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Volume 2, No. 6 - August 2013

Compliance Corner

We continue to see a pattern of noncompliance in the areas noted below. This section has been created to assist you in keeping your insurance business in compliance. The items are intended as reminders only and are not necessarily the exact text of the Florida Statutes or Florida Administrative Code. The legal cites have been provided for your further reference.

Agency and Firm Owners: Check Your Hires' Backgrounds

Agency and firm owners have an obligation to check the backgrounds of individuals they hire for administrative action history with the Department and for criminal history. Employing an individual with a suspended or revoked license can lead to action against your own license and possibly criminal charges.

Florida law states that during the period of suspension or revocation of a license or appointment, and until the license is reinstated or, if revoked, a new license issued, the former licensee or appointee may not engage in or attempt or profess to engage in any transaction or business for which a license or appointment is required. Additionally, they may not directly or indirectly own, control, or be employed in any manner by an agent, agency, adjuster, or adjusting firm.

It is also important to know the criminal background of individuals employed in your agency. Some licensees, such as bail bond agents, are prohibited from allowing convicted individuals in their agencies. A person who has been convicted of or who has pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude or a crime punishable by imprisonment of 1 year or more regardless of whether adjudication of guilt was withheld, may not act in any capacity for a bail bond agency or participate as a director, officer, manager, agent, contractor, or employee of any bail bond agency or office. Any person who permits a person who has been convicted to do so can be charged with a third degree felony.

[See 626.342, 626.621, 626.641, 648.387, 648.44, and 648.441, Florida Statutes]

Title Agencies: Release Tracking or Post Closing Lien Search Fees

The Florida Statutes defines "primary title services" to mean determining insurability in accordance with sound underwriting practices based upon evaluating a title search or such other information, determining and clearing of underwriting objections and requirements to eliminate risk, preparing and issuing a title insurance commitment, and preparing and issuing the policy. Such services do not include closing services or title searches, for which a separate charge or separate charges may be made.

The Florida Statutes further define "premium" as the charge that is made by a title insurer for a title insurance policy, including the charge for performing primary title services, and incurring the risks incident to such policy, under the several classifications of title insurance contracts and forms. The word "premium" does not include a commission.

Under primary title services the title insurance agent or agency is required to perform a determination and clearance of underwriting objections and requirements to eliminate risk. If the agent or agency fails to verify that the proper releases have been satisfied and recorded then these requirements have not been fulfilled.

You will note that primary title services are considered to be a part of the premium. Therefore, charging a separate fee for tracking a release or performing the post closing search to confirm the status of the property's title would be considered to be charging an additional premium to the insured, which is not permitted.

[See 627.7711, Florida Statutes]

Still Haven't Created Your MyProfile Account? It's Quick and Easy!

The Department communicates with its licensees, appointing entities, and education providers via email and their secure MyProfile account on our website. We continue to receive inquiries from some of our customers that they cannot access their MyProfile account. Typically, they received an email from the Department to go check their MyProfile account for details about their license, appointment, or continuing education requirement and can't log in when they try. They try different usernames and passwords but nothing works. It seems like the system is broken and not letting them in. The real problem: they never created an account.

You must create your MyProfile account(s) with a username and password before you can access your account. At the same time, you will also set up some security questions and answers so you can easily retrieve your username or password in the event you forget either in the future. You will also verify your contact information on file. We strongly encourage you to use your actual email address as that is how we will notify you of any important information to go check in your MyProfile account. After the new MyProfile account information has been entered , the system automatically transfers your information on file into your new account.

A guide to assist you with creating an account and retrieving a forgotten username or password is located at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Division/Agents/Licensure/myProfileHelp/documents/MyProfile_Create_PWD_UN.pdf.