Insurance Insights header
Volume 4, No.10 - October 2015

In The Know

- Keeping you informed is what it's all about

How to Locate an Enforcement Action

Each month the Division publishes a list of enforcement actions from the previous month on our Enforcement Actions web page. You can access the listing within Insurance Insights from the link on the left side of any page in the newsletter. Many of the actions include a link to the actual Department Order or other legal document.

If you are looking for an action taken before July 1, 2015 you can search at FLDFS Final Orders. Actions taken after July 1, 2015, can be searched for at the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings' (DOAH) website. The DOAH link is also accessible through the FLDFS Final Order search page.

Confidentiality of Investigative Records

Department investigative records are considered privileged and confidential and are exempt from Florida's Public Records Law unless the Department or Office files a formal administrative complaint, emergency order, or consent order against the individual or entity. [s.626.601(6), F.S.]

Title Agencies Targets of Email Scam

We'd like to remind everyone of the existing business email compromise (BEC) scam that targets anyone expecting payment as part of a real estate transaction, which includes title agencies.

The scammer obtains a copy of an email from one of the parties in a real estate transaction. This could be the title agent, title agency, real estate agent or broker, lender, attorney, appraiser, surveyor, buyer or seller. The email identifies some or all of the parties to the transaction, which the scammer uses to locate additional emails that disclose the funds involved. The scammer then creates a fake email to send to one of the parties.

Here are a few variations of the scam we've seen:

  • An email is sent to the buyer advising him/her to wire the deposit to the title agency using the wire instructions in the email.
  • An email is sent to the buyer advising the funds needed to close will need to be wired to the settlement agent/escrow agent/title agency using the wire instructions in that email.
  • An email is sent to the buyer or the seller, advising a property appraisal is required, but it must be paid for in advance using the instructions in the email. This one is not as prevalent as the others and it can include instructions to obtain a prepaid card, such as Green Dot, to make the payment.

The wire instructions direct the money to the account of the scammer and not the escrow account of the title agency. The person sending the money believes they have made the proper payment to the proper party, acting in good faith to fulfill their obligations under the sales agreement. This creates a major road block to the sale of the property. In many cases, the sale cannot be completed and at least one consumer has fallen victim to the scam.

This scam fails when the parties to the transaction have been forewarned of the existence of the scam. When the parties know to contact the title agency directly about any changes in the funding directions, then the agency can provide the correct instructions to the consumer. The funds will then be received and recorded as required for the transaction to continue as planned.

Should you be contacted by one of the parties to a transaction you are processing about receiving an email like this, please contact your local law enforcement agency immediately. The quicker they are able to learn of the attempt to divert the escrow funds, the better the chances of catching the perpetrator.

Self-Appointments and Non-insurer Appointments

The following of license types may be "self-appointed" or be appointed by another licensee, including:

Customer Representatives • Self-Appointing Surplus Lines Agent • Unaffiliated Insurance Agent

Viatical Settlement Broker • Public or All-Lines AdjusterBail Bond Agent • Professional Bail Bond Agent

Appointments must be completed online for most license types ,however, bail bond agents are appointed on form DFS-H2-1554. Depending on the type of license and appointment, the steps to complete the appointment may be different. Please view the appropriate category for instructions:

o Customer Representative: Customer representatives (4-40) must be appointed through the MyProfile account of the supervising general lines agent (2-20) OR the licensed/registered insurance agency where the customer representative works. To do this:

  • Go to MyProfile and log in to the supervising general lines agent's or the agency's account.
  • Select the "Access eAppoint" link under "Apply". If you have never used eAppoint, you must first register and will need to select "Register to become an appointing entity".
  • Once in the eAppoint Workbench, select the required tab (New Appointment, Renew Appointment, or Terminate Appointment) and follow the instructions on the page. You will need to remit the appropriate appointment fee(s). Appointments must be renewed every 24 months during the birth month for the appointee.

o Self-Appointing Surplus Lines Agent, Unaffiliated Insurance Agent, Viatical Settlement Broker, Public or All-Lines Adjuster: Self-appointing surplus lines agents, viatical settlement brokers, public or all-lines adjusters must log in to their own MyProfile account and complete an appointment. To do this:

  • Go to MyProfile and log in to your account.
  • Select the "Access eAppoint" button under "Apply". If you have never used eAppoint, you must first register and will need to select "Register to become an appointing entity".
  • Once in the eAppoint Workbench, select the required tab (New Appointment, Renew Appointment, or Terminate Appointment) and follow the instructions on the page. You will need to remit the appropriate appointment fee(s). Appointments must be renewed every 24 months during the birth month for the appointee.

o Adjusting Firm Appointing a Public or All-Lines Adjuster: Adjusting firms that are attempting to appoint a public or all-lines adjuster will use eAppoint by logging in with an email address and password. To do this:

  • Go to eAppoint at https://iportal.fldfs.com/eAppoint. If you are having a problem logging in, try clicking the "Retrieve lost password" link on the left side of the screen. If this does not resolve the issue, please contact our Licensing Help Line at (850) 413-3137.
  • Once in the eAppoint Workbench, select the required tab (New Appointment, Renew Appointment, or Terminate Appointment) and follow the instructions on the page. You will need to remit the appropriate appointment fee(s). Appointments must be renewed every 24 months during the birth month for the appointee.

o All Other Entities: All other entities will use eAppoint and will log in using an e-mail address and password. To do this:

  • Go to eAppoint at https://iportal.fldfs.com/eAppoint. If you are having a problem logging in, try clicking the "Retrieve lost password" link on the left side of the screen. If this does not resolve the issue, please contact our Licensing Help Line at (850) 413-3137.
  • Once in the eAppoint Workbench, select the required tab (New Appointment, Renew Appointment, or Terminate Appointment) and follow the instructions on the page. You will need to remit the appropriate appointment fee(s). Appointments must be renewed every 24 months during the birth month of the appointee.

o Bail Bond Agent: Appointing agency must complete and submit form DFS-H2-1554.

If you have questions or need assistance with the eAppoint process, please contact Agent Licensing at
1-877-693-5236 or AgentLicensing@MyFloridaCFO.com.

Agency Security ~ Preparedness Against Cyber Attacks and Data Breaches

Cyber attacks and data breaches of government agencies and large companies are frequently in the news. However, ALL businesses are vulnerable to this type of attack to their information systems. There are a few steps your agency can take to reduce its vulnerability:

  • Install and routinely update anti-virus/anti-malware protection suites
  • Use a firewall provided by the operating system or other software
  • Register your software for automatic updates, or manually update it routinely
  • Run any downloads or program installations through antivirus/anti malware programs before taking the action
  • Know how to recognize and avoid phishing scams
  • Do not open unrecognized emails
  • Develop strong passwords

While not all attacks and breaches can be prevented, taking these step can reduce your agency's chances of becoming a victim of cyber-crime.

The Florida Statutes Are Available Online

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

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.