Volume 4, No. 9 - September 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. Note: Division publications may include references to the Florida Statutes and/or the Florida Administrative Code. The laws noted in our publications are/were in effect at the time of publication but may have been repealed, amended or replaced and new laws may have been enacted subsequently.

F CCompliance Topic of the Month:
Department Access to Licensee Records

The Department's right to conduct investigations and attain access to the accounts, records, documents, and transactions pertaining to or affecting the insurance affairs of any licensee is addressed in s.624.317, F.S.

Every person being investigated, and its officers, attorneys, employees, agents, and representatives, shall make freely available to the Department or Office or its examiners or investigators the accounts, records, documents, files, information, assets, and matters in their possession or control. If records relating to the insurance transactions are maintained by an agent on premises owned or operated by a third party, the agent and the third party must provide the Department with access to the records. [s.624.318, F.S.]

Any individual who willfully obstructs or denies the the Department or investigator access to business records is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be punished as provided in s.624.15, F.S.

The Department and its investigators make every attempt to secure access to licensee business records in an amicable manner, however, should a licensee refuse to provide access, the Department will obtain a subpoena which is enforceable in circuit court. Refusing to honor a court order can result in contempt of court and other charges being filed against the licensee.

All Bail Bond Agents Employed within an Agency must have the Same Appointments

Pursuant to s.648.55. F.S., all bail bond agents who are members of the same agency, are to be appointed to represent the same companies. If any member of such agency, is licensed and appointed as a professional bail bond agent, then all members of that agency must be licensed and appointed as a professional bail bond agent.

It is the responsibility of the primary bail bond agent designated for the agency to notify the surety companies of the bail bond agents in the agency, so the company can make the proper appointments.

If an appointment is no longer needed, then the primary bail bond agent should verify that it has been cancelled. This is done either through the surety company, or by the bail bond agent who holds the appointment.

Failure of the primary bail bond agent to do so could result in the primary bail bond agent being suspended from the bail bond business until all the agents in the agency are properly appointed. [See Rule 69B-241.100(41). F.A.C.]

It is important to understand that cancellation of an appointment to represent a surety company does not remove the liability of that bail bond agent to that surety company for business written prior to the appointment being cancelled. A bail bond agent is responsible for the liability on a bail bond he/she executed until that bail bond has been formally discharged by the court, or until the bond expires, whichever occurs first.

Title Insurance Agency Surety Bonds

A title insurance agency must have obtained a surety bond in an amount not less than $35,000 made payable to the title insurer or title insurers appointing the agency. The surety bond must be for the benefit of any appointing title insurer. If the surety bond is payable to multiple title insurers, the surety bond must provide that each title insurer is to be notified in the event a claim is made upon the surety bond or the bond is terminated.

The surety bond must remain in effect and unimpaired as long as the agency is appointed by a title insurer. The agency must provide written proof to the appointing title insurer or insurers on an annual basis evidencing that the surety bond is still in effect and unimpaired. [s.626.8419(1)(c), F.S.] Please do not send your bond to the Department.

A title insurer may not provide the surety bond for the title agency.

Title Agencies: Update Your Info for the 2016 Administrative Surcharge

Subsection 624.501(27)(e)2, F.S., requires any title insurance agency licensed in Florida on January 1 of each year to remit an administrative surcharge of $200 to the Florida Department of Financial Services. Therefore, we are reminding all title agencies that the 2016 administrative surcharge due date will soon be approaching.

NOTE: This surcharge is not related to the one imposed on each new policy written due to the receiverships of National Title Insurance Company and K.E.L. Title Insurance Group, Inc.

Any title insurance agency licensed in Florida on January 1, 2016, will be emailed a reminder a few days afterward to the agency's email address on file with the Department. To ensure you receive the invoice and avoid failing to pay by the January 30 due date, please log in to the MyProfile account for your title agency and make sure the correct email address is on file. While doing so, we also recommend you do the same for your individual MyProfile account.

Occasionally we discover agencies that were not aware of the reminder because of the retirement or termination of the employee assigned to monitor the email address provided to the Department. Failure to open the email sent by the Department containing the administrative surcharge reminder does not release an agency from the January 30 deadline. Please verify your information soon so this does not happen to you. If you need our assistance, you may contact us at Title@MyFloridaCFO.com to assist you through the steps to update your information. Be proactive; not reactive.

Failure to pay the surcharge on or before January 30, 2016 will result in administrative action which could include a fine, in addition to the original surcharge. Payment must be made securely online via the title agency's MyProfile account. Paper checks are not accepted.

Compliance Information

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