizes the licensee to be appointed to transact insurance or adjust claims for the classes of insurance identified on the license. An appointment with an insurer or employer authorizes a licensee to transact insurance or adjust claims on behalf of the appointing entity. Without an appointment, a licensee cannot lawfully transact the business of insurance. Licensed insurance representatives should not assume that they are eligible to begin selling insurance, adjusting losses, etc., until they have been properly appointed. Both licensure and appointment are required.
To preserve your current license status you must be appointed for each class of insurance listed on your license within 48 months after the date you were licensed. When the last appointment for a particular class or classes of insurance has terminated, you have 48 months in which to secure another appointment before eligibility in that class or classes of insurance expires. Failure to maintain at least one active appointment will result in the expiration your license (after the 48-month period has elapsed). To obtain your license again, you will have to requalify as a first-time applicant.
Even though the function of submitting an appointment request with the Department rests with the insurance company or other appointing entity, licensees should assume responsibility for ensuring that their appointments are maintained.
A licensee may not transact insurance or adjust claims until he or she is appointed by an insurer, adjusting firm, general lines agent or the licensee (in the case of a self-appointed licensee), in accordance with the class(es) of licensure held. For instance, if an individual is licensed in the classes of life, including variable annuity and health, and wishes to market all three types of products, he or she must be appointed by either an insurance company authorized under its Certificate of Authority to transact all three of these lines of business or by separate companies for each line. For example, if Company ABC appoints an agent to sell only life insurance, then the agent will still be required to obtain an additional appointment(s) with an appropriate company(s) for the variable annuity and health portion of his or her license, if the agent intends to market these products.
The regulations provided in the Safeguard Our Seniors ("SOS") Act have served as a strong deterrent and have helped curb the unethical sales practices occurring in the annuity market. The SOS Act was passed during the 2010 legislative session and enhanced penalties for unethical annuity sales practices as well as provided certain consumer protections and disclosures, some specifically for seniors (age 65 or older). One of those protections was the authority granted to the department to take reciprocal action against an agent's license who had been disciplined under his or her securities registration or a related license.
Since the reciprocal action statute (ss. 626.621(13), F.S.) went into effect on January 1, 2011, the Department has taken the following enforcement actions against licensees and have other cases pending:
By removing these licensees from the financial services business either permanently or for a number of months under suspensions, these highly effective laws are helping protect the integrity of the insurance/financial services business in addition to affording better protection for Florida consumers.