- Keeping you informed is what it's all about
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 a major lines* 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.
*For clarification, when we refer to "major lines" we are referring to those agencies that sell property, casualty, health, and/or life insurance including annuities and variable contracts.
Florida law prevents you from naming your agency anything that would be misleading or deceptive in any way. Names chosen should not imply that the agency is an insurance company, governmental agency, or any other national or state organization. We will not allow any agency to use a name that does not meet this criteria. [s. 626.602, F.S.]
No individual or business can act as an insurance agency unless they possess an insurance agency license for each place of business where insurance is transacted. You apply for a license through MyProfile using the agency's information (Federal Employer Identification Number, etc.). Your agency license must be renewed every three years. [s. 626.172, F.S.]
When you apply for an agency license, you will be asked when the agency began transacting. The transaction date requested is the date the agency began transacting insurance business in the State of Florida. This is not the date the agent became licensed nor the date the agency became incorporated. Current fingerprints will need to be submitted to us, if they have not been already, for any individual who is not currently licensed and appointed as an agent, such as an officer or director. Also, if the agency changes its agent in charge, or officers, the agency has 30 days to inform us of the changes. [s. 626.541, F.S.]
Each person operating an insurance agency and each location of a multiple-location agency is required to designate a licensed and appointed agent in charge for each location. You do this when you're applying for your agency license, but if it changes you can let us know through the agency's MyProfile account. [s. 626.172 and 626.747, F.S.]
On a related matter, you are required to notify us within 30 days if there is a change in your name, residence address, principal business street address or mailing address, email address, or telephone numbers. This is quickly and easily done by logging in to the MyProfile account for you and/or the agency, depending on what needs to be changed and for whom. Don't forget that there is a MyProfile account for your agent license and a separate account for your agency license. [s. 626.551, F.S.]
All Florida insurance agencies are required to display the Department-issued agency license or registration prominently and in a manner that makes the certificate clearly visible to any customer or potential customer who enters the agency. Posting your Department-issued agency certificate provides consumers with the information they need to verify an agency's license/registration status before they make a financial decision. Failure to comply with this statute may result in disciplinary action against the agency. Please be sure you've prominently posted your agency certificate today! [s. 626.172(4), F.S.]