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Volume 2, No. 6 - August 2013

News You Can Use

- Updating you on what's going on

CFO Jeff Atwater Appoints Chris Gardner as New Chairman of Citizens Board of Governors

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced the appointment of Chris Gardner as Chairman of the Board of Governors for Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. Gardner, a resident of Winter Park, has 20 years of experience in the retail insurance brokerage business with a specific focus in Commercial Property and Casualty Insurance. He has served as a member of the Citizens board since his appointment in July 2011.
Click here to read the press release >>

CFO Jeff Atwater's Letter to Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty Regarding the Cost of Property Insurance

Please see the letter from Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater to Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty regarding the reinsurance market and the cost of property insurance for Floridians.

CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Arrests of Five Individuals Accused of More than $130,000 in Workers' Compensation Fraud

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced the arrests of Otto Biltres, Tampa, 41; Charles Brown, Tarpon Springs, 38; Kelly Bree Brown, Tarpon Springs, 34; Johnny Alton Lewis, Clearwater, 51; and Joseph T. Jordan, Palm Harbor, 50, for an organized scheme to defraud and operating without an insurance license.
Click here to read the press release >>

Notice of Rule Development: Penalties for Violation of s. 626.621, F.S.

The Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Agent & Agency Services, hereby provides Notice of Rule Development for Rule 69B-231.090, Florida Administrative Code, relating to penalties for violations of subsections 626.621(13) and (14), F.S. The notice has been filed with the Florida Department of State and was officially published in the Florida Administrative Register on July 31, 2013.

The revisions are intended to amend Rule 69B-231.090, F.A.C., to conform to section 626.207(8), F.S., which requires the Department to adopt rules establishing specific penalties against licensees for violations of Section 626.621 F.S. The proposed rule amendments set forth the penalties for violations of subsections 626.621(13) and (14), F.S.
Click here to read the full text of the notice >>

Notice of Proposed Rule: Temporary Bail Bond Agent Employment Report

The Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Agent & Agency Services, hereby provides Notice of Proposed Rule for Rule 69B-221.051, Florida Administrative Code, relating to temporary bail bond agent monthly-filed employment reports. The notice has been filed with the Florida Department of State and officially published in the Florida Administrative Register on August 7, 2013.

The proposed rule provides that monthly-filed employment reports for temporary bail bond agents must be received by the Department no later than the last day of the month following the month being reported on the form. The proposed rule is further amended to require both the supervising bail bond agent and the temporary bail bond agent to certify that the hours reported reflect the actual hours worked. The proposed rule also revises forms and updates electronic links to such forms. The rule is renumbered to reflect the proposed changes.
Click here to read the full text of the notice >>

Notice of Proposed Rule: Criminal Proceedings

The Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Agent & Agency Services, hereby provides Notice of Proposed Rule for Rule 69B-231.150, Florida Administrative Code, relating to administrative actions against licensees based on criminal proceedings. The notice has been filed with the Florida Department of State and was officially published in the Florida Administrative Register on August 16, 2013.

The revisions in the proposed amendments are intended to conform Rule 69B-231.150, F.A.C. relating to administrative license actions based on criminal proceedings to changes already made to Rule 69B-211.042, F.A.C. It is also being amended to clarify what is meant by the terms “felony” and “revocation”. Also, the word “immediate” is removed to better reflect the administrative process requirements which exist. A subsection is being deleted to remove standards which are in conflict with statutory changes and replaced with a new subsection to conform the penalty scheme with Section 626.207, F.S., and Rule 69B-211.042, F.A.C. A subsection is being added to clarify qualifications for administrative actions based on criminal proceedings outside the United States.

If requested, a rule hearing will be held on Thursday, September 12, 2013.
Click here to read the full text of the notice >>

Notice of Proposed Rule: Sample Powers of Attorney

The Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Agent & Agency Services, hereby provides Notice of Proposed Rule for Rule 69B-221.075, Florida Administrative Code, relating to the sample power of attorney required to be filed by insurers engaged in the writing of bail bonds with and approved by the Department. The notice has been filed with the Florida Department of State and was officially published in the Florida Administrative Register on August 28, 2013.

Section 648.43, F.S., requires every insurer engaged in the writing of bail bonds through bail bond agents in the State of Florida to submit and have approved by the Department a sample power of attorney, which will be the only form of power of attorney the insurer will issue to bail bond agents in this State. The proposed rule sets forth the information a sample power of attorney must contain in order to be approved by the Department. The proposed amendment will allow insurance companies to continue using their existing forms as long as the items required for approval are included on the form.

If requested, a hearing will be held on Tuesday, September 24, 2013.
Click here to read the full text of the notice >>

Amendments Adopted to Rule Chapter 69B-228, F.A.C.

The Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Agent & Agency Services, hereby provides notice that the amendments to Rules 69B-228.180 and 69B-228.220, F.A.C., were filed for adoption with the Florida Department of State and took effect on August 4, 2013. The rules were amended to implement the 5-Hour Law & Ethics Update continuing education course requirement.
Click here to read the full text of the amended rules >>

Public Adjusters: Reminder of Important Statutory Changes Effective on July 1, 2013

Important changes were made to the Florida Statutes regulating the business of public adjusters recently. Below are some that are the most important, including ones that became effective July 1, 2013.

  • The insurer may not exclude the public adjuster from its in-person meetings with the insured. The insurer shall meet or communicate with the public adjuster in an effort to reach agreement as to the scope of the covered loss under the insurance policy. The public adjuster shall meet or communicate with the insurer in an effort to reach agreement as to the scope of the covered loss under the insurance policy. This section does not impair the terms and conditions of the insurance policy in effect at the time the claim is filed.
  • Public adjusters are prohibited from receiving compensation or any other thing of value from any source which would exceed the statutory fee cap.
  • The public adjuster must ensure that prompt notice is given of the claim to the insurer, the public adjuster's contract is provided to the insurer, the property is available for inspection of the loss or damage by the insurer, and the insurer is given an opportunity to interview the insured directly about the loss and claim.
  • A public adjuster shall not acquire any interest in salvaged property, except with the written consent and permission of the insured through a signed affidavit.

Click here to read more of the statutes regulating public adjusters >>

CFO Jeff Atwater Invites You to Participate in Operation S.A.F.E. with 'Be Scam Smart' Workshops

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater launched Operation S.A.F.E (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) as part of his On Guard for Seniors initiative to help inform, empower, and protect Florida’s seniors from financial scams and fraud. The workshops are intended to protect seniors from becoming victims of consumer fraud, scams and identity theft.

The "Be Scam Smart" workshops are part of CFO Atwater's Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) initiative, the newest addition to On Guard for Seniors launched last year to educate seniors on specific financial topics such as annuities, identity theft, reverse mortgages and long-term care insurance.

Operation S.A.F.E. focuses on frauds and scams, such as fake lotteries and repair scams, and how these scams work. Scams that are addressed in the workshop include the Grandparent Scam, the Romance Scam, lotteries and sweepstakes, reverse mortgage scams, home improvement scam and more.

The "Be Scam Smart" workshops are presented by representatives from the Department's Division of Consumer Services, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, and the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

To learn more or to register for a workshop, visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/SAFE.

Agent/Broker Federally-facilitated Marketplace Training Available

Agent/broker training for the Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM) is now available. All training will occur online. Agents and brokers may begin their training immediately, and the second part of the agent/broker FFM registration process will be available later in August. At that time, agents/brokers will be able to obtain an active FFM User ID by completing an identity verification process online.

To take the training now, please visit http://Marketplace.MedicareLearningNetworkLMS.com.

Office of Insurance Regulation Authorizes Florida Blue to Change Corporate Structure but Prohibits Sale of Stock

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation issued an Order authorizing Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc. d/b/a Florida Blue to reorganize its corporate structure and move subsidiary companies within the group. However, the Order does not authorize Florida Blue to sell stock to investors outside the Florida Blue group. Click here to view the new organizational structure.
Click here to read the full text of the press release >>



Make Sure You Don't Miss Important Information From Us

We highly recommend licensees to routinely check their MyProfile account(s) for messages from the Department. We send an email notification at the same time to remind you to check your MyProfile account but on rare occasions you may not receive that email. For that reason, we suggest you add our domain MyFloridaCFO.com to your email software's Trusted or Safe Senders List to ensure you are able to receive email notifications from us. Licensees who have a valid email address on file with the Department, as required by law, are sent important email notifications when something that affects their application, license, continuing education, or appointment(s) occurs. Additionally, we will keep you informed with warnings regarding new schemes and scams being marketed to licensees. You can update your contact information through your MyProfile account. We want to keep you informed in a timely manner of pertinent information. You are still required to abide by the Florida Insurance Code regardless of whether you read the information we provide or attempt to provide.