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Department Home | Agent and Agency Home | Insurance Insights Home

  Vol. 10, No. 2 - Fall 2021

Compliance Corner


2021 Legislative Session Results


Senate Bill 76 - INSURANCE

Makes changes to address issues related to property insurance policies, claims, and litigation:

  • Managing General Agents: changes current laws regarding managing general agent (MGAs) that are controlled by, or are a controlling person of, an insurer it contracts with, from the requirement that the contract between the insurer and MGA specify appropriate underwriting guidelines and provides certain exemptions from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) oversight.
  • Public Adjusting: prohibits licensed contractors and subcontractors from advertising, soliciting, offering to handle, handling, or performing public adjuster (PA) services without a license. The prohibition does not prohibit the contractor from recommending that the consumer consider contacting his or her insurer to determine if the proposed repair is covered by insurance. However, the contractor may not violate s. 489.147, F.S.
  • Prohibits a Public Adjuster (PA), PA apprentice, or person acting on behalf of a PA or PA apprentice, from offering financial inducements for (1) allowing a roof inspection of residential property, or (2) making an insurance claim for roof damage and prohibits them from offering or accepting consideration for referring services related to a roof claim. Each violation subjects the licensee to up to a $10,000 fine. Unlicensed persons who are not otherwise exempted from PA licensure commit the unlicensed practice of public adjusting when they do these prohibited acts and are subject to a $10,000 fine per act and the criminal penalty for unlicensed activity (3rd degree felony).
  • A property insurance claim or reopened claim must be provided to the insurer within two (2) years of the date of loss. A supplemental claim is not barred if notice is given while the claim it supplements remains open.
  • Prevents the filing of a claim, supplemental claim, or reopened claim under a property insurance policy unless notice of the claim, supplemental claim, or reopened is provided to the insurer within two (2) years of the date of the loss.

    Effective Date: July 1, 2021, Laws of Florida, Ch. 2021-77

HB 1209 - Department of Financial Services

The bill modifies several areas regulated by the Department of Financial Services including:

  • Division of Public Assistance Fraud: establishes DPAF as a criminal justice agency.
  • Insurance Field Representatives and Operation: modifies the continuing education requirements of insurance licensees except title insurance agents. Modifies requirements related to renewal appointments. Adds a designation that will qualify a person for licensure as an insurance agent's customer representative. Increases the maximum length of suspension of title insurance agents from one (1) year to two (2) years.
  • Protecting Proprietary Business Information: prohibits a person from requiring an insurance agent or agency to provide the replacement cost estimator or other proprietary underwriting information as a condition to extending credit secured by real property, nor may an insurance agent or agency provide this information.
  • Surplus Lines: removes a notice requirement before exporting policies. Allows an agent to export a flood insurance policy to a surplus insurer without seeking coverage from three or more authorized insurers. Allows insurance coverage for deductibles to be written on surplus lines without meeting due diligence requirements.
  • Bail Bond Agents: criminalizes an agent's aiding or abetting of unlicensed activity.

Effective Date: July 1, 2021, Laws of Florida, Ch. 2021-113

Senate Bill 1598 - Agency Package - PROTECTING INSURANCE POLICYHOLDERS

  • Requires an entity that is licensed or issued a certificate of authority by the Department of Financial Services (DFS) or the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) to respond to document requests from the DFS Division of Consumer Services.
  • Eliminates the $60 fee for a new or renewal adjusting firm license.
  • Defines "claims adjusting" under the "Licensing Procedures Law."
  • Specifies that entities must comply with s. 626.8696, F.S., with respect to possessing an adjusting firm license, but provides that an adjusting firm's branch place of business does not require licensure if it meets specified requirements.
  • Revises the Licensing Procedures Law's prohibition against unlicensed activity to include knowingly aiding or abetting an unlicensed person in transacting insurance or otherwise engaging in insurance activities in this state without a license. A person who does so commits a third-degree felony.
  • Authorizes DFS to suspend, revoke, or refuse to issue the license of an insurance agent, adjuster, customer representative, service representative, or managing general agent that makes a consumer's personal financial or medical information available to the public, or initiates in-person or telephone solicitation with a prospective customer after 9 p.m. or before 8 a.m., unless the customer requests otherwise.
  • Prohibits the sale of industrial life insurance policies, effective July 1, 2021.
  • Increases to 10 days, the cooling-off period during which a consumer may cancel his or her contract with a public adjuster.
  • Requires that the public adjuster's written estimate of loss must include an itemized, per-unit estimate of the repairs. The public adjuster must provide the estimate to the claimant or insured within 60 days after the execution of the public adjuster contract.
  • Prohibits a licensed contractor or subcontractor from soliciting an insured to file a claim unless licensed and compliant as a public adjuster.
  • Prohibits persons other than a public adjuster or attorney from advertising, providing advice, or assisting with claims adjusting on behalf of a public adjuster, insured, or third-party claimant.
  • Requires disclosure that surplus lines insurance is not covered by the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association prior to placing coverage with a surplus lines insurer.
  • Expands the definition of sliding, a practice that violates the Unfair Insurance Trade Practices.
  • Applies the property insurance claim investigation and communication requirements of s. 627.70131, F.S. to surplus lines insurers.
  • Requires a residential property insurer begin its claim investigation within 14 days of receiving a proof of loss statement; current law provides 10 business days.
  • Requires insurers to provide to policyholders the adjuster's name and state adjuster license number when a claim investigation involves a physical inspection of the property and maintain a record of each adjuster who communicates with the policyholder.
  • Requires the insurer to provide notices that explain when the insurer is providing a preliminary or partial estimate or making a claim payment that is not the full and final payment for the claim.
  • Prohibits the inclusion of a foreign venue clause within any personal residential property insurance policy sold in Florida that insures only property located in this state. This prohibition also applies to surplus lines insurers and authorized surplus lines insurance.
  • Requires insurers to provide the Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights pursuant to any personal lines residential property insurance claim and adds notice regarding the right to receive interest and the utility of taking video of damages and repairs.
  • Removes the insured's obligation to pay a $100 deductible to FIGA in order to receive payment on their claim through FIGA.
  • Revises the definition of a 'covered claim' for purposes of the Florida Workers' Compensation Insurance Guaranty Association, to exclude the return of premium resulting from a policy that was not in force on the date of the final order of liquidation.

Effective Date: June 16, 2021, Laws of Florida, Ch. 2021-104

Senate Bill 1120 - PUSHING BACK AGAINST UNSOLICITED TELEMARKETNG

  • Requires all sales telephone calls, text messages, and direct-to-voicemail transmissions to have the receiving consumer's prior express written consent if the call will be made using an automated machine to dial the recipient's phone number or will play a recorded message upon connection with the recipient.
  • Amends the Florida Telemarketing Act to prohibit telephone sellers or salespersons from calling consumers outside of the hours between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. in the consumer's time zone and prohibits telephone sellers or salespersons from contacting consumer on the same subject matter more than three times in a 24-hour period. The bill also clarifies that calls made through an automated dialer or recorded message are subject to the same prohibitions.

Effective Date: July 1, 2021, Laws of Florida, Ch. 2021-185

House Bill 7017 - PROTECTING CONSUMERS

  • Requires specified entities that apply for or receive any gift or grant with a value of $50,000 or more from any foreign source to disclose such gift or grant to the appropriate agency, along with additional specified information.
  • Requires the Department of Financial Services (DFS) to manage a website to publish required disclosures and maintain an active and current list of ineligible entities on the website, and requires DFS to investigate an allegation of a disclosure violation.

Effective Date: July 1, 2021, Laws of Florida, Ch. 2021-76

Note: Several new laws by topic and license type are highlighted our In The Know section of this issue.


Reminder: Bail Bond Agencies Must Register
in "MyProfile"

The Department notified bail bond agencies in our June 2020 newsletter that effective immediately, bail bond agencies must establish and access a MyProfile account for the agency and designate their primary bail bond agent.

The Department continues to receive paper applications from some bail bond agencies. The paper application form is no longer accepted by the Department.

To set up a MyProfile account, you will need to create a secure MyProfile "Bail Bond Agency" account type. When you do this, you will be able to take the following actions:

  • Add Owner/Officer
  • Designate and delete a primary bail bond agent.
  • Add locations
  • Delete locations
  • Change an address
  • Change login information
  • Email Address Changes
  • Grant Third-Party Privileges

Registering your agency through MyProfile allows the consumer-buying public to find and locate bail bond agents and agencies through the Department's Licensee Search, which had not been available before the change to the electronic registration/designation filing.

Jails and courts are also able to verify that a bail bond agent and agency is registered with the Department after they have designated a primary bail bond agent for a location.

For more instructions, please see our Bail Bond Agency Primary Agent User Guide.


Emergency Adjusters - Your Responsibilities

Hurricane Season began June 1. If you haven't taken steps to be sure your license is in compliance NOW is the time - not when a storm is threatening our state! Complete this short checklist to ensure your license is in good standing:

-Is your license active?
-Are you self-appointed or appointed by an adjusting firm?
-Are you compliant with your continuing education requirements?
-Has a primary adjuster been designated for your firm?
-Is all contact information up-to-date? You can update it at MyProfile.
-Are any apprentices licensed and appointed?
-Do you have your Department issued license with you?

If a storm is expected to or makes landfall in Florida, insurers may start the appointment process. Although insurers are responsible for appointing emergency adjusters, that process is not fool-proof. It is your responsibility to make sure you are properly appointed. You can quickly review your appointments through your MyProfile account to make sure the insurer you represent in the aftermath of a storm has appointed you!


Public Adjusters and Public Adjusting Firms - Review Legislative Changes and Take Action

Hurricane season is in full swing. All public adjusters and firms should be fully aware of the changes in the Florida Statutes that were effective July 1, 2021 and make the necessary changes to contracts and business practices.

Licensees that have not already made the required changes to the public adjusting contract should implement those changes immediately to avoid possible enforcement action. Information about all changes that affect public adjusters and firms can be found in articles in this issue and the links we've provided to the 2021 Laws of Florida.


Failure to Update Title Agency Agent in Charge - Cancellation of Agency License

All title agencies were notified by email on two occasions that any agency that did not update its title agent in charge by July 21, 2021 would automatically be terminated. The Department automatically notified those agencies on July 22, 2021.

Agencies who lost their agency license must reapply for the license - no exceptions. There is no mechanism to "reinstate" a terminated license.

The former title agency may not conduct any of the activities that require a title agency license including accepting premium, issuing title insurance, or handling escrow. A licensed and appointed title insurance agent may handle escrow, but the agency cannot perform any escrow transactions while unlicensed. As for transacting title insurance, that also requires a title agency license.

626.8412 License and appointments required.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this part:
(a) Title insurance may be sold only by a licensed and appointed title insurance agent employed by a licensed and appointed title insurance agency or employed by a title insurer.
(b) A title insurance agent may not sell a title insurance policy issued by an insurer for which the agent does not hold a current appointment.
(2) Except as otherwise provided in this part, a person, other than a title insurance agency or an employee of a title insurance agency, may not perform any of the functions of a title insurance agency without a title insurance agency license.

If you receive notice of cancellation of your agency's license due to failure to comply with this requirement, please contact AgentLicensing@MyFloridaCFO.com or call 850-413-3137. Inquiries about license cancellation sent to any other section will cause a delay as additional handling will be required by the Department.


Compliance Informationcompliance globe

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

Note: Some information in archived articles may now be out of date or superseded by changes in Florida law. Please be sure you refer to the most current law.


Make Sure You Don't Miss Important Information From Us

We highly recommend licensees routinely check their MyProfile accounts for messages from the Department. We send licensees important emails to keep you informed on issues regarding application, license, continuing education, or when appointment(s) occur. We suggest adding our domains dfs.state.fl.us and MyFloridaCFO.com to your email software's Trusted or Safe Senders List to ensure you receive email notifications from us.

Update your contact information TODAY through your MyProfile account to ensure you remain informed. You are required to abide by the Florida Insurance Code regardless of whether you read the information we provide.

 

Legal Notices © 2021 Florida Department of Financial Services