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Volume 3, No. 1 - January 2014

News You Can Use

- Updating you on what's going on

VISA-branded Cards Now Accepted for Applications for Licensure

The Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Agent and Agency Services, has started accepting VISA-branded credit and debit cards for applications for licensure or registration. This change will provide our customers with another option for making secure online payments for license and registration applications.

We will continue to accept MasterCard, Discover Card, and American Express for license and registration applications.

Please note that we do not offer payment via ACH or direct deposit of any sort for applications.

FSLSO Service Fee to Decrease from 0.2% to 0.175%

The Florida Surplus Lines Service Office (FSLSO) has issued a bulletin to notify surplus lines agents that the service fee charged by the FSLSO will be decreased from 0.2% to 0.175% effective April 1, 2014.

All new and renewal surplus lines policies/certificates with an effective date on or after April 1, 2014 will incur a service fee of 0.175% of the total gross premium as defined in 626.9325, Florida Statutes. All new and renewal surplus lines policies/certificates with an effective date prior to April 1, 2014 will incur a service fee of 0.2% of the total gross premium. The service fee percentage charged on the premium is based on the effective date of the policy. The FSLSO service fee is applicable to single state Florida policies only.

The service fee for all endorsements, audits, installments, cancellations or return of premium transactions applicable to policies/certificates effective prior to April 1, 2014 will be the same percentage as the inception date of the policy/certificate being endorsed.
Click here to read the FSLSO bulletin >>

CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Arrest of Hollywood Couple for Insurance Fraud

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced the arrest of Miguel and Francheska Quintero of Hollywood for insurance fraud after Quintero falsely claimed that his vehicle was stolen from his home last July. A subsequent investigation by the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud revealed that Quintero and his wife arranged for the vehicle to be removed from the residence while they were away, after which they reported it stolen and filed a fraudulent stolen vehicle insurance claim.
Click here to read the press release >>

CFO Announces Arrest of Orange County Man for Illegal Bail Bond Activity

CFO Jeff Atwater announced the arrest of Frederick W. Johnson of Orlando on charges of false imprisonment and unlicensed bail bonds agent activity stemming from activities when his license was suspended by the Department of Financial Services.
Click here to read the press release >>

CFO Announces Arrest of Orlando Attorney Charged With Stealing Personal Injury Settlement Money

CFO Jeff Atwater announced the arrest of Orlando Attorney Raymond (Ramon) Ismael Melendez of the Melendez Law Firm, P.A. for allegedly stealing insurance settlement proceeds totaling nearly $80,000 from three personal injury clients. The charges allege that between February 2011 and June 2012, Melendez withheld notification of the settlement agreements from his clients and hid the money for personal use.
Click here to read the press release >>

CFO Releases Survey Showing Growth Outlook for Small Businesses is Bright

CFO Jeff Atwater released the Florida Department of Financial Services' 2013 Small Business Survey, which reveals a positive outlook for Florida's small businesses. The results revealed that 87 percent of the 1,093 small business employers surveyed plan to grow their business during the next 12 months. Among these owners planning to grow, 30 percent plan to hire new employees, 27 percent plan to make new expenditures and 19 percent plan to expand their product lines.
Click here to read the press release and survey >>

CFO Appoints Steve Burgess as Florida's Insurance Consumer Advocate

CFO Jeff Atwater announced the appointment of Steve Burgess as Florida's Insurance Consumer Advocate.
Burgess, 65, of Tallahassee, previously served as Florida's Insurance Consumer Advocate from 1990 to 1997 and 2004 to 2007. He most recently served as the staff director of the Florida Senate's Committee on Banking and Insurance, and he has also served as an associate and deputy public counsel. Burgess received his bachelor's degree in accounting and his law degree from Florida State University.
Click here to read the press release >>



Make Sure You Don't Miss Important Information From Us

We highly recommend licensees to routinely check their MyProfile account(s) for messages from the Department. We send an email notification at the same time to remind you to check your MyProfile account but on rare occasions you may not receive that email. For that reason, we suggest you add our domain MyFloridaCFO.com to your email software's Trusted or Safe Senders List to ensure you are able to receive email notifications from us. Licensees who have a valid email address on file with the Department, as required by law, are sent important email notifications when something that affects their application, license, continuing education, or appointment(s) occurs. Additionally, we will keep you informed with warnings regarding new schemes and scams being marketed to licensees. You can update your contact information through your MyProfile account. We want to keep you informed in a timely manner of pertinent information. You are still required to abide by the Florida Insurance Code regardless of whether you read the information we provide or attempt to provide.