As a licensee it’s important you have access to information that helps you keep your insurance business in compliance. This section (along with Insurance Insights and other Department communications) is an important tool to help you meet that goal.
However, these tools are not and cannot replace statutes, department rules, orders or case law. The items below 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.
Use of an advertisement, announcement, or statement containing any assertion, representation, or statement with respect to the business of insurance, which is untrue, deceptive, or misleading. Example: A life and health advertisement must have the prior approval of the benefiting insurance company before being disseminated. Any advertisements approved by the insurer should be used exactly as approved. If the advertisement does not have the approval of the benefiting insurer, the agent placing the advertisement is in violation. See rule 69B-150.013(10), F.A.C., and paragraph 626.9541(1)(b), F.S. In addition, advertising materials and other communications developed by insurers, or other risk bearing entities authorized under the Florida Insurance Code and approved by the office to do business in this state, must clearly indicate that the communication relates to insurance products. As an agent soliciting or selling insurance products you must clearly indicate to prospective insureds that you are acting as an insurance agent with regard to insurance products and identified insurers, or other risk bearing entities authorized under the Florida Insurance Code and approved to do business in this state by the office. Please see 626.9531(1), F.S.
Acting from offices or by personnel or facilities located in this state, or in any other state or country, directly or indirectly acts as agent for, or otherwise representing or aiding on behalf of another, any insurer not authorized to transact such insurance in this state. An example would be an agent representing an unauthorized company that offers health insurance coverage to residents of Florida and claims to have exemption from state regulation under the Federal ERISA ACT of 1974. See 626.901 (1)(a)-(h), F.S.
If an agent or other person licensed under the Florida Insurance Code knowingly authorizes, assists or allows an unlicensed person to transact insurance it is considered aiding and abetting that unlicensed individual to violate the insurance code. 626.621(12), F.S.
The failure of an agent to follow mandated guidelines requiring that a determination be made about the suitability of an annuity. The law also requires certain disclosures and an objective comparison of annuity contracts when recommending the exchange or replacement an annuity. See 627.4554, F.S.
Note: Special provisions apply to certain charges on contracts for individuals age 65 and older. See 627.455(8), F.S.
If you, as a licensee, have pled guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) to or been found guilty of, a felony or a crime punishable by imprisonment of 1 year or more under the laws of the United States of America or of any state thereof or under the law of any other country, without regard to whether a judgment of conviction has been entered by the court having jurisdiction of such cases, you must report it to the Department. Failure to inform the Department in writing within 30 days after pleading guilty or nolo contendere to, or being convicted or found guilty of, any felony or a crime punishable by imprisonment of 1 year or more under the law of the United States or of any state thereof would be a violation of the insurance code and a reason for the Department to open an investigation. See: 626.611(2) and 626.621(8)(11), F.S.
Note: Effective July 1, 2014, the department shall, upon receipt of information or an indictment, immediately temporarily suspend a license or appointment issued under this chapter when the licensee is charged with a felony enumerated in section 626.207(3), F.S. Such suspension shall continue if the licensee is found guilty of, or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to, the crime, regardless of whether a judgment or conviction is entered, during a pending appeal. A person may not transact insurance business after suspension of his or her license or appointment. See section 626.611(2), F.S. (effective July 1, 2014).
If you are a bail bond agent, the department shall, upon receipt of an information or indictment, immediately temporarily suspend any license or appointment issued under this chapter when the licensee has been charged with a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude or a crime punishable by imprisonment of 1 year or more under the law of any state, territory, or country. Such suspension shall continue if the licensee has been found guilty of, or has pleaded guilty or no contest to, the crime, whether or not a judgment or conviction has been entered, during a pending appeal. A person may not effect any additional bail bonds after suspension of his or her license or appointment. However, he or she may discharge any liability on bonds effected prior to such suspension. See section 648.45(1), F.S.
Subsection 624.501(27)(e)2, Florida Statutes, 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. Failure to pay the surcharge on or before January 30 of each year will result in administrative action and/or a fine, in addition to the original surcharge.
Performing a fraudulent or dishonest practice in the conduct of business under your license and appointments. See 626.611(1)(i), F.S.
Knowingly collecting as a premium or charge for insurance any sum in excess of or less than the premium or charge applicable to such insurance, which is not then followed by the issuance of an insurance policy by an insurer as permitted by the code. See 626.9541(1)(o), F.S.
Actions by a licensee that demonstrate a lack of reasonably adequate knowledge and technical competence to engage in the transactions authorized by their license or appointment. An example would be an agent submitting an application with an insurance company wherein the risk was not eligible and it was clearly stated in the field underwriting guidelines, but the agent failed to study those guidelines or consult them when submitting the risk. See 626.611(1)(h), F.S.
The unlawful withholding of moneys belonging to insurers, insureds, beneficiaries, or to others and received in the conduct of business under your license or appointments. An example would be the failure to forward applications and premium to the insurance company or the company’s MGA, thus leaving the insureds without coverage. Another form of mishandling fiduciary funds is the licensee’s failure to return unearned premiums or commissions to an insured due to an early cancellation of coverage, or similar reason. Please see 626.611(1)(j), F.S.
Per Florida law, a bail bond agent has certain mandated guidelines that must be followed when accepting and handling collateral on a bail bond transaction. Failing to following the guidelines for acceptance and return of the collateral is considered mishandling bail bond collateral. See 648.442, F.S.
A misrepresentation can be defined in several ways: (1) a person or agent knowingly makes a material misrepresentation on an application for insurance; (2) an agent induces the purchase of insurance by any form of dissemination of deceptive information or advertising. (3) a person does not disclose criminal history on an application for an insurance license (certain criminal history can prevent an applicant from obtaining licensure). See 626.9541(1)(a), F.S.
A fraudulent practice in which insurance agents knowingly mislead consumers to lapse, forfeit, surrender, terminate, retain, pledge, assign, borrow on or convert any or to take out an insurance policy with another insurance company. See 626.9541(1)(l), F.S.
Transacting insurance without a license, without the proper license or while your license is lapsed, suspended or revoked. See 626.112(10)(a), F.S.
Title insurance agents hold funds in escrow for later disbursement as part of a real estate closing transaction. All funds received by the title insurance agent shall be trust funds received in a fiduciary capacity by the title insurance agent and shall be the property of the person or persons entitled to that money. See 626.8473, F.S.
Read the division's online newsletter, Insurance Insights, which includes valuable information for agents, adjusters and agencies about what's happening in Florida's market and trends we're seeing. If you're a licensee with a valid email address on file, you will be e-mailed when new issues have been published. However, you can always read the latest issue, as well as past issues, on our website. Click below to read!