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Department Home | Agent and Agency Home | Insurance Insights Home

  Vol. 11, No. 1 - February 2022

In The Know


Closing An Insurance, Title, or Bail Bond Agency

GUIDELINES TO CLOSE AN INSURANCE AGENCY:

Contact the insurance companies

Notify each insurance company that you represent of your intention to close the agency. Make arrangements to return the marketing materials and insured files, unless the company allows you to find a new servicing agent. The department requires that existing customers continue to be serviced either by a properly licensed and appointed agent, or by the company's office personnel. Insurance agents who close an agency and do not make arrangements to properly service existing customers risk regulatory action by the department.

Notify your premium finance companies

It is important that you alert any premium finance companies used by your agency. Let them know how to contact you if they have any questions about your existing book of business. If the insurance company has approved a new servicing agent, then you should give the premium finance companies that information.

The premium finance companies are not required to accept new business from the servicing agent, but may do so at their discretion. Finance companies hold you responsible for bank drafts considered to be in your possession.

Bank Accounts

It is important to keep all bank accounts active until all outstanding checks have cleared. Checks returned due to insufficient funds will likely trigger a formal investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services concerning the proper accounting and remittance of fiduciary funds. Reminder: Section s. 626.9541(1)(0), F.S., prohibits withholding moneys belonging to others in the conduct of business under a license issued by the department.

Surrender your agency license

You need to complete form DFS-H2-1997 to cancel the agency's license. It must be signed and dated by an officer of the business. Send the form to us once it is completed. Alternatively, you may send a letter to the Bureau of Licensing stating that you wish to surrender your license. Please include the following:

  • Name
  • Florida License ID Number
  • Mailing address
  • Telephone number
  • Enclose your Florida insurance license ID or a statement indicating that you do not have the ID
  • Signature of the licensee

The letter can be emailed to the Department or uploaded in the agency's MyProfile account.

Or mailed to:

Florida Department of Financial Services
Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services
Bureau of Licensing
200 East Gaines Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0319

Submit a change of address

Florida law states that every licensee must notify the department within 30 days after a change of name, phone number, e-mail or residence address, principal business or mailing address. Closing an agency indicates that you have relocated your principal place of business and possibly changed your mailing address as well. Simply log in to your MyProfile account and submit the change.

Agency Files And Records

Florida law requires every licensee to preserve books, accounts and records pertaining to a premium payment for at least three years after payment. Any agent closing an insurance agency must make provisions for the records to be available for inspection in accordance with law. You can comply with the law by transferring the files to a new servicing agent or returning the files to the appropriate insurance company. Keep detailed records of any files you have transferred. Do not throw documents containing confidential or personal information into the trash without following the appropriate destruction methods.

Consumer Notification

Notify the Department's Division of Consumer Services of your agency's closing in the event your customers contact them. You can do this by submitting a request for insurance assistance at this link to our Division of Consumer Services.

Contact your landlord

Any lease or rental agreement entered into by you for conducting your agency business likely remains binding until both parties agree to end the contract. Closing the agency doors and not returning to the location does not end your obligation to pay rent. This is true of all rental agreements, including those for computers, postage machines, copiers, telephone systems and fax machines. You are responsible for paying all utility bills until the utility company terminates or transfers the account. If you have any questions regarding these matters, seek private legal counsel.

Additional items to consider or complete when closing an agency can be review at this link to our website.

GUIDELINES TO CLOSE A TITLE AGENCY:

Contact the Insurance Companies

Contact the insurance companies that you represent and advise them of your decision to close the agency and ask them for guidance on the proper handling of the records for the policies issued for their company. The Florida Statutes require the title agent or insurer to maintain records pertinent to the issuance of the title policies. If your title agency will be closed, the insurer may need to make arrangements for maintaining your files.

Escrow Funds

The title agency escrow account needs to remain open until all outstanding checks have cleared. You should contact your attorney to arrange to transfer the funds in any open escrow accounts to the appropriate underwriter, or for remittances outstanding for over five years, to the Florida Unclaimed Property Fund. (s. 626.8473(7), F.S.)

Notify the Department of Financial Services

Once you have made the arrangements noted above, send a letter on your title agency letterhead to the Department of Financial Services, along with your license. The letter must indicate you want the title agency's license terminated, the last day business was conducted by the title agency, and should include the location of your records and contact information for the records custodian.

The letter of termination can be emailed to the Department or uploaded in the agency's MyProfile account. It may also be mailed to:

Florida Department of Financial Services
Bureau of Licensing
200 East Gaines Street
Tallahassee FL 32399-0319

Notify the Department's Division of Consumer Services of your agency's closing in the event your customers contact them. You can do this by submitting a request for insurance assistance at this link to our Division of Consumer Services.

Contact your landlord

Any lease or rental agreement entered into by you for conducting your agency business likely remains binding until both parties agree to end the contract. Closing the agency doors and not returning to the location does not end your obligation to pay rent. This is true of all rental agreements, including those for computers, postage machines, copiers, telephone systems and fax machines. You are responsible for paying all utility bills until the utility company terminates or transfers the account. If you have any questions regarding these matters, seek private legal counsel.

Additional items to consider or complete when closing an agency can be review at this link to our website.


GUIDELINES TO CLOSE A BAIL BOND AGENCY:

Bank Accounts

It is important to keep all bank accounts active until all outstanding checks have cleared. Checks returned due to insufficient funds will likely trigger a formal investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services concerning the proper accounting and remittance of fiduciary funds. Reminder: Section 648.295, F.S., prohibits withholding moneys belonging to others in the conduct of business under a bail bond license issued by the department.

Agency files and records

Florida law requires every licensee to preserve books, accounts and records pertaining to a premium payment for at least three years after the liability of the surety has been terminated. Any agent closing a bail bond agency must make provisions for the records to be available for inspection in accordance with law. You can comply with the law by transferring the files to a new servicing agent or returning the files to the appropriate surety company. Keep detailed records of any files you have transferred. Do not throw documents containing confidential or personal information into the trash without following the appropriate destruction methods. (s. 648.36, F.S.)

Contact the surety companies

Notify each surety company that you represent of your intention to close the bail bond agency. Be sure to obtain formal guidance on the proper handling of your agency's records, including unused powers and the collateral in your possession for the bail bonds issued for their company.

Notify the Department

Send a letter to us advising the date your bail bond agency will close, the location of your agency's files, the location of the collateral being held on the bonds written and an explanation of how consumers will receive the return of their collateral at the conclusion of their cases. This should be done within 10 working days of the closing. The letter may be emailed to BailBond@MyFloridaCFO.com or uploaded in the agency's MyProfile account. 

You will need to remove the bail bond agency's registration and delete the designated primary bail bond agent for the agency as well in the bail bond agency's MyProfile account. If you have not created the bail bond agency's MyProfile account yet, you will need to do that first, enter the owner information, and proceed accordingly. [ s. 648.387, F.S.]

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

On a related matter, a bail bond agent must notify us within 10 working days if you change your name, residence address, principal business street address or mailing address, e-mail address, or contact telephone numbers. This is quickly and easily done by logging in to your individual MyProfile account. [ s. 648.421, F.S.]

Contact your customers

Mail a notice to each customer (defendants and indemnitors), advising them of the closing of the agency and whom they can contact regarding their bonds. If the managing general agent (MGA) or surety company has not yet approved a new servicing agent, then the notice should direct your customers to contact the MGA or surety company. The notice should include an office telephone number for the servicing agent or surety company.

Notify the department's Division of Consumer Services of your agency's closing in the event your customers contact them. You can do this by submitting a request for insurance assistance at this link to our Division of Consumer Services.

Bank accounts

It is important to keep all bank accounts active until all outstanding checks have cleared. Checks returned due to insufficient funds will likely trigger a formal investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services concerning the proper accounting and remittance of fiduciary funds. Reminder: Section 648.295, F.S., prohibits withholding moneys belonging to others in the conduct of business under a bail bond license issued by the department.

Agency files and records

Florida law requires every licensee to preserve books, accounts and records pertaining to a premium payment for at least three years after the liability of the surety has been terminated. Any agent closing a bail bond agency must make provisions for the records to be available for inspection in accordance with law. You can comply with the law by transferring the files to a new servicing agent or returning the files to the appropriate surety company. Keep detailed records of any files you have transferred. Do not throw documents containing confidential or personal information into the garbage without following the appropriate destruction methods. (s. 648.36, F.S.)

Contact your landlord

Any lease or rental agreement entered into by you for conducting your agency business likely remains binding until both parties agree to end the contract. Closing the agency doors and not returning to the location does not end your obligation to pay rent. This is true of all rental agreements, including those for computers, postage machines, copiers, telephone systems and fax machines. You are responsible for paying all utility bills until the utility company terminates or transfers the account. If you have any questions regarding these matters, seek private legal counsel.

Additional items to consider or complete when closing an agency can be review at this link to our website.


Beyond Open Enrollment: Helping Consumers Throughout the Year

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) have produced a guide to inform agents of the ways they can provide assistance to their Marketplace policyholders throughout the year. You can view a copy of the guide using this link to the REGTAP website.


Title Agencies: The 2022 Administrative Surcharge

Subsection 624.501(27)(e)2, F.S., requires any title insurance agency licensed in Florida on January 1 of each year to remit an administrative surcharge of $200 to the Florida Department of Financial Services.

A number of agencies have not paid the surcharge and are subject to enforcement action. If your agency has not paid the surcharge, we encourage you to do so immediately to avoid enforcement action which could include a fine, in addition to the original surcharge, and/or suspension or revocation of the agency's license.

If your agency ceased conducting title insurance prior to January 1, 2022 and will not conduct business in 2022, the agency can request termination of its license.

Additional guidance for the steps to take when closing a title insurance agency are provided at this link.

More information can be found at: https://myfloridacfo.com/division/agents/industry/title-administrative-surcharge


Verify before you sellAgents should always verify the companies they sell for are authorized to do business in Florida. If you suspect an entity is not authorized to transact insurance in Florida, please notify our office. Call 877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).

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