Volume 4, No. 2 - February 2015

Compliance Corner

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.

Seeking Reimbursement from Consumers for Insufficient Funds (NSF) and Bank Wire Fees

Nothing in the Florida Insurance Code prohibits a licensed insurance agency from obtaining reimbursement from consumers for returned check charges, also known as NSF fees. However, your agency should be certain the fee charged is lawful and does not exceed the actual fee charged to the agency. Agencies should ensure that consumers are aware of the amount and circumstances when a fee will be charged in the event of a returned item. If wired funds are used at the consumer's request to pay premiums, agencies can lawfully seek reimbursement for the wire fees up to the amount charged to the agency for the incoming wire.

Acceptable Premium Check Payees

The Florida Insurance Code does not address what entities or persons premium checks can be made payable. The Department recommends that all premium checks be made payable only to agencies with a designated premium bank account or to the insurer providing the insurance coverage. Agents are strongly cautioned not to ask for or accept a check payable to him/her individually as doing so could lead to charges of misappropriation of fiduciary/premium funds, a violation that could result in the revocation of the agent's license.

Issuing Certificates of Coverage from Master Contracts/Policies

Recently, the Department has received a number of inquiries asking if agents can charge employers or others a fee to issue a Certificate of Coverage after the original enrollment period. The commissions paid to an agent for writing the Master Contract or policy are intended to compensate the agent for all routine service work. Issuance of Certificates of Coverage is considered a routine service to be provided by the writing agent or his agency staff, and it is unlawful to charge an additional fee.

The Florida Information Protection Act of 2014 ("FIPA")

The Department has received inquiries from licensees asking how the laws under Section 501.171, F.S., the "Consumer Protection statute" may impact them. The laws expand the requirements of business and government entities that maintain data to protect it and provide prompt notice of any breach. For more information about the laws, please read about the FIPA in the Florida Statutes by clicking here.

The laws apply to breaches of the personal information belonging to Florida residents. Notifications of breaches are to be made as required by the laws. The Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Division of Consumer Services has jurisdiction related to the FIPA. For more information please visit the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services' website at FreshfromFlorida.com.

Title Agencies: The 2015 Data Call

This is the first year title insurance agencies are required to submit information to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) under the data call required by section 627.782, Florida Statutes. Title agencies have until June 1, 2015 to make their submission to the OIR. The OIR has sent an email to each licensed title agency in Florida to remind them of the new law with instructions on how to complete the process accurately.

The Title Agency Data Call is performed by the agency first downloading the template from the OIR website to complete offline. To do this, the agency will need to create an account and subscribe to your agency in the Data Collection and Analysis Modules (DCAM) used by the OIR, which is located at https://apps.fldfs.com/DCAM/Logon.aspx.
(The user's guide for DCAM is located at: https://apps.fldfs.com/DCAM/Help/DCAMUserGuide.pdf)

Once the agency's data template form is completed and the agency is ready to certify it is accurate, it is then that the agency must upload the form to the OIR before the deadline, June 1, 2015.

The data template has seven tabs or worksheets:

  1. Version: includes the OIR contact information and reporting date reminder
  2. Instructions: data template must be downloaded from DCAM for the purpose of reporting information
  3. Report_Lines: Two columns extend down a series of questions and required responses (enter either text or numeric in the two columns, as shown)
  4. Schedule A: Additional agency information
  5. Schedule B: Agent activities
  6. Schedule C (Residential): Title agent statistical information submission for 1-4 residential units
  7. Schedule C (Commercial): Title agent statistical information submission for commercial units

Each agency's submission must contain a Filing Certification signed by an agency officer (electronic signature accepted), stating the information provided is accurate to the best of their knowledge and belief. A sample copy is available on the OIR's website at: www.floir.com/siteDocuments/CertificationOfTitleDataSubmissionExample.pdf

The agency may include a cover letter, but this is an optional component for the filing.

Each agency is encouraged to include any additional or optional information that is deemed important to the overall submission. These optional items may be uploaded as PDF documents under the "Other Information/Documents" component.

It is important to know that the agency's submission is not considered to be complete until the agency receives an email receipt showing the agency's file log number.

If you have any questions regarding this filing process, please contact the OIR's Market Data Collections Unit at 850-413-3147 or via email: TitleAgencyReporting@floir.com.

Bail Bond Build Up Fund Accounts

The Florida Statutes require each insurer authorized to write bail bonds in this state and each managing general agent to furnish to the Department a certified copy of a statement listing each build-up trust account and the balance therein by March 1 of each year. These statements are to be sent to:

Florida Department of Financial Services
Division of Agent & Agency Services
Bail Bond Section
Larson Building # 412
200 E. Gaines Street
Tallahassee FL 32399-0320

The statements may also be sent via email by scanning and sending the statements to BailBond@MyFloridaCFO.com.

Companies and managing general agents who do not maintain build-up fund accounts for their agents may want to submit a statement to that effect to the same address to confirm a filing is not required.