- Keeping you informed is what it's all about
The editor of Insurance Insights occasionally receives emails from licensees who are no longer active in the insurance industry, and wish to cease receiving Insurance Insights and other communications from the Department. If you no longer transact insurance or adjust claims in the state of Florida, you should surrender your license to the Department. As long as you hold a license, the Department must continue to send communications relating to your license. If you hold a license that requires continuing education, even if you are not using it, the Department can hold you responsible for completing the required continuing education hours.
You can surrender your license by mailing a letter to the Bureau of Licensing stating that you wish to surrender. Please include the following:
The address to mail the letter is: Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Agent and Agency Services, Bureau of Licensing, 200 East Gaines St., Room 419, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0319. You may also fax it to (850) 413-3291.
As always, you may verify your license and appointment status by logging in to your Mi Perfil account or using our public licensee search. Tips on closing an insurance agency can also be found on our website at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Division/Agents/Newsletter/Articles/AgencyClosing.htm.
According to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report some insurance agents, financial planners and lawyers are taking advantage of veterans by putting their money in financial products that may not be suitable. The report claims that the sale of inappropriate products to vets seeking to qualify for military pensions is not the only issue at hand, but also trolling retirement communities and nursing homes to sell unsuitable products.
According to the GAO report, some agents and planners were placing senior veterans in products that may not be age-appropriate or are being persuaded to buy an annuity or move assets into a trust to qualify for VA benefits. Such a decision can lock up money the individual might need for future expenses.
The GAO reports that some agents may lead potential pension claimants and their family members to believe they are veterans advocates representing a nonprofit organization or endorsed by the VA when, in fact, they are insurance agents trying to sell a product for a commission. The GAO also highlighted a concern that some attendees at presentations by these agents may have degenerative mental states and therefore are not in a position to make decisions about their finances, leaving them vulnerable to suggestions that they must purchase a financial product to qualify for a VA pension. These practices are unacceptable and violate the law.
Please know that the Florida Department of Financial Services will not tolerate these practices and will seek enforcement action, including criminal sanctions, against any licensee found to be taking unlawful advantage of our veteran and senior population.
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. Therefore, we are reminding all title agencies that the 2013 administrative surcharge due date will soon be approaching. Any title insurance agency licensed in Florida on January 1, 2013, will be emailed an invoice a few days afterward to the agency's email address on file with the Department. To ensure you receive the invoice and avoid failing to pay by the January 30 due date, please log in to the Mi Perfil account for your title agency and make sure the correct email address is on file. While doing so, we also recommend you do the same for your individual Mi Perfil account. Failure to pay the surcharge on or before January 30 will result in administrative action and/or a fine of $500, in addition to the original surcharge. To assure that your payment is properly credited, please return all invoices covered with your check.
We believe the information below may be helpful for our property and casualty agents to know more about how mediations should be conducted, as it might help them in consulting with their policyholders who request mediation.
Mediation assignments are made through the Department's Mediation Manager Program. Mediation conferences must occur within 45 days of the mediation request. Upon receipt of a mediation request, the parties have 21 days to resolve the dispute before a mediation conference can be scheduled. Upon expiration of the 21 days and if the dispute has not been resolved, the mediation request is assigned to a mediator. The initial 21 days is included within the 45-day timeframe.
The Florida Administrative Code requires mediators to notify the insured, insurer, and the Department in writing of the exact time, date and location of the mediation conference. The mediation conference must be held at a reasonable location specified by the mediator within a reasonable proximity of the insured's property. It is inappropriate for a mediation conference to be held in a restaurant, in a mediator's hotel room, or in any location that is inconvenient or impractical.
If the insured fails to appear at the mediation conference, the conference shall be considered to have been held and the insurance company must pay for the mediation. However, if the insured wishes to schedule a new mediation conference, the total cost of mediation for the new conference must be paid by the insured. If the insurance company fails to appear at the mediation conference, the insurance company must pay for the mediation.
The mediation conference should only include the items that are listed in the mediation assignment. The parties cannot add new claims at the time of mediation. Claims must go through the regular process before they can be mediated. The insurance company cannot waive the process.
This information has been provided to briefly outline the mediation process. If you have additional questions regarding mediation assignments or the mediation process, please feel free to contact the Department's Mediation Unit via email at Mediation@MyFloridaCFO.com or by phone at (850) 413-5818.