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Volume 1, No. 6 - November 2012

Compliance Corner

We continue to see a pattern of noncompliance in the areas noted below. This section has been created to assist you in keeping your insurance business in compliance. The items are intended as reminders only and are not necessarily the exact text of the Florida Statutes or Florida Administrative Code. The legal cites have been provided for your further reference.

What to Do If Your Address or Name Changes!

All licensees (except bail bond agents - see below) must notify the department within 30 calendar days after a change of name, residence address, principal business street address, mailing address, contact telephone numbers, including a business telephone number, or email address. Failure to notify the Department within the required time can result in a fine not to exceed $250 for the first offense and a fine of at least $500 or suspension or revocation of the license for any subsequent offense.

Bail bond agents are required to notify the Department, insurer, managing general agent, and the clerk of each court in which the licensee is registered within 10 working days after a change in the licensee's principal business address or telephone number. The bail bond agent must also notify the Department within 10 working days after a change of the name, address, or telephone number of each agency or firm for which he or she writes bonds and any change in the licensee's name, home address, email address, or telephone number.

You can easily update and/or verify your addresses, including email, and other information through your MyProfile account.

After you log in to your MyProfile account, you will be able to see your information on the bottom-left of your MyProfile In-Box. To proceed with making changes, click "Address Change" on the right. If you make any changes, you must click "Save" at the bottom. This will ensure that your changes are saved.

If you have another license, such as one for your agency, you will need to verify and update the addresses on file for that license via its own separate MyProfile account.

Individual's Name Change:

You must mail or fax the request to change your individual name or the name of your agency with supporting documentation (marriage certificate, articles of incorporation, etc.) to the location below:

Florida Department of Financial Services
Bureau of Agent and Agency Licensing
200 E. Gaines Street, Room 419
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0319
Fax: (850) 413-3291

[See Sections 626.551 and 648.421, Florida Statutes]

Surplus Lines Agents: Overcharging Policy Fees and Premium

The Florida Insurance Code clearly states that it is unlawful for surplus lines agents to charge fees to the insured upon the sale of a surplus lines policy unless unless such fees are specifically authorized by law. "Broker fees" and "consulting fees" or other similarly named fees that produce additional income for agents are not authorized by law. Surplus lines agents are specifically permitted to charge up to $35 as a policy fee in addition to the applicable premium. The term "premium" means the consideration for insurance by whatever name called and includes any assessment, or any membership, policy, survey, inspection, service, or similar fee or charge in consideration for an insurance contract, which items are deemed to be a part of the premium. The Department has and will continue to take administrative action against any surplus lines agent found to be charging any fee(s) not specifically authorized by law.

[See Bulletin DOI-02-001, Sections 626.916(4) and 626.9325(6) Florida Statutes]

Renewing Your Agency License

Every insurance agency transacting insurance business in Florida must be licensed or registered with the department. Licensure is open to all agency types, while registration is limited to a unique set of agencies provided for by law. For more information, please see our web page on agency licensing and registration.

Florida law requires all licensed agencies to renew their license every three years. Florida law does not require registered agencies to renew their registration or title insurance agencies to renew their license. Agency licenses must be renewed online through MyProfile. Log in using the agency's login account information. Once logged in, select "Renewal" and proceed with the renewal process. There are no fees to renew an agency license. You will be able to print out your new agency license certificate the next day, which you will need to place prominently in the agency location. We email reminders to the email address on file for the agency 90 and 30 days prior to the agency license expiration, which is another important reason to make sure you keep your email address current through MyProfile. Failure to do so can prevent you from receiving important information from us and could lead to an email address violation and fine in addition to the expiration of your agency license.

Agencies and Their Members' Appointment Requirements

If a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or association holds an agency contract with an insurer, all members thereof who solicit, negotiate, or effect insurance contracts, and all officers and stockholders of the corporation who solicit, negotiate, or effect insurance contracts, are required to qualify and be licensed individually as agents or customer representatives. All such agents must also be individually appointed as to each property and casualty insurer entering into an agency contract with such agency.

All bail bond agents who are members of the same agency, partnership, corporation, or association shall be appointed to represent the same surety companies. If any member of such agency, partnership, corporation, or association is licensed and appointed as a professional bail bond agent, all members thereof shall be so licensed and appointed. While it is the responsibility of each insurer to require that each bail bond agent in an agency is appointed to represent that particular insurer, Rule 69B-241.100(41), F.A.C., states that the license of the primary bail bond agent for the bail bond agency may be suspended until all the agents in the agency are in compliance. When necessary, a bail bond agent can send a letter to the Department requesting termination of any of their appointments with an insurer/surety company.

The ability for a licensee to make a request to the Department to terminate an appointment applies to all license types as has always been the case.

[See Sections 626.733 and 648.55, Florida Statutes, and Rule 69B-241.100(41), Florida Administrative Code]