Volume 4, No. 6 - June 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.

Primary Bail Bond Agents

It is the responsibility of the primary bail bond agent under sec. 648.55, F.S. to verify all the agents in the agency are appointed to represent the same surety companies. Failure to do so is cause for the Department to take formal action against the license of the primary bail bond agent designated for that agency. We encourage you to verify the appointments of the bail bond agents in your agency on a regular basis to avoid any action against your license for this type of violation.

You can verify the license and active appointments of any bail bond licensee through our website at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Division/Agents. Click on "Licensee Search" under the Quick Links section on our webpage to get to our search screen. You can search for an individual licensee by license number or name of the licensee. You can also print out the results of your search to keep a record of your activity.

[See Rule 69B-241.100(41), Florida Administrative Code]

Opening an Insurance Agency

So, you're thinking about opening your own insurance agency? Well, before you open the doors for the first time, a review of the laws and rules affecting insurance representatives and the operation of Florida insurance agencies could be very beneficial to you. After all, you want to maintain a compliant agency. Insurance laws are located in Title XXXVII of the Florida Statutes and in Chapter 69B of the Florida Administrative Code.

Here's a quick overview of the laws and procedures that new (and not-so-new) agents frequently inquire about, along with the applicable legal citations, for opening an insurance agency. If that's not for you, you can also read the guidelines for opening a title insurance agency and bail bond agency on our website.

Life and Health Agents: Working from Home?

Many life and health agents rent space in a "virtual office" that are typically just conference rooms where the agent can meet with the clients outside of their home. However, the agent's home is usually the place where records are stored. Therefore the agent's home address should be listed as the business address on file with the Department, not the location of the rented space.

You can easily update your address (and other demographic information) online via your MyProfile account.

[See sec. 626.551 and 626.749, F.S.]

Criminal History Reporting Requirements

Applicants are required to report on their application for a license all prior criminal history. In addition, once licensed they are required to report to the Department within 30 days of being found guilty or pleading guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) to any felony, or other crime punishable by one or more years in prison (even if a misdemeanor), or any violation of the state insurance laws, regardless of adjudication by the court. It is still required even if civil rights have been restored or an appeal is pending.

Appointing entities are also required by law to advise the Department within 15 days after they or their general agent, officer, or other official becomes aware that an appointee has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to or has been found guilty of a felony after being appointed. If the appointee is a bail bond agent, the appointing entity is required to report it within 5 days.

[See 626.451 and 648.382, Florida Statutes]

Moving to Florida? Leaving Florida? You Need a New License

If you are licensed and appointed as a Florida nonresident agent or adjuster and you move to Florida, you can continue to transact insurance or adjust claims in this state under your nonresident license and appointment(s), for a period not to exceed 90 days. However, you must apply for and become licensed and appointed as a resident agent or adjuster within 90 days of becoming a resident of this state. Section 626.741(5), Florida Statutes, governs this procedure for general lines agents. Similar language is in the laws governing other types/classes of agents and adjusters.

If you have a Florida resident license and move to another state, you must surrender your resident license to the Department. Most states require you to give up your Florida license before you can obtain a resident license in that state. Once you have obtained a resident license in your new home state, you may submit an application to us if you wish to become licensed as a Florida nonresident agent or adjuster.

If you have a Florida nonresident license and you move to a state other than Florida, you may be eligible for a nonresident license if: 1) you become licensed in the other state for the same type/class(es) of license, and 2) the other state has a reciprocal agreement with Florida. You must provide the Department with a letter of certification from your new home state. Sec. 626.741(1), F.S., governs this procedure for general lines agents. Similar language is in the laws governing other types/classes of agents and adjusters.

In all of the above cases, you must also be properly appointed for each type/class of license you hold, before you can transact insurance or adjust claims.

If you change your state of residence and no longer wish to transact insurance or adjust claims, you must surrender your license to the Department.

[See 626.292 and 626.551, Florida Statutes]

Compliance Information

Department licensees and consumers can access compliance information at the Division's webpage Compliance Information. Additional information is available by type of license at our Frequently Asked Questions web page.

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 had until June 1, 2015 to make their submission to the OIR. The OIR sent emails to each licensed title agency in Florida to remind them of the new law with instructions on how to complete the process accurately.

Based on the preliminary information we have received from the OIR, more than 90% of the licensed agencies have submitted a report.

Agencies that have not complied with this requirement by June 1, 2015 are currently being reviewed for possible disciplinary action against the agency’s license.

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..