Volume 5, No. 5 - May 2016

In The Know

- Keeping you informed is what it's all about

Is Social Media Considered Advertising Media?

The Florida Insurance Code does not specifically address “social media”, however it is considered an advertising/marketing media the same as any other.

There are numerous advertising requirements within the Florida Statutes and the Florida Administrative Code. §626.9541, F.S. addresses general prohibitions including misrepresentation in advertising, misleading statements, etc. that apply to all forms of advertising.

You can review the multiple laws in the Florida Administrative Code that apply to specific types of insurance products or sales at Chapter 69-B, F.A.C. Specifically, you can review sections 69B-150, 69B-156, 69B-220, 69B-221 and 69B-240. Please be aware that the citations provided are not intended to be all inclusive.

Agents should seek approval from an insurer they are appointed with before embarking on any advertising campaign – insurers are generally very aware of advertising laws and restrictions.

Reporting Administrative Actions - It's Required

Within 30 days after the final disposition of an administrative action taken against a licensee or insurance agency by a governmental agency or other regulatory agency in this or any other state or jurisdiction relating to the business of insurance, the sale of securities, or activity involving fraud, dishonesty, trustworthiness, or breach of a fiduciary duty, the licensee or insurance agency must submit a copy of the order, consent to order, or other relevant legal documents to the department. [See s.626.536, F.S.]

Citizens to begin educating policyholders on critical upcoming contract changes

In a recent press release, Citizens announced upcoming policy changes for policyholders beginning July 1, as the state-backed insurer focuses on connecting with consumers and offering early protection in the claims process.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation recently approved policy contract changes for Citizens regarding loss reporting, use of emergency services and the nature of permanent repairs.

Click here to read the press release>>

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Fiduciary; Conflict of Interest Rule

We have received several inquiries about the proposed Conflict of Interest Rule, promulgated by the United States Department of Labor. This rule is effective June 7, 2016, but “Compliance with the new requirements will not begin to be required by the U.S. Department of Labor until one year after the final rule is published in the Federal Register — in other words, April 2017.” (Fact Sheet, U.S. Department of Labor)

U.S. Department of Labor will be using a “phased” implementation approach for some of the other provisions in the rule that will not be required until January 1, 2018. Please see the full wording of the rule at http://webapps.dol.gov/FederalRegister/PdfDisplay.aspx?DocId=28806.

Additional information about the rule is found on the U.S. Department of Labor’s website at https://www.dol.gov/ebsa/regs/conflictsofinterest.html.

Recommendation to Surrender a Policy

If an insurance agent recommends the surrender of an annuity or life insurance policy containing a cash value and does not recommend that the proceeds from the surrender be used to fund or purchase another annuity or life insurance policy, before execution of the surrender, the insurance agent shall provide written information relating to the annuity or policy to be surrendered. Such information shall include, but is not limited to, the amount of any surrender charge, the loss of any minimum interest rate guarantees, the amount of any tax consequences resulting from the transaction, the amount of any forfeited death benefit, and the value of any other investment performance guarantees being forfeited as a result of the transaction. This also applies to a person performing insurance agent activities pursuant to an exemption from licensure under Part III of Chapter 627, F.S. [See s.627.4553, F.S.]

Filing Florida Home State Policies

On April 13, 2016, Florida Surplus Lines Service Office issued Bulletin: 2016-03 regarding the filing of Florida home state policies. Pursuant to the State of Florida’s withdrawal from the Nonadmitted Insurance Multi-State Agreement (“NIMA”), all multistate policies issued or renewed on or after June 1, 2016, and any subsequent endorsements to those policies, for which Florida is the home state of the insured will now be filed with FSLSO and not through the Surplus Lines Clearinghouse.

Click here to read the bulletin at the FSLSO website>>

The 2015 Florida Statutes Now Available Online

The most current Florida Statutes can now be viewed at Online Sunshine - Title XXXVII Insurance.