November 13, 2019
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_h0853__
HB 853

1
A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to title insurance; amending s. 20.121,
3F.S.; creating the Division of Title Insurance in the
4Department of Financial Services; creating part I of ch.
5637, F.S.; providing for administration of title insurance
6and general provisions; providing a short title; providing
7legislative findings, purposes, and intent; creating the
8Division of Title Insurance within the Department of
9Financial Services; providing powers and duties; providing
10for appointment of a division director; establishing the
11Bureau of Title Insurance Premium Rates and Forms and the
12Bureau of Title Insurance Licensing and Education within
13the division; providing definitions; preempting to the
14state the regulation of title insurance, title insurers,
15and title insurance agencies; providing for nonapplication
16of certain chapters; duplicating in ch. 637, F.S., certain
17provisions of chs. 624, 625, 626, and 628, F.S., relating
18to insurance and making such provisions applicable to
19title insurance, title insurers, title insurance agents,
20and title insurance agencies; creating s. 637.10335, F.S.;
21providing for civil remedies against title insurers;
22providing procedures, requirements, and limitations;
23providing for award of damages, court costs, and attorney
24fees; prohibiting punitive damages under certain
25circumstances; providing construction prohibitions;
26preserving certain remedies and causes of action; creating
27s. 637.10435, F.S.; providing a Policyholders Bill of
28Rights; specifying principles; providing a construction
29prohibition; creating s. 637.10445, F.S.; providing
30procedures, requirements, and limitations for documents
31claimed as trade secrets; creating part II of ch. 637,
32F.S.; providing for licensing and administration of title
33insurers; duplicating in ch. 637, F.S., and making
34applicable to title insurers certain provisions of ch.
35624, F.S.; transferring to ch. 637, F.S., certain
36provisions of chs. 625 and 627, F.S., relating to title
37insurance; creating s. 637.20035, F.S.; providing for
38structure of title insurers; creating s. 637.20635, F.S.;
39prohibiting title insurers, title insurance agencies, and
40title insurance agents from rebating portions of premiums;
41providing exceptions; specifying rebate prohibitions;
42creating s. 637.2091, F.S.; specifying that title
43insurance business in exclusive; creating part III of ch.
44637, F.S.; providing for licensure and administration of
45title insurance agents and agencies; duplicating in ch.
46637, F.S., and making applicable to title insurance agents
47and agencies certain provisions of ch. 626, F.S.;
48transferring to ch. 637, F.S., certain provisions of ch.
49626, F.S., relating to title insurance agents and
50agencies; creating s. 637.30125, F.S.; providing
51requirements for agents in charge; providing for
52authority, duties, and responsibilities of agents in
53charge; transferring regulation, administration, and
54enforcement of title insurers from the Office of Insurance
55Regulation and the Financial Services Commission to the
56Department of Financial Services and the Division of Title
57Insurance; deleting references to the office and
58commission to conform; amending ss. 624.5105 and 624.5107,
59F.S.; including references to applicable sections of ch.
60637, F.S., under the community contribution tax credit
61program and the child care tax credit program; specifying
62rules of the Financial Services Commission and the Office
63of Insurance Regulation as rules of the department;
64transferring certain powers, duties, functions, records,
65personnel, property, and unexpended balances of
66appropriations, allocations, and other funds relating to
67title insurance to the department; preserving the validity
68of certain judicial and administrative actions relating to
69title insurance; providing for transfer of certain orders
70relating to title insurance to the department; requiring
71the Division of Statutory Revision to assist substantive
72legislative committees in developing conforming
73legislation; creating s. 689.263, F.S.; prohibiting title
74insurance agents or title insurance agencies from
75disbursing certain funds under certain circumstances;
76providing requirements for a statement of settlement
77costs; creating s. 717.1121, F.S.; providing construction
78of certain payments from escrow related to real estate
79transactions; amending s. 877.101, F.S.; providing an
80additional prohibition against transacting escrow business
81by unauthorized persons; revising cross-references for
82purposes of nonapplication to licensed title insurance
83agents; amending ss. 624.5015, 626.241, and 626.331, F.S.;
84deleting provisions relating to title insures; amending
85ss. 197.502, 624.501, 624.604, 624.605, 625.031, 626.207,
86655.005, 701.041, and 721.05, F.S.; conforming a cross-
87reference; repealing s. 624.4031, F.S., relating to church
88benefit plans and church benefits boards; repealing s.
89624.608, F.S., relating to the definition of "title
90insurance"; repealing s. 626.841, F.S., relating to
91definitions of "title insurance agent" and "title
92insurance agency"; repealing s. 626.8411, F.S., relating
93to application of Florida Insurance Code provisions to
94title insurance agents or agencies; repealing s. 626.9531,
95F.S., relating to identification of insurers, agents, and
96insurance contracts; repealing s. 627.7711, F.S., relating
97to definitions; repealing s. 627.776, F.S., relating to
98applicability or inapplicability of Florida Insurance Code
99provisions to title insurers; providing an effective date.
100
101Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
102
103     Section 1.  Paragraph (o) is added to subsection (2) of
104section 20.121, Florida Statutes, to read:
105     20.121  Department of Financial Services.-There is created
106a Department of Financial Services.
107     (2)  DIVISIONS.-The Department of Financial Services shall
108consist of the following divisions:
109     (o)  The Division of Title Insurance.
110     Section 2.  Part I of chapter 637, Florida Statutes,
111consisting of sections 637.1001, 637.1002, 637.1003, 637.1004,
112637.10045, 637.1005, 637.1006, 637.1007, 637.1008, 637.1009,
113637.1011, 637.1012, 637.1013, 637.1014, 637.1015, 637.1016,
114637.1017, 637.1018, 637.1019, 637.1021, 637.1022, 637.1023,
115637.1024, 637.1025, 637.1026, 637.1027, 637.1028, 637.1029,
116637.1031, 637.1032, 637.1033, 637.10335, 637.1034, 637.1035,
117637.1036, 637.1037, 637.1038, 637.1039, 637.1041, 637.1042,
118637.1043, 637.10435, 637.1044, 637.10445, 637.1045, 637.1046,
119637.1047, 637.1048, and 637.1049, is created and entitled
120"ADMINISTRATION AND GENERAL PROVISIONS."
121     Section 3.  Sections 637.1001, 637.1002, 637.1003,
122637.1004, 637.10045, 637.1005, 637.1006, 637.1007, 637.1008,
123637.1009, 637.1011, 637.1012, 637.1013, 637.1014, 637.1015,
124637.1016, 637.1017, 637.1018, 637.1019, 637.1021, 637.1022,
125637.1023, 637.1024, 637.1025, 637.1026, 637.1027, 637.1029,
126637.1031, 637.1032, 637.1033, 637.10335, 637.1034, 637.1035,
127637.1036, 637.1037, 637.1038, 637.1039, 637.1041, 637.1042,
128637.1043, 637.10435, 637.1044, 637.10445, 637.1045, 637.1046,
129637.1047, 637.1048, and 637.1049, are created to read:
130     637.1001  Short title.-This chapter may be cited as the
131"Florida Title Insurance Act."
132     637.1002  Legislative findings; purpose; intent.-
133     (1)  The Legislature finds that a stable and efficient
134title insurance delivery system is necessary to promote the
135economic wellbeing of the citizens of this state. Title
136insurance is essential to ensure homeowners and landowners of
137the safety of real property transfers in the state. Lienholders
138and investors require the security afforded their business
139interests accorded by a financially stable and regulated title
140insurance industry. A viable title insurance delivery system
141requires comprehensive state oversight, including regulation of
142title insurers, agents, and agencies. Accordingly, it is the
143intent of the Legislature to establish unitary regulation of the
144title insurance industry by the creation of a Division of Title
145Insurance within the Department of Financial Services. The
146division shall have comprehensive authority to regulate insurer
147and agent solvency, education, licensing, and discipline and to
148establish title insurance premium rates and forms.
149     (2)  The Legislature finds that title insurance is a unique
150form of insurance unlike any casualty-based insurance.
151Accordingly, a separate and distinct chapter of the Florida
152Statutes is deemed appropriate.
153     (3)  The Legislature recognizes that the title insurance
154industry is founded upon a unique structure that requires title
155agents and agencies to determine the insurability of titles,
156thereby placing the title insurance agent at the cornerstone of
157the delivery system. As such, the solvency and viability of
158title insurance agents is essential. Therefore, the Legislature
159deems it to be in the public interest to establish title
160insurance rates that are adequate and to also establish
161parameters for rebating portions of the title insurance premium.
162     637.1003  Division of Title Insurance.-
163     (1)  The Division of Title Insurance is created within the
164Department of Financial Services. The division shall exercise
165all powers and duties with respect to title insurance
166regulation, including those exercised by the Office of Insurance
167Regulation and the Division of Insurance Agents and Agency
168Services of the Department of Financial Services prior to July
1691, 2010. The division director shall be appointed by the Chief
170Financial Officer and shall have experience, education, and
171expertise in the field of title insurance in this state. The
172director may also be known as the Florida Title Insurance
173Coordinator.
174     (2)  The Division of Title Insurance shall consist of:
175     (a)  The Bureau of Title Insurance Premium Rates and Forms.
176     (b)  The Bureau of Title Insurance Licensing and Education.
177     637.1004  Definitions.-For purposes of this chapter, the
178term:
179     (1)  "Appointment" means the authority given by an insurer
180or employer to a licensee to transact insurance or adjust claims
181on behalf of an insurer or employer.
182     (2)  "Attorney" as used in this part means an individual
183duly admitted to and a member in good standing of the Florida
184Bar.
185     (3)  "Agent in charge" of a title insurance agency means an
186attorney or a licensed and appointed title insurance agent who
187is responsible for the overall operation and management of a
188title insurance agency location and whose responsibilities
189include supervising all individuals within that location. An
190attorney or a title insurance agent may be designated as the
191agent in charge for only one location of a single title
192insurance agency. Each location of a title insurance agency
193or insurer at which primary title services as defined in
194subsection (18) are performed shall have a separate agent in
195charge. An agency that has an attorney that is in charge of the
196agency shall designate that attorney to be in charge of only one
197location of a single title insurance agency.
198     (4)  "Authorized" means provided authority pursuant to
199valid a certificate of authority issued by the department to
200transact insurance in this state.
201     (5)  "Closing services" means services performed by a
202licensed title insurer, title insurance agent or agency, or
203attorney agent in the agent's or agency's capacity as such,
204including, but not limited to, preparing documents necessary to
205close the transaction, conducting the closing, or handling the
206disbursing of funds related to the closing in a real estate
207closing transaction in which a title insurance commitment or
208policy is to be issued.
209     (6)  "Commercially domiciled insurer" means every foreign
210or alien insurer that is authorized to do business in this state
211and that, during its 3 preceding fiscal years taken together, or
212during any lesser period of time if it has been licensed to
213transact its business in this state only for the lesser period
214of time, has written an average of 25 percent or more direct
215premiums in this state than it has written in its state of
216domicile during the same period, and the direct premiums written
217constitute more than 55 percent of its total direct premiums
218written everywhere in the United States during its 3 preceding
219fiscal years taken together, or during any lesser period of time
220if it has been authorized to transact its business in this state
221only for the lesser period of time, as reported in its most
222recent applicable annual or quarterly statements, shall be
223deemed a "commercially domiciled insurer" within this state.
224     (7)  "Consent" means authorized written agreement to
225supervision by the insurer.
226     (8)  "Department" means the Department of Financial
227Services. The term does not mean the Financial Services
228Commission or any office of the Financial Services Commission.
229     (9)  "Division" means the Division of Title Insurance of
230the department.
231     (10)  "Domestic," "foreign," and "alien" mean:
232     (a)  A "domestic" insurer is one formed under the laws of
233this state.
234     (b)  A "foreign" insurer is one formed under the laws of
235any state, district, territory, or commonwealth of the United
236States other than this state.
237     (c)  An "alien" insurer is an insurer other than a domestic
238or foreign insurer.
239     (11)  "Domicile," except as provided in s. 631.011, means:
240     (a)  As to Canadian insurers, Canada and the province under
241the laws of which the insurer was formed.
242     (b)  As to other alien insurers authorized to transact
243insurance in one or more states, the state designated by the
244insurer in writing filed with the department at the time of
245admission to this state or within 6 months after the effective
246date of this chapter, whichever date is the later, and may be
247any of the following states:
248     1.  That in which the insurer was first authorized to
249transact insurance if the insurer is still so authorized.
250     2.  That in which is located the insurer's principal place
251of business in the United States.
252     3.  That in which is held the larger deposit of trusteed
253assets of the insurer for the protection of its policyholders
254and creditors in the United States.
255If the insurer makes no such designation, its domicile shall be
256deemed to be that state in which is located its principal place
257of business in the United States.
258     (c)  As to alien insurers not authorized to transact
259insurance in one or more states, the country under the laws of
260which the insurer was formed.
261     (d)  As to all other insurers, the state under the laws of
262which the insurer was formed.
263     (12)  "Exceeded its powers" means the following conditions:
264     (a)  The insurer has refused to permit examination by the
265department of its books, papers, accounts, records, or business
266practices;
267     (b)  An insurer organized in this state has unlawfully
268removed from this state books, papers, accounts, or records
269necessary for an examination of the insurer by the department;
270     (c)  The insurer has failed to promptly comply with the
271applicable financial reporting statutes and division requests
272relating thereto;
273     (d)  The insurer has neglected or refused to observe an
274order of the department to correct a deficiency in its capital
275or surplus; or
276     (e)  The insurer has unlawfully or in violation of a
277department order:
278     1.  Totally reinsured its entire outstanding business; or
279     2.  Merged or consolidated substantially its entire
280property or business with another insurer.
281     (13)  "Insurer" means and includes every person as defined
282in subsection (16) and title insurer as defined in subsection
283(23) as limited to any domestic or commercially domiciled
284insurer who is doing business as an insurer, or has transacted
285insurance in this state, and against whom claims arising from
286that transaction may exist now or in the future.
287     (14)  "License" means a document issued by the department
288or office authorizing a person to be appointed to transact
289insurance or adjust claims for the kind, line, or class of
290insurance identified in the document.
291     (15)(a)  "Managing general agent" means any person managing
292all or part of the insurance business of an insurer, including
293the management of a separate division, department, or
294underwriting office, and acting as an agent for that insurer,
295whether known as a managing general agent, manager, or other
296similar term, who, with or without authority, separately or
297together with affiliates, produces, directly or indirectly, or
298underwrites an amount of gross direct written premium equal to
299or more than 5 percent of the policyholder surplus as reported
300in the last annual statement of the insurer in any single
301quarter or year and also does one or more of the following:
302     1.  Adjusts or pays claims.
303     2.  Negotiates reinsurance on behalf of the insurer.
304     (b)  The following persons shall not be considered managing
305general agents:
306     1.  An employee of the insurer.
307     2.  A United States manager of the United States branch of
308an alien insurer.
309     3.  An underwriting manager managing all the insurance
310operations of the insurer pursuant to a contract who is
311under the common control of the insurer subject to regulation
312and whose compensation is not based on the volume of premiums
313written.
314     4.  The attorney in fact authorized by and acting for the
315subscribers of a reciprocal insurer under powers of attorney.
316     (16)  "Person" means an individual, insurer, company,
317association, organization, Lloyds, society, reciprocal insurer
318or interinsurance exchange, partnership, syndicate, business
319trust, corporation, agent, general agent, broker, service
320representative, adjuster, and every legal entity.
321     (17)  "Premium" means the charge, as specified by rule of
322the department, that is made by a title insurer for a title
323insurance policy, including the charge for performance of
324primary title services by a title insurer or title insurance
325agent or agency, and incurring the risks incident to such
326policy, under the several classifications of title insurance
327contracts and forms, and upon which charge a premium tax is paid
328under s. 624.509. As used in this part or in any other law, with
329respect to title insurance, the word "premium" does not include
330a commission.
331     (18)  "Primary title services" means determining
332insurability in accordance with sound underwriting practices
333based upon evaluation of a reasonable title search or a search
334of the records of a Uniform Commercial Code filing office and
335such other information as may be necessary, determination and
336clearance of underwriting objections and requirements to
337eliminate risk, preparation and issuance of a title insurance
338commitment setting forth the requirements to insure, and
339preparation and issuance of the policy. Such services do not
340include closing services or title searches, for which a separate
341charge or separate charges may be made.
342     (19)  When used in context signifying a jurisdiction other
343than the State of Florida, "state" means any state, district,
344territory, or commonwealth of the United States.
345     (20)  "Title insurance" means:
346     (a)  Insurance of owners of real property or others having
347an interest in real property or a contractual interest derived
348from real property, or liens or encumbrances on real property,
349against loss by encumbrance, or defective titles, or invalidity,
350or adverse claim to title; or
351     (b)  Insurance of owners and secured parties of the
352existence, attachment, perfection, and priority of security
353interests in personal property under the Uniform Commercial
354Code.
355     (21)  "Title insurance agent" means a person appointed in
356writing by a title insurer to issue and countersign commitments
357or policies of title insurance on the title insurer's behalf.
358     (22)  "Title insurance agency" means a business at which an
359individual, firm, partnership, corporation, association, or
360other entity, other than an employee of the individual, firm,
361partnership, corporation, association, or other entity, and
362under which a title insurance agent or other employee,
363determines insurability in accordance with underwriting rules
364and standards prescribed by the title insurer represented by the
365title insurance agency and issues and countersigns commitments,
366endorsements, or policies of title insurance on behalf of the
367appointing title insurer. The term does not include a title
368insurer.
369     (23)  "Title insurer" means any domestic company organized
370and authorized to do business under the provisions of this
371chapter, for the purpose of issuing title insurance, or any
372insurer organized under the laws of another state, the District
373of Columbia, or a foreign country and holding a certificate of
374authority to transact business in this state, for the purpose of
375issuing title insurance.
376     (24)  "Title search" means the compiling of title
377information from official or public records.
378     (25)  "Transact" means, with respect to insurance and in
379addition to other applicable provisions of this chapter:
380     (a)  Solicitation or inducement.
381     (b)  Preliminary negotiations.
382     (c)  Effectuation of a contract of insurance.
383     (d)  Transaction of matters subsequent to effectuation of a
384contract of insurance and arising out of it.
385     (26)  "Unsound condition" means that the department has
386determined that one or more of the following conditions exist
387with respect to an insurer:
388     (a)  The insurer's required surplus, capital, or capital
389stock is impaired to an extent prohibited by law;
390     (b)  The insurer continues to write new business when it
391has not maintained the required surplus or capital stock;
392     (c)  The insurer attempts to dissolve or liquidate without
393first having made provisions, satisfactory to the department,
394for liabilities arising from insurance policies issued by the
395insurer; or
396     (d)  The insurer meets one or more of the grounds in s.
397631.051 for the appointment of the department as receiver.
398     637.10045  Preemption to state.-The regulation of title
399insurance, title insurers, and title insurance agencies is
400preempted to the state.
401     637.1005  General applicability of other chapters.-
402     (1)  The provisions of chapters 624, 626, and 627 do not
403apply to title insurers or their agents unless specifically
404incorporated by reference and made applicable to this chapter by
405a provision of this chapter.
406     (2)  The provisions of chapters 625, 628, and 631 apply to
407title insurance and for purposes of applying such provisions to
408title insurance, the term "department" shall be interpreted to
409mean office and the term "Director of the Division of Insurance
410Regulation" shall be interpreted to mean the "Florida Title
411Insurance Coordinator," "Director of the Division of Title
412Insurance," or "division director."
413     637.1006  General powers; duties.-
414     (1)  The powers and duties of the Chief Financial Officer
415and the department specified in this chapter apply only with
416respect to title insurance agents and title insurance agencies.
417     (2)  The department shall enforce the provisions of this
418chapter and shall execute the duties imposed upon the department
419by this chapter, as provided by law.
420     (3)  The department shall have the powers and authority
421expressly conferred upon it by, or reasonably implied from, the
422provisions of this chapter.
423     (4)  The department may conduct such investigations of
424insurance matters, in addition to investigations expressly
425authorized, as it may deem proper to determine whether any
426person has violated any provision of this chapter within its
427respective regulatory jurisdiction or to secure information
428useful in the lawful administration of any such provision. The
429cost of such investigations shall be borne by the state.
430     (5)  The department may each collect, propose, publish, and
431disseminate information relating to the subject matter of any
432duties imposed upon it by law.
433     (6)  The department shall each have such additional powers
434and duties as may be provided by other laws of this state.
435     (7)  The department may employ actuaries who shall be at-
436will employees and who shall serve at the pleasure of the Chief
437Financial Officer, in the case of department employees.
438Actuaries employed pursuant to this subsection shall be members
439of the Society of Actuaries or the Casualty Actuarial Society
440and shall be exempt from the Career Service System established
441under chapter 110. The salaries of the actuaries employed
442pursuant to this paragraph shall be set in accordance with s.
443216.251(2)(a)5. and shall be set at levels which are
444commensurate with salary levels paid to actuaries by the
445insurance industry.
446     (8)  The department shall, within existing resources,
447develop and implement an outreach program for the purpose of
448encouraging the entry of additional insurers into the Florida
449market.
450     (9)  Upon receiving service of legal process issued in any
451civil action or proceeding in this state against any regulated
452person required to appoint the Chief Financial Officer as its
453attorney to receive service of all legal process, the Chief
454Financial Officer, as attorney, may, in lieu of sending the
455process by registered or certified mail, send the process by any
456other verifiable means to the person last designated by the
457regulated person to receive the process.
458     (10)  This section does not limit the authority of the
459department and the Division of Insurance Fraud, as specified in
460s. 637.1046.
461     (11)  The division may enforce violations of the Real
462Estate Settlement Procedures Act, 12 U.S.C. ss. 2601 et seq.
463     637.1007  Rules.-
464     (1)  The department may adopt rules pursuant to ss.
465120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement provisions of this chapter
466and interpret the specific powers and duties provided in this
467chapter, which rules may:
468     (a)  Define the license and appointment requirements for
469title insurance agents and agencies.
470     (b)  Establish penalty guidelines for enforcing the
471requirements of this chapter.
472     (c)  Describe the fiduciary responsibilities of title
473insurance agents and agencies, including, but not limited to,
474duties related to escrow accounts.
475     (d)  Identify the responsibilities, duties, and
476designations of the agent in charge of the title insurance
477agency or the attorney in charge of an attorney-owned title
478insurance agency.
479     (e)  Enable the collection of information from agents and
480agencies relating to title insurance business.
481     (f)  Set reasonable requirements for the timely recording
482of documents and the delivery of final title policies.
483     (g)  Establish rules for the protection, calculation, and
484timely remittance of premiums that are owed to title insurers.
485     (h)  Prohibit the markup of the cost of any third-party
486services by the closing agent without adding value.
487     (2)  In addition to any other penalty provided, willful
488violation of any such rule shall subject the violator to such
489suspension or revocation of certificate of authority or license
490as may be applicable under this chapter as for violation of the
491provision as to which such rule relates.
492     637.1008  General penalty.-
493     (1)  Each willful violation of this chapter or rule of the
494department as to which a greater penalty is not provided by
495another provision of this chapter or rule of the department or
496by other applicable laws of this state is a misdemeanor of the
497second degree and is, in addition to any prescribed applicable
498denial, suspension, or revocation of certificate of authority,
499license, or permit, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s.
500775.083. Each instance of such violation shall be considered a
501separate offense.
502     (2)  Each willful violation of an emergency rule or order
503of the department by a person who is not licensed, authorized,
504or eligible to engage in business in accordance with this
505chapter is a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided
506in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. Each instance of such
507violation is a separate offense. This subsection does not apply
508to licensees or affiliated parties of licensees.
509     637.1009  Enforcement; cease and desist orders; removal of
510certain persons; fines.-
511     (1)  DEFINITIONS.-For the purposes of this section, the
512term:
513     (a)  "Affiliated party" means any person who directs or
514participates in the conduct of the affairs of a licensee and who
515is:
516     1.  A director, officer, employee, trustee, committee
517member, or controlling stockholder of a licensee or a subsidiary
518or service corporation of the licensee, other than a controlling
519stockholder which is a holding company, or an agent of a
520licensee or a subsidiary or service corporation of the licensee;
521     2.  A person who has filed or is required to file a
522statement or any other information required to be filed under s.
523628.461 or s. 628.4615;
524     3.  A stockholder, other than a stockholder that is a
525holding company of the licensee, who participates in the conduct
526of the affairs of the licensee; or
527     4.  An independent contractor who:
528     a.  Renders a written opinion required by the laws of this
529state under her or his professional credentials on behalf of the
530licensee, which opinion is reasonably relied on by the
531department in the performance of its duties; or
532     b.  Affirmatively and knowingly conceals facts, through a
533written misrepresentation to the department, with knowledge that
534such misrepresentation:
535     (I)  Constitutes a violation of this chapter or a lawful
536rule or order of the department; and
537     (II)  Directly and materially endangers the ability of the
538licensee to meet its obligations to policyholders.
539
540For the purposes of this subparagraph, any representation of
541fact made by an independent contractor on behalf of a licensee,
542affirmatively communicated as a representation of the licensee
543to the independent contractor, shall not be considered a
544misrepresentation by the independent contractor.
545     (b)  "Licensee" means a person issued a license or
546certificate of authority or approval under this chapter or a
547person registered under a provision of this chapter.
548     (2)  ENFORCEMENT GENERALLY.-
549     (a)  The powers granted by this section to the department
550apply only with respect to licensees of the department and their
551affiliated parties and to unlicensed persons subject to
552regulatory jurisdiction of the department.
553     (b)  The department may institute such suits or other legal
554proceedings as may be required to enforce any provision of this
555chapter within the department's regulatory jurisdiction. If it
556appears that any person has violated any provision of this
557chapter for which criminal prosecution is provided, the
558department shall provide the appropriate state attorney or other
559prosecuting agency having jurisdiction with respect to such
560prosecution with the relevant information in its possession.
561     (3)  CEASE AND DESIST ORDERS.-
562     (a)  The department may issue and serve a complaint stating
563charges upon any licensee or upon any affiliated party, whenever
564the department has reasonable cause to believe that the person
565or individual named therein is engaging in or has engaged in
566conduct that is:
567     1.  An act that demonstrates a lack of fitness or
568trustworthiness to engage in the business of insurance, is
569hazardous to the insurance buying public, or constitutes
570business operations that are a detriment to policyholders,
571stockholders, investors, creditors, or the public;
572     2.  A violation of any provision of this chapter;
573     3.  A violation of any rule of the department;
574     4.  A violation of any order of the department; or
575     5.  A breach of any written agreement with the department.
576     (b)  The complaint shall contain a statement of facts and
577notice of opportunity for a hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569 and
578120.57.
579     (c)  If no hearing is requested within the time allowed by
580ss. 120.569 and 120.57, or if a hearing is held and the
581department finds that any of the charges are proven, the
582department may enter an order directing the licensee or the
583affiliated party named in the complaint to cease and desist from
584engaging in the conduct complained of and take corrective action
585to remedy the effects of past improper conduct and assure future
586compliance.
587     (d)  If the licensee or affiliated party named in the order
588fails to respond to the complaint within the time allotted by
589ss. 120.569 and 120.57, the failure constitutes a default and
590justifies the entry of a cease and desist order.
591     (e)  A contested or default cease and desist order is
592effective when reduced to writing and served upon the licensee
593or affiliated party named therein. An uncontested cease and
594desist order is effective as agreed.
595     (f)  Whenever the department finds that conduct described
596in paragraph (a) is likely to cause insolvency, substantial
597dissipation or misvaluation of assets or earnings of the
598licensee, substantial inability to pay claims on a timely basis,
599or substantial prejudice to prospective or existing insureds,
600policyholders, subscribers, or the public, it may issue an
601emergency cease and desist order requiring the licensee or any
602affiliated party to immediately cease and desist from engaging
603in the conduct complained of and to take corrective and remedial
604action. The emergency order is effective immediately upon
605service of a copy of the order upon the licensee or affiliated
606party named therein and remains effective for 90 days. If the
607department begins nonemergency cease and desist proceedings
608under this subsection, the emergency order remains effective
609until the conclusion of the proceedings under ss. 120.569 and
610120.57.
611     (4)  REMOVAL OF AFFILIATED PARTIES.-
612     (a)  The department may issue and serve a complaint stating
613charges upon any affiliated party and upon the licensee
614involved, whenever the department has reason to believe that an
615affiliated party is engaging in or has engaged in conduct that
616constitutes:
617     1.  An act that demonstrates a lack of fitness or
618trustworthiness to engage in the business of insurance through
619engaging in illegal activity or mismanagement of business
620activities;
621     2.  A willful violation of any law relating to the business
622of insurance; however, if the violation constitutes a
623misdemeanor, no complaint shall be served as provided in this
624section until the affiliated party is notified in writing of the
625matter of the violation and has been afforded a reasonable
626period of time, as set forth in the notice, to correct the
627violation and has failed to do so;
628     3.  A violation of any other law involving fraud or moral
629turpitude that constitutes a felony;
630     4.  A willful violation of any rule of the department;
631     5.  A willful violation of any order of the department;
632     6.  A material misrepresentation of fact, made knowingly
633and willfully or made with reckless disregard for the truth of
634the matter; or
635     7.  An act of commission or omission or a practice which is
636a breach of trust or a breach of fiduciary duty.
637     (b)  The complaint shall contain a statement of facts and
638notice of opportunity for a hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569 and
639120.57.
640     (c)  If no hearing is requested within the time allotted by
641ss. 120.569 and 120.57, or if a hearing is held and the
642department finds that any of the charges in the complaint are
643proven true and that:
644     1.  The licensee has suffered or will likely suffer loss or
645other damage;
646     2.  The interests of the policyholders, creditors, or
647public are, or could be, seriously prejudiced by reason of the
648violation or act or breach of fiduciary duty;
649     3.  The affiliated party has received financial gain by
650reason of the violation, act, or breach of fiduciary duty; or
651     4.  The violation, act, or breach of fiduciary duty is one
652involving personal dishonesty on the part of the affiliated
653party or the conduct jeopardizes or could reasonably be
654anticipated to jeopardize the financial soundness of the
655licensee,
656
657The department may enter an order removing the affiliated party
658or restricting or prohibiting participation by the person in the
659affairs of that particular licensee or of any other licensee.
660     (d)  If the affiliated party fails to respond to the
661complaint within the time allotted by ss. 120.569 and 120.57,
662the failure constitutes a default and justifies the entry of an
663order of removal, suspension, or restriction.
664     (e)  A contested or default order of removal, restriction,
665or prohibition is effective when reduced to writing and served
666on the licensee and the affiliated party. An uncontested order
667of removal, restriction, or prohibition is effective as agreed.
668     (f)1.  The chief executive officer, or the person holding
669the equivalent office, of a licensee shall promptly notify the
670department that issued the license if she or he has actual
671knowledge that any affiliated party is charged with a felony in
672a state or federal court.
673     2.  Whenever any affiliated party is charged with a felony
674in a state or federal court or with the equivalent of a felony
675in the courts of any foreign country with which the United
676States maintains diplomatic relations, and the charge alleges
677violation of any law involving fraud, theft, or moral turpitude,
678the department may enter an emergency order suspending the
679affiliated party or restricting or prohibiting participation by
680the affiliated party in the affairs of the particular licensee
681or of any other licensee upon service of the order upon the
682licensee and the affiliated party charged. The order shall
683contain notice of opportunity for a hearing pursuant to ss.
684120.569 and 120.57, where the affiliated party may request a
685postsuspension hearing to show that continued service to or
686participation in the affairs of the licensee does not pose a
687threat to the interests of the licensee's policyholders or
688creditors and does not threaten to impair public confidence in
689the licensee. In accordance with applicable rules, the
690department shall notify the affiliated party whether the order
691suspending or prohibiting the person from participation in the
692affairs of a licensee will be rescinded or otherwise modified.
693The emergency order remains in effect, unless otherwise modified
694by the department, until the criminal charge is disposed of. The
695acquittal of the person charged, or the final, unappealed
696dismissal of all charges against the person, dissolves the
697emergency order, but does not prohibit the department from
698instituting proceedings under paragraph (a). If the person
699charged is convicted or pleads guilty or nolo contendere,
700whether or not an adjudication of guilt is entered by the court,
701the emergency order shall become final.
702     (g)  Any affiliated party removed from office pursuant to
703this section is not eligible for reelection or appointment to
704the position or to any other official position in any licensee
705in this state except upon the written consent of the department.
706Any affiliated party who is removed, restricted, or prohibited
707from participation in the affairs of a licensee pursuant to this
708section may petition the department for modification or
709termination of the removal, restriction, or prohibition.
710     (h)  Resignation or termination of an affiliated party does
711not affect the department's jurisdiction to proceed under this
712subsection.
713     (5)  ADMINISTRATIVE FINES; ENFORCEMENT.-
714     (a)  The department, in a proceeding initiated pursuant to
715chapter 120, impose an administrative fine against any person
716found in the proceeding to have violated any provision of this
717chapter, a cease and desist order of the department, or any
718written agreement with the department. A proceeding may not be
719initiated and a fine may not accrue until after the person has
720been notified in writing of the nature of the violation and has
721been afforded a reasonable period of time, as set forth in the
722notice, to correct the violation and has failed to do so.
723     (b)  A fine imposed under this subsection may not exceed
724the amounts specified in s. 637.2021, per violation.
725     (c)  In addition to the imposition of an administrative
726fine under this subsection, the department may also suspend or
727revoke the license or certificate of authority of the licensee
728fined under this subsection.
729     (d)  Any administrative fine levied by the department under
730this subsection may be enforced by the department by appropriate
731proceedings in the circuit court of the county in which the
732person resides or in which the principal office of a licensee is
733located, or, in the case of a foreign insurer or person not
734residing in this state, in Leon County. In any administrative or
735judicial proceeding arising under this section, a party may
736elect to correct the violation asserted by the department, and,
737upon doing so, any fine shall cease to accrue; however, the
738election to correct the violation does not render any
739administrative or judicial proceeding moot. All fines collected
740under this section shall be paid to the Title Insurance
741Regulatory Trust Fund.
742     (e)  In imposing any administrative penalty or remedy
743provided for under this section, the department shall take into
744account the appropriateness of the penalty with respect to the
745size of the financial resources and the good faith of the person
746charged, the gravity of the violation, the history of previous
747violations, and other matters as justice may require.
748     (f)  The imposition of an administrative fine under this
749subsection may be in addition to any other penalty or
750administrative fine authorized under this chapter.
751     (6)  ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES.-All administrative
752proceedings under subsections (3), (4), and (5) shall be
753conducted in accordance with chapter 120. Any service required
754or authorized to be made by the department under this chapter
755shall be made by certified mail, return receipt requested,
756delivered to the addressee only; by personal delivery; or in
757accordance with chapter 48. The service provided for herein
758shall be effective from the date of delivery.
759     (7)  CRIMINAL ENFORCEMENT.-It is unlawful for any
760affiliated party who is removed or prohibited from participation
761in the affairs of a licensee pursuant to this section, or for
762any licensee whose rights or privileges under such license have
763been suspended or revoked pursuant to this chapter, to knowingly
764act as an affiliated party as defined in this section or to
765knowingly transact insurance until expressly authorized to do so
766by the department. Such authorization by the department may not
767be provided unless the affiliated party or the licensee has made
768restitution, if applicable, to all parties damaged by the
769actions of the affiliated party or the licensee which served as
770the basis for the removal or prohibition of the affiliated party
771or the suspension or revocation of the rights and privileges of
772the licensee. Any person who violates the provisions of this
773subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as
774provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083 or s. 775.084.
775     637.1011  Immunity from civil liability for providing
776department with information about condition of insurer.-A
777person, other than a person filing a required report or other
778required information, who provides the department with
779information about the financial condition of an insurer is
780immune from civil liability arising out of the provision of the
781information unless the person acted with knowledge that the
782information was false or with reckless disregard for the truth
783or falsity of the information.
784     637.1012  Records; reproductions; destruction.-
785     (1)  Except as provided in this section, the department
786shall each preserve in permanent form records of its
787proceedings, hearings, investigations, and examinations and
788shall file such records in its department.
789     (2)  The department may photograph, microphotograph, or
790reproduce on film, or maintain in an electronic recordkeeping
791system, all financial records, financial statements of domestic
792insurers, reports of business transacted in this state by
793foreign insurers and alien insurers, reports of examination of
794domestic insurers, and such other records and documents on file
795in the department as the department may in its discretion
796select.
797     (3)  To facilitate the efficient use of floor space and
798filing equipment in its offices, the department may destroy the
799following records and documents pursuant to chapter 257:
800     (a)  General closed correspondence files over 3 years old.
801     (b)  Title insurance and similar license files, over 2
802years old; except that the department shall preserve by
803reproduction or otherwise a copy of the original records upon
804the basis of which each such licensee qualified for her or his
805initial license, except a competency examination, and of any
806disciplinary proceeding affecting the licensee.
807     (c)  All title insurance agent and similar license files
808and records, including original license qualification records
809and records of disciplinary proceedings 5 years after a licensee
810has ceased to be qualified for a license.
811     (d)  Insurer certificate of authority files over 2 years
812old, except that the department shall preserve by reproduction
813or otherwise a copy of the initial certificate of authority of
814each insurer.
815     (e)  All documents and records which have been photographed
816or otherwise reproduced as provided in subsection (2), if such
817reproductions have been filed and an audit of the department has
818been completed for the period embracing the dates of such
819documents and records.
820     (f)  All other records, documents, and files not expressly
821provided for in paragraphs (a)-(e).
822     637.1013  Reproductions and certified copies of records as
823evidence.-
824     (1)  Photographs or microphotographs in the form of film or
825prints, or other reproductions from an electronic recordkeeping
826system, of documents and records made under s. 637.1012(2), or
827made under former s. 624.311(3) before October 1, 1982, shall
828have the same force and effect as the originals thereof and
829shall be treated as originals for the purpose of their
830admissibility in evidence. Duly certified or authenticated
831reproductions of such photographs, microphotographs, or other
832reproductions from an electronic recordkeeping system shall be
833as admissible in evidence as the originals.
834     (2)  Upon the request of any person and payment of the
835applicable fee, the department shall give a certified copy of
836any record in its department which is then subject to public
837inspection.
838     (3)  Copies of original records or documents in its
839department certified by the department shall be received in
840evidence in all courts as if they were originals.
841     637.1014  Publications.-
842     (1)  As early as reasonably possible, the department shall
843annually have printed and made available a statistical report
844which must include all of the following information on either a
845calendar year or fiscal year basis:
846     (a)  The total amount of premiums written and earned for
847title insurance.
848     (b)  The total amount of losses paid and losses incurred
849for title insurance.
850     (c)  The ratio of premiums written to losses paid by title
851insurance.
852     (d)  The ratio of premiums earned to losses incurred by
853title insurance.
854     (e)  The market share of the 10 largest insurers or insurer
855groups of title insurance and of each insurer or insurer group
856that has a market share of at least 1 percent of a line of
857insurance in this state.
858     (f)  The profitability of title insurance.
859     (g)  An analysis of the impact of the insurance industry on
860the economy of the state.
861     (h)  A complaint ratio by line of insurance for the
862insurers referred to in paragraph (e), based upon information
863provided to the department by the department. The department
864shall determine the most appropriate ratio or ratios for
865quantifying complaints.
866     (i)  A summary of the findings of market examinations
867performed by the department under s. 637.1018 during the
868preceding year.
869     (j)  Such other information as the department deems
870relevant.
871     (2)  The department may prepare and have printed and
872published in pamphlet or book form, as needed, questions and
873answers for the use of persons applying for an examination for
874licensing as title insurance agents.
875     (3)  The department shall sell the publications mentioned
876in subsections (1) and (2) to purchasers at a price fixed by the
877department at not less than the cost of printing and binding
878such publications, plus packaging and postage costs for mailing;
879except that the department may deliver copies of such
880publications free of cost to state agencies and officers;
881insurance supervisory authorities of other states and
882jurisdictions; institutions of higher learning located in
883Florida; the Library of Congress; insurance officers of Naval,
884Military, and Air Force bases located in this state; and to
885persons serving as advisers to the department in preparation of
886the publications.
887     (4)  The department may contract with outside vendors, in
888accordance with chapter 287, to compile data in an electronic
889data processing format that is compatible with the systems of
890the department.
891     637.1015  Sale of publications; deposit of proceeds.-The
892department shall deposit all moneys received from the sale of
893publications under s. 637.1014 in the Title Insurance Regulatory
894Trust Fund for the purpose of paying costs for the preparation,
895printing, and delivery of the publications required in s.
896637.1014(2), packaging and mailing costs, and banking,
897accounting, and incidental expenses connected with the sale and
898delivery of such publications. All moneys deposited into and all
899funds transferred to the Title Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund
900are appropriated for such uses and purposes.
901     637.1016  Department; annual report.-
902     (1)  As early as reasonably possible, the department shall
903annually prepare a report to the Speaker and Minority Leader of
904the House of Representatives, the President and Minority Leader
905of the Senate, the chairs of the legislative committees with
906jurisdiction over matters of insurance, and the Governor
907showing, with respect to the preceding calendar year:
908     (a)  Names of the authorized insurers transacting insurance
909in this state, with abstracts of their financial statements
910including assets, liabilities, and net worth.
911     (b)  Names of insurers whose business was closed during the
912year, the cause thereof, and amounts of assets and liabilities
913as ascertainable.
914     (c)  Names of insurers against which delinquency or similar
915proceedings were instituted, and a concise statement of the
916circumstances and results of each such proceeding.
917     (d)  The receipts and estimated expenses of the department
918for the year.
919     (e)  Such other pertinent information and matters as the
920department deems to be in the public interest.
921     (f)  Annually after each regular session of the
922Legislature, a compilation of the laws of this state relating to
923insurance. Any such publication may be printed, revised, or
924reprinted upon the basis of the original low bid.
925     (g)  An analysis and summary report of the state of the
926insurance industry in this state evaluated as of the end of the
927most recent calendar year.
928     (2)  The department shall maintain the following
929information and make such information available upon request:
930     (a)  Calendar year profitability, including investment
931income from loss reserves (Florida and countrywide).
932     (b)  Aggregate Florida loss reserves.
933     (c)  Premiums written (Florida and countrywide).
934     (d)  Premiums earned (Florida and countrywide).
935     (e)  Incurred losses (Florida and countrywide).
936     (f)  Paid losses (Florida and countrywide).
937     (g)  Allocated Florida loss adjustment expenses.
938     (h)  Variation of premiums charged by the industry as
939compared to rates promulgated by the Insurance Services Office
940(Florida and countrywide).
941     (i)  An analysis of policy size limits (Florida and
942countrywide).
943     (j)  Trends; emerging trends as exemplified by the
944percentage change in frequency and severity of both paid and
945incurred claims, and pure premium (Florida and countrywide).
946     (3)  The department may contract with outside vendors, in
947accordance with chapter 287, to compile data in an electronic
948data processing format that is compatible with the systems of
949the department.
950     637.1017  Examination of insurers.-
951     (1)(a)  The department shall examine the affairs,
952transactions, accounts, records, and assets of each authorized
953insurer as to its transactions affecting the insurer as often as
954it deems advisable, except as provided in this section. The
955examination may include examination of the affairs,
956transactions, accounts, and records relating directly or
957indirectly to the insurer and of the assets of the insurer's
958managing general agents and controlling or controlled person, as
959defined in s. 625.012. The examination shall be pursuant to a
960written order of the department. Such order shall expire upon
961receipt by the department of the written report of the
962examination.
963     (b)  The department shall examine each insurer according to
964accounting procedures designed to fulfill the requirements of
965generally accepted insurance accounting principles and practices
966and good internal control and in keeping with generally accepted
967accounting forms, accounts, records, methods, and practices
968relating to insurers. To facilitate uniformity in examinations,
969the department may adopt, by rule, the Market Conduct Examiners
970Handbook and the Financial Condition Examiners Handbook of the
971National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 2002, and may
972adopt subsequent amendments thereto, if the examination
973methodology remains substantially consistent.
974     (2)(a)  Except as provided in paragraph (f), the department
975may examine each insurer as often as may be warranted for the
976protection of the policyholders and in the public interest, and
977shall examine each domestic insurer not less frequently than
978once every 5 years. The examination shall cover the preceding 5
979fiscal years of the insurer and shall be commenced within 12
980months after the end of the most recent fiscal year being
981covered by the examination. The examination may cover any period
982of the insurer's operations since the last previous examination.
983The examination may include examination of events subsequent to
984the end of the most recent fiscal year and the events of any
985prior period that affect the present financial condition of the
986insurer.
987     (b)  The department shall examine each insurer applying for
988an initial certificate of authority to transact insurance in
989this state before granting the initial certificate.
990     (c)  In lieu of making its own examination, the department
991may accept a full report of the last recent examination of a
992foreign insurer, certified to by the insurance supervisory
993official of another state.
994     (d)  The examination by the department of an alien insurer
995shall be limited to the alien insurer's insurance transactions
996and affairs in the United States, except as otherwise required
997by the department.
998     (e)  The department shall adopt rules providing that an
999examination under this section may be conducted by independent
1000certified public accountants, actuaries, investment specialists,
1001information technology specialists, and reinsurance specialists
1002meeting criteria specified by rule. The rules shall provide:
1003     1.  That the rates charged to the insurer being examined
1004are consistent with rates charged by other firms in a similar
1005profession and are comparable with the rates charged for
1006comparable examinations.
1007     2.  That the firm selected by the department to perform the
1008examination has no conflicts of interest that might affect its
1009ability to independently perform its responsibilities on the
1010examination.
1011     3.  That the insurer being examined must make payment for
1012the examination pursuant to s. 637.1023(1) in accordance with
1013the rates and terms established by the department and the firm
1014performing the examination.
1015     (f)  An examination under this section must be conducted at
1016least once every year with respect to a domestic insurer that
1017has continuously held a certificate of authority for less than 3
1018years. The examination must cover the preceding fiscal year or
1019the period since the last examination of the insurer. The
1020department may limit the scope of the examination.
1021     637.1018  Market conduct examinations.-
1022     (1)  As often as it deems necessary, the department shall
1023examine each licensed rating organization, each advisory
1024organization, each group, association, carrier, as defined in s.
1025440.02, or other organization of insurers which engages in joint
1026underwriting or joint reinsurance, and each authorized insurer
1027transacting in this state any class of insurance to which the
1028provisions of this chapter are applicable. The examination shall
1029be for the purpose of ascertaining compliance by the person
1030examined with the applicable provisions of this chapter.
1031     (2)  In lieu of any such examination, the department may
1032accept the report of a similar examination made by the insurance
1033supervisory official of another state.
1034     (3)  The examination may be conducted by an independent
1035professional examiner under contract to the department, in which
1036case payment shall be made directly to the contracted examiner
1037by the insurer examined in accordance with the rates and terms
1038agreed to by the department and the examiner.
1039     (4)  The reasonable cost of the examination shall be paid
1040by the person examined, and such person shall be subject, as
1041though an insurer, to the provisions of s. 637.1023.
1042     (5)  Such examinations shall also be subject to the
1043applicable provisions of chapter 440 and ss. 637.1021, 637.1022,
1044637.1024, and 637.1025.
1045     637.1019  Investigation of title insurance agents and
1046others.-If the department has reason to believe that any title
1047insurance agent has violated or is violating any provision of
1048this chapter, or upon the written complaint signed by any
1049interested person indicating that any such violation may exist:
1050     (1)  The department shall conduct such investigation as it
1051deems necessary of the accounts, records, documents, and
1052transactions pertaining to or affecting the insurance affairs of
1053any title insurance agent, title insurance agency, customer
1054representative, service representative, or other person subject
1055to its jurisdiction.
1056     (2)  The department shall conduct such investigation as it
1057deems necessary of the accounts, records, documents, and
1058transactions pertaining to or affecting the insurance affairs of
1059any:
1060     (a)  Administrator, service company, or other person
1061subject to its jurisdiction.
1062     (b)  Person having a contract or power of attorney under
1063which she or he enjoys in fact the exclusive or dominant right
1064to manage or control an insurer.
1065     (c)  Person engaged in or proposing to be engaged in the
1066promotion or formation of:
1067     1.  A domestic insurer;
1068     2.  An insurance holding corporation; or
1069     3.  A corporation to finance a domestic insurer or in the
1070production of the domestic insurer's business.
1071     (3)  In the investigation by the department of the alleged
1072misconduct, the licensee shall, whenever required by the
1073department, cause his or her books and records to be open for
1074inspection for the purpose of such inquiries.
1075     (4)  A complaint against any licensee may be informally
1076alleged and need not be in any language necessary to charge a
1077crime on an indictment or information.
1078     (5)  The expense for any hearings or investigations under
1079this section, as well as the fees and mileage of witnesses, may
1080be paid out of the appropriate fund.
1081     (6)  If the department, after investigation, has reason to
1082believe that a licensee may have been found guilty of or pleaded
1083guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or a crime related to the
1084business of insurance in this or any other state or jurisdiction,
1085the department or office may require the licensee to file with
1086the department or office a complete set of his or her
1087fingerprints, which shall be accompanied by the fingerprint
1088processing fee set forth in s. 637.2031. The fingerprints shall
1089be taken by an authorized law enforcement agency or other
1090department-approved entity.
1091     637.1021  Conduct of examination or investigation; access
1092to records; correction of accounts; appraisals.-
1093     (1)  The examination or investigation may be conducted by
1094the accredited examiners or investigators of the department at
1095the offices wherever located of the person being examined or
1096investigated and at such other places as may be required for
1097determination of matters under examination or investigation. In
1098the case of alien insurers, the examination may be so conducted
1099in the insurer's offices and places in the United States, except
1100as otherwise required by the department.
1101     (2)  Every person being examined or investigated, and its
1102officers, attorneys, employees, agents, and representatives,
1103shall make freely available to the department or its examiners
1104or investigators the accounts, records, documents, files,
1105information, assets, and matters in their possession or control
1106relating to the subject of the examination or investigation. An
1107agent who provides other products or services or maintains
1108customer information not related to insurance must maintain
1109records relating to insurance products and transactions
1110separately if necessary to give the department access to such
1111records. If records relating to the insurance transactions are
1112maintained by an agent on premises owned or operated by a third
1113party, the agent and the third party must provide access to the
1114records by the department.
1115     (3)  If the department finds any accounts or records to be
1116inadequate, or inadequately kept or posted, it may employ
1117experts to reconstruct, rewrite, post, or balance them at the
1118expense of the person being examined if such person has failed
1119to maintain, complete, or correct such records or accounting
1120after the department has given her or him notice and a
1121reasonable opportunity to do so.
1122     (4)  If the department deems it necessary to value any
1123asset involved in such an examination of an insurer, it may make
1124written request of the insurer to designate one or more
1125competent appraisers acceptable to the department, who shall
1126promptly make an appraisal of the asset and furnish a copy
1127thereof to the department. If the insurer fails to designate
1128such an appraiser or appraisers within 20 days after the request
1129of the department, the department may designate the appraiser or
1130appraisers. The reasonable expense of any such appraisal shall
1131be a part of the expense of examination, to be borne by the
1132insurer.
1133     (5)  Neither the department nor any examiner shall remove
1134any record, account, document, file, or other property of the
1135person being examined from the offices of such person except
1136with the written consent of such person given in advance of such
1137removal or pursuant to an order of court duly obtained.
1138     (6)  Any individual who willfully obstructs the department
1139or the examiner in the examinations or investigations authorized
1140by this part is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction
1141shall be punished as provided in s. 624.15.
1142     (7)  The department or its examiners or investigators may
1143electronically scan accounts, records, documents, files, and
1144information, relating to the subject of the examination or
1145investigation, in the possession or control of the person being
1146examined or investigated.
1147     637.1022  Examination and investigation reports.-
1148     (1)  The department or its examiner shall make a full and
1149true written report of each examination. The examination report
1150shall contain only information obtained from examination of the
1151records, accounts, files, and documents of or relative to the
1152insurer examined or from testimony of individuals under oath,
1153together with relevant conclusions and recommendations of the
1154examiner based thereon. The department shall furnish a copy of
1155the examination report to the insurer examined not less than 30
1156days prior to filing the examination report in its office. If
1157such insurer so requests in writing within such 30-day period,
1158the department shall grant a hearing with respect to the
1159examination report and shall not so file the examination report
1160until after the hearing and after such modifications have been
1161made therein as the department deems proper.
1162     (2)  The examination report when so filed shall be
1163admissible in evidence in any action or proceeding brought by
1164the department against the person examined, or against its
1165officers, employees, or agents. In all other proceedings, the
1166admissibility of the examination report is governed by the
1167evidence code. The department or its examiners may at any time
1168testify and offer other proper evidence as to information
1169secured or matters discovered during the course of an
1170examination, whether or not a written report of the examination
1171has been either made, furnished, or filed with the department.
1172     (3)  After the examination report has been filed pursuant
1173to subsection (1), the department may publish the results of any
1174such examination in one or more newspapers published in this
1175state whenever it deems it to be in the public interest.
1176     (4)  After the examination report of an insurer has been
1177filed pursuant to subsection (1), an affidavit shall be filed
1178with the department, not more than 30 days after the report has
1179been filed, on a form furnished by the department and signed by
1180the officer of the company in charge of the insurer's business
1181in this state, stating that she or he has read the report and
1182that the recommendations made in the report will be considered
1183within a reasonable time.
1184     637.1023  Examination expenses.-
1185     (1)  Each insurer so examined shall pay to the department
1186the expenses of the examination at the rates adopted by the
1187department. Such expenses shall include actual travel expenses,
1188reasonable living expense allowance, compensation of the
1189examiner or other person making the examination, and necessary
1190attendant administrative costs of the department directly
1191related to the examination. Such travel expense and living
1192expense allowance shall be limited to those expenses necessarily
1193incurred on account of the examination and shall be paid by the
1194examined insurer together with compensation upon presentation by
1195the department to such insurer of a detailed account of such
1196charges and expenses after a detailed statement has been filed
1197by the examiner and approved by the department.
1198     (2)  All moneys collected from insurers for examinations
1199shall be deposited into the Title Insurance Regulatory Trust
1200Fund, and the department may make deposits from time to time
1201into such fund from moneys appropriated for the operation of the
1202department.
1203     (3)  Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 112.061, the
1204department may pay to the examiner or person making the
1205examination out of such trust fund the actual travel expenses,
1206reasonable living expense allowance, and compensation in
1207accordance with the statement filed with the department by the
1208examiner or other person, as provided in subsection (1) upon
1209approval by the department.
1210     (4)  When not examining an insurer, the travel expenses,
1211per diem, and compensation for the examiners and other persons
1212employed to make examinations, if approved, shall be paid out of
1213moneys budgeted for such purpose as regular employees,
1214reimbursements for such travel expenses and per diem to be at
1215rates no more than as provided in s. 112.061.
1216     (5)  The department may pay to regular insurance examiners,
1217not residents of Leon County, Florida, per diem for periods not
1218exceeding 30 days for each such examiner while at the Department
1219of Financial Services in Tallahassee, Florida, for the purpose
1220of auditing insurers' annual statements. Such expenses shall be
1221paid out of moneys budgeted for such purpose, as for regular
1222employees at rates provided in s. 112.061.
1223     (6)  The provisions of this section shall apply to rate
1224analysts and rate examiners in the discharge of their duties
1225under s. 637.1018.
1226     637.1024  Witnesses and evidence.-
1227     (1)  As to any examination, investigation, or hearing being
1228conducted under this chapter, a person designated by the
1229department:
1230     (a)  May administer oaths, examine and cross-examine
1231witnesses, receive oral and documentary evidence.
1232     (b)  May subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance and
1233testimony, and require by subpoena the production of books,
1234papers, records, files, correspondence, documents, or other
1235evidence which is relevant to the inquiry.
1236     (2)  If any person refuses to comply with any such subpoena
1237or to testify as to any matter concerning which she or he may be
1238lawfully interrogated, the Circuit Court of Leon County or of
1239the county wherein such examination, investigation, or hearing
1240is being conducted, or of the county wherein such person
1241resides, may, on the application of the department, issue an
1242order requiring such person to comply with the subpoena and to
1243testify.
1244     (3)  Subpoenas shall be served, and proof of such service
1245made, in the same manner as if issued by a circuit court.
1246Witness fees, cost, and reasonable travel expenses, if claimed,
1247shall be allowed the same as for testimony in a circuit court.
1248     637.1025  Testimony compelled; immunity from prosecution.-
1249     (1)  If any natural person asks to be excused from
1250attending or testifying or from producing any books, papers,
1251records, contracts, documents, or other evidence in connection
1252with any examination, hearing, or investigation being conducted
1253by the department or its examiner, on the ground that the
1254testimony or evidence required of her or him may tend to
1255incriminate the person or subject her or him to a penalty or
1256forfeiture, and shall notwithstanding be directed to give such
1257testimony or produce such evidence, the person must, if so
1258directed by the department and the Department of Legal Affairs,
1259nonetheless comply with such direction; but she or he shall not
1260thereafter be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or
1261forfeiture for or on account of any transaction, matter, or
1262thing concerning which she or he may have so testified or
1263produced evidence; and no testimony so given or evidence
1264produced shall be received against the person upon any criminal
1265action, investigation, or proceeding. However, no such person so
1266testifying shall be exempt from prosecution or punishment for
1267any perjury committed by her or him in such testimony, and the
1268testimony or evidence so given or produced shall be admissible
1269against her or him upon any criminal action, investigation, or
1270proceeding concerning such perjury. No license or permit
1271conferred or to be conferred to such person shall be refused,
1272suspended, or revoked based upon the use of such testimony.
1273     (2)  Any such individual may execute, acknowledge, and file
1274with the department, as appropriate, a statement expressly
1275waiving such immunity or privilege in respect to any
1276transaction, matter, or thing specified in such statement; and
1277thereupon the testimony of such individual or such evidence in
1278relation to such transaction, matter, or thing may be received
1279or produced before any judge or justice, court, tribunal, grand
1280jury, or otherwise; and, if so received or produced, such
1281individual shall not be entitled to any immunity or privileges
1282on account of any testimony she or he may so give or evidence so
1283produced.
1284     637.1026  Hearings.-The department may hold hearings for
1285any purpose within the scope of this chapter deemed to be
1286necessary.
1287     637.1027  Authority of Department of Law Enforcement to
1288accept fingerprints of, and exchange criminal history records
1289with respect to, certain persons.-
1290     (1)  The Department of Law Enforcement may accept
1291fingerprints of organizers, incorporators, subscribers,
1292officers, stockholders, directors, or any other persons
1293involved, directly or indirectly, in the organization,
1294operation, or management of:
1295     (a)  Any insurer or proposed insurer transacting or
1296proposing to transact insurance in this state.
1297     (b)  Any other entity which is examined or investigated or
1298which is eligible to be examined or investigated under the
1299provisions of this chapter.
1300     (2)  The Department of Law Enforcement may accept
1301fingerprints of individuals who apply for a license as a title
1302insurance agent, service representative, or managing general
1303agent or the fingerprints of the majority owner, sole
1304proprietor, partners, officers, and directors of a corporation
1305or other legal entity that applies for licensure with the
1306department under the provisions of this chapter.
1307     (3)  The Department of Law Enforcement may, to the extent
1308provided for by federal law, exchange state, multistate, and
1309federal criminal history records with the department for the
1310purpose of the issuance, denial, suspension, or revocation of a
1311certificate of authority, certification, or license to operate
1312in this state.
1313     (4)  The Department of Law Enforcement may accept
1314fingerprints of any other person required by statute or rule to
1315submit fingerprints to the department or any applicant or
1316licensee regulated by the department who is required to
1317demonstrate that he or she has not been convicted of or pled
1318guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or a misdemeanor.
1319     (5)  The Department of Law Enforcement shall, upon receipt
1320of fingerprints from the department, submit the fingerprints to
1321the Federal Bureau of Investigation to check federal criminal
1322history records.
1323     (6)  Statewide criminal records obtained through the
1324Department of Law Enforcement, federal criminal records obtained
1325through the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and local criminal
1326records obtained through local law enforcement agencies shall be
1327used by the department for the purpose of issuance, denial,
1328suspension, or revocation of certificates of authority,
1329certifications, or licenses issued to operate in this state.
1330     637.1029  Declaration of purpose.-The purpose of ss.
1331637.1029-637.1049 is to regulate trade practices relating to the
1332business of title insurance in accordance with the intent of
1333Congress as expressed in the Act of Congress of March 9, 1945
1334(Pub. L. No. 15, 79th Congress), by defining, or providing for
1335the determination of, all such practices in this state which
1336constitute unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive
1337acts or practices and by prohibiting the trade practices so
1338defined or determined.
1339     637.1031  Definitions.-When used in ss. 637.1029-637.1049,
1340the term "insurance policy" or "insurance contract" means a
1341written contract of, or a written agreement for or effecting,
1342insurance, or the certificate thereof, by whatever name called,
1343and includes all clauses, riders, endorsements, and papers which
1344are a part thereof.
1345     637.1032  Unfair methods of competition and unfair or
1346deceptive acts or practices prohibited; penalties.-
1347     (1)  A person may not engage in this state in any trade
1348practice which is defined in ss. 637.1029-637.1049 as, or
1349determined pursuant to s. 637.1029 or s. 637.1035 to be, an
1350unfair method of competition or an unfair or deceptive act or
1351practice involving the business of insurance.
1352     (2)  Any person who violates any provision of ss. 637.1029-
1353637.1049 shall be subject to a fine in an amount not greater
1354than $2,500 for each nonwillful violation and not greater than
1355$20,000 for each willful violation. Fines under this subsection
1356may not exceed an aggregate amount of $10,000 for all nonwillful
1357violations arising out of the same action or an aggregate amount
1358of $100,000 for all willful violations arising out of the same
1359action. The fines authorized by this subsection may be imposed
1360in addition to any other applicable penalty.
1361     637.1033  Unfair methods of competition and unfair or
1362deceptive acts or practices defined.-The following are defined
1363as unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or
1364practices:
1365     (1)  Misrepresentations and false advertising of insurance
1366policies.-Knowingly making, issuing, circulating, or causing to
1367be made, issued, or circulated, any estimate, illustration,
1368circular, statement, sales presentation, omission, or comparison
1369which:
1370     (a)  Misrepresents the benefits, advantages, conditions, or
1371terms of any insurance policy.
1372     (b)  Misrepresents the dividends or share of the surplus to
1373be received on any insurance policy.
1374     (c)  Makes any false or misleading statements as to the
1375dividends or share of surplus previously paid on any insurance
1376policy.
1377     (d)  Is misleading, or is a misrepresentation, as to the
1378financial condition of any person or as to the legal reserve
1379system upon which any life insurer operates.
1380     (e)  Uses any name or title of any insurance policy or
1381class of insurance policies misrepresenting the true nature
1382thereof.
1383     (f)  Is a misrepresentation for the purpose of inducing, or
1384tending to induce, the lapse, forfeiture, exchange, conversion,
1385or surrender of any insurance policy.
1386     (g)  Is a misrepresentation for the purpose of effecting a
1387pledge or assignment of, or effecting a loan against, any
1388insurance policy.
1389     (h)  Misrepresents any insurance policy as being shares of
1390stock or misrepresents ownership interest in the company.
1391     (i)  Uses any advertisement that would mislead or otherwise
1392cause a reasonable person to believe mistakenly that the state
1393or the Federal Government is responsible for the insurance sales
1394activities of any person or stands behind any person's credit or
1395that any person, the state, or the Federal Government guarantees
1396any returns on insurance products or is a source of payment of
1397any insurance obligation of or sold by any person.
1398     (2)  False information and advertising generally.-Knowingly
1399making, publishing, disseminating, circulating, or placing
1400before the public, or causing, directly or indirectly, to be
1401made, published, disseminated, circulated, or placed before the
1402public:
1403     (a)  In a newspaper, magazine, or other publication,
1404     (b)  In the form of a notice, circular, pamphlet, letter,
1405or poster,
1406     (c)  Over any radio or television station, or
1407     (d)  In any other way,
1408
1409an advertisement, announcement, or statement containing any
1410assertion, representation, or statement with respect to the
1411business of insurance, which is untrue, deceptive, or
1412misleading.
1413     (3)  Defamation.-Knowingly making, publishing,
1414disseminating, or circulating, directly or indirectly, or
1415aiding, abetting, or encouraging the making, publishing,
1416disseminating, or circulating of, any oral or written statement,
1417or any pamphlet, circular, article, or literature, which is
1418false or maliciously critical of, or derogatory to, any person
1419and which is calculated to injure such person.
1420     (4)  Boycott, coercion, and intimidation.-Entering into any
1421agreement to commit, or by any concerted action committing, any
1422act of boycott, coercion, or intimidation resulting in, or
1423tending to result in, unreasonable restraint of, or monopoly in,
1424the business of insurance.
1425     (5)  False statements and entries.-
1426     (a)  Knowingly:
1427     1.  Filing with any supervisory or other public official,
1428     2.  Making, publishing, disseminating, circulating,
1429     3.  Delivering to any person,
1430     4.  Placing before the public,
1431     5.  Causing, directly or indirectly, to be made, published,
1432disseminated, circulated, delivered to any person, or placed
1433before the public,
1434
1435any false material statement.
1436     (b)  Knowingly making any false entry of a material fact in
1437any book, report, or statement of any person, or knowingly
1438omitting to make a true entry of any material fact pertaining to
1439the business of such person in any book, report, or statement of
1440such person.
1441     (6)  Unlawful rebates.-
1442     (a)  Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, or in
1443an applicable filing with the department, knowingly:
1444     1.  Permitting, or offering to make, or making, any
1445contract or agreement as to such contract other than as plainly
1446expressed in the insurance contract issued thereon; or
1447     2.  Paying, allowing, or giving, or offering to pay, allow,
1448or give, directly or indirectly, as inducement to such insurance
1449contract, any unlawful rebate of premiums payable on the
1450contract, any special favor or advantage in the dividends or
1451other benefits thereon, or any valuable consideration or
1452inducement whatever not specified in the contract.
1453     (b)1.  A title insurer, or any member, employee, attorney,
1454agent, or agency thereof, may not pay, allow, or give, or offer
1455to pay, allow, or give, directly or indirectly, as inducement to
1456title insurance, or after such insurance has been effected, any
1457rebate or abatement of the premium or any other charge or fee,
1458or provide any special favor or advantage, or any monetary
1459consideration or inducement whatever.
1460     2.  Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as
1461prohibiting the payment of fees to attorneys at law duly
1462licensed to practice law in the courts of this state, for
1463professional services, or as prohibiting the payment of earned
1464portions of the premium to duly appointed agents or agencies who
1465actually perform services for the title insurer. Nothing in this
1466paragraph shall be construed as prohibiting a rebate or
1467abatement of an attorney's fee charged for professional
1468services, or that portion of the premium that is not required to
1469be retained by the insurer pursuant to s. 637.2064(1), or any
1470other agent charge or fee to the person responsible for paying
1471the premium, charge, or fee.
1472     3.  An insured named in a policy, or any other person
1473directly or indirectly connected with the transaction involving
1474the issuance of such policy, including, but not limited to, any
1475mortgage broker, real estate broker, builder, or attorney, any
1476employee, agent, agency, or representative thereof, or any other
1477person whatsoever, may not knowingly receive or accept, directly
1478or indirectly, any rebate or abatement of any portion of the
1479title insurance premium or of any other charge or fee or any
1480monetary consideration or inducement whatsoever, except as set
1481forth in subparagraph 2.; provided, in no event shall any
1482portion of the attorney's fee, any portion of the premium that
1483is not required to be retained by the insurer pursuant to s.
1484637.2064(1), any agent charge or fee, or any other monetary
1485consideration or inducement be paid directly or indirectly for
1486the referral of title insurance business.
1487     (7)  Unfair claim settlement practices.-
1488     (a)  Attempting to settle claims on the basis of an
1489application, when serving as a binder or intended to become a
1490part of the policy, or any other material document which was
1491altered without notice to, or knowledge or consent of, the
1492insured;
1493     (b)  A material misrepresentation made to an insured or any
1494other person having an interest in the proceeds payable under
1495such contract or policy, for the purpose and with the intent of
1496effecting settlement of such claims, loss, or damage under such
1497contract or policy on less favorable terms than those provided
1498in, and contemplated by, such contract or policy; or
1499     (c)  Committing or performing with such frequency as to
1500indicate a general business practice any of the following:
1501     1.  Failing to adopt and implement standards for the proper
1502investigation of claims;
1503     2.  Misrepresenting pertinent facts or insurance policy
1504provisions relating to coverages at issue;
1505     3.  Failing to acknowledge and act promptly upon
1506communications with respect to claims;
1507     4.  Denying claims without conducting reasonable
1508investigations based upon available information;
1509     5.  Failing to affirm or deny full or partial coverage of
1510claims, and, as to partial coverage, the dollar amount or extent
1511of coverage, or failing to provide a written statement that the
1512claim is being investigated, upon the written request of the
1513insured within 30 days after proof-of-loss statements have been
1514completed;
1515     6.  Failing to promptly provide a reasonable explanation in
1516writing to the insured of the basis in the insurance policy, in
1517relation to the facts or applicable law, for denial of a claim
1518or for the offer of a compromise settlement;
1519     7.  Failing to promptly notify the insured of any
1520additional information necessary for the processing of a claim;
1521or
1522     8.  Failing to clearly explain the nature of the requested
1523information and the reasons why such information is necessary.
1524     (8)  Failure to maintain complaint-handling procedures.-
1525Failure of any person to maintain a complete record of all the
1526complaints received since the date of the last examination. For
1527purposes of this subsection, the term "complaint" means any
1528written communication primarily expressing a grievance.
1529     (9)  Misrepresentation in insurance applications.-
1530     (a)  Knowingly making a false or fraudulent written or oral
1531statement or representation on, or relative to, an application
1532or negotiation for an insurance policy for the purpose of
1533obtaining a fee, commission, money, or other benefit from any
1534insurer, agent, broker, or individual.
1535     (b)  Knowingly making a material omission in the comparison
1536of a life, health, or Medicare supplement insurance replacement
1537policy with the policy it replaces for the purpose of obtaining
1538a fee, commission, money, or other benefit from any insurer,
1539agent, broker, or individual. For the purposes of this
1540paragraph, a material omission includes the failure to advise
1541the insured of the existence and operation of a preexisting
1542condition clause in the replacement policy.
1543     (10)  Advertising gifts permitted.-No provision of
1544subsection (6) or subsection (7) shall be deemed to prohibit a
1545licensed insurer or its agent from giving to insureds,
1546prospective insureds, and others, for the purpose of
1547advertising, any article of merchandise having a value of not
1548more than $25.
1549     (11)  Illegal dealings in premiums; excess or reduced
1550charges for insurance.-
1551     (a)  Knowingly collecting any sum as a premium or charge
1552for insurance, which is not then provided, or is not in due
1553course to be provided, subject to acceptance of the risk by the
1554insurer, by an insurance policy issued by an insurer as
1555permitted by this chapter.
1556     (b)  Knowingly collecting as a premium or charge for
1557insurance any sum in excess of or less than the premium or
1558charge applicable to such insurance, in accordance with the
1559applicable classifications and rates as filed with and approved
1560by the department, and as specified in the policy; or, in cases
1561when classifications, premiums, or rates are not required by
1562this chapter to be so filed and approved, premiums and charges
1563collected from a resident of this state in excess of or less
1564than those specified in the policy and as fixed by the insurer.
1565     (12)  Interlocking ownership and management.-
1566     (a)  Any domestic insurer may retain, invest in, or acquire
1567the whole or any part of the capital stock of any other insurer
1568or insurers, or have a common management with any other insurer
1569or insurers, unless such retention, investment, acquisition, or
1570common management is inconsistent with any other provision of
1571this chapter, or unless by reason thereof the business of such
1572insurers with the public is conducted in a manner which
1573substantially lessens competition generally in the insurance
1574business.
1575     (b)  Any person otherwise qualified may be a director of
1576two or more domestic insurers which are competitors, unless the
1577effect thereof is substantially to lessen competition between
1578insurers generally or materially tend to create a monopoly.
1579     (c)  Any limitation contained in this subsection does not
1580apply to any person who is a director of two or more insurers
1581under common control or management.
1582     (13)  Soliciting or accepting new or renewal insurance
1583risks by insolvent or impaired insurer prohibited; penalty.-
1584     (a)  Whether or not delinquency proceedings as to the
1585insurer have been or are to be initiated, but while such
1586insolvency or impairment exists, a director or officer of an
1587insurer, except with the written permission of the department,
1588may not authorize or permit the insurer to solicit or accept new
1589or renewal insurance risks in this state after such director or
1590officer knew, or reasonably should have known, that the insurer
1591was insolvent or impaired. The term "impaired" includes
1592impairment of capital or surplus, as defined in s. 631.011(12)
1593and (13).
1594     (b)  Any such director or officer, upon conviction of a
1595violation of this subsection, is guilty of a felony of the third
1596degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s.
1597775.084.
1598     (14)  Refusal to insure.-In addition to other provisions of
1599this chapter, the refusal to insure, or continue to insure, any
1600individual or risk solely because of:
1601     (a)  Race, color, creed, marital status, sex, or national
1602origin;
1603     (b)  The residence, age, or lawful occupation of the
1604individual or the location of the risk, unless there is a
1605reasonable relationship between the residence, age, or lawful
1606occupation of the individual or the location of the risk and the
1607coverage issued or to be issued; or
1608     (c)  The insured's or applicant's failure to agree to place
1609collateral business with any insurer.
1610     (15)  Sliding.-Sliding is the act or practice of:
1611     (a)  Representing to the applicant that a specific
1612ancillary coverage or product is required by law in conjunction
1613with the purchase of insurance when such coverage or product is
1614not required;
1615     (b)  Representing to the applicant that a specific
1616ancillary coverage or product is included in the policy applied
1617for without an additional charge when such charge is required;
1618or
1619     (c)  Charging an applicant for a specific ancillary
1620coverage or product, in addition to the cost of the insurance
1621coverage applied for, without the informed consent of the
1622applicant.
1623     637.10335  Civil remedies against title insurers.-
1624     (1)(a)  Any person may bring a civil action against a title
1625insurer when such person is damaged:
1626     1.  By a violation by the insurer of s. 637.1033(7), (11),
1627or (14); or
1628     2.  By the commission of any of the following acts by the
1629insurer:
1630     a.  Not attempting in good faith to settle claims when,
1631under all the circumstances, it could and should have done so
1632had it acted fairly and honestly toward its insured and with
1633due regard for her or his interests;
1634     b.  Making claims payments to insureds or beneficiaries not
1635accompanied by a statement setting forth the coverage under
1636which payments are being made; or
1637     c.  Except as to liability coverages, failing to promptly
1638settle claims, when the obligation to settle a claim has become
1639reasonably clear, under one portion of the insurance policy
1640coverage in order to influence settlements under other portions
1641of the insurance policy coverage.
1642     (b)  Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a person pursuing a
1643remedy under this section need not prove that such act was
1644committed or performed with such frequency as to indicate a
1645general business practice.
1646     (2)  Any party may bring a civil action against an
1647unauthorized insurer if such party is damaged by a violation of
1648s. 637.1033 by the unauthorized insurer.
1649     (3)(a)  As a condition precedent to bringing an action
1650under this section, the department and the authorized insurer
1651must have been given 60 days' written notice of the violation.
1652If the department returns a notice for lack of specificity, the
165360-day time period shall not begin until a proper notice is
1654filed.
1655     (b)  The notice shall be on a form provided by the
1656department and shall state with specificity the following
1657information, and such other information as the department may
1658require:
1659     1.  The statutory provision, including the specific
1660language of the statute, which the authorized insurer allegedly
1661violated.
1662     2.  The facts and circumstances giving rise to the
1663violation.
1664     3.  The name of any individual involved in the violation.
1665     4.  A reference to specific policy language that is
1666relevant to the violation, if any. If the person bringing the
1667civil action is a third-party claimant, she or he shall not be
1668required to reference the specific policy language if the
1669authorized insurer has not provided a copy of the policy to the
1670third-party claimant pursuant to written request.
1671     5.  A statement that the notice is given in order to
1672perfect the right to pursue the civil remedy authorized by this
1673section.
1674     (c)  Within 20 days after receipt of the notice, the
1675department may return any notice that does not provide the
1676specific information required by this section, and the
1677department shall indicate the specific deficiencies contained in
1678the notice. A determination by the department to return a
1679notice for lack of specificity shall be exempt from the
1680requirements of chapter 120.
1681     (d)  An action may not lie if, within 60 days after filing
1682notice, the damages are paid or the circumstances giving rise to
1683the violation are corrected.
1684     (e)  The authorized insurer that is the recipient of a
1685notice filed pursuant to this section shall report to the
1686department on the disposition of the alleged violation.
1687     (f)  The applicable statute of limitations for an action
1688under this section shall be tolled for a period of 65 days by
1689the mailing of the notice required by this subsection or the
1690mailing of a subsequent notice required by this subsection.
1691     (4)  Upon adverse adjudication at trial or upon appeal,
1692the authorized insurer shall be liable for damages, together
1693with court costs and reasonable attorney's fees incurred by the
1694plaintiff.
1695     (5)(a)  Punitive damages may not be awarded under this
1696section unless the acts giving rise to the violation occur with
1697such frequency as to indicate a general business practice and
1698these acts are:
1699     1.  Willful, wanton, and malicious;
1700     2.  In reckless disregard for the rights of any insured; or
1701     3.  In reckless disregard for the rights of a beneficiary
1702under a life insurance contract.
1703     (b)  Any person who pursues a claim under this subsection
1704shall post in advance the costs of discovery. Such costs shall
1705be awarded to the authorized insurer if no punitive damages are
1706awarded to the plaintiff.
1707     (6)  This section shall not be construed to authorize a
1708class action suit against an authorized insurer or a civil
1709action against the commission, the office, or the department or
1710any of their employees, or to create a cause of action when an
1711authorized health insurer refuses to pay a claim for
1712reimbursement on the ground that the charge for a service was
1713unreasonably high or that the service provided was not medically
1714necessary.
1715     (7)  In the absence of expressed language to the
1716contrary, this section shall not be construed to authorize a
1717civil action or create a cause of action against an authorized
1718insurer or its employees who, in good faith, release information
1719about an insured or an insurance policy to a law enforcement
1720agency in furtherance of an investigation of a criminal or
1721fraudulent act relating to a motor vehicle theft or a motor
1722vehicle insurance claim.
1723     (8)  The civil remedy specified in this section does not
1724preempt any other remedy or cause of action provided pursuant
1725to any other statute or pursuant to the common law of this
1726state. Any person may obtain a judgment under the common-law
1727remedy of bad faith or the remedy provided under this section
1728but is not entitled to a judgment under both remedies. This
1729section shall not be construed to create a common-law cause of
1730action. The damages recoverable pursuant to this section shall
1731include those damages that are a reasonably foreseeable result
1732of a specified violation of this section by the authorized
1733insurer and may include an award or judgment in an amount
1734that exceeds the policy limits.
1735     637.1034  Favored title insurance agent or title insurer;
1736coercion of debtors.-
1737     (1)  A person may not:
1738     (a)  Require, as a condition precedent or condition
1739subsequent to the lending of money or extension of credit or any
1740renewal thereof, that the person to whom such money or credit is
1741extended, or whose obligation the creditor is to acquire or
1742finance, negotiate any policy or contract of insurance through a
1743particular insurer or group of insurers or agent or broker or
1744group of agents or brokers.
1745     (b)  Reject an insurance policy solely because the policy
1746has been issued or underwritten by any person who is not
1747associated with a financial institution, or with any subsidiary
1748or affiliate thereof, when such insurance is required in
1749connection with a loan or extension of credit; or unreasonably
1750disapprove the insurance policy provided by a borrower for the
1751protection of the property securing the credit or lien. For
1752purposes of this paragraph, such disapproval shall be deemed
1753unreasonable if it is not based solely on reasonable standards,
1754uniformly applied, relating to the extent of coverage required
1755by such lender or person extending credit and the financial
1756soundness and the services of an insurer. Such standards shall
1757not discriminate against any particular type of insurer, nor
1758shall such standards call for the disapproval of an insurance
1759policy because such policy contains coverage in addition to that
1760required.
1761     (c)  Require, directly or indirectly, that any borrower,
1762mortgagor, purchaser, insurer, broker, or agent pay a separate
1763charge in connection with the handling of any insurance policy
1764that is required in connection with a loan or other extension of
1765credit or the provision of another traditional banking product,
1766or pay a separate charge to substitute the insurance policy of
1767one insurer for that of another, unless such charge would be
1768required if the person were providing the insurance. This
1769paragraph does not include the interest which may be charged on
1770premium loans or premium advances in accordance with the
1771security instrument.
1772     (d)  Use or provide to others insurance information
1773required to be disclosed by a customer to a financial
1774institution, or a subsidiary or affiliate thereof, in connection
1775with the extension of credit for the purpose of soliciting the
1776sale of insurance, unless the customer has given express written
1777consent or has been given the opportunity to object to such use
1778of the information. Insurance information means information
1779concerning premiums, terms, and conditions of insurance
1780coverage, insurance claims, and insurance history provided by
1781the customer. The opportunity to object to the use of insurance
1782information must be in writing and must be clearly and
1783conspicuously made.
1784     (2)(a)  Any person offering the sale of insurance at the
1785time of and in connection with an extension of credit or the
1786sale or lease of goods or services shall disclose in writing
1787that the choice of an insurance provider will not affect the
1788decision regarding the extension of credit or sale or lease of
1789goods or services, except that reasonable requirements may be
1790imposed pursuant to subsection (1).
1791     (b)  Federally insured or state-insured depository
1792institutions and credit unions shall make clear and conspicuous
1793disclosure in writing prior to the sale of any insurance policy
1794that such policy is not a deposit, is not insured by the Federal
1795Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other entity, is not
1796guaranteed by the insured depository institution or any person
1797soliciting the purchase of or selling the policy; that the
1798financial institution is not obligated to provide benefits under
1799the insurance contract; and, where appropriate, that the policy
1800involves investment risk, including potential loss of principal.
1801     (c)  All documents constituting policies of insurance shall
1802be separate and shall not be combined with or be a part of other
1803documents. A person may not include the expense of insurance
1804premiums in a primary credit transaction without the express
1805written consent of the customer.
1806     (d)  A loan officer of a financial institution who is
1807involved in the application, solicitation, or closing of a loan
1808transaction may not solicit or sell insurance in connection with
1809the same loan, but such loan officer may refer the loan customer
1810to another insurance agent who is not involved in the
1811application, solicitation, or closing of the same loan
1812transaction. This paragraph does not apply to an agent located
1813on premises having only a single person with lending authority,
1814or to a broker or dealer registered under the Federal Securities
1815Exchange Act of 1934 in connection with a margin loan secured by
1816securities.
1817     (3)  A person may not make an extension of credit or the
1818sale of any product or service that is the equivalent to an
1819extension of credit or lease or sale of property of any kind, or
1820furnish any services or fix or vary the consideration for any of
1821the foregoing, on the condition or requirement that the customer
1822obtain insurance from that person, or a subsidiary or affiliate
1823of that person, or a particular insurer, agent, or broker;
1824however, this subsection does not prohibit any person from
1825engaging in any activity that if done by a financial institution
1826would not violate s. 106 of the Bank Holding Company Act
1827Amendments of 1970, 12 U.S.C. s. 1972, as interpreted by the
1828Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
1829     (4)  The department may investigate the affairs of any
1830person to whom this section applies to determine whether such
1831person has violated this section. If a violation of this section
1832is found to have been committed knowingly, the person in
1833violation shall be subject to the same procedures and penalties
1834as provided in ss. 637.1036, 637.1037, 637.1038 and 637.1039.
1835     637.1035  Power of department.-The department may examine
1836and investigate the affairs of every person involved in the
1837business of insurance in this state in order to determine
1838whether such person has been or is engaged in any unfair method
1839of competition or in any unfair or deceptive act or practice
1840prohibited by s. 637.1032, and shall each have the powers and
1841duties specified in ss. 637.1036-637.1039 in connection
1842therewith.
1843     637.1036  Defined practices; hearings, witnesses,
1844appearances, production of books and service of process.-
1845     (1)  Whenever the department has reason to believe that any
1846person has engaged, or is engaging, in this state in any unfair
1847method of competition or any unfair or deceptive act or practice
1848as defined in s. 637.1033 or s. 637.1034 or is engaging in the
1849business of insurance without being properly licensed as
1850required by this chapter and that a proceeding by it in respect
1851thereto would be to the interest of the public, it shall conduct
1852or cause to have conducted a hearing in accordance with chapter
1853120.
1854     (2)  The department, a duly empowered hearing officer, or
1855an administrative law judge shall, during the conduct of such
1856hearing, have those powers enumerated in s. 120.569; however,
1857the penalties for failure to comply with a subpoena or with an
1858order directing discovery shall be limited to a fine not to
1859exceed $1,000 per violation.
1860     (3)  Statements of charges, notices, and orders under this
1861act may be served by anyone duly authorized by the department,
1862in the manner provided by law for service of process in civil
1863actions or by certifying and mailing a copy thereof to the
1864person affected by such statement, notice, order, or other
1865process at his or her or its residence or principal office or
1866place of business. The verified return by the person so serving
1867such statement, notice, order, or other process, setting forth
1868the manner of the service, shall be proof of the same, and the
1869return postcard receipt for such statement, notice, order, or
1870other process, certified and mailed as aforesaid, shall be proof
1871of service of the same.
1872     637.1037  Cease and desist and penalty orders.-After the
1873hearing provided in s. 637.1036, the department shall enter a
1874final order in accordance with s. 120.569. If it is determined
1875that the person charged has engaged in an unfair or deceptive
1876act or practice or the unlawful transaction of insurance, the
1877department shall also issue an order requiring the violator to
1878cease and desist from engaging in such method of competition,
1879act, or practice or the unlawful transaction of insurance.
1880Further, if the act or practice is a violation of s. 637.1033 or
1881s. 637.1034, the department may, at its discretion, order any
1882one or more of the following:
1883     (1)  Suspension or revocation of the person's certificate
1884of authority, license, or eligibility for any certificate of
1885authority or license, if he or she knew, or reasonably should
1886have known, he or she was in violation of this chapter.
1887     (2)  Such other relief as may be provided in this chapter.
1888     637.1038  Appeals from the department.-Any person subject
1889to an order of the department under s. 637.1037 or s. 637.1039
1890may obtain a review of such order by filing an appeal therefrom
1891in accordance with the provisions and procedures for appeal from
1892the orders of the department in general under s. 120.68.
1893     637.1039  Penalty for violation of cease and desist
1894orders.-Any person who violates a cease and desist order of the
1895department under s. 637.1037 while such order is in effect,
1896after notice and hearing as provided in s. 637.1036, shall be
1897subject, at the discretion of the department, to any one or more
1898of the following:
1899     (1)  A monetary penalty of not more than $50,000 as to all
1900matters determined in such hearing.
1901     (2)  Suspension or revocation of such person's certificate
1902of authority, license, or eligibility to hold such certificate
1903of authority or license.
1904     (3)  Such other relief as may be provided in this chapter.
1905     637.1041  Rules.-
1906     (1)  The department may, in accordance with chapter 120,
1907adopt reasonable rules as are necessary or proper to identify
1908specific methods of competition or acts or practices which are
1909prohibited by s. 637.1033 or s. 637.1034, but the rules shall
1910not enlarge upon or extend the provisions of ss. 637.1033 and
1911637.1034.
1912     (2)  The department shall, in accordance with chapter 120,
1913adopt rules to protect members of the United States Armed Forces
1914from dishonest or predatory insurance sales practices by
1915insurers and insurance agents. The rules shall identify specific
1916false, misleading, deceptive, or unfair methods of competition,
1917acts, or practices which are prohibited by s. 637.1033 or s.
1918637.1034. The rules shall be based upon model rules or model
1919laws adopted by the National Association of Insurance
1920Commissioners which identify certain insurance practices
1921involving the solicitation or sale of insurance and annuities to
1922members of the United States Armed Forces which are false,
1923misleading, deceptive, or unfair.
1924     637.1042  Provisions of chapter additional to existing
1925law.-The powers vested in the department by this chapter shall
1926be additional to any other powers to enforce any penalties,
1927fines, or forfeitures authorized by law.
1928     637.1043  Civil liability.-The provisions of this chapter
1929are cumulative to rights under the general civil and common law,
1930and no action of the department, shall abrogate such rights to
1931damages or other relief in any court.
1932     637.10435  Policyholders Bill of Rights.-
1933     (1)  The principles expressed in the following statements
1934shall serve as standards to be followed by the department,
1935commission, and office in exercising their powers and duties,
1936in exercising administrative discretion, in dispensing
1937administrative interpretations of the law, and in adopting rules:
1938     (a)  Policyholders have the right to competitive pricing
1939practices and marketing methods that enable them to determine
1940the best value among comparable policies.
1941     (b)  Policyholders have the right to obtain comprehensive
1942coverage.
1943     (c)  Policyholders have the right to insurance advertising
1944and other selling approaches that provide accurate and balanced
1945information on the benefits and limitations of a policy.
1946     (d)  Policyholders have a right to an insurance company
1947that is financially stable.
1948     (e)  Policyholders have the right to be serviced by a
1949competent, honest insurance agent or broker.
1950     (f)  Policyholders have the right to a readable policy.
1951     (g)  Policyholders have the right to an insurance company
1952that provides an economic delivery of coverage and that tries to
1953prevent losses.
1954     (h)  Policyholders have the right to a balanced and
1955positive regulation by the department, commission, and office.
1956     (2)  This section shall not be construed as creating a
1957civil cause of action by any individual policyholder against any
1958individual insurer.
1959     637.1044  Privacy.-The department shall adopt rules
1960consistent with other provisions of this chapter to govern the
1961use of a consumer's nonpublic personal financial and health
1962information. These rules must be based on, consistent with, and
1963not more restrictive than the Privacy of Consumer Financial and
1964Health Information Regulation, adopted September 26, 2000, by
1965the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. In
1966addition, these rules must be consistent with, and not more
1967restrictive than, the standards contained in Title V of the
1968Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, Pub. L. No. 106-102.
1969     637.10445  Trade secret documents.-
1970     (1)  If any person who is required to submit documents
1971or other information to the department pursuant to this chapter
1972or by rule or order of the department claims that such
1973submission contains a trade secret, such person may file with
1974the department a notice of trade secret as provided in this
1975section. Failure to do so constitutes a waiver of any claim by
1976such person that the document or information is a trade secret.
1977     (a)  Each page of such document or specific portion of a
1978document claimed to be a trade secret must be clearly marked
1979"trade secret."
1980     (b)  All material marked as a trade secret must be
1981separated from all non-trade secret material and be submitted in
1982a separate envelope clearly marked "trade secret."
1983     (c)  In submitting a notice of trade secret to the
1984department, the submitting party must include an affidavit
1985certifying under oath to the truth of the following
1986statements concerning all documents or information that are
1987claimed to be trade secrets:
1988     1.  [I consider/My company considers] this information a
1989trade secret that has value and provides an advantage or an
1990opportunity to obtain an advantage over those who do not know or
1991use it.
1992     2.  [I have/My company has] taken measures to prevent the
1993disclosure of the information to anyone other than those who
1994have been selected to have access for limited purposes, and [I
1995intend/my company intends] to continue to take such measures.
1996     3.  The information is not, and has not been, reasonably
1997obtainable without [my/our] consent by other persons by use of
1998legitimate means.
1999     4.  The information is not publicly available elsewhere.
2000     (d)  Any data submitted by a title insurance agent or title
2001insurer pursuant to s. 637.1014 is presumed to be a trade
2002secret under this section whether or not so designated.
2003     (2)  If the department receives a public records request for
2004a document or information that is marked and certified as a trade
2005secret, the department shall promptly notify the person that
2006certified the document as a trade secret. The notice shall
2007inform such person that he or she or his or her company has 30
2008days after receipt of such notice to file an action in circuit
2009court seeking a determination whether the document in question
2010contains trade secrets and an order barring public disclosure of
2011the document. If that person or company files an action within
201230 days after receipt of notice of the public records request,
2013the department may not release the documents pending the outcome
2014of the legal action. The failure to file an action within 30
2015days constitutes a waiver of any claim of confidentiality,
2016and the department shall release the document as requested.
2017     (3)  The department may disclose a trade secret, together
2018with the claim that it is a trade secret, to an officer or
2019employee of another governmental agency whose use of the trade
2020secret is within the scope of his or her employment.
2021     637.1045  Financial institutions conducting title insurance
2022transactions.-A financial institution, as defined in s.
2023655.005(1)(g), (h), or (p), may conduct title insurance
2024transactions only through Florida-licensed title insurance
2025agents representing Florida-authorized title insurers.
2026     637.1046  Investigation by department or Division of
2027Insurance Fraud; compliance; immunity; confidential information;
2028reports to division; division investigator's power of arrest.-
2029     (1)  For the purposes of this section, a person commits a
2030"fraudulent insurance act" if the person knowingly and with
2031intent to defraud presents, causes to be presented, or prepares
2032with knowledge or belief that it will be presented, to or by a
2033title insurer or any title insurance agent, any written
2034statement as part of, or in support of, an application for the
2035issuance of, or the rating of, any insurance policy, or a claim
2036for payment or other benefit pursuant to any insurance policy,
2037which the person knows to contain materially false information
2038concerning any fact material thereto or if the person conceals,
2039for the purpose of misleading another, information concerning
2040any fact material thereto.
2041     (2)  If, by its own inquiries or as a result of complaints,
2042the department or its Division of Insurance Fraud has reason to
2043believe that a person has engaged in, or is engaging in, a
2044fraudulent insurance act, an act or practice that violates s.
2045637.1033 or s. 817.234, or an act or practice punishable under
2046s. 637.1008, it may administer oaths and affirmations, request
2047the attendance of witnesses or proffering of matter, and collect
2048evidence. The department shall not compel the attendance of any
2049person or matter in any such investigation except pursuant to
2050subsection (4).
2051     (3)  If matter that the department or its division seeks to
2052obtain by request is located outside the state, the person so
2053requested may make it available to the division or its
2054representative to examine the matter at the place where it is
2055located. The division may designate representatives, including
2056officials of the state in which the matter is located, to
2057inspect the matter on its behalf, and it may respond to similar
2058requests from officials of other states.
2059     (4)(a)  The department or the division may request that an
2060individual who refuses to comply with any such request be
2061ordered by the circuit court to provide the testimony or matter.
2062The court shall not order such compliance unless the department
2063or the division has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the
2064court that the testimony of the witness or the matter under
2065request has a direct bearing on the department of a fraudulent
2066insurance act, on a violation of s. 637.1033 or s. 817.234, or
2067on an act or practice punishable under s. 637.1008 or is
2068pertinent and necessary to further such investigation.
2069     (b)  Except in a prosecution for perjury, an individual who
2070complies with a court order to provide testimony or matter after
2071asserting a privilege against self-incrimination to which the
2072individual is entitled by law may not be subjected to a criminal
2073proceeding or to a civil penalty with respect to the act
2074concerning which the individual is required to testify or
2075produce relevant matter.
2076     (c)  In the absence of fraud or bad faith, a person is not
2077subject to civil liability for libel, slander, or any other
2078relevant tort by virtue of filing reports, without malice, or
2079furnishing other information, without malice, required by this
2080section or required by the department or division under the
2081authority granted in this section, and no civil cause of action
2082of any nature shall arise against such person:
2083     1.  For any information relating to suspected fraudulent
2084insurance acts or persons suspected of engaging in such acts
2085furnished to or received from law enforcement officials, their
2086agents, or employees;
2087     2.  For any information relating to suspected fraudulent
2088insurance acts or persons suspected of engaging in such acts
2089furnished to or received from other persons subject to the
2090provisions of this chapter;
2091     3.  For any such information furnished in reports to the
2092department, the division, the National Insurance Crime Bureau,
2093the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, or any
2094local, state, or federal enforcement officials or their agents
2095or employees; or
2096     4.  For other actions taken in cooperation with any of the
2097agencies or individuals specified in this paragraph in the
2098lawful investigation of suspected fraudulent insurance acts.
2099     (d)  In addition to the immunity granted in paragraph (c),
2100persons identified as designated employees whose
2101responsibilities include the investigation and disposition of
2102claims relating to suspected fraudulent insurance acts may share
2103information relating to persons suspected of committing
2104fraudulent insurance acts with other designated employees
2105employed by the same or other insurers whose responsibilities
2106include the investigation and disposition of claims relating to
2107fraudulent insurance acts, provided the department has been
2108given written notice of the names and job titles of such
2109designated employees prior to such designated employees sharing
2110information. Unless the designated employees of the insurer act
2111in bad faith or in reckless disregard for the rights of any
2112insured, neither the insurer nor its designated employees are
2113civilly liable for libel, slander, or any other relevant tort,
2114and a civil action does not arise against the insurer or its
2115designated employees:
2116     1.  For any information related to suspected fraudulent
2117insurance acts provided to an insurer; or
2118     2.  For any information relating to suspected fraudulent
2119insurance acts provided to the National Insurance Crime Bureau
2120or the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
2121
2122Provided, however, that the qualified immunity against civil
2123liability conferred on any insurer or its designated employees
2124shall be forfeited with respect to the exchange or publication
2125of any defamatory information with third persons not expressly
2126authorized by this paragraph to share in such information.
2127     (e)  The Chief Financial Officer and any employee or agent
2128of the department, when acting without malice and in the absence
2129of fraud or bad faith, is not subject to civil liability for
2130libel, slander, or any other relevant tort, and no civil cause
2131of action of any nature exists against such person by virtue of
2132the execution of official activities or duties of the department
2133under this section or by virtue of the publication of any report
2134or bulletin related to the official activities or duties of the
2135department under this section.
2136     (f)  This section does not abrogate or modify in any way
2137any common-law or statutory privilege or immunity heretofore
2138enjoyed by any person.
2139     (5)  Any person, other than an insurer, agent, or other
2140person licensed under this chapter, or an employee thereof,
2141having knowledge or who believes that a fraudulent insurance act
2142or any other act or practice which, upon conviction, constitutes
2143a felony or a misdemeanor under this chapter, or under s.
2144817.234, is being or has been committed may send to the Division
2145of Insurance Fraud a report or information pertinent to such
2146knowledge or belief and such additional information relative
2147thereto as the department may request. Any professional
2148practitioner licensed or regulated by the Department of Business
2149and Professional Regulation, except as otherwise provided by
2150law, any medical review committee as defined in s. 766.101, any
2151title insurer, title insurance agent, or other person licensed
2152under this chapter, or an employee thereof, having knowledge or
2153who believes that a fraudulent insurance act or any other act or
2154practice which, upon conviction, constitutes a felony or a
2155misdemeanor under this chapter, or under s. 817.234, is being or
2156has been committed shall send to the Division of Insurance Fraud
2157a report or information pertinent to such knowledge or belief
2158and such additional information relative thereto as the
2159department may require. The Division of Insurance Fraud shall
2160review such information or reports and select such information
2161or reports as, in its judgment, may require further
2162investigation. It shall then cause an independent examination of
2163the facts surrounding such information or report to be made to
2164determine the extent, if any, to which a fraudulent insurance
2165act or any other act or practice which, upon conviction,
2166constitutes a felony or a misdemeanor under this chapter, or
2167under s. 817.234, is being committed. The Division of Insurance
2168Fraud shall report any alleged violations of law which its
2169investigations disclose to the appropriate licensing agency and
2170state attorney or other prosecuting agency having jurisdiction
2171with respect to any such violation, as provided in s. 637.302.
2172If prosecution by the state attorney or other prosecuting agency
2173having jurisdiction with respect to such violation is not begun
2174within 60 days of the division's report, the state attorney or
2175other prosecuting agency having jurisdiction with respect to
2176such violation shall inform the division of the reasons for the
2177lack of prosecution.
2178     (6)  Division investigators may make arrests for criminal
2179violations established as a result of investigations. Such
2180investigators shall also be considered state law enforcement
2181officers for all purposes and may execute arrest warrants and
2182search warrants; serve subpoenas issued for the examination,
2183investigation, and trial of all offenses; and arrest upon
2184probable cause without warrant any person found in the act of
2185violating any of the provisions of applicable laws.
2186Investigators empowered to make arrests under this section shall
2187be empowered to bear arms in the performance of their duties. In
2188such a situation, the investigator must be certified in
2189compliance with the provisions of s. 943.1395 or must meet the
2190temporary employment or appointment exemption requirements of s.
2191943.131 until certified.
2192     (7)  It is unlawful for any person to resist an arrest
2193authorized by this section or in any manner to interfere, either
2194by abetting or assisting such resistance or otherwise
2195interfering, with division investigators in the duties imposed
2196upon them by law or department rule.
2197     637.1047  Insurer anti-fraud investigative units; reporting
2198requirements; penalties for noncompliance.-
2199     (1)  Every insurer admitted to do business in this state
2200who in the previous calendar year, at any time during that year,
2201had $10 million or more in direct premiums written shall:
2202     (a)  Establish and maintain a unit or division within the
2203company to investigate possible fraudulent claims by insureds or
2204by persons making claims for services or repairs against
2205policies held by insureds; or
2206     (b)  Contract with others to investigate possible
2207fraudulent claims for services or repairs against policies held
2208by insureds.
2209
2210An insurer subject to this subsection shall file with the
2211Division of Insurance Fraud of the department on or before July
22121, 1996, a detailed description of the unit or division
2213established pursuant to paragraph (a) or a copy of the contract
2214and related documents required by paragraph (b).
2215     (2)  Every insurer admitted to do business in this state,
2216which in the previous calendar year had less than $10 million in
2217direct premiums written, must adopt an anti-fraud plan and file
2218it with the Division of Insurance Fraud of the department on or
2219before July 1, 1996. An insurer may, in lieu of adopting and
2220filing an anti-fraud plan, comply with the provisions of
2221subsection (1).
2222     (3)  Each insurers anti-fraud plans shall include:
2223     (a)  A description of the insurer's procedures for
2224detecting and investigating possible fraudulent insurance acts.
2225     (b)  A description of the insurer's procedures for the
2226mandatory reporting of possible fraudulent insurance acts to the
2227Division of Insurance Fraud of the department.
2228     (c)  A description of the insurer's plan for anti-fraud
2229education and training of its claims adjusters or other
2230personnel.
2231     (d)  A written description or chart outlining the
2232organizational arrangement of the insurer's anti-fraud personnel
2233who are responsible for the investigation and reporting of
2234possible fraudulent insurance acts.
2235     (4)  Any insurer who obtains a certificate of authority
2236after July 1, 1995, shall have 18 months in which to comply with
2237the requirements of this section.
2238     (5)  For purposes of this section, the term "unit or
2239division" includes the assignment of fraud investigation to
2240employees whose principal responsibilities are the investigation
2241and disposition of claims. If an insurer creates a distinct unit
2242or division, hires additional employees, or contracts with
2243another entity to fulfill the requirements of this section, the
2244additional cost incurred must be included as an administrative
2245expense for ratemaking purposes.
2246     (6)  If an insurer fails to timely submit a final
2247acceptable anti-fraud plan or anti-fraud investigative unit
2248description, fails to implement the provisions of a plan or an
2249anti-fraud investigative unit description, or otherwise refuses
2250to comply with the provisions of this section, the department,
2251may:
2252     (a)  Impose an administrative fine of not more than $2,000
2253per day for such failure by an insurer to submit an acceptable
2254anti-fraud plan or anti-fraud investigative unit description,
2255until the department deems the insurer to be in compliance;
2256     (b)  Impose an administrative fine for failure by an
2257insurer to implement or follow the provisions of an anti-fraud
2258plan or anti-fraud investigative unit description; or
2259     (c)  Impose the provisions of both paragraphs (a) and (b).
2260     (7)  The department may adopt rules to administer this
2261section.
2262     637.1048  Anti-Fraud Reward Program; reporting of title
2263insurance fraud.-
2264     (1)  The Anti-Fraud Reward Program is hereby established
2265within the department, to be funded from the Title Insurance
2266Regulatory Trust Fund.
2267     (2)  The department may pay rewards of up to $25,000 to
2268persons providing information leading to the arrest and
2269conviction of persons committing crimes investigated by the
2270Division of Insurance Fraud arising from violations of s.
2271440.105, s. 637.1008, s. 637.1033, s. 637.1046, or s. 817.234.
2272     (3)  Only a single reward amount may be paid by the
2273department for claims arising out of the same transaction or
2274occurrence, regardless of the number of persons arrested and
2275convicted and the number of persons submitting claims for the
2276reward. The reward may be disbursed among more than one person
2277in amounts determined by the department.
2278     (4)  The department shall adopt rules which set forth the
2279application and approval process, including the criteria against
2280which claims shall be evaluated, the basis for determining
2281specific reward amounts, and the manner in which rewards shall
2282be disbursed. Applications for rewards authorized by this
2283section must be made pursuant to rules established by the
2284department.
2285     (5)  Determinations by the department to grant or deny a
2286reward under this section shall not be considered agency action
2287subject to review under s. 120.569 or s. 120.57.
2288     637.1049  Disposition of revenues; criminal or forfeiture
2289proceedings.-
2290     (1)  The Division of Insurance Fraud of the Department of
2291Financial Services may deposit revenues received as a result of
2292criminal proceedings or forfeiture proceedings, other than
2293revenues deposited into the Department of Financial Services'
2294Federal Law Enforcement Trust Fund under s. 17.43, into the
2295Title Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund. Moneys deposited pursuant
2296to this section shall be separately accounted for and shall be
2297used solely for the division to carry out its duties and
2298responsibilities.
2299     (2)  Moneys deposited into the Title Insurance Regulatory
2300Trust Fund pursuant to this section shall be appropriated by the
2301Legislature, pursuant to the provisions of chapter 216, for the
2302sole purpose of enabling the division to carry out its duties
2303and responsibilities.
2304     (3)  Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 216.301 and
2305pursuant to s. 216.351, any balance of moneys deposited into the
2306Title Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund pursuant to this section
2307remaining at the end of any fiscal year shall remain in the
2308trust fund at the end of that year and shall be available for
2309carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the division.
2310     Section 4.  Part II of chapter 637, Florida Statutes,
2311consisting of sections 637.2001, 637.2002, 637.2003, 637.20035,
2312637.2004, 637.2005, 637.2006, 637.2007, 637.20073, 637.20075,
2313637.2008, 637.2009, 637.2011, 637.2012, 637.2013, 637.2014,
2314637.2015, 637.2016, 637.2017, 637.2018, 637.2019, 637.2021,
2315637.2022, 637.2023, 637.2024, 637.2025, 637.2026, 637.2027,
2316637.2028, 637.2029, 637.2031, 637.2032, 637.2033, 637.2034,
2317637.2035, 637.2036, 637.2037, 637.2038, 637.2039, 637.2041,
2318637.2042, 637.2043, 637.2046, 637.2047, 637.2048, 637.20485,
2319637.2049, 637.2051, 637.2052, 637.2053, 637.2054, 637.2055,
2320637.2056, 637.2057, 637.2058, 637.2059, 637.2061, 637.2063,
2321637.20635, 637.2064, 637.2065, 637.2066, 637.2067, 637.2068,
2322637.2069, 637.2071, 637.2072, 637.2073, 637.2074, 637.2075,
2323637.2076, 637.2077, 637.2078, 637.2079, 637.2081, 637.2082,
2324637.2083, 637.2084, 637.2085, 637.2086, 637.2087, 637.2088,
2325637.2089, and 637.2091, is created and entitled "ADMINISTRATION
2326OF TITLE INSURERS."
2327     Section 5.  Sections 637.2001, 637.2002, 637.2003,
2328637.20035, 637.2004, 637.2005, 637.2006, and 637.2007, Florida
2329Statutes, are created to read:
2330     637.2001  Certificate of authority required.-
2331     (1)  A person may not act as a title insurer, and a title
2332insurer or its agents, attorneys, or representatives may not
2333directly or indirectly transact title insurance, in this state
2334except as authorized by a subsisting certificate of authority
2335issued to the title insurer by the department, except as to such
2336transactions as are expressly otherwise provided for in this
2337chapter.
2338     (2)  A title insurer may not, from offices or by personnel
2339or facilities located in this state, solicit title insurance
2340applications or otherwise transact title insurance in another
2341state or country unless it holds a subsisting certificate of
2342authority issued to it by the department authorizing it to
2343transact the same kind or kinds of title insurance in this
2344state.
2345     (3)  This state hereby preempts the field of regulating
2346title insurers and their agents and representatives; and a
2347county, city, municipality, district, school district, or
2348political subdivision may not require of any title insurer,
2349title insurance agent, or representative regulated under this
2350chapter any authorization, permit, or registration of any kind
2351for conducting transactions lawful under the authority granted
2352by the state under this chapter.
2353     (4)(a)  Any person who acts as a title insurer, transacts
2354title insurance, or otherwise engages in title insurance
2355activities in this state without a certificate of authority in
2356violation of this section commits a felony of the third degree,
2357punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
2358     (b)  However, any person acting as a title insurer without
2359a valid certificate of authority who violates this section
2360commits insurance fraud, punishable as provided in this
2361paragraph. If the amount of any insurance premium collected with
2362respect to any violation of this section:
2363     1.  Is less than $20,000, the offender commits a felony of
2364the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s.
2365775.083, or s. 775.084, and the offender shall be sentenced to a
2366minimum term of imprisonment of 1 year.
2367     2.  Is $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000, the
2368offender commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as
2369provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, and the
2370offender shall be sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment of
237118 months.
2372     3.  Is $100,000 or more, the offender commits a felony of
2373the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s.
2374775.083, or s. 775.084, and the offender shall be sentenced to a
2375minimum term of imprisonment of 2 years.
2376     637.2002  Exceptions, certificate of authority required.-A
2377certificate of authority shall not be required of a title
2378insurer with respect to:
2379     (1)  Investigation, settlement, or litigation of claims
2380under its policies lawfully written in this state, or
2381liquidation of assets and liabilities of the insurer (other than
2382collection of new premiums), all as resulting from its former
2383authorized operations in this state.
2384     (2)  Transactions involving a policy, subsequent to
2385issuance thereof, covering only subjects of insurance not
2386resident, located, or expressly to be performed in this state at
2387the time of issuance, and lawfully solicited, written, or
2388delivered outside this state.
2389     (3)  Reinsurance, when transacted as authorized under s.
2390637.2049.
2391     (4)  Investment by a foreign insurer of its funds in real
2392estate in this state or in securities secured thereby, if the
2393foreign insurer complies with the laws of this state relating
2394generally to foreign business corporations.
2395     637.2003  General eligibility of title insurers for
2396certificate of authority.-To qualify for and hold authority to
2397transact title insurance in this state, a title insurer must be
2398otherwise in compliance with this chapter and with its charter
2399powers and must be an incorporated stock insurer, an
2400incorporated mutual insurer, or a reciprocal insurer, of the
2401same general type as may be formed as a domestic insurer under
2402this chapter; except that:
2403     (1)  A title insurer may not be authorized to transact
2404title insurance in this state which does not maintain reserves
2405as required by part I of chapter 625 applicable to the kind or
2406kinds of insurance transacted by such insurer, wherever
2407transacted in the United States, or which transacts insurance in
2408the United States on the assessment premium plan, stipulated
2409premium plan, cooperative plan, or any similar plan.
2410     (2)  A foreign or alien title insurer or exchange may not
2411be authorized to transact title insurance in this state unless
2412it is otherwise qualified therefor under this chapter and has
2413operated satisfactorily for at least 3 years in its state or
2414country of domicile; however, the department may waive the 3-
2415year requirement if the foreign or alien insurer or exchange:
2416     (a)  Has operated successfully and has capital and surplus
2417of $5 million;
2418     (b)  Is the wholly owned subsidiary of an insurer which is
2419an authorized insurer in this state; or
2420     (c)  Is the successor in interest through merger or
2421consolidation of an authorized insurer.
2422     (3)(a)  The department shall not grant or continue
2423authority to transact title insurance in this state as to any
2424title insurer the management, officers, or directors of which
2425are found by it to be incompetent or untrustworthy; or so
2426lacking in insurance company managerial experience as to make
2427the proposed operation hazardous to the insurance-buying public;
2428or so lacking in insurance experience, ability, and standing as
2429to jeopardize the reasonable promise of successful operation; or
2430which it has good reason to believe are affiliated directly or
2431indirectly through ownership, control, reinsurance transactions,
2432or other insurance or business relations, with any person or
2433persons whose business operations are or have been marked, to
2434the detriment of policyholders or stockholders or investors or
2435creditors or of the public, by manipulation of assets, accounts,
2436or reinsurance or by bad faith.
2437     (b)  The department shall not grant or continue authority
2438to transact title insurance in this state as to any title
2439insurer if any person, including any subscriber, stockholder, or
2440incorporator, who exercises or has the ability to exercise
2441effective control of the insurer, or who influences or has the
2442ability to influence the transaction of the business of the
2443insurer, does not possess the financial standing and business
2444experience for the successful operation of the insurer.
2445     (c)  The department may deny, suspend, or revoke the
2446authority to transact title insurance in this state of any title
2447insurer if any person, including any subscriber, stockholder, or
2448incorporator, who exercises or has the ability to exercise
2449effective control of the insurer, or who influences or has the
2450ability to influence the transaction of the business of the
2451insurer, has been found guilty of, or has pleaded guilty or nolo
2452contendere to, any felony or crime punishable by imprisonment of
24531 year or more under the law of the United States or any state
2454thereof or under the law of any other country which involves
2455moral turpitude, without regard to whether a judgment of
2456conviction has been entered by the court having jurisdiction in
2457such case. However, in the case of an insurer operating under a
2458subsisting certificate of authority, the insurer shall remove
2459any such person immediately upon discovery of the conditions set
2460forth in this paragraph when applicable to such person or upon
2461the order of the department, and the failure to so act by said
2462insurer shall be grounds for revocation or suspension of the
2463insurer's certificate of authority.
2464     (d)  The department may deny, suspend, or revoke the
2465authority of a title insurer to transact title insurance in this
2466state if any person, including any subscriber, stockholder, or
2467incorporator, who exercises or has the ability to exercise
2468effective control of the insurer, or who influences or has the
2469ability to influence the transaction of the business of the
2470insurer, which person the department has good reason to believe
2471is now or was in the past affiliated directly or indirectly,
2472through ownership interest of 10 percent or more, control, or
2473reinsurance transactions, with any business, corporation, or
2474other entity that has been found guilty of or has pleaded guilty
2475or nolo contendere to any felony or crime punishable by
2476imprisonment for 1 year or more under the laws of the United
2477States, any state, or any other country, regardless of
2478adjudication. However, in the case of an insurer operating under
2479a subsisting certificate of authority, the insurer shall
2480immediately remove such person or immediately notify the
2481department of such person upon discovery of the conditions set
2482forth in this paragraph, either when applicable to such person
2483or upon order of the department; the failure to remove such
2484person, provide such notice, or comply with such order
2485constitutes grounds for suspension or revocation of the
2486insurer's certificate of authority.
2487     (4)(a)  An authorized title insurer may not act as a
2488fronting company for any unauthorized insurer which is not an
2489approved reinsurer.
2490     (b)  A "fronting company" is an authorized insurer which by
2491reinsurance or otherwise generally transfers more than 50
2492percent to one unauthorized insurer which does not meet the
2493requirements of s. 637.604(3)(a), (b), or (c), or more than 75
2494percent to two or more unauthorized insurers which do not meet
2495the requirements of s. 637.604(3)(a), (b), or (c), of the entire
2496risk of loss on all of the insurance written by it in this
2497state, or on one or more lines of insurance, on all of the
2498business produced through one or more agents or agencies, or on
2499all of the business from a designated geographical territory,
2500without obtaining the prior approval of the department.
2501     (c)  The department may, in its discretion, approve a
2502transfer of risk in excess of the limits in paragraph (b) upon
2503presentation of evidence, satisfactory to the department, that
2504the transfer would be in the best interests of the financial
2505condition of the insurer and in the best interests of the
2506policyholders.
2507     (5)  A title insurer may not be authorized to transact
2508title insurance in this state which, during the 3 years
2509immediately preceding its application for a certificate of
2510authority, has violated any of the insurance laws of this state
2511and after being informed of such violation has failed to correct
2512the same; except that, if all other requirements are met, the
2513department may nevertheless issue a certificate of authority to
2514such an insurer upon the filing by the insurer of a sworn
2515statement of all such insurance so written in violation of law,
2516and upon payment to the department of a sum of money as
2517additional filing fee equivalent to all premium taxes and other
2518state taxes and fees as would have been payable by the insurer
2519if such insurance had been lawfully written by an authorized
2520insurer under the laws of this state. This fee, when collected,
2521shall be deposited to the credit of the Title Insurance
2522Regulatory Trust Fund.
2523     (6)  Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to prohibit
2524the granting and continuance of a certificate of authority to a
2525domestic title insurer organized as a business trust, if the
2526declaration of trust of such insurer was filed in the department
2527of the Secretary of State prior to January 1, 1959, and if the
2528insurer otherwise meets the applicable requirements of this
2529chapter. Such an insurer may hereinafter in this chapter be
2530referred to as a "business trust insurer."
2531     (7)  For the purpose of satisfying the requirements of ss.
2532637.2004 and 637.2007, the investment portfolio of an insurer
2533applying for an initial certificate of authority to do business
2534in this state shall value its bonds and stocks in accordance
2535with the provisions of the latest edition of the publication
2536"Purposes and Procedures Manual of the NAIC Securities Valuation
2537Office" by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners,
2538July 1, 2002, and subsequent amendments thereto, if the
2539valuation methodology remains substantially unchanged.
2540     637.20035  Structure of title insurers.-Except as to
2541domestic business trust title insurers as referred to in s.
2542637.2003(6) authorized prior to July 1, 2010, a title insurer
2543shall be a stock insurer.
2544     637.2004  Capital funds required; new insurers.-
2545     (1)  To receive authority to transact title insurance, an
2546insurer applying for its original certificate of authority in
2547this state after the effective date of this section shall
2548possess surplus as to policyholders not less than the greater of
2549$2.5 million or 10 percent of the insurer's total liabilities;
2550however, no insurer shall be required under this subsection to
2551have surplus as to policyholders greater than $100 million.
2552     (2)  The requirements of this section shall be based upon
2553all the kinds of insurance actually transacted or to be
2554transacted by the insurer in any and all areas in which it
2555operates, whether or not only a portion of such kinds are to be
2556transacted in this state.
2557     (3)  As to surplus as to policyholders required for
2558qualification to transact one or more kinds of insurance,
2559domestic mutual insurers are governed by chapter 628, and
2560domestic reciprocal insurers are governed by chapter 629.
2561     (4)  For the purposes of this section, liabilities shall
2562not include liabilities required under s. 625.041(4). For
2563purposes of computing minimum surplus as to policyholders
2564pursuant to s. 625.305(1), liabilities shall include liabilities
2565required under s. 625.041(4).
2566     (5)  The provisions of this section, as amended by this
2567act, shall apply only to insurers applying for a certificate of
2568authority on or after the effective date of this act.
2569     637.2005  Restrictions on insurers that are wholly owned
2570subsidiaries of insurers to do business in state.-Effective
2571December 31, 2010, and notwithstanding any other provision of
2572law:
2573     (1)  A new certificate of authority for the transaction of
2574title insurance may not be issued to any insurer domiciled in
2575this state that is a wholly owned subsidiary of an insurer
2576authorized to do business in any other state.
2577     (2)  The rate filings of any insurer domiciled in this
2578state that is a wholly owned subsidiary of an insurer authorized
2579to do business in any other state shall include information
2580relating to the profits of the parent company of the insurer
2581domiciled in this state.
2582     637.2006  Officers and directors of insolvent insurers.-Any
2583person who was an officer or director of an insurer doing
2584business in this state and who served in that capacity within
2585the 2-year period prior to the date the insurer became
2586insolvent, for any insolvency that occurs on or after July 1,
25872002, may not thereafter serve as an officer or director of an
2588insurer authorized in this state unless the officer or director
2589demonstrates that his or her personal actions or omissions were
2590not a significant contributing cause to the insolvency.
2591     637.2007  Surplus as to policyholders required; new and
2592existing insurers.-
2593     (1)  To maintain a certificate of authority to transact
2594title insurance, an insurer in this state shall at all times
2595maintain surplus as to policyholders not less than the greater
2596of $1.5 million or 10 percent of the insurer's total
2597liabilities.
2598     (2)  For purposes of this section, liabilities shall not
2599include liabilities required under s. 625.041(4). For purposes
2600of computing minimum surplus as to policyholders pursuant to s.
2601625.305(1), liabilities shall include liabilities required under
2602s. 625.041(4).
2603     (3)  An insurer may not be required under this section to
2604have surplus as to policyholders greater than $100 million.
2605     Section 6.  Section 625.330, Florida Statutes, is
2606transferred, renumbered as section 627.20073, Florida Statutes,
2607and amended to read:
2608     637.20073 625.330  Special investments by title insurer.-
2609     (1)  In addition to other investments eligible under this
2610part, a title insurer may invest and have invested an amount not
2611exceeding the greater of $300,000 or 50 percent of that part of
2612its surplus as to policyholders which exceeds the minimum
2613surplus required by s. 637.2007 624.408 in its abstract plant
2614and equipment, in loans secured by mortgages on abstract plants
2615and equipment, and, with the consent of the office, in stocks of
2616abstract companies. If the insurer transacts kinds of insurance
2617in addition to title insurance, for the purposes of this section
2618its paid-in capital stock shall be prorated between title
2619insurance and such other insurances upon the basis of the
2620reserves maintained by the insurer for the various kinds of
2621insurance; but the capital so assigned to title insurance may
2622not shall in any no event be less than $100,000.
2623     (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply to a business trust
2624insurer. Such an insurer may invest and have invested not
2625exceeding the greater of $300,000 or 50 percent of its net trust
2626fund in excess of the reserve provided for under s. 637.20075
2627625.111 in abstract plants, stock in abstract companies, or
2628corporations controlled by the business trust and created for
2629developing and servicing abstract plants.
2630     (3)  Investments authorized by this section shall not be
2631credited against the insurer's required unearned premium or
2632
2633     Section 7.  Section 625.111, Florida Statutes, is
2634transferred, renumbered as section 637.20075, Florida Statutes,
2635and amended to read:
2636     637.20075 625.111  Title insurance reserve.-
2637     (1)  In addition to an adequate reserve as to outstanding
2638losses relating to known claims, as required under s. 625.041, a
2639title insurer shall establish, segregate, and maintain a
2640guaranty fund or unearned premium reserve as provided in this
2641section. The sums required under this section to be reserved for
2642unearned premiums on title guarantees and policies at all times
2643and for all purposes shall be considered and constitute unearned
2644portions of the original premiums and shall be charged as a
2645reserve liability of such insurer in determining its financial
2646condition. While such sums are so reserved, they shall be
2647withdrawn from the use of the insurer for its general purposes,
2648impressed with a trust in favor of the holders of title
2649guarantees and policies, and held available for reinsurance of
2650the title guarantees and policies in the event of the insolvency
2651of the insurer. Nothing contained in this section precludes
2652shall preclude such insurer from investing such reserve in
2653investments authorized by law for such an insurer and the income
2654from such invested reserve shall be included in the general
2655income of the insurer to be used by such insurer for any lawful
2656purpose.
2657     (2)(1)  For unearned premium reserves established on or
2658after July 1, 1999, such unearned premium reserve shall consist
2659of not less than an amount equal to the sum of:
2660     (a)  A reserve with respect to unearned premiums for
2661policies written or title liability assumed in reinsurance
2662before July 1, 1999, equal to the reserve established on June
266330, 1999, for those unearned premiums with such reserve being
2664subsequently released as provided in subsection (3)(2). For
2665domestic title insurers subject to this section, such amounts
2666shall be calculated in accordance with provisions of law of this
2667state in effect at the time the associated premiums were written
2668or assumed and as amended prior to July 1, 1999.
2669     (b)  A total amount equal to 30 cents for each $1,000 of
2670net retained liability for policies written or title liability
2671assumed in reinsurance on or after July 1, 1999, with such
2672reserve being subsequently released as provided in subsection
2673(3)(2). For the purpose of calculating this reserve, the total
2674of the net retained liability for all simultaneous issue
2675policies covering a single risk shall be equal to the liability
2676for the policy with the highest limit covering that single risk,
2677net of any liability ceded in reinsurance.
2678     (c)  An additional amount, if deemed necessary by a
2679qualified actuary, which shall be subsequently released as
2680provided in subsection (3)(2). Using financial results as of
2681December 31 of each year, all domestic title insurers shall
2682obtain a Statement of Actuarial Opinion from a qualified actuary
2683regarding the insurer's loss and loss adjustment expense
2684reserves, including reserves for known claims, adverse
2685development on known claims, incurred but not reported claims,
2686and unallocated loss adjustment expenses. The actuarial opinion
2687shall conform to the annual statement instructions for title
2688insurers adopted by the National Association of Insurance
2689Commissioners and shall include the actuary's professional
2690opinion of the insurer's reserves as of the date of the annual
2691statement. If the amount of the reserve stated in the opinion
2692and displayed in Schedule P of the annual statement for that
2693reporting date is greater than the sum of the known claim
2694reserve and unearned premium reserve as calculated under this
2695section, as of the same reporting date and including any
2696previous actuarial provisions added at earlier dates, the
2697insurer shall add to the insurer's unearned premium reserve an
2698actuarial amount equal to the reserve shown in the actuarial
2699opinion, minus the known claim reserve and the unearned premium
2700reserve, as of the current reporting date and calculated in
2701accordance with this section, but in no event calculated as of
2702any date prior to December 31, 1999. The comparison shall be
2703made using that line on Schedule P displaying the Total Net Loss
2704and Loss Adjustment Expense which is comprised of the Known
2705Claim Reserve, and any associated Adverse Development Reserve,
2706the reserve for Incurred But Not Reported Losses, and
2707Unallocated Loss Adjustment Expenses.
2708     (3)(2)(a)  With respect to the reserve established in
2709accordance with paragraph (2)(1)(a), the domestic title insurer
2710shall release the reserve over a period of 20 subsequent years
2711as provided in this paragraph. The insurer shall release 30
2712percent of the initial aggregate sum during 1999, with one
2713quarter of that amount being released on March 31, June 30,
2714September 30, and December 31, 1999, with the March 31 and June
271530 releases to be retroactive and reflected on the September 30
2716financial statements. Thereafter, the insurer shall release, on
2717the same quarterly basis as specified for reserves released
2718during 1999, a percentage of the initial aggregate sum as
2719follows: 15 percent during calendar year 2000, 10 percent during
2720each of calendar years 2001 and 2002, 5 percent during each of
2721calendar years 2003 and 2004, 3 percent during each of calendar
2722years 2005 and 2006, 2 percent during each of calendar years
27232007-2013, and 1 percent during each of calendar years 2014-
27242018.
2725     (b)  With respect to reserves established in accordance
2726with paragraph (2)(1)(b), the unearned premium for policies
2727written or title liability assumed during a particular calendar
2728year shall be earned, and released from reserve, over a period
2729of 20 subsequent years as provided in this paragraph. The
2730insurer shall release 30 percent of the initial sum during the
2731year next succeeding the year the premium was written or
2732assumed, with one quarter of that amount being released on March
273331, June 30, September 30, and December 31 of such year.
2734Thereafter, the insurer shall release, on the same quarterly
2735basis as specified for reserves released during the year first
2736succeeding the year the premium was written or assumed, a
2737percentage of the initial sum as follows: 15 percent during the
2738next succeeding year, 10 percent during each of the next
2739succeeding 2 years, 5 percent during each of the next succeeding
27402 years, 3 percent during each of the next succeeding 2 years, 2
2741percent during each of the next succeeding 7 years, and 1
2742percent during each of the next succeeding 5 years.
2743     (c)  With respect to reserves established in accordance
2744with paragraph (2)(1)(c), any additional amount established in
2745any calendar year shall be released in the years subsequent to
2746its establishment as provided in paragraph (b), with the timing
2747and percentage of releases being in all respects identical to
2748those of unearned premium reserves that are calculated as
2749provided in paragraph (b) and established with regard to
2750premiums written or liability assumed in reinsurance in the same
2751year as the year in which any additional amount was originally
2752established.
2753     (4)(3)  At any reporting date, the amount of the required
2754releases of existing unearned premium reserves under subsection
2755(3)(2) shall be calculated and deducted from the total unearned
2756premium reserve before any additional amount is established for
2757the current calendar year in accordance with the provisions of
2758paragraph (2)(1)(c).
2759     (5)(4)  As used in this section:
2760     (a)  "Net retained liability" means the total liability
2761retained by a title insurer for a single risk, after taking into
2762account the deduction for ceded liability, if any.
2763     (b)  "Qualified actuary" means a person who is, as detailed
2764in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' Annual
2765Statement Instructions:
2766     1.  A member in good standing of the Casualty Actuarial
2767Society;
2768     2.  A member in good standing of the American Academy of
2769Actuaries who has been approved as qualified for signing
2770casualty loss reserve opinions by the Casualty Practice Council
2771of the American Academy of Actuaries; or
2772     3.  A person who otherwise has competency in loss reserve
2773evaluation as demonstrated to the satisfaction of the insurance
2774regulatory official of the domiciliary state. In such case, at
2775least 90 days prior to the filing of its annual statement, the
2776insurer must request approval that the person be deemed
2777qualified and that request must be approved or denied. The
2778request must include the National Association of Insurance
2779Commissioners' Biographical Form and a list of all loss reserve
2780opinions issued in the last 3 years by this person.
2781     (c)  "Single risk" means the insured amount of any title
2782insurance policy, except that where two or more title insurance
2783policies are issued simultaneously covering different estates in
2784the same real property, "single risk" means the sum of the
2785insured amounts of all such title insurance policies. Any title
2786insurance policy insuring a mortgage interest, a claim payment
2787under which reduces the insured amount of a fee or leasehold
2788title insurance policy, shall be excluded in computing the
2789amount of a single risk to the extent that the insured amount of
2790the mortgage title insurance policy does not exceed the insured
2791amount of the fee or leasehold title insurance policy.
2792     Section 8.  Sections 637.2008, 637.2009, 637.2011,
2793637.2012, 637.2013, 637.2014, 637.2015, 637.2016, 637.2017,
2794637.2018, 637.2019, 637.2021, 637.2022, 637.2023, 637.2024,
2795637.2025, 637.2026, 637.2027, 637.2028, 637.2029, 637.2031,
2796637.2032, 637.2033, 637.2034, 637.2035, 637.2036, 637.2037,
2797637.2038, 637.2039, 637.2041, 637.2042, 637.2043, 637.2046,
2798637.2047, and 637.2048, Florida Statutes, are created to read:
2799     637.2008  Premiums written; restrictions.-
2800     (1)  Whenever a title insurer's ratio of actual or
2801projected annual written premiums as adjusted in accordance with
2802subsection (4) to current or projected surplus as to
2803policyholders as adjusted in accordance with subsection (6)
2804exceeds 10 to 1 for gross written premiums or exceeds 4 to 1 for
2805net written premiums, the department shall suspend the insurer's
2806certificate of authority or establish by order maximum gross or
2807net annual premiums to be written by the insurer consistent with
2808maintaining the ratios specified herein unless the insurer
2809demonstrates to the department's satisfaction that exceeding the
2810ratios of this section does not endanger the financial condition
2811of the insurer or endanger the interests of the insurer's
2812policyholders.
2813     (2)  Projected annual net or gross premiums shall be based
2814on the actual writings to date for the title insurer's current
2815calendar year or the insurer's writings for the previous
2816calendar year or both. Ratios shall be computed on an annualized
2817basis.
2818     (3)  For the purposes of this section, gross premiums
2819written means direct premiums written and reinsurance assumed.
2820     (4)  For the purposes of this section, for each calendar
2821year premiums shall be calculated as the product of the actual
2822or projected premiums and 1.00.
2823     637.2009  Deposit requirement; domestic title insurers and
2824foreign title insurers.-
2825     (1)  As to domestic title insurers, the department shall
2826not issue or permit to exist a certificate of authority unless
2827such insurer has deposited and maintains deposited in trust for
2828the protection of the insurer's policyholders or its
2829policyholders and creditors with the department securities
2830eligible for such deposit under s. 625.52, having at all times a
2831value of not less than $100,000.
2832     (2)  As to foreign title insurers, the department, upon
2833issuing or permitting to exist a certificate of authority, may
2834require for good cause a deposit and maintenance of the deposit
2835in trust for the protection of the insured's policyholders or
2836its policyholders and creditors with the department securities
2837eligible for such deposit under s. 625.52, having at all times a
2838value of not less than $100,000 A foreign insurer with surplus
2839as to policyholders of more than $10 million according to its
2840latest annual statement shall not be required to make a deposit
2841under this subsection.
2842     (3)  Whenever the department determines that the financial
2843condition of a title insurer has deteriorated or that the
2844policyholders' best interests are not being preserved by the
2845activities of an insurer, the department may require such
2846insurer to deposit and maintain deposited in trust with the
2847department for the protection of the insurer's policyholders or
2848its policyholders and creditors, for such time as the department
2849deems necessary, securities eligible for such deposit under s.
2850625.52, having a market value of not less than the amount which
2851the department determines is necessary, which amount shall be
2852not less than $100,000, or more than 25 percent of the insurer's
2853obligations in this state, as determined from the latest annual
2854financial statement of the insured. The deposit required under
2855this subsection shall not exceed $2 million and is in addition
2856to any other deposits required of an insurer pursuant to
2857subsections (1) and (2) or any other provisions of this chapter.
2858     (4)  All such deposits in this state are subject to the
2859applicable provisions of part III of chapter 625.
2860     637.2011  Deposit of alien insurers.-
2861     (1)  An alien title insurer may not transact insurance in
2862this state unless it has and maintains within the United States
2863as trust deposits with public officials having supervision over
2864insurers, or with trustees, public depositories, or trust
2865institutions approved by the department, assets available for
2866discharge of its United States insurance obligations, which
2867assets shall be in amount not less than the outstanding reserves
2868and other liabilities of the insurer arising out of its
2869insurance transactions in the United States together with the
2870amount of surplus as to policyholders required by s. 637.2007 of
2871a domestic stock insurer transacting like kinds of insurance.
2872     (2)  Any such deposit made in this state shall be held for
2873the protection of the insurer's policyholders or policyholders
2874and creditors in the United States and shall be subject to the
2875applicable provisions of part III of chapter 625 and chapter
2876630.
2877     637.2012  Application for certificate of authority.-
2878     (1)  To apply for a certificate of authority, a title
2879insurer shall file its application therefor with the department,
2880upon a form adopted by the department and furnished by the
2881department, showing its name; location of its home office and,
2882if an alien insurer, its principal office in the United States;
2883kinds of insurance to be transacted; state or country of
2884domicile; and such additional information as the department
2885reasonably requires, together with the following documents:
2886     (a)  One copy of its corporate charter, articles of
2887incorporation, existing and proposed nonfacultative reinsurance
2888contracts, declaration of trust, or other charter documents,
2889with all amendments thereto, certified by the public official
2890with whom the originals are on file in the state or country of
2891domicile.
2892     (b)  If a mutual insurer, a copy of its bylaws, as amended,
2893certified by its secretary or other officer having custody
2894thereof.
2895     (c)  If a foreign or alien reciprocal insurer, a copy of
2896the power of attorney of its attorney in fact and of its
2897subscribers' agreement, if any, certified by the attorney in
2898fact; and, if a domestic reciprocal insurer, the declaration
2899provided for in s. 629.081.
2900     (d)  A copy of its financial statement as of December 31
2901next preceding, containing information generally included in
2902insurer financial statements prepared in accordance with
2903generally accepted insurance accounting principles and practices
2904and in a form generally utilized by insurers for financial
2905statements, sworn to by at least two executive officers of the
2906insurer, or certified by the public official having supervision
2907of insurance in the insurer's state of domicile or of entry into
2908the United States. To facilitate uniformity in financial
2909statements, the department may by rule adopt the form for
2910financial statements approved by the National Association of
2911Insurance Commissioners in 2002, and may adopt subsequent
2912amendments thereto if the form remains substantially consistent.
2913     (e)  Supplemental quarterly financial statements for each
2914calendar quarter since the beginning of the year of its
2915application for the certificate of authority, sworn to by at
2916least two of its executive officers. To facilitate uniformity in
2917financial statements, the department may by rule adopt the form
2918for quarterly financial statements approved by the National
2919Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2002, and may adopt
2920subsequent amendments thereto if the form remains substantially
2921consistent.
2922     (f)  If a foreign or alien insurer, a copy of the report of
2923the most recent examination of the insurer certified by the
2924public official having supervision of insurance in its state of
2925domicile or of entry into the United States. The end of the most
2926recent year covered by the examination must be within the 3-year
2927period preceding the date of application. In lieu of the
2928certified examination report, the department may accept an
2929audited certified public accountant's report prepared on a basis
2930consistent with the insurance laws of the insurer's state of
2931domicile, certified by the public official having supervision of
2932insurance in its state of domicile or of entry into the United
2933States.
2934     (g)  If a foreign or alien insurer, a certificate of
2935compliance from the public official having supervision of
2936insurance in its state or country of domicile showing that it is
2937duly organized and authorized to transact insurance therein and
2938the kinds of insurance it is so authorized to transact.
2939     (h)  If a foreign or alien insurer, a certificate of the
2940public official having custody of any deposit maintained by the
2941insurer in another state in lieu of a deposit or part thereof
2942required in this state under s. 637.2009 or s. 637.2011, showing
2943the amount of such deposit and the assets or securities of which
2944comprised.
2945     (i)  If an alien insurer, a copy of the appointment and
2946authority of its United States manager, certified by its officer
2947having custody of its records.
2948     (2)  The application shall be accompanied by the applicable
2949fees and license tax as specified in s. 637.2031.
2950     637.2013  Redomestication.-The department shall adopt rules
2951establishing procedures and forms for a foreign title insurer to
2952apply for a certificate of authority as a domestic title
2953insurer.
2954     637.2014  Issuance or refusal of authority.-The fee for
2955filing application for a certificate of authority shall not be
2956subject to refund. The department shall issue to the applicant
2957title insurer a proper certificate of authority if it finds that
2958the insurer has met the requirements of this chapter, exclusive
2959of the requirements relative to the filing and approval of an
2960insurer's policy forms, riders, endorsements, applications, and
2961rates. If it does not so find, the department shall issue its
2962order refusing the certificate. The certificate, if issued,
2963shall specify the kind or kinds and line or lines of insurance
2964the insurer is authorized to transact in this state. The
2965issuance of a certificate of authority does not signify that an
2966insurer has met the requirements of this chapter relative to the
2967filing and approval of an insurer's policy forms, riders,
2968endorsements, applications, and rates which may be required
2969prior to an insurer actually writing any premiums.
2970     637.2015  Ownership of certificate of authority; return.-
2971Although issued to the insurer, the certificate of authority is
2972at all times the property of this state. Upon any expiration,
2973suspension, or termination thereof, the insurer shall promptly
2974deliver the certificate of authority to the department.
2975     637.2016  Continuance, expiration, reinstatement, and
2976amendment of certificate of authority.-
2977     (1)  A certificate of authority issued under this chapter
2978shall continue in force as long as the insurer is entitled
2979thereto under this chapter and until suspended, revoked, or
2980terminated at the request of the insurer; subject, however, to
2981continuance of the certificate by the insurer each year by:
2982     (a)  Payment prior to June 1 of the annual license tax
2983provided for in s. 637.2031(3);
2984     (b)  Due filing by the insurer of its annual statement for
2985the calendar year preceding as required under s. 637.2024; and
2986     (c)  Payment by the insurer of applicable taxes with
2987respect to the preceding calendar year as required under this
2988chapter.
2989     (2)  If not so continued by the insurer, its certificate of
2990authority shall expire at midnight on the May 31 next following
2991such failure of the insurer so to continue it in force. The
2992department shall promptly notify the insurer of the occurrence
2993of any failure resulting in impending expiration of its
2994certificate of authority.
2995     (3)  The department may, in its discretion, reinstate a
2996certificate of authority which the insurer has inadvertently
2997permitted to expire, after the insurer has fully cured all its
2998failures which resulted in the expiration, and upon payment by
2999the insurer of the fee for reinstatement, in the amount provided
3000in s. 637.2031(1)(b). Otherwise, the insurer shall be granted
3001another certificate of authority only after filing application
3002therefor and meeting all other requirements as for an original
3003certificate of authority in this state.
3004     (4)  The department may amend a certificate of authority at
3005any time to accord with changes in the insurer's charter or
3006insuring powers.
3007     637.2017  Suspension, revocation of certificate of
3008authority for violations and special grounds.-
3009     (1)  The department shall suspend or revoke a title
3010insurer's certificate of authority if it finds that the insurer:
3011     (a)  Is in unsound financial condition.
3012     (b)  Is using such methods and practices in the conduct of
3013its business as to render its further transaction of insurance
3014in this state hazardous or injurious to its policyholders or to
3015the public.
3016     (c)  Has failed to pay any final judgment rendered against
3017it in this state within 60 days after the judgment became final.
3018     (d)  No longer meets the requirements for the authority
3019originally granted.
3020     (2)  The department may, in its discretion, suspend or
3021revoke the certificate of authority of an insurer if it finds
3022that the insurer:
3023     (a)  Has violated any lawful order or rule of the
3024department or any provision of this chapter.
3025     (b)  Has refused to be examined or to produce its accounts,
3026records, and files for examination, or if any of its officers
3027have refused to give information with respect to its affairs or
3028to perform any other legal obligation as to such examination,
3029when required by the department.
3030     (c)  Has for any line, class, or combination thereof, with
3031such frequency as to indicate its general business practice in
3032this state, without just cause refused to pay proper claims
3033arising under its policies, whether any such claim is in favor
3034of an insured or is in favor of a third person with respect to
3035the liability of an insured to such third person, or without
3036just cause compels such insureds or claimants to accept less
3037than the amount due them or to employ attorneys or to bring suit
3038against the insurer or such an insured to secure full payment or
3039settlement of such claims.
3040     (d)  Is affiliated with and under the same general
3041management or interlocking directorate or ownership as another
3042insurer which transacts direct insurance in this state without
3043having a certificate of authority therefor, except as permitted
3044as to surplus lines insurers under part VIII of chapter 626.
3045     (e)  Has been convicted of, or entered a plea of guilty or
3046nolo contendere to, a felony relating to the transaction of
3047insurance, in this state or in any other state, without regard
3048to whether adjudication was withheld.
3049     (f)  Has a ratio of net premiums written to surplus as to
3050policyholders that exceeds 4 to 1, and the department has reason
3051to believe that the financial condition of the insurer endangers
3052the interests of the policyholders. The ratio of net premiums
3053written to surplus as to policyholders shall be on an annualized
3054actual or projected basis. The ratio shall be based on the
3055insurer's current calendar year activities and experience to
3056date or the insurer's previous calendar year activities and
3057experience, or both, and shall be calculated to represent a 12-
3058month period. However, the provisions of this paragraph do not
3059apply to any insurance or insurer exempted from s. 637.2008.
3060     (g)  Is under suspension or revocation in another state.
3061     (3)  The insolvency or impairment of an insurer constitutes
3062an immediate serious danger to the public health, safety, or
3063welfare; and the department may, at its discretion, without
3064prior notice and the opportunity for hearing immediately suspend
3065the certificate of authority of an insurer upon a determination
3066that:
3067     (a)  The insurer is impaired or insolvent; or
3068     (b)  Receivership, conservatorship, rehabilitation, or
3069other delinquency proceedings have been initiated against the
3070insurer by the public insurance supervisory official of any
3071state.
3072     637.2018  Order, notice of suspension or revocation of
3073certificate of authority; effect; publication.-
3074     (1)  Suspension or revocation of a title insurer's
3075certificate of authority shall be by the order of the
3076department. The department shall promptly also give notice of
3077such suspension or revocation to the insurer's agents in this
3078state of record. The insurer shall not solicit or write any new
3079coverages in this state during the period of any such suspension
3080and may renew coverages only upon a finding by the department
3081that the insurer is capable of servicing the renewal coverage.
3082The insurer shall not solicit or write any new or renewal
3083coverages after any such revocation.
3084     (2)  In its discretion, the department may cause notice of
3085any such suspension or revocation to be published in one or more
3086newspapers of general circulation published in this state.
3087     637.2019  Duration of suspension; insurer's obligations
3088during suspension period; reinstatement.-
3089     (1)  Suspension of a title insurer's certificate of
3090authority shall be for:
3091     (a)  A fixed period of time not to exceed 2 years; or
3092     (b)  Until the occurrence of a specific event necessary for
3093remedying the reasons for suspension.
3094
3095Such suspension may be modified, rescinded, or reversed.
3096     (2)  During the period of suspension, the insurer shall
3097file with the department all documents and information and pay
3098all license fees and taxes as required under this chapter as if
3099the certificate had continued in full force.
3100     (3)  If the suspension of the certificate of authority is
3101for a fixed period of time and the certificate of authority has
3102not been otherwise terminated, upon expiration of the suspension
3103period the insurer's certificate of authority shall be
3104reinstated unless the department finds that the insurer is not
3105in compliance with the requirements of this chapter. The
3106department shall promptly notify the insurer of such
3107reinstatement, and the insurer shall not consider its
3108certificate of authority reinstated until so notified by the
3109department. If not reinstated, the certificate of authority
3110shall be deemed to have expired as of the end of the suspension
3111period or upon failure of the insurer to continue the
3112certificate during the suspension period in accordance with
3113subsection (2), whichever event first occurs.
3114     (4)  If the suspension of the certificate of authority was
3115until the occurrence of a specific event or events and the
3116certificate of authority has not been otherwise terminated, upon
3117the presentation of evidence satisfactory to the department that
3118the specific event or events have occurred, the insurer's
3119certificate of authority shall be reinstated unless the
3120department finds that the insurer is otherwise not in compliance
3121with the requirements of this chapter. The department shall
3122promptly notify the insurer of such reinstatement, and the
3123insurer shall not consider its certificate of authority
3124reinstated until so notified by the department. If satisfactory
3125evidence as to the occurrence of the specific event or events
3126has not been presented to the department within 2 years of the
3127date of such suspension, the certificate of authority shall be
3128deemed to have expired as of 2 years from the date of suspension
3129or upon failure of the insurer to continue the certificate
3130during the suspension period in accordance with subsection (2),
3131whichever first occurs.
3132     (5)  Upon reinstatement of the insurer's certificate of
3133authority, the authority of its agents in this state to
3134represent the insurer shall likewise reinstate. The department
3135shall promptly notify the insurer of such reinstatement.
3136     637.2021  Administrative fine in lieu of suspension or
3137revocation.-
3138     (1)  If the department finds that one or more grounds exist
3139for the discretionary revocation or suspension of a certificate
3140of authority issued under this chapter, the department may, in
3141lieu of such revocation or suspension, impose a fine upon the
3142title insurer.
3143     (2)  With respect to any nonwillful violation, such fine
3144shall not exceed $2,500 per violation. In no event shall such
3145fine exceed an aggregate amount of $10,000 for all nonwillful
3146violations arising out of the same action. When an insurer
3147discovers a nonwillful violation, the insurer shall correct the
3148violation and, if restitution is due, make restitution to all
3149affected persons. Such restitution shall include interest at 12
3150percent per year from either the date of the violation or the
3151date of inception of the affected person's policy, at the
3152insurer's option. The restitution may be a credit against future
3153premiums due provided that the interest shall accumulate until
3154the premiums are due. If the amount of restitution due to any
3155person is $50 or more and the insurer wishes to credit it
3156against future premiums, it shall notify such person that she or
3157he may receive a check instead of a credit. If the credit is on
3158a policy which is not renewed, the insurer shall pay the
3159restitution to the person to whom it is due.
3160     (3)  With respect to any knowing and willful violation of a
3161lawful order or rule of the department or a provision of this
3162chapter, the department may impose a fine upon the insurer in an
3163amount not to exceed $20,000 for each such violation. In no
3164event shall such fine exceed an aggregate amount of $100,000 for
3165all knowing and willful violations arising out of the same
3166action. In addition to such fines, such insurer shall make
3167restitution when due in accordance with the provisions of
3168subsection (2).
3169     (4)  The failure of an insurer to make restitution when due
3170as required under this section constitutes a willful violation
3171of this chapter. However, if an insurer in good faith is
3172uncertain as to whether any restitution is due or as to the
3173amount of such restitution, it shall promptly notify the
3174department of the circumstances; and the failure to make
3175restitution pending a determination thereof shall not constitute
3176a violation of this chapter.
3177     637.2022  Service of process; appointment of Chief
3178Financial Officer as process agent.-
3179     (1)  Each licensed title insurer, whether domestic,
3180foreign, or alien, shall be deemed to have appointed the Chief
3181Financial Officer and her or his successors in department as its
3182attorney to receive service of all legal process issued against
3183it in any civil action or proceeding in this state; and process
3184so served shall be valid and binding upon the insurer.
3185     (2)  Prior to its authorization to transact insurance in
3186this state, each insurer shall file with the department
3187designation of the name and address of the person to whom
3188process against it served upon the Chief Financial Officer is to
3189be forwarded. The insurer may change the designation at any time
3190by a new filing.
3191     (3)  Service of process upon the Chief Financial Officer as
3192the insurer's attorney pursuant to such an appointment shall be
3193the sole method of service of process upon an authorized
3194domestic, foreign, or alien insurer in this state.
3195     637.2023  Serving process.-
3196     (1)  Service of process upon the Chief Financial Officer as
3197process agent of the title insurer under s. 637.2022 shall be
3198made by serving copies in triplicate of the process upon the
3199Chief Financial Officer or upon her or his assistant, deputy, or
3200other person in charge of her or his office. Upon receiving such
3201service, the Chief Financial Officer shall file one copy in her
3202or his office, return one copy with her or his admission of
3203service, and promptly forward one copy of the process by
3204registered or certified mail to the person last designated by
3205the insurer to receive the same, as provided under s.
3206637.2022(2).
3207     (2)  When process is served upon the Chief Financial
3208Officer as an insurer's process agent, the insurer shall not be
3209required to answer or plead except within 20 days after the date
3210upon which the Chief Financial Officer mailed a copy of the
3211process served upon her or him as required by subsection (1).
3212     (3)  Process served upon the Chief Financial Officer and
3213copy thereof forwarded as in this section provided shall for all
3214purposes constitute valid and binding service thereof upon the
3215insurer.
3216     637.2024  Annual statement and other information.-
3217     (1)(a)  Each authorized title insurer shall file with the
3218department full and true statements of its financial condition,
3219transactions, and affairs. An annual statement covering the
3220preceding calendar year shall be filed on or before March 1, and
3221quarterly statements covering the periods ending on March 31,
3222June 30, and September 30 shall be filed within 45 days after
3223each such date. The department may, for good cause, grant an
3224extension of time for filing of an annual or quarterly
3225statement. The statements shall contain information generally
3226included in insurers' financial statements prepared in
3227accordance with generally accepted insurance accounting
3228principles and practices and in a form generally utilized by
3229insurers for financial statements, sworn to by at least two
3230executive officers of the insurer or, if a reciprocal insurer,
3231by the oath of the attorney in fact or its like officer if a
3232corporation. To facilitate uniformity in financial statements
3233and to facilitate department analysis, the department may by
3234rule adopt the form for financial statements approved by the
3235National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2002, and may
3236adopt subsequent amendments thereto if the methodology remains
3237substantially consistent, and may by rule require each insurer
3238to submit to the department or such organization as the
3239department may designate all or part of the information
3240contained in the financial statement in a computer-readable form
3241compatible with the electronic data processing system specified
3242by the department.
3243     (b)  The department may by rule require reports or filings
3244required under this chapter to be submitted by electronic means
3245in a computer-readable form compatible with the electronic data
3246processing equipment specified by the department.
3247     (2)  The statement of an alien insurer shall be verified by
3248the insurer's United States manager or other officer duly
3249authorized. It shall be a separate statement, to be known as its
3250general statement, of its transactions, assets, and affairs
3251within the United States unless the department requires
3252otherwise. If the department requires a statement as to the
3253insurer's affairs elsewhere, the insurer shall file such
3254statement with the department as soon as reasonably possible.
3255     (3)  At the time of filing, the insurer shall pay the fee
3256for filing its annual statement in the amount specified in s.
3257637.2031.
3258     (4)  The department may refuse to continue, or may suspend
3259or revoke, the certificate of authority of an insurer failing to
3260file its annual or quarterly statements and accompanying
3261certificates when due.
3262     (5)  In addition to information called for and furnished in
3263connection with its annual or quarterly statements, an insurer
3264shall furnish to the department as soon as reasonably possible
3265such information as to its transactions or affairs as the
3266department may from time to time request in writing. All such
3267information furnished pursuant to the department's request shall
3268be verified by the oath of two executive officers of the insurer
3269or, if a reciprocal insurer, by the oath of the attorney in fact
3270or its like officers if a corporation.
3271     (6)  The signatures of all such persons when written on
3272annual or quarterly statements or other reports required by this
3273section shall be presumed to have been so written by authority
3274of the person whose signature is affixed thereon. The affixing
3275of any signature by anyone other than the purported signer
3276constitutes a felony of the second degree, punishable as
3277provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
3278     (7)(a)  All authorized insurers must have conducted an
3279annual audit by an independent certified public accountant and
3280must file an audited financial report with the department on or
3281before June 1 for the preceding year ending December 31. The
3282department may require an insurer to file an audited financial
3283report earlier than June 1 upon 90 days' advance notice to the
3284insurer. The department may immediately suspend an insurer's
3285certificate of authority by order if an insurer's failure to
3286file required reports, financial statements, or information
3287required by this subsection or rule adopted pursuant thereto
3288creates a significant uncertainty as to the insurer's continuing
3289eligibility for a certificate of authority.
3290     (b)  Any authorized insurer otherwise subject to this
3291section having direct premiums written in this state of less
3292than $1 million in any calendar year and fewer than 1,000
3293policyholders or certificateholders of directly written policies
3294nationwide at the end of such calendar year is exempt from this
3295section for such year unless the department makes a specific
3296finding that compliance is necessary in order for the department
3297to carry out its statutory responsibilities. However, any
3298insurer having assumed premiums pursuant to contracts or
3299treaties or reinsurance of $1 million or more is not exempt. Any
3300insurer subject to an exemption must submit by March 1 following
3301the year to which the exemption applies an affidavit sworn to by
3302a responsible officer of the insurer specifying the amount of
3303direct premiums written in this state and number of
3304policyholders or certificateholders.
3305     (c)  The board of directors of an insurer shall hire the
3306certified public accountant that prepares the audit required by
3307this subsection and the board shall establish an audit committee
3308of three or more directors of the insurer or an affiliated
3309company. The audit committee shall be responsible for discussing
3310audit findings and interacting with the certified public
3311accountant with regard to her or his findings. The audit
3312committee shall be comprised solely of members who are free from
3313any relationship that, in the opinion of its board of directors,
3314would interfere with the exercise of independent judgment as a
3315committee member. The audit committee shall report to the board
3316any findings of adverse financial conditions or significant
3317deficiencies in internal controls that have been noted by the
3318accountant. The insurer may request the department to waive this
3319requirement of the audit committee membership based upon unusual
3320hardship to the insurer.
3321     (d)  An insurer may not use the same accountant or partner
3322of an accounting firm responsible for preparing the report
3323required by this subsection for more than 7 consecutive years.
3324Following this period, the insurer may not use such accountant
3325or partner for a period of 2 years, but may use another
3326accountant or partner of the same firm. An insurer may request
3327the department to waive this prohibition based upon an unusual
3328hardship to the insurer and a determination that the accountant
3329is exercising independent judgment that is not unduly influenced
3330by the insurer considering such factors as the number of
3331partners, expertise of the partners or the number of insurance
3332clients of the accounting firm; the premium volume of the
3333insurer; and the number of jurisdictions in which the insurer
3334transacts business.
3335     (e)  The department shall adopt rules to implement this
3336subsection, which rules must be in substantial conformity with
3337the 1998 Model Rule Requiring Annual Audited Financial Reports
3338adopted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners,
3339except where inconsistent with the requirements of this
3340subsection. Any exception to, waiver of, or interpretation of
3341accounting requirements of the department must be in writing and
3342signed by an authorized representative of the department. No
3343insurer may raise as a defense in any action, any exception to,
3344waiver of, or interpretation of accounting requirements, unless
3345previously issued in writing by an authorized representative of
3346the department.
3347     637.2025  NAIC filing requirements.-
3348     (1)  Each domestic, foreign, and alien title insurer who is
3349authorized to transact title insurance in this state shall file
3350one extra copy of its annual statement convention blank, along
3351with such additional filings as prescribed by the department for
3352the preceding year. Such extra copy shall be for the explicit
3353purpose of allowing the department to forward it to the National
3354Association of Insurance Commissioners.
3355     (2)  Coincident with the filing of the documents required
3356in subsection (1), each insurer shall pay to the department a
3357reasonable fee to cover the costs associated with the filing and
3358analysis of the documents by the National Association of
3359Insurance Commissioners and the department.
3360     (3)  The provisions of this section shall not apply to any
3361foreign, domestic, or alien insurer which has filed such
3362documents directly with the National Association of Insurance
3363Commissioners if the National Association of Insurance
3364Commissioners has certified receipt of the required documents to
3365the department.
3366     637.2026  Change in controlling interest of foreign or
3367alien title insurer; report required.-In the event of a change
3368in the controlling capital stock or a change of 50 percent or
3369more of the assets of a foreign or alien title insurer, such
3370insurer shall report such change in writing to the department
3371within 30 days of the effective date thereof. The report shall
3372contain the name and address of the new owner or owners of the
3373controlling stock or assets, the nature and value of the new
3374assets, and such other relevant information as the department
3375may reasonably require. For the purposes of this section, the
3376term "controlling capital stock" means a sufficient number of
3377shares of the issued and outstanding capital stock of such
3378insurer or person so as to give the owner thereof power to
3379exercise a controlling influence over the management or policies
3380of such insurer or person.
3381     637.2027  Withdrawal of title insurer or discontinuance of
3382writing insurance.-
3383     (1)  Any title insurer desiring to surrender its
3384certificate of authority, withdraw from this state, or
3385discontinue the writing of title insurance in this state shall
3386give 90 days' notice in writing to the department setting forth
3387its reasons for such action. Any insurer who does not write any
3388premiums within a calendar year shall have title insurance
3389removed from its certificate of authority; however, such line of
3390insurance shall be restored to the insurer's certificate upon
3391the insurer demonstrating that it has available the expertise
3392necessary and meets the other requirements of this chapter to
3393write that line of insurance.
3394     (2)  If the department determines, based upon its review of
3395the notice and other required information, that the plan of an
3396insurer withdrawing from this state makes adequate provision for
3397the satisfaction of the insurer's obligations and is not
3398hazardous to policyholders or the public, the department shall
3399approve the surrender of the insurer's certificate of authority.
3400The department shall, within 45 days from receipt of a complete
3401notice and all required or requested additional information,
3402approve, disapprove, or approve with conditions the plan
3403submitted by the insurer. Failure to timely take action with
3404respect to the notice shall be deemed an approval of the
3405surrender of the certificate of authority.
3406     (3)  Any insurer withdrawing from this state or
3407discontinuing the writing of insurance in this state shall
3408surrender its certificate of authority.
3409     (4)  This section does not apply to insurers during the
3410calendar year in which they first receive their certificate of
3411authority.
3412     (5)  This section does not apply to insurers who have
3413discontinued writing in accordance with an order issued by the
3414department.
3415     (6)  Notwithstanding subsection (5), any insurer desiring
3416to surrender its certificate of authority, withdraw from this
3417state, or discontinue the writing of insurance in this state is
3418expected to have availed itself of all reasonably available
3419reinsurance. Reasonably available reinsurance shall include
3420unrealized reinsurance, which is defined as reinsurance
3421recoverable on known losses incurred and due under valid
3422reinsurance contracts that have not been identified in the
3423normal course of business and have not been reported in
3424financial statements filed with the department. Within 90 days
3425after surrendering its certificate of authority, withdrawing
3426from this state, or discontinuing the writing of any one or
3427multiple kinds or lines of insurance in this state, the insurer
3428shall certify to the department that the insurer has engaged an
3429independent third party to search for unrealized reinsurance,
3430and that the insurer has made all relevant books and records
3431available to such third party. The compensation to such third
3432party may be a percentage of unrealized reinsurance identified
3433and collected.
3434     (7)  The department may adopt rules to administer this
3435section.
3436     637.2028  Assets of title insurers; reporting
3437requirements.-
3438     (1)  As used in this section, the term "material
3439acquisition of assets" or "material disposition of assets" means
3440one or more transactions occurring during any 30-day period
3441which are nonrecurring and not in the ordinary course of
3442business and involve more than 5 percent of the reporting title
3443insurer's total admitted assets as reported in its most recent
3444statutory statement filed with the insurance department of the
3445insurer's state of domicile.
3446     (2)  Each domestic title insurer shall file a report with
3447the department disclosing a material acquisition of assets, a
3448material disposition of assets, or a material nonrenewal,
3449cancellation, or revision of a ceded reinsurance agreement,
3450unless the material acquisition or disposition of assets or the
3451material nonrenewal, cancellation, or revision of a ceded
3452reinsurance agreement has been submitted to the department for
3453review, approval, or informational purposes under another
3454section of this chapter or a rule adopted thereunder. A copy of
3455the report and each exhibit or other attachment must be filed by
3456the insurer with the National Association of Insurance
3457Commissioners. The report required in this section is due within
345815 days after the end of the calendar month in which the
3459transaction occurs.
3460     (3)  An immaterial acquisition or disposition of assets
3461need not be reported under this section.
3462     (4)(a)  Acquisitions of assets which are subject to this
3463section include each purchase, lease, exchange, merger,
3464consolidation, succession, or other acquisition of assets. Asset
3465acquisitions for the construction or development of real
3466property by or for the reporting insurer and the acquisition of
3467construction materials for this purpose are not subject to this
3468section.
3469     (b)  Dispositions of assets which are subject to this
3470section include each sale, lease, exchange, merger,
3471consolidation, mortgage, hypothecation, assignment for the
3472benefit of a creditor or otherwise, abandonment, destruction, or
3473other disposition of assets.
3474     (5)(a)  The following information must be disclosed in any
3475report of a material acquisition or disposition of assets:
3476     1.  The date of the transaction.
3477     2.  The manner of acquisition or disposition.
3478     3.  The description of the assets involved.
3479     4.  The nature and amount of the consideration given or
3480received.
3481     5.  The purpose of, or reason for, the transaction.
3482     6.  The manner by which the amount of consideration was
3483determined.
3484     7.  The gain or loss recognized or realized as a result of
3485the transaction.
3486     8.  The name of the person from whom the assets were
3487acquired or to whom they were disposed.
3488     (b)  Insurers must report material acquisitions or
3489dispositions on a nonconsolidated basis unless the insurer is
3490part of a consolidated group of insurers which uses a pooling
3491arrangement or a 100-percent reinsurance agreement that affects
3492the solvency and integrity of the insurer's reserves and the
3493insurer has ceded substantially all of its direct and assumed
3494business to the pool. An insurer is deemed to have ceded
3495substantially all of its direct and assumed business to a pool
3496if the insurer has less than $1 million in total direct and
3497assumed written premiums during a calendar year which are not
3498subject to a pooling arrangement and if the net income of the
3499business which is not subject to the pooling arrangement
3500represents less than 5 percent of the insurer's capital and
3501surplus.
3502     (6)(a)  The following information must be disclosed in any
3503report of a material nonrenewal, cancellation, or revision of a
3504ceded reinsurance agreement:
3505     1.  The effective date of the nonrenewal, cancellation, or
3506revision.
3507     2.  The description of the transaction and the
3508identification of the initiator of the transaction.
3509     3.  The purpose of, or reason for, the transaction.
3510     4.  If applicable, the identity of each replacement
3511reinsurer.
3512     (b)  Insurers shall report the material nonrenewal,
3513cancellation, or revision of a ceded reinsurance agreement on a
3514nonconsolidated basis unless the insurer is part of a
3515consolidated group of insurers which uses a pooling arrangement
3516or a 100-percent reinsurance agreement that affects the solvency
3517and integrity of the insurer's reserves and the insurer has
3518ceded substantially all of its direct and assumed business to
3519the pool. An insurer is deemed to have ceded substantially all
3520of its direct and assumed business to a pool if the insurer has
3521less than $1 million in total direct and assumed written
3522premiums during a calendar year which are not subject to a
3523pooling arrangement and if the net income of the business not
3524subject to the pooling arrangement represents less than 5
3525percent of the insurer's capital and surplus.
3526     637.2029  Participation of financial institutions in
3527reinsurance and in insurance exchanges.-Subject to applicable
3528laws relating to financial institutions and to any other
3529applicable provision of this chapter, any financial institution
3530or aggregation of such institutions may own or control, directly
3531or indirectly, any title insurer which is authorized or approved
3532by the department, which insurer transacts only reinsurance in
3533this state and which actively engages in reinsuring risks
3534located in this state. Nothing in this section shall be deemed
3535to prohibit a financial institution from engaging in any
3536presently authorized insurance activity.
3537     637.2031  Filing, license, appointment, and miscellaneous
3538fees.-The department shall collect in advance, and persons so
3539served shall pay to it in advance, fees, licenses, and
3540miscellaneous charges as follows:
3541     (1)  Certificate of authority of title insurer.
3542     (a)  Filing application for original certificate of
3543authority or modification thereof as a result of a merger,
3544acquisition, or change of controlling interest due to a sale or
3545exchange of stock, including all documents required to be filed
3546therewith, filing fee....$1,500.00
3547     (b)  Reinstatement fee....$50.00
3548     (2)  Charter documents of insurer.
3549     (a)  Filing articles of incorporation or other charter
3550documents, other than at time of application for original
3551certificate of authority, filing fee....$10.00
3552     (b)  Filing amendment to articles of incorporation or
3553charter, other than at time of application for original
3554certificate of authority, filing fee....$5.00
3555     (c)  Filing bylaws, when required, or amendments thereof,
3556filing fee....$5.00
3557     (3)  Annual license tax of insurer, each domestic insurer,
3558foreign insurer, and alien insurer (except that, as to fraternal
3559benefit societies insuring less than 200 members in this state
3560and the members of which as a prerequisite to membership possess
3561a physical handicap or disability, such license tax shall be
3562$25)....$1,000.00
3563     (4)  Statements of insurer, filing (except when filed as
3564part of application for original certificate of authority),
3565filing fees:
3566     (a)  Annual statement....$250.00
3567     (b)  Quarterly statement....$250.00
3568     (5)  All insurance representatives, application for
3569license, each filing, filing fee....$50.00
3570     (6)  Examination-Fee to cover actual cost of examination.
3571     (7)  Temporary license and appointment as agent where
3572expressly provided for, rate of fee for each month of the period
3573for which the license and appointment is issued....$5.00
3574     (8)  Issuance, reissuance, reinstatement, modification
3575resulting in a modified license being issued, duplicate copy of
3576any insurance representative license, or an appointment being
3577reinstated....$5.00
3578     (9)  Additional appointment continuation fees as prescribed
3579in chapter 626....$5.00
3580     (10)  Filing application for permit to form insurer as
3581referred to in chapter 628, filing fee....$25.00
3582     (11)  Annual license fee of rating organization, each
3583domestic or foreign organization....$25.00
3584     (12)  Miscellaneous services:
3585     (a)  For copies of documents or records on file with the
3586department, per page....$ .50
3587     (b)  For each certificate of the department, under its
3588seal, authenticating any document or other instrument (other
3589than a license or certificate of authority)....$5.00
3590     (c)  For preparing lists of agents and other insurance
3591representatives, and for other miscellaneous services, such
3592reasonable charge as may be fixed by the department.
3593     (d)  For processing requests for approval of continuing
3594education courses, processing fee....$100.00
3595     (13)  Fingerprinting processing fee-Fee to cover
3596fingerprint processing.
3597     (14)  Title insurance agents:
3598     (a)  Agent's original appointment or biennial renewal or
3599continuation thereof, each insurer:
3600     Appointment fee....$42.00
3601     State tax....12.00
3602     County tax....6.00
3603Total....$60.00
3604     (b)  Agency original appointment or biennial renewal or
3605continuation thereof, each insurer:
3606     Appointment fee....$42.00
3607     State tax....12.00
3608     County tax....6.00
3609Total....$60.00
3610     (c)  Filing for title insurance agent's license:
3611     Application for filing, each filing, filing fee....$10.00
3612     (d)  Additional appointment continuation fee as prescribed
3613by s. 637.3015....$5.00
3614     (e)  Title insurer and title insurance agency
3615administrative surcharge:
3616     1.  On or before January 30 of each calendar year, each
3617title insurer shall pay to the department for each licensed
3618title insurance agency appointed by the title insurer and for
3619each retail office of the insurer on January 1 of that calendar
3620year an administrative surcharge of $200.00.
3621     2.  On or before January 30 of each calendar year, each
3622licensed title insurance agency shall remit to the department an
3623administrative surcharge of $200.00.
3624
3625The administrative surcharge may be used solely to defray the
3626costs to the department in their examination or audit of title
3627insurance agencies and retail offices of title insurers and to
3628gather title insurance data for statistical purposes to be
3629furnished to and used by the department in its regulation of
3630title insurance.
3631     (15)  Late filing of appointment renewals for agents,
3632adjusters, and other insurance representatives, each
3633appointment....$20.00
3634     637.2032  Advance collection of fees and taxes; title
3635insurers not to pay without reimbursement.-
3636     (1)  The department shall collect in advance from the
3637applicant or licensee fees and taxes as provided in s. 637.2031.
3638     (2)  A title insurer shall not pay directly or indirectly
3639without reimbursement from a title insurance agent any
3640appointment fee required under this section. The failure of a
3641title insurance agent to make reimbursement is not a ground for
3642cancellation of the title insurance agent's appointment by the
3643title insurer.
3644     637.2033  Service of process fee.-In all instances as
3645provided in any section of this chapter and s. 48.151(3) in
3646which service of process is authorized to be made upon the Chief
3647Financial Officer , the plaintiff shall pay to the department a
3648fee of $15 for such service of process, which fee shall be
3649deposited into the Title Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund.
3650     637.2034  Liability for state, county tax.-Each authorized
3651title insurer that uses insurance agents in this state shall be
3652liable for and shall pay the state and county taxes required
3653therefor under s. 637.2031 or s. 637.2035.
3654     637.2035  County tax; determination; additional offices;
3655nonresident agents.-
3656     (1)  The county tax provided for under s. 637.2031 as to an
3657agent shall be paid by each title insurer for each agent only
3658for the county where the agent resides, or if such agent's place
3659of business is located in a county other than that of her or his
3660residence, then for the county wherein is located such place of
3661business. If an agent maintains an office or place of business
3662in more than one county, the tax shall be paid for her or him by
3663each such insurer for each county wherein the agent represents
3664such insurer and has a place of business. When under this
3665subsection an insurer is required to pay county tax for an agent
3666for a county or counties other than the agent's county of
3667residence, the insurer shall designate the county or counties
3668for which the taxes are paid.
3669     (2)  A county tax of $3 per year shall be paid by each
3670insurer for each county in this state in which an agent who
3671resides outside of this state represents and engages in person
3672in the activities of an agent for the insurer. This provision
3673shall not be deemed to authorize any activities by an agent
3674which are otherwise prohibited under this chapter.
3675     637.2036  County tax; deposit and remittance.-
3676     (1)  The department shall deposit in the Agents County Tax
3677Trust Fund all moneys accepted as county tax under this chapter.
3678She or he shall keep a separate account for all moneys so
3679collected for each county and, after deducting therefrom the
3680service charges provided for in s. 215.20, shall remit the
3681balance to the counties.
3682     (2)  The payment and collection of county tax under this
3683chapter shall be in lieu of collection thereof by the respective
3684county tax collectors.
3685     (3)  The Chief Financial Officer shall annually, as of
3686January 1 following the date of collection, and thereafter at
3687such other times as she or he may elect, draw her or his
3688warrants on the State Treasury payable to the respective
3689counties entitled to receive the same for the full net amount of
3690such taxes to each county.
3691     637.2037  Municipal tax.-Municipal corporations may require
3692a tax of title insurance agents not to exceed 50 percent of the
3693state tax specified as to such agents under this chapter, and
3694unless otherwise authorized by law. Such a tax may be required
3695only by a municipal corporation within the boundaries of which
3696is located the agent's business office, or if no such office is
3697required under this chapter, by the municipal corporation of the
3698agent's place of residence.
3699     637.2038  Insurer's license tax; when payable.-
3700     (1)  The title insurer's license tax provided for in s.
3701637.2031(3) shall be paid by an insurer newly applying for a
3702certificate of authority to transact insurance in this state
3703prior to and contingent upon the issuance of its original
3704certificate of authority. If the certificate of authority is not
3705issued, the license tax payment shall be refunded to the
3706insurer. The license tax so paid by a newly authorized insurer
3707shall cover the period expiring on the June 1 following the date
3708of its original certificate of authority.
3709     (2)  Each authorized title insurer shall pay the license
3710tax annually on or before June 1.
3711     637.2039  Premium tax; rate and computation.-
3712     (1)  In addition to the license taxes provided for in this
3713chapter, each title insurer shall also annually, and on or
3714before March 1 in each year, pay to the Department of Revenue a
3715tax on premiums for title insurance received during the
3716preceding calendar year an amount equal to 1.75 percent of the
3717gross amount of such receipts on account of all policies and
3718covering property, subjects, or risks located, resident, or to
3719be performed in this state, omitting premiums on reinsurance
3720accepted, and less return premiums or assessments, but without
3721deductions:
3722     (a)  For reinsurance ceded to other insurers;
3723     (b)  For moneys paid upon surrender of policies or
3724certificates for cash surrender value.
3725     (2)  Payment by the insurer of the license taxes and
3726premium receipts taxes provided for in this chapter is a
3727condition precedent to doing business within this state.
3728     (3)  Notwithstanding other provisions of law, the
3729distribution of the premium tax and any penalties or interest
3730collected thereunder shall be made to the General Revenue Fund
3731in accordance with rules adopted by the Department of Revenue
3732and approved by the Administration Commission.
3733     (4)  The income tax imposed under chapter 220 and the
3734emergency excise tax imposed under chapter 221 which are paid by
3735any insurer shall be credited against, and to the extent thereof
3736shall discharge, the liability for tax imposed by this section
3737for the annual period in which such tax payments are made. For
3738purposes of this subsection, payments of estimated income tax
3739under chapter 220 and of estimated emergency excise tax under
3740chapter 221 shall be deemed paid at the time the insurer
3741actually files its annual returns under chapter 220 or at the
3742time such returns are required to be filed, whichever first
3743occurs, and not at such earlier time as such payments of
3744estimated tax are actually made.
3745     (5)(a)1.  There shall be allowed a credit against the net
3746tax imposed by this section equal to 15 percent of the amount
3747paid by an insurer in salaries to employees located or based
3748within this state and who are covered by the provisions of
3749chapter 443.
3750     2.  As an alternative to the credit allowed in subparagraph
37511., an affiliated group of corporations which includes at least
3752one insurance company writing premiums in this state may elect
3753to take a credit against the net tax imposed by this section in
3754an amount that may not exceed 15 percent of the salary of the
3755employees of the affiliated group of corporations who perform
3756insurance-related activities, are located or based within this
3757state, and are covered by chapter 443. For purposes of this
3758subparagraph, the term "affiliated group of corporations" means
3759two or more corporations that are entirely owned directly or
3760indirectly by a single corporation and that constitute an
3761affiliated group as defined in s. 1504(a) of the Internal
3762Revenue Code. The amount of credit allowed under this
3763subparagraph is limited to the combined Florida salary tax
3764credits allowed for all insurance companies that were members of
3765the affiliated group of corporations for the tax year ending
3766December 31, 2002, divided by the combined Florida taxable
3767premiums written by all insurance companies that were members of
3768the affiliated group of corporations for the tax year ending
3769December 31, 2002, multiplied by the combined Florida taxable
3770premiums of the affiliated group of corporations for the current
3771year. An affiliated group of corporations electing this
3772alternative calculation method must make such election on or
3773before August 1, 2005. The election of this alternative
3774calculation method is irrevocable and binding upon successors
3775and assigns of the affiliated group of corporations electing
3776this alternative. However, if a member of an affiliated group of
3777corporations acquires or merges with another insurance company
3778after the date of the irrevocable election, the acquired or
3779merged company is not entitled to the affiliated group election
3780and shall only be entitled to calculate the tax credit under
3781subparagraph 1.
3782
3783In no event shall the salary paid to an employee by an
3784affiliated group of corporations be claimed as a credit by more
3785than one insurer or be counted more than once in an insurer's
3786calculation of the credit as described in subparagraph 1. or
3787subparagraph 2. Only the portion of an employee's salary paid
3788for the performance of insurance-related activities may be
3789included in the calculation of the premium tax credit in this
3790subsection.
3791     (b)  For purposes of this subsection:
3792     1.  The term "salaries" does not include amounts paid as
3793commissions.
3794     2.  The term "employees" does not include independent
3795contractors or any person whose duties require that the person
3796hold a valid license under the Florida Insurance Code, except
3797adjusters, managing general agents, and service representatives,
3798as defined in s. 626.015.
3799     3.  The term "net tax" means the tax imposed by this
3800section after applying the calculations and credits set forth in
3801subsection (4).
3802     4.  An affiliated group of corporations that created a
3803service company within its affiliated group on July 30, 2002,
3804shall allocate the salary of each service company employee
3805covered by contracts with affiliated group members to the
3806companies for which the employees perform services. The salary
3807allocation is based on the amount of time during the tax year
3808that the individual employee spends performing services or
3809otherwise working for each company over the total amount of time
3810the employee spends performing services or otherwise working for
3811all companies. The total amount of salary allocated to an
3812insurance company within the affiliated group shall be included
3813as that insurer's employee salaries for purposes of this
3814section.
3815     a.  Except as provided in subparagraph (a)2., the term
3816"affiliated group of corporations" means two or more
3817corporations that are entirely owned by a single corporation and
3818that constitute an affiliated group of corporations as defined
3819in s. 1504(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.
3820     b.  The term "service company" means a separate corporation
3821within the affiliated group of corporations whose employees
3822provide services to affiliated group members and which are
3823treated as service company employees for unemployment
3824compensation and common law purposes. The holding company of an
3825affiliated group may not qualify as a service company. An
3826insurance company may not qualify as a service company.
3827     c.  If an insurance company fails to substantiate, whether
3828by means of adequate records or otherwise, its eligibility to
3829claim the service company exception under this section, or its
3830salary allocation under this section, no credit shall be
3831allowed.
3832     5.  A service company that is a subsidiary of a mutual
3833insurance holding company, which mutual insurance holding
3834company was in existence on or before January 1, 2000, shall
3835allocate the salary of each service company employee covered by
3836contracts with members of the mutual insurance holding company
3837system to the companies for which the employees perform
3838services. The salary allocation is based on the ratio of the
3839amount of time during the tax year which the individual employee
3840spends performing services or otherwise working for each company
3841to the total amount of time the employee spends performing
3842services or otherwise working for all companies. The total
3843amount of salary allocated to an insurance company within the
3844mutual insurance holding company system shall be included as
3845that insurer's employee salaries for purposes of this section.
3846However, this subparagraph does not apply for any tax year
3847unless funds sufficient to offset the anticipated salary credits
3848have been appropriated to the General Revenue Fund prior to the
3849due date of the final return for that year.
3850     a.  The term "mutual insurance holding company system"
3851means two or more corporations that are subsidiaries of a mutual
3852insurance holding company and in compliance with part IV of
3853chapter 628.
3854     b.  The term "service company" means a separate corporation
3855within the mutual insurance holding company system whose
3856employees provide services to other members of the mutual
3857insurance holding company system and are treated as service
3858company employees for unemployment compensation and common-law
3859purposes. The mutual insurance holding company may not qualify
3860as a service company.
3861     c.  If an insurance company fails to substantiate, whether
3862by means of adequate records or otherwise, its eligibility to
3863claim the service company exception under this section, or its
3864salary allocation under this section, no credit shall be
3865allowed.
3866     (c)  The department may adopt rules pursuant to ss.
3867120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer this subsection.
3868     (6)(a)  The total of the credit granted for the taxes paid
3869by the insurer under chapters 220 and 221 and the credit granted
3870by subsection (5) shall not exceed 65 percent of the tax due
3871under subsection (1) after deducting therefrom the taxes paid by
3872the insurer under ss. 175.101 and 185.08 and any assessments
3873pursuant to s. 440.51.
3874     (b)  To the extent that any credits granted by subsection
3875(5) remain as a result of the limitation set forth in paragraph
3876(a), such excess credits related to salaries and wages of
3877employees whose place of employment is located within an
3878enterprise zone created pursuant to chapter 290 may be
3879transferred, in an aggregate amount not to exceed 25 percent of
3880such excess salary credits, to any insurer that is a member of
3881an affiliated group of corporations, as defined in sub-
3882subparagraph (5)(b)4.a., that includes the original insurer
3883qualifying for the credits under subsection (5). The amount of
3884such excess credits to be transferred shall be calculated by
3885multiplying the amount of such excess credits by a fraction, the
3886numerator of which is the sum of the salaries qualifying for the
3887credit allowed by subsection (5) of employees whose place of
3888employment is located in an enterprise zone and the denominator
3889of which is the sum of the salaries qualifying for the credit
3890allowed by subsection (5). Any such transferred credits shall be
3891subject to the same provisions and limitations set forth within
3892this chapter. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply to
3893an affiliated group of corporations that participate in a common
3894paymaster arrangement as defined in s. 443.1216.
3895     (7)  Credits and deductions against the tax imposed by this
3896section shall be taken in the following order: deductions for
3897assessments made pursuant to s. 440.51; credits for taxes paid
3898under ss. 175.101 and 185.08; credits for income taxes paid
3899under chapter 220, the emergency excise tax paid under chapter
3900221 and the credit allowed under subsection (5), as these
3901credits are limited by subsection (6); all other available
3902credits and deductions.
3903     (8)  As used in this section "insurer" includes any entity
3904subject to the tax imposed by this section.
3905     637.2041  Retaliatory provision, insurers.-
3906     (1)(a)  When by or pursuant to the laws of any other state
3907or foreign country any taxes, licenses, and other fees, in the
3908aggregate, and any fines, penalties, deposit requirements, or
3909other material obligations, prohibitions, or restrictions are or
3910would be imposed upon title insurers in this state or upon the
3911agents or representatives of such insurers, which are in excess
3912of such taxes, licenses, and other fees, in the aggregate, or
3913which are in excess of the fines, penalties, deposit
3914requirements, or other obligations, prohibitions, or
3915restrictions directly imposed upon similar insurers, or upon the
3916agents or representatives of such insurers, of such other state
3917or country under the statutes of this state, so long as such
3918laws of such other state or country continue in force or are so
3919applied, the same taxes, licenses, and other fees, in the
3920aggregate, or fines, penalties, deposit requirements, or other
3921material obligations, prohibitions, or restrictions of whatever
3922kind shall be imposed by the Department of Revenue upon the
3923insurers, or upon the agents or representatives of such
3924insurers, of such other state or country doing business or
3925seeking to do business in this state. In determining the taxes
3926to be imposed under this section, 80 percent and a portion of
3927the remaining 20 percent as provided in paragraph (b) of the
3928credit provided by s. 637.2039(5), as limited by s. 637.2039(6)
3929and further determined by s. 637.2039(7), shall not be taken
3930into consideration.
3931     (b)  As used in this subsection, the term "portion of the
3932remaining 20 percent" shall be calculated by multiplying the
3933remaining 20 percent by a fraction, the numerator of which is
3934the sum of the salaries qualifying for the credit allowed by s.
3935637.2039(5) of employees whose place of employment is located in
3936an enterprise zone created pursuant to chapter 290 and the
3937denominator of which is the sum of the salaries qualifying for
3938the credit allowed by s. 637.2039(5).
3939     (2)  Any tax, license, or other obligation imposed by any
3940city, county, or other political subdivision or agency of a
3941state, jurisdiction, or foreign country on Florida title
3942insurers or their agents or representatives shall be deemed to
3943be imposed by such state, jurisdiction, or foreign country
3944within the meaning of subsection (1).
3945     (3)  This section does not apply as to personal income
3946taxes, nor as to sales or use taxes, nor as to ad valorem taxes
3947on real or personal property, nor as to reimbursement premiums
3948paid to the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, nor as to
3949emergency assessments paid to the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe
3950Fund, nor as to special purpose obligations or assessments
3951imposed in connection with particular kinds of insurance other
3952than property insurance, except that deductions, from premium
3953taxes or other taxes otherwise payable, allowed on account of
3954real estate or personal property taxes paid shall be taken into
3955consideration by the department in determining the propriety and
3956extent of retaliatory action under this section.
3957     (4)  For the purposes of this section, a "similar insurer"
3958is an insurer with identical premiums, personnel, and property
3959to that of the alien or foreign insurer's Florida premiums,
3960personnel, and property. The similar insurer's premiums,
3961personnel, and property shall be used to calculate any taxes,
3962licenses, other fees, in the aggregate, or any fines, penalties,
3963deposit requirements, or other material obligations,
3964prohibitions, or restrictions that are or would be imposed under
3965the laws of this state and under the law of the foreign or alien
3966insurer's state of domicile.
3967     (5)  The excess amount of all fees, licenses, and taxes
3968collected by the Department of Revenue under this section over
3969the amount of similar fees, licenses, and taxes provided for in
3970this part, together with all fines, penalties, or other monetary
3971obligations collected under this section exclusive of such fees,
3972licenses, and taxes, shall be deposited by the Department of
3973Revenue to the credit of the Title Insurance Regulatory Trust
3974Fund; provided that such excess amount shall not exceed $125,000
3975for 1992, and for any subsequent year shall not exceed $125,000
3976adjusted annually by the lesser of 20 percent or the growth in
3977the total of such excess amount. The remainder of such excess
3978amount shall be deposited into the General Revenue Fund.
3979     637.2042  Administration of taxes; payments.-
3980     (1)  The Department of Revenue shall administer, audit, and
3981enforce the assessment and collection of those taxes to which
3982this section is applicable. The department and division may
3983share information with the Department of Revenue as necessary to
3984verify premium tax or other tax liability arising under such
3985taxes and credits which may apply thereto.
3986     (2)(a)  Installments of the taxes to which this section is
3987applicable shall be due and payable on April 15, June 15, and
3988October 15 in each year, based upon the estimated gross amount
3989of receipts of insurance premiums or assessments received during
3990the immediately preceding calendar quarter. A final payment of
3991tax due for the year shall be made at the time the taxpayer
3992files her or his return for such year. On or before March 1 in
3993each year, an annual return shall be filed showing, by quarters,
3994the gross amount of receipts taxable for the preceding year and
3995the installment payments made during that year.
3996     (b)  Any taxpayer who fails to report and timely pay any
3997installment of tax, who estimates any installment of tax to be
3998less than 90 percent of the amount finally shown to be due in
3999any quarter, or who fails to report and timely pay any tax due
4000with the final return is in violation of this section and is
4001subject to a penalty of 10 percent on any underpayment of taxes
4002or delinquent taxes due and payable for that quarter or on any
4003delinquent taxes due and payable with the final return. Any
4004taxpayer paying, for each installment required in this section,
400527 percent of the amount of the net tax due as reported on her
4006or his return for the preceding year shall not be subject to the
4007penalty provided by this section for underpayment of estimated
4008taxes.
4009     (c)  When any taxpayer fails to pay any amount due under
4010this section, or any portion thereof, on or before the day when
4011such tax or installment of tax is required by law to be paid,
4012there shall be added to the amount due interest at the rate of
401312 percent per year from the date due until paid.
4014     (d)  All penalties and interest imposed on those taxes to
4015which this section is applicable shall be payable to and
4016collectible by the Department of Revenue in the same manner as
4017if they were a part of the tax imposed.
4018     (e)  The Department of Revenue may settle or compromise any
4019such interest or penalties imposed on those taxes to which this
4020section is applicable pursuant to s. 213.21.
4021     (3)  This section is applicable to taxes imposed by ss.
4022629.5100, 637.2039, and 637.2046.
4023     637.2043  Adjustments.-
4024     (1)  If a taxpayer is required to amend its corporate
4025income tax liability under chapter 220, or the taxpayer receives
4026a refund of its workers' compensation administrative assessment
4027paid under chapter 440, the taxpayer shall file an amended
4028insurance premium tax return not later than 60 days after such
4029an occurrence.
4030     (2)  If an amended insurance premium tax return is required
4031under subsection (1), notwithstanding any other provision of s.
403295.091(3):
4033     (a)  A notice of deficiency may be issued at any time
4034within 3 years after the date the amended insurance premium tax
4035return is given; or
4036     (b)  If a taxpayer fails to file an amended insurance
4037premium tax return, a notice of deficiency may be issued at any
4038time.
4039
4040The amount of any proposed assessment set forth in such a notice
4041of deficiency shall be limited to the amount of any deficiency
4042resulting under this chapter from recomputation of the
4043taxpayer's insurance premium tax and retaliatory tax for the
4044taxable year after giving effect only to the change in corporate
4045income tax paid and the change in the amount of the workers'
4046compensation administrative assessment paid. Interest in
4047accordance with s. 637.2042 is due on the amount of any
4048deficiency from the date fixed for filing the original insurance
4049premium tax return for the taxable year until the date of
4050payment of the deficiency.
4051     (3)  If an amended insurance premium tax return is required
4052by subsection (1), a claim for refund may be filed within 2
4053years after the date on which the amended insurance premium tax
4054return was due, regardless of whether such notice was given,
4055notwithstanding any other provision of s. 215.26. However, the
4056amount recoverable pursuant to such a claim shall be limited to
4057the amount of any overpayment resulting under this chapter from
4058recomputation of the taxpayer's insurance premium tax and
4059retaliatory tax for the taxable year after giving effect only to
4060the change in corporate income tax paid and the change in the
4061amount of the workers' compensation administrative assessment
4062paid.
4063     637.2046  Tax statement; overpayments.-
4064     (1)  Tax returns as to taxes mentioned in s. 637.2039 shall
4065be made by insurers on forms to be prescribed by the Department
4066of Revenue and shall be sworn to by one or more of the executive
4067officers or attorney, if a reciprocal insurer, of the insurer
4068making the returns.
4069     (2)  Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 215.26(1), if any
4070insurer makes an overpayment on account of taxes due under s.
4071637.2039, a refund of the overpayment of taxes shall be made out
4072of the General Revenue Fund. Overpayment of taxes due under s.
4073637.2039 shall be refunded no sooner than the first day of the
4074state fiscal year following the date the tax was due.
4075     (3)(a)  If it appears, upon examination of an insurance
4076premium tax return made under this chapter, that an amount of
4077insurance premium tax has been paid in excess of the amount due,
4078the Department of Revenue may refund the amount of the
4079overpayment to the taxpayer by a warrant of the Chief Financial
4080Officer. The Department of Revenue may refund the overpayment
4081without regard to whether the taxpayer has filed a written claim
4082for a refund; however, the Department of Revenue may request
4083that the taxpayer file a statement affirming that the taxpayer
4084made the overpayment.
4085     (b)  Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a refund of the
4086insurance premium tax may not be made, and a taxpayer is not
4087entitled to bring an action for a refund of the insurance
4088premium tax, after the period specified in s. 215.26(2) has
4089elapsed.
4090     (c)  If a refund issued by the Department of Revenue under
4091this subsection is found to exceed the amount of refund legally
4092due to the taxpayer, the provisions of s. 637.2042 concerning
4093penalties and interest do not apply if the taxpayer reimburses
4094the department for any overpayment within 60 days after the
4095taxpayer is notified that the overpayment was made.
4096     637.2047  Preemption by state.-
4097     (1)  This state hereby preempts the field of imposing
4098excise, privilege, franchise, income, license, permit,
4099registration, and similar taxes and fees, measured by premiums,
4100income, or volume of transactions, upon insurers and their
4101agents and other representatives; and a county, city,
4102municipality, district, school district, or other political
4103subdivision or agency in this state may not impose, levy,
4104charge, or require the same, subject however to the provisions
4105of subsection (2).
4106     (2)  This section shall not be construed to limit or modify
4107the power of any incorporated city or town to levy the taxes
4108authorized by ss. 175.101 and 185.08 or the power of any special
4109fire control district to levy the taxes authorized by s.
4110175.101.
4111     637.2048  Deposit of certain tax receipts; refund of
4112improper payments.-
4113     (1)  The Department of Financial Services shall promptly
4114deposit in the State Treasury to the credit of the Title
4115Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund all "state tax" portions of
4116agents' licenses collected under s. 637.2031. All moneys
4117received by the Department of Financial Services or the
4118department not in accordance with the provisions of this chapter
4119or not in the exact amount as specified by the applicable
4120provisions of this chapter shall be returned to the remitter.
4121The records of the department shall show the date and reason for
4122such return.
4123     (2)  The Department of Revenue shall promptly deposit into
4124the Department of Revenue Premium Tax Clearing Trust Fund all
4125premium taxes collected according to s. 637.2039. Such taxes
4126shall be distributed on an estimated basis within 15 days after
4127receipt by the Department of Revenue. Such distribution shall be
4128adjusted pursuant to an audit by the Department of Revenue.
4129     Section 9.  Section 627.778, Florida Statutes, is
4130transferred, renumbered as section 637.20485, Florida Statutes,
4131and subsection (2) of that section is amended to read:
4132     637.20485 627.778  Limit of risk.-
4133     (2)  Surplus as to policyholders shall be determined from
4134the last annual statement of the insurer filed under s. 637.2024
4135
4136     Section 10.  Sections 637.2049, 637.2051, 637.2053,
4137637.2054, 637.2055, 637.2056, and 637.2057, Florida Statutes,
4138are created to read:
4139     637.2049  Reinsurance.-
4140     (1)  The purpose of this section is to protect the
4141interests of insureds, claimants, ceding insurers, assuming
4142insurers, and the public. It is the intent of the Legislature to
4143ensure adequate regulation of insurers and reinsurers and
4144adequate protection for those to whom they owe obligations. In
4145furtherance of that state interest, the Legislature requires
4146that upon the insolvency of a non-United States insurer or
4147reinsurer which provides security to fund its United States
4148obligations in accordance with this section, such security shall
4149be maintained in the United States and claims shall be filed
4150with and valued by the state insurance regulator with regulatory
4151oversight, and the assets shall be distributed in accordance
4152with the insurance laws of the state in which the trust is
4153domiciled that are applicable to the liquidation of domestic
4154United States insurance companies. The Legislature declares that
4155the matters contained in this section are fundamental to the
4156business of insurance in accordance with 15 U.S.C. ss. 1011-
41571012.
4158     (2)  Credit for reinsurance must be allowed a ceding
4159insurer as either an asset or a deduction from liability on
4160account of reinsurance ceded only when the reinsurer meets the
4161requirements of paragraph (3)(a), paragraph (3)(b), or paragraph
4162(3)(c). Credit must be allowed under paragraph (3)(a) or
4163paragraph (3)(b) only for cessions of those kinds or lines of
4164business that the assuming insurer is licensed, authorized, or
4165otherwise permitted to write or assume in its state of domicile
4166or, in the case of a United States branch of an alien assuming
4167insurer, in the state through which it is entered and licensed
4168or authorized to transact insurance or reinsurance.
4169     (3)(a)  Credit must be allowed when the reinsurance is
4170ceded to an assuming insurer that is authorized to transact
4171insurance or reinsurance in this state.
4172     (b)1.  Credit must be allowed when the reinsurance is ceded
4173to an assuming insurer that is accredited as a reinsurer in this
4174state. An accredited reinsurer is one that:
4175     a.  Files with the department evidence of its submission to
4176this state's jurisdiction.
4177     b.  Submits to this state's authority to examine its books
4178and records.
4179     c.  Is licensed or authorized to transact insurance or
4180reinsurance in at least one state or, in the case of a United
4181States branch of an alien assuming insurer, is entered through,
4182licensed, or authorized to transact insurance or reinsurance in
4183at least one state.
4184     d.  Files annually with the department a copy of its annual
4185statement filed with the insurance department of its state of
4186domicile any quarterly statements if required by its state of
4187domicile or such quarterly statements if specifically requested
4188by the department, and a copy of its most recent audited
4189financial statement.
4190     (I)  Maintains a surplus as regards policyholders in an
4191amount not less than $20 million and whose accreditation has not
4192been denied by the department within 90 days after its
4193submission; or
4194     (II)  Maintains a surplus as regards policyholders in an
4195amount not less than $20 million and whose accreditation has
4196been approved by the department.
4197     2.  The department may deny or revoke an assuming insurer's
4198accreditation if the assuming insurer does not submit the
4199required documentation pursuant to subparagraph 1., if the
4200assuming insurer fails to meet all of the standards required of
4201an accredited reinsurer, or if the assuming insurer's
4202accreditation would be hazardous to the policyholders of this
4203state. In determining whether to deny or revoke accreditation,
4204the department may consider the qualifications of the assuming
4205insurer with respect to all the following subjects:
4206     a.  Its financial stability.
4207     b.  The lawfulness and quality of its investments.
4208     c.  The competency, character, and integrity of its
4209management.
4210     d.  The competency, character, and integrity of persons who
4211own or have a controlling interest in the assuming insurer.
4212     e.  Whether claims under its contracts are promptly and
4213fairly adjusted and are promptly and fairly paid in accordance
4214with the law and the terms of the contracts.
4215     3.  Credit must not be allowed a ceding insurer if the
4216assuming insurer's accreditation has been revoked by the
4217department after notice and the opportunity for a hearing.
4218     4.  The actual costs and expenses incurred by the
4219department to review a reinsurer's request for accreditation and
4220subsequent reviews must be charged to and collected from the
4221requesting reinsurer. If the reinsurer fails to pay the actual
4222costs and expenses promptly when due, the department may refuse
4223to accredit the reinsurer or may revoke the reinsurer's
4224accreditation.
4225     (c)1.  Credit must be allowed when the reinsurance is ceded
4226to an assuming insurer that maintains a trust fund in a
4227qualified United States financial institution, as defined in
4228paragraph (5)(b), for the payment of the valid claims of its
4229United States ceding insurers and their assigns and successors
4230in interest. To enable the department to determine the
4231sufficiency of the trust fund, the assuming insurer shall report
4232annually to the department information substantially the same as
4233that required to be reported on the NAIC Annual Statement form
4234by authorized insurers. The assuming insurer shall submit to
4235examination of its books and records by the department and bear
4236the expense of examination.
4237     2.a.  Credit for reinsurance must not be granted under this
4238subsection unless the form of the trust and any amendments to
4239the trust have been approved by:
4240     (I)  The insurance regulator of the state in which the
4241trust is domiciled; or
4242     (II)  The insurance regulator of another state who,
4243pursuant to the terms of the trust instrument, has accepted
4244principal regulatory oversight of the trust.
4245     b.  The form of the trust and any trust amendments must be
4246filed with the insurance regulator of every state in which the
4247ceding insurer beneficiaries of the trust are domiciled. The
4248trust instrument must provide that contested claims are valid
4249and enforceable upon the final order of any court of competent
4250jurisdiction in the United States. The trust must vest legal
4251title to its assets in its trustees for the benefit of the
4252assuming insurer's United States ceding insurers and their
4253assigns and successors in interest. The trust and the assuming
4254insurer are subject to examination as determined by the
4255insurance regulator.
4256     c.  The trust remains in effect for as long as the assuming
4257insurer has outstanding obligations due under the reinsurance
4258agreements subject to the trust. No later than February 28 of
4259each year, the trustee of the trust shall report to the
4260insurance regulator in writing the balance of the trust and list
4261the trust's investments at the preceding year end, and shall
4262certify that the trust will not expire prior to the following
4263December 31.
4264     3.  The following requirements apply to the following
4265categories of assuming insurer:
4266     a.  The trust fund for a single assuming insurer consists
4267of funds in trust in an amount not less than the assuming
4268insurer's liabilities attributable to reinsurance ceded by
4269United States ceding insurers, and, in addition, the assuming
4270insurer shall maintain a trusteed surplus of not less than $20
4271million. Not less than 50 percent of the funds in the trust
4272covering the assuming insurer's liabilities attributable to
4273reinsurance ceded by United States ceding insurers and trusteed
4274surplus shall consist of assets of a quality substantially
4275similar to that required in part II of chapter 625. Clean,
4276irrevocable, unconditional, and evergreen letters of credit,
4277issued or confirmed by a qualified United States financial
4278institution, as defined in paragraph (5)(a), effective no later
4279than December 31 of the year for which the filing is made and in
4280the possession of the trust on or before the filing date of its
4281annual statement, may be used to fund the remainder of the trust
4282and trusteed surplus.
4283     b.(I)  In the case of a group including incorporated and
4284individual unincorporated underwriters:
4285     (A)  For reinsurance ceded under reinsurance agreements
4286with an inception, amendment, or renewal date on or after August
42871, 1995, the trust consists of a trusteed account in an amount
4288not less than the group's several liabilities attributable to
4289business ceded by United States domiciled ceding insurers to any
4290member of the group.
4291     (B)  For reinsurance ceded under reinsurance agreements
4292with an inception date on or before July 31, 1995, and not
4293amended or renewed after that date, notwithstanding the other
4294provisions of this section, the trust consists of a trusteed
4295account in an amount not less than the group's several insurance
4296and reinsurance liabilities attributable to business written in
4297the United States.
4298     (C)  In addition to these trusts, the group shall maintain
4299in trust a trusteed surplus of which $100 million must be held
4300jointly for the benefit of the United States domiciled ceding
4301insurers of any member of the group for all years of account.
4302     (II)  The incorporated members of the group must not be
4303engaged in any business other than underwriting of a member of
4304the group, and are subject to the same level of regulation and
4305solvency control by the group's domiciliary regulator as the
4306unincorporated members.
4307     (III)  Within 90 days after its financial statements are
4308due to be filed with the group's domiciliary regulator, the
4309group shall provide to the insurance regulator an annual
4310certification by the group's domiciliary regulator of the
4311solvency of each underwriter member or, if a certification is
4312unavailable, financial statements, prepared by independent
4313public accountants, of each underwriter member of the group.
4314     (d)  Credit must be allowed when the reinsurance is ceded
4315to an assuming insurer not meeting the requirements of paragraph
4316(a), paragraph (b), or paragraph (c), but only as to the
4317insurance of risks located in jurisdictions in which the
4318reinsurance is required to be purchased by a particular entity
4319by applicable law or regulation of that jurisdiction.
4320     (e)  If the reinsurance is ceded to an assuming insurer not
4321meeting the requirements of paragraph (a), paragraph (b),
4322paragraph (c), or paragraph (d), the department may allow
4323credit, but only if the assuming insurer holds surplus in excess
4324of $100 million and has a secure financial strength rating from
4325at least two nationally recognized statistical rating
4326organizations deemed acceptable by the department. In
4327determining whether credit should be allowed, the department
4328shall consider the following:
4329     1.  The domiciliary regulatory jurisdiction of the assuming
4330insurer.
4331     2.  The structure and authority of the domiciliary
4332regulator with regard to solvency regulation requirements and
4333the financial surveillance of the reinsurer.
4334     3.  The substance of financial and operating standards for
4335reinsurers in the domiciliary jurisdiction.
4336     4.  The form and substance of financial reports required to
4337be filed by the reinsurers in the domiciliary jurisdiction or
4338other public financial statements filed in accordance with
4339generally accepted accounting principles.
4340     5.  The domiciliary regulator's willingness to cooperate
4341with United States regulators in general and the department in
4342particular.
4343     6.  The history of performance by reinsurers in the
4344domiciliary jurisdiction.
4345     7.  Any documented evidence of substantial problems with
4346the enforcement of valid United States judgments in the
4347domiciliary jurisdiction.
4348     8.  Any other matters deemed relevant by the department.
4349The department shall give appropriate consideration to insurer
4350group ratings that may have been issued. The department may, in
4351lieu of granting full credit under this subsection, reduce the
4352amount required to be held in trust under paragraph (c).
4353     (f)  If the assuming insurer is not authorized or
4354accredited to transact insurance or reinsurance in this state
4355pursuant to paragraph (a) or paragraph (b), the credit permitted
4356by paragraph (c) or paragraph (d) must not be allowed unless the
4357assuming insurer agrees in the reinsurance agreements:
4358     1.a.  That in the event of the failure of the assuming
4359insurer to perform its obligations under the terms of the
4360reinsurance agreement, the assuming insurer, at the request of
4361the ceding insurer, shall submit to the jurisdiction of any
4362court of competent jurisdiction in any state of the United
4363States, will comply with all requirements necessary to give the
4364court jurisdiction, and will abide by the final decision of the
4365court or of any appellate court in the event of an appeal.
4366     b.  To designate the Chief Financial Officer, pursuant to
4367s. 48.151, or a designated attorney as its true and lawful
4368attorney upon whom may be served any lawful process in any
4369action, suit, or proceeding instituted by or on behalf of the
4370ceding company.
4371     2.  This paragraph is not intended to conflict with or
4372override the obligation of the parties to a reinsurance
4373agreement to arbitrate their disputes, if this obligation is
4374created in the agreement.
4375     (g)  If the assuming insurer does not meet the requirements
4376of paragraph (a) or paragraph (b), the credit permitted by
4377paragraph (c) or paragraph (d) is not allowed unless the
4378assuming insurer agrees in the trust agreements, in substance,
4379to the following conditions:
4380     1.  Notwithstanding any other provisions in the trust
4381instrument, if the trust fund is inadequate because it contains
4382an amount less than the amount required by paragraph (c), or if
4383the grantor of the trust has been declared insolvent or placed
4384into receivership, rehabilitation, liquidation, or similar
4385proceedings under the laws of its state or country of domicile,
4386the trustee shall comply with an order of the insurance
4387regulator with regulatory oversight over the trust or with an
4388order of a United States court of competent jurisdiction
4389directing the trustee to transfer to the insurance regulator
4390with regulatory oversight all of the assets of the trust fund.
4391     2.  The assets must be distributed by and claims must be
4392filed with and valued by the insurance regulator with regulatory
4393oversight in accordance with the laws of the state in which the
4394trust is domiciled which are applicable to the liquidation of
4395domestic insurance companies.
4396     3.  If the insurance regulator with regulatory oversight
4397determines that the assets of the trust fund or any part thereof
4398are not necessary to satisfy the claims of the United States
4399ceding insurers of the grantor of the trust, the assets or part
4400thereof must be returned by the insurance regulator with
4401regulatory oversight to the trustee for distribution in
4402accordance with the trust agreement.
4403     4.  The grantor shall waive any right otherwise available
4404to it under United States law which is inconsistent with this
4405provision.
4406     (4)  An asset allowed or a deduction from liability taken
4407for the reinsurance ceded by an insurer to an assuming insurer
4408not meeting the requirements of subsections (2) and (3) is
4409allowed in an amount not exceeding the liabilities carried by
4410the ceding insurer. The deduction must be in the amount of funds
4411held by or on behalf of the ceding insurer, including funds held
4412in trust for the ceding insurer, under a reinsurance contract
4413with the assuming insurer as security for the payment of
4414obligations thereunder, if the security is held in the United
4415States subject to withdrawal solely by, and under the exclusive
4416control of, the ceding insurer, or, in the case of a trust, held
4417in a qualified United States financial institution, as defined
4418in paragraph (5)(b). This security may be in the form of:
4419     (a)  Cash in United States dollars;
4420     (b)  Securities listed by the Securities Valuation Office
4421of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and
4422qualifying as admitted assets pursuant to part II of chapter
4423625;
4424     (c)  Clean, irrevocable, unconditional letters of credit,
4425issued or confirmed by a qualified United States financial
4426institution, as defined in paragraph (5)(a), effective no later
4427than December 31 of the year for which the filing is made, and
4428in the possession of, or in trust for, the ceding company on or
4429before the filing date of its annual statement; or
4430     (d)  Any other form of security acceptable to the
4431department.
4432     (5)(a)  For purposes of paragraph (4)(c) regarding letters
4433of credit, a "qualified United States financial institution"
4434means an institution that:
4435     1.  Is organized or, in the case of a United States
4436department of a foreign banking organization, is licensed under
4437the laws of the United States or any state thereof;
4438     2.  Is regulated, supervised, and examined by United States
4439or state authorities having regulatory authority over banks and
4440trust companies; and
4441     3.  Has been determined by either the department or the
4442Securities Valuation Office of the National Association of
4443Insurance Commissioners to meet such standards of financial
4444condition and standing as are considered necessary and
4445appropriate to regulate the quality of financial institutions
4446whose letters of credit will be acceptable to the department.
4447     (b)  For purposes of those provisions of this law which
4448specify institutions that are eligible to act as a fiduciary of
4449a trust, a "qualified United States financial institution" means
4450an institution that is a member of the Federal Reserve System or
4451that has been determined by the department to meet the following
4452criteria:
4453     1.  Is organized or, in the case of a United States branch
4454or agency department of a foreign banking organization, is
4455licensed under the laws of the United States or any state
4456thereof and has been granted authority to operate with fiduciary
4457powers; and
4458     2.  Is regulated, supervised, and examined by federal or
4459state authorities having regulatory authority over banks and
4460trust companies.
4461     (6)  For the purposes of this section only, the term
4462"ceding insurer" includes any health maintenance organization
4463operating under a certificate of authority issued under part I
4464of chapter 641.
4465     (7)  After notice and an opportunity for a hearing, the
4466department may disallow any credit that it finds would be
4467contrary to the proper interests of the policyholders or
4468stockholders of a ceding domestic insurer.
4469     (8)  Credit must be allowed to any ceding insurer for
4470reinsurance otherwise complying with this section only when the
4471reinsurance is payable by the assuming insurer on the basis of
4472the liability of the ceding insurer under the contract or
4473contracts reinsured without diminution because of the insolvency
4474of the ceding insurer. Such credit must be allowed to the ceding
4475insurer for reinsurance otherwise complying with this section
4476only when the reinsurance agreement provides that payments by
4477the assuming insurer will be made directly to the ceding insurer
4478or its receiver, except when:
4479     (a)  The reinsurance contract specifically provides payment
4480to the named insured, assignee, or named beneficiary of the
4481policy issued by the ceding insurer in the event of the
4482insolvency of the ceding insurer; or
4483     (b)  The assuming insurer, with the consent of the named
4484insured, has assumed the policy obligations of the ceding
4485insurer as direct obligations of the assuming insurer in
4486substitution for the obligations of the ceding insurer to the
4487named insured.
4488     (9)  No person, other than the ceding insurer, has any
4489rights against the reinsurer which are not specifically set
4490forth in the contract of reinsurance or in a specific written,
4491signed agreement between the reinsurer and the person.
4492     (10)  An authorized insurer may not knowingly accept as
4493assuming reinsurer any risk covering subject of insurance which
4494is resident, located, or to be performed in this state and which
4495is written directly by any insurer not then authorized to
4496transact such insurance in this state, other than as to surplus
4497lines insurance lawfully written under part VIII of chapter 626.
4498     (11)(a)  Any domestic or commercially domiciled insurer
4499ceding directly written risks of loss under this section shall,
4500within 30 days after receipt of a cover note or similar
4501confirmation of coverage, or, without exception, no later than 6
4502months after the effective date of the reinsurance treaty, file
4503with the department one copy of a summary statement containing
4504the following information about each treaty:
4505     1.  The contract period.
4506     2.  The nature of the reinsured's business.
4507     3.  An indication as to whether the treaty is proportional,
4508nonproportional, coinsurance, modified coinsurance, or
4509indemnity, as applicable.
4510     4.  The ceding company's loss retention per risk.
4511     5.  The reinsured limits.
4512     6.  Any special contract restrictions.
4513     7.  A schedule of reinsurers assuming the risks of loss.
4514     8.  An indication as to whether payments to the assuming
4515insurer are based on written premiums or earned premiums.
4516     9.  Identification of any intermediary or broker used in
4517obtaining the reinsurance and the department paid to such
4518intermediary or broker if known.
4519     10.  Ceding commissions and allowances.
4520     (b)  The summary statement must be signed and attested to
4521by either the chief executive officer or the chief financial
4522officer of the reporting insurer. In addition to the summary
4523statement, the department may require the filing of any
4524supporting information relating to the ceding of such risks as
4525it deems necessary. If the summary statement prepared by the
4526ceding insurer discloses that the net effect of a reinsurance
4527treaty or treaties, or series of treaties with one or more
4528affiliated reinsurers entered into for the purpose of avoiding
4529the following threshold amount, at any time results in an
4530increase of more than 25 percent to the insurer's surplus as to
4531policyholders, then the insurer shall certify in writing to the
4532department that the relevant reinsurance treaty or treaties
4533comply with the accounting requirements contained in any rule
4534adopted by the department under subsection (14). If such
4535certificate is filed after the summary statement of such
4536reinsurance treaty or treaties, the insurer shall refile the
4537summary statement with the certificate. In any event, the
4538certificate must state that a copy of the certificate was sent
4539to the reinsurer under the reinsurance treaty.
4540     (c)  This subsection applies to cessions of directly
4541written risk or loss. This subsection does not apply to
4542contracts of facultative reinsurance or to any ceding insurer
4543with surplus as to policyholders that exceeds $100 million as of
4544the immediately preceding December 31. Additionally, any ceding
4545insurer otherwise subject to this section with less than
4546$500,000 in direct premiums written in this state during the
4547preceding calendar year or with less than 1,000 policyholders at
4548the end of the preceding calendar year is exempt from the
4549requirements of this subsection. However, any ceding insurer
4550otherwise subject to this section with more than $250,000 in
4551direct premiums written in this state during the preceding
4552calendar quarter is not exempt from the requirements of this
4553subsection.
4554     (d)  An authorized insurer not otherwise exempt from the
4555provisions of this subsection shall provide the information
4556required by this subsection with underlying and supporting
4557documentation upon written request of the department.
4558     (e)  The department may, upon a showing of good cause,
4559waive the requirements of this subsection.
4560     (12)  If the department finds that a reinsurance agreement
4561creates a substantial risk of insolvency to either insurer
4562entering into the reinsurance agreement, the department may by
4563order require a cancellation of the reinsurance agreement.
4564     (13)  No credit shall be allowed for reinsurance with
4565regard to which the reinsurance agreement does not create a
4566meaningful transfer of risk of loss to the reinsurer.
4567     (14)  The department may adopt rules implementing the
4568provisions of this section. Rules are authorized to protect the
4569interests of insureds, claimants, ceding insurers, assuming
4570insurers, and the public. These rules shall be in substantial
4571compliance with:
4572     (a)  The National Association of Insurance Commissioners
4573model regulations relating to credit for reinsurance.
4574     (b)  The National Association of Insurance Commissioners
4575Accounting Practices and Procedures Manual as of March 2002 and
4576subsequent amendments thereto if the methodology remains
4577substantially consistent.
4578     (c)  The National Association of Insurance Commissioners
4579model regulation for Credit for Reinsurance and Life and Health
4580Reinsurance Agreements.
4581
4582The department may further adopt rules to provide for transition
4583from existing requirements for the approval of reinsurers to the
4584accreditation of reinsurers pursuant to this section.
4585     637.2051  Notice to comply with written requirements of
4586department; noncompliance.-
4587     (1)  If the department determines that the conditions set
4588forth in subsection (2) exist, the department shall issue an
4589order placing the title insurer in administrative supervision,
4590setting forth the reasons giving rise to the determination, and
4591specifying that the department is applying and effectuating the
4592provisions of this chapter. An order issued by the department
4593pursuant to this subsection entitles the insurer to request a
4594proceeding under ss. 120.569 and 120.57, and such a request
4595shall stay the action pending such proceeding.
4596     (2)  A title insurer shall be subject to administrative
4597supervision by the department if upon examination or at any
4598other time the department determines that:
4599     (a)  The insurer is in unsound condition;
4600     (b)  The insurer's methods or practices render the
4601continuance of its business hazardous to the public or to its
4602insureds; or
4603     (c)  The insurer has exceeded its powers granted under its
4604certificate of authority and applicable law.
4605     (3)  Within 15 days after receipt of notice of the
4606department's determination to proceed under this chapter, an
4607insurer shall submit to the department a plan to correct the
4608conditions set forth in the notice. For good cause shown, the
4609department may extend the 15-day time period for submission of
4610the plan. If the department and the insurer agree on a
4611corrective plan, a written agreement shall be entered into to
4612carry out the plan.
4613     (4)  If a title insurer fails to timely submit a plan, the
4614department may specify the requirements of a plan to address the
4615conditions giving rise to imposition of administrative
4616supervision under this chapter. In addition, failure of the
4617insurer to timely submit a plan is a violation of the provisions
4618of this chapter punishable in accordance with s. 637.2017.
4619     (5)  The plan shall address, but shall not be limited to,
4620each of the activities of the insurer's business which are set
4621forth in s. 637.2053.
4622     (6)  Any insurer subject to administrative supervision is
4623expected to avail itself of all reasonably available
4624reinsurance. Reasonably available reinsurance shall include
4625unrealized reinsurance, which is defined as reinsurance
4626recoverable on known losses incurred and due under valid
4627reinsurance contracts that have not been identified in the
4628normal course of business and have not been reported in
4629financial statements filed with the department. Within 90 days
4630after being placed under administrative supervision, the insurer
4631shall certify to the Chief Financial Officer that the insurer
4632has engaged an independent third party to search for unrealized
4633reinsurance, and that the insurer has made all relevant books
4634and records available to the third party. The compensation to
4635the third party may be a percentage of unrealized reinsurance
4636identified and collected.
4637     (7)  If the department and the insurer are unable to agree
4638on the provisions of the plan, the department may require the
4639insurer to take such corrective action as may be reasonably
4640necessary to remove the causes and conditions giving rise to the
4641need for administrative supervision.
4642     (8)  The insurer shall have 60 days, or a longer period of
4643time as designated by the department but not to exceed 120 days,
4644after the date of the written agreement or the receipt of the
4645department's plan within which to comply with the requirements
4646of the department. At the conclusion of the initial period of
4647supervision, the department may extend the supervision in
4648increments of 60 days or longer, not to exceed 120 days, if
4649conditions justifying supervision exist. Each extension of
4650supervision shall provide the insurer with a point of entry
4651pursuant to chapter 120.
4652     (9)  The initiation or pendency of administrative
4653proceedings arising from actions taken under this section shall
4654not preclude the department from initiating judicial proceedings
4655to place an insurer in conservation, rehabilitation, or
4656liquidation or initiating other delinquency proceedings however
4657designated under the laws of this state.
4658     (10)  If it is determined that the conditions giving rise
4659to administrative supervision have been remedied so that the
4660continuance of its business is no longer hazardous to the public
4661or to its insureds, the department shall release the insurer
4662from supervision.
4663     (11)  The department may adopt rules to define standards of
4664hazardous financial condition and corrective action
4665substantially similar to that indicated in the National
4666Association of Insurance Commissioners' 1997 "Model Regulation
4667to Define Standards and Commissioner's Authority for Companies
4668Deemed to be in Hazardous Financial Condition," which are
4669necessary to implement the provisions of this part.
4670     637.2053  Prohibited acts during period of supervision.-The
4671department may provide that the title insurer may not conduct
4672the following activities during the period of supervision,
4673without prior approval by the department:
4674     (1)  Dispose of, convey, or encumber any of its assets or
4675its business in force;
4676     (2)  Withdraw any of its bank accounts;
4677     (3)  Lend any of its funds;
4678     (4)  Invest any of its funds;
4679     (5)  Transfer any of its property;
4680     (6)  Incur any debt, obligation, or liability;
4681     (7)  Merge or consolidate with another company;
4682     (8)  Enter into any new reinsurance contract or treaty;
4683     (9)  Terminate, surrender, forfeit, convert, or lapse any
4684insurance policy, certificate, or contract of insurance, except
4685for nonpayment of premiums due;
4686     (10)  Release, pay, or refund premium deposits, accrued
4687cash or loan values, unearned premiums, or other reserves on any
4688insurance policy or certificate; or
4689     (11)  Make any material change in management.
4690     637.2054  Review.-During the period of supervision, the
4691title insurer may contest an action taken or proposed to be
4692taken by the supervisor, specifying the manner wherein the
4693action complained of would not result in improving the condition
4694of the insurer. Such request shall not stay the action specified
4695pending reconsideration of the action by the department. Denial
4696of the insurer's request upon reconsideration entitles the
4697insurer to request a proceeding under ss. 120.569 and 120.57.
4698     637.2055  Administrative election of proceedings.-If the
4699department determines to act under authority of this chapter,
4700the sequence of its acts and proceedings shall be as set forth
4701herein. However, it is a purpose and substance of this chapter
4702to allow the department administrative discretion in the event
4703of insurer delinquencies and, in furtherance of that purpose,
4704the department may, in respect to insurer delinquencies or
4705suspected delinquencies, proceed and administer under the
4706provisions of this chapter or any other applicable law, or under
4707the provisions of this chapter in conjunction with other
4708applicable law, and it is so provided. Nothing contained in this
4709part or in any other provision of law shall preclude the
4710department from initiating judicial proceedings to place an
4711insurer in conservation, rehabilitation, or liquidation
4712proceedings or other delinquency proceedings however designated
4713under the laws of this state, regardless of whether the
4714department has previously initiated administrative supervision
4715proceedings under this part against the insurer. The entry of an
4716order of seizure, rehabilitation, or liquidation pursuant to
4717chapter 631 shall terminate all proceedings pending pursuant to
4718this part.
4719     637.2056  Other laws; conflicts; meetings between the
4720department and the supervisor.-During the period of
4721administrative supervision, the department may meet with a
4722supervisor appointed under this chapter and with the attorney or
4723other representative of the supervisor and such meetings are
4724exempt from the provisions of s. 286.011.
4725     637.2057  Administrative supervision; expenses.-
4726     (1)  During the period of supervision the department by
4727contract or otherwise may appoint a deputy supervisor to
4728supervise the title insurer.
4729     (2)  Each insurer which is subject to administrative
4730supervision by the department shall pay to the department the
4731expenses of its administrative supervision at the rates adopted
4732by the department. Expenses shall include actual travel
4733expenses, a reasonable living expense allowance, compensation of
4734the deputy supervisor or other person employed or appointed by
4735the department for purposes of the supervision, and necessary
4736attendant administrative costs of the department directly
4737related to the supervision. The travel expense and living
4738expense allowance shall be limited to those expenses necessarily
4739incurred on account of the administrative supervision and shall
4740be paid by the insurer together with compensation upon
4741presentation by the department to the insurer of a detailed
4742account of the charges and expenses after a detailed statement
4743has been filed by the deputy supervisor or other person employed
4744or appointed by the department and approved by the department.
4745     (3)  All moneys collected from insurers for the expenses of
4746administrative supervision shall be deposited into the Title
4747Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund, and the department is
4748authorized to make deposits from time to time into this fund
4749from moneys appropriated for the operation of the department.
4750     (4)  Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 112.061, the
4751department is authorized to pay to the deputy supervisor or
4752person employed or appointed by the department for purposes of
4753the supervision out of such trust fund the actual travel
4754expenses, reasonable living expense allowance, and compensation
4755in accordance with the statement filed with the department by
4756the deputy supervisor or other person, as provided in subsection
4757(2), upon approval by the department.
4758     (5)  The department may in whole or in part defer payment
4759of expenses due from the insurer pursuant to this section upon a
4760showing that payment would adversely impact on the financial
4761condition of the insurer and jeopardize its rehabilitation. The
4762payment shall be made by the insurer when the condition is
4763removed and the payment would no longer jeopardize the insurer's
4764financial condition.
4765     Section 11.  Section 627.777, Florida Statutes, is
4766transferred, renumbered as section 637.2058, Florida Statutes,
4767and amended to read:
4768     637.2058 627.777  Approval of forms.-
4769     (1)  A title insurer may not issue or agree to issue any
4770form of title insurance commitment, title insurance policy,
4771other contract of title insurance, or related form until it is
4772filed with and approved by the department office. The department
4773office may not disapprove a title guarantee or policy form on
4774the ground that it has on it a blank form for an attorney's
4775opinion on the title.
4776     (2)  If a form filed for approval is a form recommended by
4777the American Land Title Association at the time of the filing,
4778the department shall approve or disapprove the form within 180
4779days. If a form filed for approval is a form not recommended by
4780the American Land Title Association at the time of the filing,
4781the department shall approve or disapprove the form within 1
4782year.
4783     (3)  At the time of the approval of any form, the
4784department shall determine if a rate in effect at that time
4785applies or if the coverages require adoption of a rule pursuant
4786to s. 637.2064.
4787     (4)  The department may revoke approval of any form upon
4788180 days' notice.
4789     (5)  An insurer may not achieve any competitive advantage
4790over any other insurer or agent as to forms.
4791     Section 12.  Section 627.7773, Florida Statutes, is
4792transferred, renumbered as section 637.2059, Florida Statutes,
4793and amended to read:
4794     637.2059 627.7773  Accounting and auditing of forms by
4795title insurers.-
4796     (1)  Each title insurer authorized to do business in this
4797state shall, at least once during each calendar year, require of
4798each of its title insurance agents or agencies accountings of
4799all outstanding forms in the agent's or agency's possession of
4800the types that are specified in s. 637.2058 627.777.
4801     (2)  If the department office has reason to believe that an
4802audit of outstanding forms should be required of any title
4803insurer as to a title insurance agent or agency, the department
4804office may require the title insurer to make a special audit of
4805the forms. The title insurer shall complete the audit not later
4806than 60 days after the request is received from the department
4807office, and shall report the results of the special audit to the
4808department office no later than 90 days after the request is
4809received.
4810     Section 13.  Section 627.7776, Florida Statutes, is
4811transferred, renumbered as section 637.2061, Florida Statutes,
4812and subsection (1) of that section is amended to read:
4813     637.2061 627.7776  Furnishing of supplies; civil
4814liability.-
4815     (1)  A title insurer may not furnish to any person any
4816blank forms, applications, stationery, or other supplies to be
4817used in soliciting, negotiating, or effecting contracts of title
4818insurance on its behalf until that person has received from the
4819insurer a contract to act as a title insurance agent or agency
4820and has been licensed by the department, if required by s.
4821637.3006 626.8417.
4822     Section 14.  Section 627.780, Florida Statutes, is
4823transferred, renumbered as section 637.2063, Florida Statutes,
4824and subsection (1) of that section is amended to read:
4825     637.2063 627.780  Illegal dealings in premium.-
4826     (1)  A person may not knowingly quote, charge, accept,
4827collect, or receive a premium for title insurance other than the
4828premium adopted by the department commission, except as provided
4829in s. 637.1033(7)(b). 626.9541(1)(h)3.b.
4830     Section 15.  Section 637.20635, Florida Statutes, is
4831created to read:
4832     637.20635  Rebating; when allowed.-
4833     (1)  A title insurer, title insurance agency, or title
4834insurance agent may not rebate any portion of the premium
4835except as follows:
4836     (a)  A rebate shall be in accordance with a uniform
4837percentage of the premium established by the insurer issuing
4838the policy to which the rebate applies. Deviations from the
4839approved rebate may not be permitted for any reason, including,
4840but not limited to, the amount of the coverage, the insured,
4841any geographic limitation within this state, or the type of
4842policy.
4843     (b)  Any rebates shall be uniformly applied to all policies
4844of whatever kind issued by or on behalf of the insurer. Each
4845person responsible for paying the premium must receive the same
4846rebate regardless of whether the policy is purchased from a
4847title insurance agent or agency, directly from the title
4848insurer, or from an affiliated company. For purposes of this
4849paragraph, the term "affiliated company" means any company of an
4850affiliated group of corporations as defined in s.
4851637.2039(5)(a)(2).
4852     (c)  The age, sex, place of residence, nationality,
4853ethnic origin, marital status, or occupation of the insured
4854may not be used in determining the amount of the rebate or
4855whether a rebate is available.
4856     (d)  The insurer shall file a copy of the uniform rebate
4857percentage and its effective date quarterly with the
4858department. The insurer may not establish a rebate schedule
4859that has the effect of impairing the financial solvency of the
4860insurer or the title insurance agent or agency. The insurer
4861must obtain department approval of the rebates consistent with
4862s. 637.2064 prior to their implementation.
4863     (2)  A rebate may not be:
4864     (a)  Withheld or limited in amount based on factors that
4865are unfairly discriminatory.
4866     (b)  Given if it is inconsistent with the filed and
4867approved uniform rebate percentage.
4868     (c)  Granted or refused based upon the purchase or failure
4869of the insured to purchase additional services.
4870     Section 16.  Section 627.782, Florida Statutes, is
4871transferred, renumbered as section 637.2064, Florida Statutes,
4872and amended to read:
4873     637.2064 627.782  Adoption of rates.-
4874     (1)  Subject to the rating provisions of this chapter code,
4875the department commission must adopt a rule specifying the
4876premium to be charged in this state by title insurers for the
4877respective types of title insurance contracts and, for policies
4878issued through agents or agencies, the percentage of such
4879premium required to be retained by the title insurer which shall
4880not be less than 30 percent. However, in a transaction subject
4881to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974, 12 U.S.C.
4882ss. 2601 et seq., as amended, no portion of the premium
4883attributable to providing a primary title service shall be paid
4884to or retained by any person who does not actually perform or is
4885not liable for the performance of such service.
4886     (2)  In adopting premium rates, the department commission
4887must give due consideration to the following:
4888     (a)  The title insurers' loss experience and prospective
4889loss experience under closing protection letters and policy
4890liabilities.
4891     (b)  A reasonable margin for underwriting profit and
4892contingencies, including contingent liability under s. 637.2075
4893627.7865, sufficient to allow title insurers, agents, and
4894agencies to earn a rate of return on their capital that will
4895attract and retain adequate capital investment in the title
4896insurance business and maintain an efficient title insurance
4897delivery system.
4898     (c)  Past expenses and prospective expenses for
4899administration and handling of risks.
4900     (d)  Liability for defalcation.
4901     (e)  Other relevant factors.
4902     (3)  Rates may be grouped by classification or schedule and
4903may differ as to class of risk assumed.
4904     (4)  Rates may not be excessive, inadequate, or unfairly
4905discriminatory.
4906     (5)  The premium applies to each $100 of insurance issued
4907to an insured.
4908     (6)  The premium rates apply throughout this state.
4909     (7)  The department commission shall, in accordance with
4910the standards provided in subsection (2), review the premium as
4911needed, but not less frequently than once every 3 years, and
4912shall, based upon the review required by this subsection, revise
4913the premium if the results of the review so warrant.
4914     (8)  The department commission may, by rule, require
4915licensees under this part to annually submit statistical
4916information, including loss and expense data, as the department
4917determines to be necessary to analyze premium rates, retention
4918rates, and the condition of the title insurance industry.
4919     Section 17.  Section 627.783, Florida Statutes, is
4920transferred, renumbered as section 637.2065, Florida Statutes,
4921and amended to read:
4922     637.2065 627.783  Rate deviation.-
4923     (1)  A title insurer may petition the department office for
4924an order authorizing a specific deviation from the adopted
4925premium. The petition shall be in writing and sworn to and shall
4926set forth allegations of fact upon which the petitioner will
4927rely, including the petitioner's reasons for requesting the
4928deviation. Any authorized title insurer, agent, or agency may
4929join in the petition for like authority to deviate or may file a
4930separate petition praying for like authority or opposing the
4931deviation. The department office shall rule on all such
4932petitions simultaneously.
4933     (2)  If, in the judgment of the department office, the
4934requested deviation is not justified, the department office may
4935enter an order denying the petition. An order granting a
4936petition constitutes an amendment to the adopted premium as to
4937the petitioners named in the order, and is subject to s.
4938637.2064 627.782.
4939     Section 18.  Section 627.7831, Florida Statutes, is
4940transferred and renumbered as section 637.2066, Florida
4941Statutes.
4942     Section 19.  Section 627.784, Florida Statutes, is
4943transferred and renumbered as section 637.2067, Florida
4944Statutes.
4945     Section 20.  Section 627.7841, Florida Statutes, is
4946transferred and renumbered as section 637.2068, Florida
4947Statutes.
4948     Section 21.  Section 627.7842, Florida Statutes, is
4949transferred and renumbered as section 637.2069, Florida
4950Statutes.
4951     Section 22.  Section 627.7843, Florida Statutes, is
4952transferred and renumbered as section 637.2071, Florida
4953Statutes.
4954     Section 23.  Section 627.7845, Florida Statutes, is
4955transferred, renumbered as section 637.2072, Florida Statutes,
4956and amended to read:
4957     637.2072 627.7845  Determination of insurability required;
4958preservation of evidence of title search and examination.-
4959     (1)  A title insurer may not issue a title insurance
4960commitment, endorsement, or title insurance policy until the
4961title insurer has caused to be made a determination of
4962insurability based upon the evaluation of a reasonable title
4963search or a search of the records of a Uniform Commercial Code
4964filing department office, as applicable, has examined such other
4965information as may be necessary, and has caused to be made a
4966determination of insurability of title or the existence,
4967attachments, perfection, and priority of a Uniform Commercial
4968Code security interest, including endorsement coverages, in
4969accordance with sound underwriting practices.
4970     (2)  The title insurer shall cause the evidence of the
4971determination of insurability and the reasonable title search or
4972search of the records of a Uniform Commercial Code filing
4973department office to be preserved and retained in its files or
4974in the files of its title insurance agent or agency for a period
4975of not less than 7 years after the title insurance commitment,
4976title insurance policy, or guarantee of title was issued. The
4977title insurer or agent or agency must produce the evidence
4978required to be maintained by this subsection at its departments
4979offices upon the demand of the department office. Instead of
4980retaining the original evidence, the title insurer or the title
4981insurance agent or agency may, in the regular course of
4982business, establish a system under which all or part of the
4983evidence is recorded, copied, or reproduced by any photographic,
4984photostatic, microfilm, microcard, miniature photographic, or
4985other process which accurately reproduces or forms a durable
4986medium for reproducing the original.
4987     (3)  The title insurer or its agent or agency must maintain
4988a record of the actual premium charged for issuance of the
4989policy and any endorsements in its files for a period of not
4990less than 7 years. The title insurer, agent, or agency must
4991produce the record at its department office upon demand of the
4992department office.
4993     (4)  This section does not apply to an insurer assuming no
4994primary liability in a contract of reinsurance or to an insurer
4995acting as a coinsurer if any other coinsuring insurer has
4996complied with this section.
4997     Section 24.  Section 627.785, Florida Statutes, is
4998transferred and renumbered as section 637.2073, Florida
4999Statutes.
5000     Section 25.  Section 627.786, Florida Statutes, is
5001transferred, renumbered as section 637.2074, Florida Statutes,
5002and subsection (3) of that section is amended to read:
5003     637.2074 627.786  Transaction of title insurance and any
5004other kind of insurance prohibited.-
5005     (3)  Subsection (1) does not preclude a title insurer from
5006providing instruments to any prospective insured, in the form
5007and content approved by the department office, under which the
5008title insurer assumes liability for loss due to the fraud of,
5009dishonesty of, misappropriation of funds by, or failure to
5010comply with written closing instructions by, its contract
5011agents, agencies, or approved attorneys in connection with a
5012real property transaction for which the title insurer is to
5013issue a title insurance policy.
5014     Section 26.  Section 627.7865, Florida Statutes, is
5015transferred, renumbered as section 637.2075, Florida Statutes,
5016and amended to read:
5017     637.2075 627.7865  Title insurer assessments.-As a
5018condition of doing business in this state, each title insurer
5019shall be liable for an assessment to pay all unpaid title
5020insurance claims on real property in this state for any title
5021insurer which is liquidated with unpaid outstanding claims. The
5022department office shall assess all title insurers on a pro rata
5023basis determined by their writings in this state for amounts
5024necessary to pay the claims. A title insurer is not required to
5025pay an amount in excess of one-tenth of its surplus as to
5026policyholders.
5027     Section 27.  Section 627.791, Florida Statutes, is
5028transferred, renumbered as section 637.2076, Florida Statutes,
5029and amended to read:
5030     637.2076 627.791  Penalties against title insurers for
5031violations by persons or entities not licensed.-A title insurer
5032is subject to the penalties in ss. 637.2017(2) and 637.2021
5033624.418(2) and 624.4211 for any violation of a lawful order or
5034rule of the department office or commission, or for any
5035violation of this chapter code, committed by:
5036     (1)  A person, firm, association, corporation, cooperative,
5037joint-stock company, or other legal entity not licensed under
5038this part when issuing and countersigning commitments or
5039policies of title insurance on behalf of the title insurer.
5040     (2)  An attorney when issuing and countersigning
5041commitments or policies of title insurance on behalf of the
5042title insurer.
5043     Section 28.  Section 627.792, Florida Statutes, is
5044transferred, renumbered as section 637.2077, Florida Statutes,
5045and amended to read:
5046     637.2077 627.792  Liability of title insurers for
5047defalcation by title insurance agents or agencies.-A title
5048insurer is liable for the defalcation, conversion, or
5049misappropriation by a licensed title insurance agent or agency
5050of funds held in trust by the agent or agency pursuant to s.
5051637.3029 626.8473. If the agent or agency is an agent or agency
5052for two or more title insurers, any liability shall be borne by
5053the title insurer upon which a title insurance commitment or
5054policy was issued prior to the illegal act. If no commitment or
5055policy was issued, each title insurer represented by the agent
5056or agency at the time of the illegal act shares in the liability
5057in the same proportion that the premium remitted to it by the
5058agent or agency during the 1-year period before the illegal act
5059bears to the total premium remitted to all title insurers by the
5060agent or agency during the same time period.
5061     Section 29.  Section 627.793, Florida Statutes, is
5062transferred, renumbered as section 637.2078, Florida Statutes,
5063and amended to read:
5064     637.2078 627.793  Rulemaking authority.-The department
5065commission may adopt rules implementing the provisions of this
5066chapter part.
5067     Section 30.  Section 627.796, Florida Statutes, is
5068transferred and renumbered as section 637.2079, Florida
5069Statutes.
5070     Section 31.  Section 627.797, Florida Statutes, is
5071transferred, renumbered as section 637.2081, Florida Statutes,
5072and subsection (1) of that section is amended to read:
5073     637.2081 627.797  Exempt title insurance agent list.-
5074     (1)  Every insurer shall file with the department a list
5075containing the name and address of each appointed agent who is
5076exempt from licensure under s. 637.3006(4) 626.8417(4) and who
5077issues or countersigns binders, commitments, title insurance
5078policies, or guarantees of title.
5079     Section 32.  Section 627.798, Florida Statutes, is
5080transferred, renumbered as section 637.2082, Florida Statutes,
5081and amended to read:
5082     637.2082 627.798  Rulemaking authority.-The department may
5083commission shall by rule adopt rules implementing the provisions
5084of this part a form to be used to provide notice to a purchaser-
5085mortgagor that the purchaser-mortgagor is not protected by the
5086title policy of the mortgagee.
5087     Section 33.  Sections 637.2083, 637.2084, 637.2085,
5088637.2086, 637.2087, 637.2088, 637.2089, and 637.2091, Florida
5089Statutes, are created to read:
5090     637.2083  Assets not allowed.-In addition to assets
5091impliedly excluded by the provisions of s. 625.012, the
5092following expressly shall not be allowed as assets in any
5093determination of the financial condition of a title insurer:
5094     (1)  Trade names, patents, agreements not to compete, and
5095other like intangible assets.
5096     (2)  Advances (other than policy loans) to officers and
5097directors, whether secured or not, and advances to employees,
5098agents, and other persons on personal security only.
5099     (3)  Stock of such insurer, owned by it, or any material
5100equity therein or loans secured thereby, or any material
5101proportionate interest in such stock acquired or held through
5102the ownership by such insurer of an interest in another firm,
5103corporation, or business unit.
5104     (4)  Furniture, fixtures, furnishings, safes, vehicles,
5105libraries, stationery, literature, and supplies, other than data
5106processing and accounting systems authorized under s.
5107625.012(11), except in the case of title insurers such materials
5108and plants as the insurer is expressly authorized to invest in
5109under s. 637.20073 and except, in the case of any insurer, such
5110personal property as the insurer is permitted to hold pursuant
5111to part II of this chapter, or which is acquired through
5112foreclosure of chattel mortgages acquired pursuant to s.
5113625.329, or which is reasonably necessary for the maintenance
5114and operation of real estate lawfully acquired and held by the
5115insurer other than real estate used by it for home office,
5116branch office, and similar purposes.
5117     (5)  The amount, if any, by which the aggregate book value
5118of investments as carried in the ledger assets of the insurer
5119exceeds the aggregate value thereof as determined under this
5120code.
5121     (6)  Bonds, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness which
5122are secured by mortgages or deeds of trust which are in default.
5123     (7)  Prepaid and deferred expenses.
5124     637.2084  Power to contract; purchase of title insurance by
5125or for minor.-
5126     (1)  Any person of competent legal capacity may contract
5127for title insurance.
5128     (2)  Any minor of the age of 15 years or more, as
5129determined by the nearest birthday, may, notwithstanding his or
5130her minority, contract for title insurance on his or her own
5131property.
5132     (3)  If any minor mentioned in subsection (2) is possessed
5133of an estate that is being administered by a guardian or
5134curator, such contract shall not be binding upon such estate as
5135to payment of premiums, except as and when consented to by the
5136guardian or curator and approved by the probate court of the
5137county in which the administration of the estate is pending; and
5138such consent and approval shall be required as to each premium
5139payment.
5140     637.2085  Charter, bylaw provisions.-A title insurance
5141policy may not contain any provision purporting to make any
5142portion of the charter, bylaws, or other constituent document of
5143the title insurer a part of the contract unless such portion is
5144set forth in full in the policy. Any policy provision in
5145violation of this section is invalid.
5146     637.2086  Execution of policies.-
5147     (1)  Every title insurance policy shall be executed in the
5148name of and on behalf of the insurer by its officer, attorney in
5149fact, employee, or representative duly authorized by the title
5150insurer.
5151     (2)  A facsimile signature of any such executing individual
5152may be used in lieu of an original signature.
5153     (3)  A title insurance contract that is otherwise valid may
5154not be rendered invalid by reason of the apparent execution
5155thereof on behalf of the title insurer by the imprinted
5156facsimile signature of an individual not authorized so to
5157execute as of the date of the policy.
5158     637.2087  Construction of policies.-
5159     (1)  Every title insurance contract shall be construed
5160according to the entirety of its terms and conditions as set
5161forth in the policy and as amplified, extended, or modified by
5162any application therefor or any rider or endorsement thereto.
5163     (2)  If a title insurer or licensee advertises title
5164insurance policy in a language other than English, the
5165advertisements shall not be construed to modify or change the
5166insurance policy written in English. The advertisement must
5167disclose that the policy written in English controls in the
5168event of a dispute and that statements contained in the
5169advertisement do not necessarily, as a result of possible
5170linguistic differences, reflect the contents of the policy
5171written in English. Nothing in this subsection shall affect the
5172provisions of s. 637.1033 relating to misrepresentations and
5173false advertising of insurance policies.
5174     637.2088  Payment of judgment by title insurer; penalty for
5175failure.-
5176     (1)  Every judgment or decree for the recovery of money
5177entered in any of the courts of this state against any
5178authorized title insurer shall be fully satisfied within 60 days
5179after the entry thereof or, in the case of an appeal from such
5180judgment or decree, within 60 days after the affirmance of the
5181same by the appellate court.
5182     (2)  If the judgment or decree is not satisfied as required
5183under subsection (1), and proof of such failure to satisfy is
5184made by filing with the department a certified transcript of the
5185docket of the judgment or decree together with a certificate by
5186the clerk of the court wherein the judgment or decree was
5187entered that the judgment or decree remains unsatisfied, in
5188whole or in part, after the time aforesaid, the department shall
5189forthwith revoke the title insurer's certificate of authority.
5190The department shall not issue to such insurer any new
5191certificate of authority until the judgment or decree is wholly
5192paid and satisfied and proof thereof filed with the department
5193under the official certificate of the clerk of the court wherein
5194the judgment was recovered, showing that the same is satisfied
5195of record, and until the expenses and fees incurred in the case
5196are also paid by the insurer.
5197     637.2089  Attorney's fee.-
5198     (1)  Upon the rendition of a judgment or decree by any of
5199the courts of this state against a title insurer and in favor of
5200any named or omnibus insured or the named beneficiary under a
5201policy or contract executed by the title insurer, the trial
5202court or, in the event of an appeal in which the insured or
5203beneficiary prevails, the appellate court shall adjudge or
5204decree against the title insurer and in favor of the insured or
5205beneficiary a reasonable sum as fees or compensation for the
5206insured's or beneficiary's attorney prosecuting the suit in
5207which the recovery is had.
5208     (2)  When so awarded, compensation or fees of the attorney
5209shall be included in the judgment or decree rendered in the
5210case.
5211     637.2091  Title insurance business exclusive.-
5212     (1)  A domestic title insurer may not engage directly or
5213indirectly in any business other than the title insurance
5214business and business activities reasonably and necessarily
5215incidental to such title insurance business.
5216     (2)  Notwithstanding subsection (1), a title insurer may
5217engage in business as an escrow agent, and any title insurer may
5218also engage in the business of making, acquiring, selling,
5219dealing in, and servicing of real estate mortgage loans and
5220loans incidental thereto.
5221     (3)  A business trust whose declaration of trust was filed
5222with the Secretary of State prior to January 1, 1959, and which,
5223at the time of the adoption of the Florida Insurance Code, held
5224a certificate of authority as a title insurer may qualify as an
5225insurer for lawyers' professional liability insurance by
5226complying with the applicable provisions of the code.
5227     Section 34.  Part III of chapter 637, Florida Statutes,
5228consisting of sections 637.3001, 637.3002, 637.3003, 637.30041,
5229637.30042, 637.30043, 637.30044, 637.30045, 637.30046,
5230637.30047, 637.30048, 637.30049, 637.3005, 637.3006, 637.3007,
5231637.3008, 637.3009, 637.30093, 637.30094, 637.30095, 637.30096,
5232637.30097, 637.3011, 637.3012, 637.30125, 637.3013, 637.30133,
5233637.30135, 637.3014, 637.30142, 637.30143, 637.30144, 637.30145,
5234637.30146, 637.30147, 637.3015, 637.3016, 637.3017, 637.3018,
5235637.3019, 637.3021, 637.3022, 637.3023, 637.3024, 637.3025,
5236637.3026, 637.3027, 637.3028, 637.3029, and 637.30295, is
5237created and entitled "TITLE INSURANCE AGENT AND AGENCY LICENSING
5238AND ADMINISTRATION."
5239     Section 35.  Section 626.8412, Florida Statutes, is
5240transferred, renumbered as section 637.3001, Florida Statutes,
5241and amended to read:
5242     637.3001 626.8412  License and appointments required.-
5243     (1)  Except as otherwise provided in this part:
5244     (a)  Title insurance business may be conducted sold only by
5245a title insurer or a licensed title insurance agent employed by
5246a licensed and appointed title insurance agency or employed by a
5247title insurer.
5248     (b)  A title insurance agent may not provide sell a title
5249insurance policy for issued by an insurer for which the agent
5250and agency does not hold a current appointment.
5251     (2)  Except as otherwise provided in this part, a person,
5252other than a title insurance agency or an employee of a title
5253insurance agency, may not perform any of the functions of a
5254title insurance agency without a title insurance agency license.
5255     (3)  Each title insurance agency shall annually remit the
5256administrative surcharge required in s. 637.2031(14)(e) prior to
5257January 30 of each year.
5258     (a)  Noncompliance with the payment of the fees as required
5259in s. 637.2031(14)(e) shall result in the immediate suspension
5260of the title insurance agency's appointments to represent an
5261insurer.
5262     (b)  Absent other cause for suspension, the appointments of
5263a title insurance agency may be reinstated upon receipt of the
5264amount due for the administrative surcharge plus any penalties
5265imposed.
5266     (c)  A penalty may be imposed to reinstate the appointments
5267of an agency.
5268     Section 36.  Section 626.8413, Florida Statutes, is
5269transferred, renumbered as section 637.3002, Florida Statutes,
5270and amended to read:
5271     637.3002 626.8413  Title insurance agents; certain names
5272prohibited.-After October 1, 1985, A title insurance agent as
5273defined in s. 626.841 shall not adopt a name which contains the
5274words "title insurance," "title guaranty," or "title guarantee,"
5275unless such words are followed by the word "agent" or "agency"
5276in the same size and type as the words preceding them. This
5277section does not apply to a title insurer acting as an agent for
5278another title insurer.
5279     Section 37.  Sections 637.3003, 637.30041, 637.30042,
5280637.30043, 637.30044, 637.30045, 637.30046, 637.30047,
5281637.30048, and 637.30049, Florida Statutes, are created to read:
5282     637.3003  Firm, corporate, and business names; officers;
5283associates; notice of changes.-
5284     (1)  Any licensed title agent doing business under a firm
5285or corporate name or under any business name other than his or
5286her own individual name shall, within 30 days after the initial
5287transaction of insurance under such business name, file with the
5288department, on forms adopted and furnished by the department, a
5289written statement of the firm, corporate, or business name being
5290used, the address of any office or offices or places of business
5291making use of such name, and the name and social security number
5292of each officer and director of the corporation and of each
5293individual associated in such firm or corporation as to the
5294insurance transactions of such firm or corporation or in the
5295use of such business name.
5296     (2)  In the event of any change of such name, a change of
5297any of the officers or directors, a change of any of such
5298addresses, or a change in the personnel associated with such
5299firm or corporation, written notice of such change shall be
5300filed with the department within 30 days by or on behalf of
5301those licensees terminating any such firm, corporation, or
5302business name or continuing to operate under such name.
5303     (3)  Within 30 days after a change, any licensed title
5304insurance agency shall notify the department of any change in
5305the information contained in the application filed pursuant to s.
5306637.3007.
5307     637.30041  Insurance agency names; disapproval.-The
5308department may disapprove the use of any true or fictitious
5309name, other than the bona fide natural name of an individual, by
5310any title insurance agency on any of the following grounds:
5311     (1)  The name interferes with or is too similar to a
5312name already filed and in use by another title insurance agency
5313or title insurer.
5314     (2)  The use of the name may mislead the public in any
5315respect.
5316     (3)  The name states or implies that the title insurance
5317agency is an insurer, motor club, hospital service plan, state
5318or federal agency, charitable organization, or entity that
5319primarily provides advice and counsel rather than sells or
5320solicits title insurance, or is entitled to engage in title
5321insurance activities not permitted under licenses held or
5322applied for. This subsection does not prohibit the use of the
5323word "state" or "states" in the name of the agency. The use of
5324the word "state" or "states" in the name of an agency does not
5325imply that the agency is a state agency.
5326     637.30042  Examination requirement; exemptions.-The
5327department may not issue any license as a title insurance agent
5328to any individual who has not qualified for, taken, and
5329passed to the satisfaction of the department a written
5330examination of the scope prescribed in s. 637.30044.
5331     637.30043  Eligibility; application for examination.-
5332     (1)  A person may not be permitted to take an
5333examination for license until his or her application for
5334examination or application for the license has been approved
5335and the required fees have been received by the department
5336or a person designated by the department to administer the
5337examination.
5338     (2)  A person required to take an examination for a license
5339may be permitted to take an examination prior to submitting an
5340application for licensure pursuant to s. 637.3006 by submitting
5341an application for examination through the department's
5342Internet website. In the application, the applicant shall set
5343forth:
5344     (a)  His or her full name, age, social security number,
5345residence address, business address, and mailing address.
5346     (b)  The type of license that the applicant intends to
5347apply for.
5348     (c)  The name of any required pre-licensing course he or
5349she has completed or is in the process of completing.
5350     (d)  The method by which the applicant intends to qualify
5351for the type of license if other than by completing a pre-
5352licensing course.
5353     (e)  The applicant's gender.
5354     (f)  The applicant's native language.
5355     (g)  The highest level of education achieved by the
5356applicant.
5357     (h)  The applicant's race or ethnicity. However, the
5358application must contain a statement that an applicant is not
5359required to disclose his or her race or ethnicity, gender, or
5360native language, that he or she will not be penalized for not
5361making such disclosure, and that the department will use this
5362information exclusively for research and statistical purposes
5363and to improve the quality and fairness of the examinations.
5364     (3)  Each application shall be accompanied by payment of
5365the applicable examination fee.
5366     637.30044  Scope of examination.-
5367     (1)  Each examination for a license as a title insurance
5368agent, shall be of such scope as is deemed by the department to
5369be reasonably necessary to test the applicant's ability and
5370competence and knowledge of title insurance and real property
5371transactions of the duties and responsibilities of such a
5372licensee, and of the pertinent provisions of the laws of this
5373state.
5374     (2)  Examinations must cover title insurance, abstracting,
5375title searches, examination of title, closing procedures, and
5376escrow handling.
5377     (3)  This section applies to any person who submits an
5378application for license and to any person who submits an
5379application for examination prior to filing an application
5380for license.
5381     637.30045  Time and place of examination; notice.-
5382     (1)  The department or a person designated by the
5383department shall mail written notice of the time and place of
5384the examination to each applicant for examination and each
5385applicant for license required to take an examination who is
5386eligible to take the examination as of the examination date. The
5387notice shall be mailed, postage prepaid, and addressed to the
5388applicant at his or her address shown on the application for
5389license or at such other address as requested by the applicant
5390in writing filed with the department prior to the mailing of the
5391notice. Notice shall be deemed given when mailed.
5392     (2)  The examination shall be held in an adequate and
5393designated examination center in this state.
5394     (3)  The department shall make an examination available to
5395the applicant, to be taken as soon as reasonably possible after
5396the applicant is eligible to take the examination. Any
5397examination required under this part shall be available in this
5398state at a designated examination center.
5399     637.30046  Conduct of examination.-
5400     (1)  The applicant for license or the applicant for
5401examination shall appear in person and personally take the
5402examination for license at the time and place specified by
5403the department or by a person designated by the department.
5404     (2)  The examination shall be conducted by an employee of
5405the department or a person designated by the department for that
5406purpose.
5407     (3)  The questions propounded shall be as prepared by the
5408department, or by a person designated by the department for that
5409purpose, consistent with the applicable provisions of this code.
5410     (4)  All examinations shall be given and graded in a
5411fair and impartial manner and without unfair discrimination in
5412favor of or against any particular applicant.
5413     637.30047  Printing of examinations or related materials to
5414preserve examination security.-A contract let for the
5415development, administration, or grading of examinations or
5416related materials by the department pursuant to the agent,
5417customer representative, or adjuster licensing and examination
5418provisions of this code may include the printing or furnishing
5419of such examinations or related materials in order to preserve
5420security. Any such contract shall be let as a contract for a
5421contractual service pursuant to s. 287.057.
5422     637.30048  Examination fee; determination, refund.-
5423     (1)  Prior to being permitted to take an examination, each
5424applicant who is subject to examination shall pay an examination
5425fee to the department or a person designated by the department.
5426A separate and additional examination fee shall be payable for
5427each separate class of license applied for, notwithstanding that
5428all such examinations are taken on the same date and at the same
5429place.
5430     (2)  The fee for examination is not refundable.
5431     637.30049  Reexamination.-
5432     (1)  Any applicant for license or applicant for examination
5433who has taken an examination and failed to make a passing grade,
5434or failed to appear for the examination or to take or complete
5435the examination at the time and place specified in the
5436notice of the department, may take additional examinations
5437after filing with the department an application for
5438reexamination together with applicable fees. The failure of an
5439applicant to pass an examination or the failure to appear for
5440the examination or to take or complete the examination does not
5441preclude the applicant from taking subsequent examinations.
5442     (2)  The department may require any individual whose
5443license as an agent has expired or has been suspended to pass
5444an examination prior to reinstating or relicensing the
5445individual as to any class of license. The examination fee
5446shall be paid as to each examination.
5447     Section 38.  Section 626.8414, Florida Statutes, is
5448transferred and renumbered as section 637.3005, Florida
5449Statutes.
5450     Section 39.  Section 626.8417, Florida Statutes, is
5451transferred, renumbered as section 637.3006, Florida Statutes,
5452and subsections (1) and (3) of that section are amended to read:
5453     637.3006 626.8417  Title insurance agent licensure;
5454exemptions.-
5455     (1)  A person may not act as or hold himself or herself out
5456to be a title insurance agent as defined in s. 626.841 until a
5457valid title insurance agent's license has been issued to that
5458person by the department.
5459     (3)  The department shall not grant or issue a license as
5460title agent to any individual found by it to be untrustworthy or
5461incompetent, who does not meet the qualifications for
5462examination specified in s. 637.3005 626.8414, or who does not
5463meet the following qualifications:
5464     (a)  Within the 4 years immediately preceding the date of
5465the application for license, the applicant must have completed a
546640-hour classroom course in title insurance, 3 hours of which
5467shall be on the subject matter of ethics, as approved by the
5468department, or must have had at least 12 months of experience in
5469responsible title insurance duties, while working in the title
5470insurance business as a substantially full-time, bona fide
5471employee of a title agency, title agent, title insurer, or
5472attorney who conducts real estate closing transactions and
5473issues title insurance policies but who is exempt from licensure
5474pursuant to paragraph (4)(a). If an applicant's qualifications
5475are based upon the periods of employment at responsible title
5476insurance duties, the applicant must submit, with the
5477application for license on a form prescribed by the department,
5478the affidavit of the applicant and of the employer setting forth
5479the period of such employment, that the employment was
5480substantially full time, and giving a brief abstract of the
5481nature of the duties performed by the applicant.
5482     (b)  The applicant must have passed an any examination for
5483licensure required under s. 626.221.
5484     Section 40.  Section 626.8418, Florida Statutes, is
5485transferred, renumbered as section 637.3007, Florida Statutes,
5486and subsection (1) of that section is amended to read:
5487     637.3007 626.8418  Application for title insurance agency
5488license.-Prior to doing business in this state as a title
5489insurance agency, a title insurance agency must meet all of the
5490following requirements:
5491     (1)  The applicant must file with the department an
5492application for a license as a title insurance agency, on
5493printed forms furnished by the department, that includes all of
5494the following:
5495     (a)  The name of each majority owner, partner, officer, and
5496director of the agency.
5497     (b)  The residence address of each person required to be
5498listed under paragraph (a).
5499     (c)  The name of the agency and its principal business
5500address.
5501     (d)  The location of each title insurance agency office and
5502the name under which each title insurance agency office conducts
5503or will conduct business.
5504     (e)  The name of each title insurance agent to be in full-
5505time charge of a title insurance an agency office and
5506specification of which title insurance agency office.
5507     (f)  Such additional information as the department requires
5508by rule to ascertain the trustworthiness and competence of
5509persons required to be listed on the application and to
5510ascertain that such persons meet the requirements of this
5511chapter code.
5512     Section 41.  Section 626.8419, Florida Statutes, is
5513transferred and renumbered as section 637.3008, Florida
5514Statutes.
5515     Section 42.  Section 626.842, Florida Statutes, is
5516transferred and renumbered as section 637.3009, Florida
5517Statutes.
5518     Section 43.  Sections 637.30093, 637.30094, 637.30095,
5519637.30096, and 637.30097, Florida Statutes, are created to read:
5520     637.30093  Continuing education required; application;
5521exceptions; requirements; penalties.-
5522     (1)  The purpose of this section is to establish
5523requirements and standards for continuing education courses for
5524persons licensed to solicit or sell title insurance in this
5525state.
5526     (2)(a)  Each person subject to the provisions of this
5527section must complete a minimum of 10 hours of continuing
5528education courses every 2 years in title insurance courses
5529approved by this state. Each person subject to the provisions
5530of this section must complete, as part of his or her required
5531number of continuing education hours, 2 hours of continuing
5532education, approved by the department, every 2 years on the
5533subject matter of ethics, rules, or state and federal regulatory
5534compliance matters relating to title insurance and closing
5535services.
5536     (b)  Any person who holds a license as a title agent must
5537complete 10 hours of continuing education courses every 2 years.
5538     (c)  Except as provided in paragraph (d), compliance with
5539continuing education requirements is a condition precedent to
5540the issuance, continuation, reinstatement, or renewal of any
5541appointment subject to this chapter.
5542     (d)  A person teaching any approved course of instruction
5543or lecturing at any approved seminar and attending the entire
5544course or seminar shall qualify for the same number of classroom
5545hours as would be granted to a person taking and successfully
5546completing such course, seminar, or program. Credit shall be
5547limited to the number of hours actually taught unless a person
5548attends the entire course or seminar. Any person who is an
5549official of or employed by any governmental entity in this
5550state and serves as a professor, instructor, or in any other
5551position or office the duties and responsibilities of which are
5552determined by the department to require monitoring and review of
5553insurance laws or insurance regulations and practices shall be
5554exempt from this section.
5555     (e)  Excess classroom hours accumulated during any
5556compliance period may be carried forward to the next compliance
5557period.
5558     (f)  For good cause shown, the department may grant an
5559extension of time during which the requirements imposed by this
5560section may be completed, but such extension of time may not
5561exceed 1 year.
5562     (3)  The following courses may be completed in order to
5563meet the continuing education course requirements:
5564     (a)  In the case of title agents, completion of the
5565Certified Land Closer (CLC) professional designation program
5566and receipt of the designation: 24 hours.
5567     (b)  In the case of title agents, completion of the
5568Certified Land Searcher (CLS) professional designation program
5569and receipt of the designation: 24 hours.
5570     (c)  Any insurance-related course which is approved by the
5571department and taught by an accredited college or university per
5572credit hour granted: 12 hours.
5573     (d)  Any course, including courses relating to agency
5574management or errors and omissions, developed or sponsored by
5575any authorized insurer or recognized agents' association or
5576insurance trade association or any independent study
5577program of instruction, subject to approval by the department,
5578qualifies for the equivalency of the number of classroom hours
5579assigned to such course by the department. However, unless
5580otherwise provided in this section, continuing education
5581course hours may not be credited toward meeting the
5582requirements of this section unless the course is provided
5583by classroom instruction or results in a monitored examination.
5584     (e)  A monitored examination is not required for:
5585     1.  An independent study program of instruction presented
5586through interactive, online technology that the department
5587determines has sufficient internal testing to validate the
5588student's full comprehension of the materials presented; or
5589     2.  An independent study program of instruction presented on
5590paper or in printed material that imposes a final closed book
5591examination that meets the requirements of the department's rule
5592for self-study courses. The examination may be taken without a
5593proctor provided the student presents to the provider a sworn
5594affidavit certifying that the student did not consult any
5595written materials or receive outside assistance of any kind or
5596from any person, directly or indirectly, while taking the
5597examination. If the student is an employee of an agency or
5598corporate entity, the student's supervisor or a manager or
5599owner of the agency or corporate entity must also sign the sworn
5600affidavit. If the student is self-employed, a sole proprietor,
5601or a partner, or if the examination is administered online, the
5602sworn affidavit must also be signed by a disinterested third
5603party. The sworn affidavit must be received by the approved
5604provider prior to reporting continuing education credits to
5605the department.
5606     (f)  Each person or entity sponsoring a course for
5607continuing education credit shall furnish, within 30 days
5608after completion of the course, in a form satisfactory to the
5609department or its designee, a written and certified roster
5610showing the name and license number of all persons
5611successfully completing such course and requesting credit,
5612accompanied by the required fee.
5613     (4)  The department shall refuse to renew the appointment
5614of any agent who has not had his or her continuing education
5615requirements certified unless the agent has been granted an
5616extension by the department. The department may not issue a new
5617appointment of the same or similar type, with any insurer, to an
5618agent who was denied a renewal appointment for failure to
5619complete continuing education as required until the agent
5620completes his or her continuing education requirement.
5621     (5)  An 11-member continuing education advisory board is
5622created, to be appointed by the Chief Financial Officer.
5623Appointments shall be for terms of 4 years. The purpose of the
5624board is to advise the department in determining standards by
5625which courses may be evaluated and categorized as basic,
5626intermediate, or advanced. The board shall submit to the
5627department recommendations of changes needed in such criteria
5628not less frequently than every 2 years. The department shall
5629require all approved course providers to submit courses for
5630approval to the department using the criteria. All materials,
5631brochures, and advertisements related to the approved courses
5632must specify the level assigned to the course.
5633     (6)  The department may contract services relative to the
5634administration of the continuing education program to a private
5635entity. The contract shall be procured as a contract for a
5636contractual service pursuant to s. 287.057.
5637     637.30094  Regulation of continuing education for
5638licensees, course providers, instructors, school officials, and
5639monitor groups.-
5640     (1)  Continuing education course providers, instructors,
5641school officials, and monitor groups must be approved by the
5642department before offering continuing education courses pursuant
5643to s. 637.30093.
5644     (2)  The department shall adopt rules establishing
5645standards for the approval, regulation, and operation of the
5646continuing education programs and for the discipline of
5647licensees, course providers, instructors, school officials, and
5648monitor groups. The standards must be designed to ensure that
5649such course providers, instructors, school officials, and
5650monitor groups have the knowledge, competence, and integrity to
5651fulfill the educational objectives of s. 637.30093.
5652     (3)  The department shall adopt rules establishing a
5653process by which compliance with the continuing education
5654requirements of s. 637.30093 can be determined, the
5655establishment of a continuing education compliance period for
5656licensees, and forms necessary to implement such a process.
5657     637.30095  Regulation of course providers, instructors,
5658school officials, and monitor groups involved in prelicensure
5659education for insurance agents and other licensees.-
5660     (1)  Any course provider, instructor, school official, or
5661monitor group must be approved by and registered with the
5662department before offering prelicensure education courses for
5663insurance agents and other licensees.
5664     (2)  The department shall adopt rules establishing standards
5665for the approval, registration, discipline, or removal from
5666registration of course providers, instructors, school officials,
5667and monitor groups. The standards must be designed to ensure
5668that such persons have the knowledge, competence, and integrity
5669to fulfill the educational objectives of the prelicensure
5670requirements of this chapter and chapter 648 and to ensure that
5671insurance agents and licensees are competent to engage in the
5672activities authorized under the license.
5673     (3)  The department shall adopt rules to establish a
5674process for determining compliance with the prelicensure
5675requirements of this chapter and chapter 648. The department
5676shall adopt rules prescribing the forms necessary to administer
5677the prelicensure requirements.
5678     637.30096  Examination results; denial, issuance of
5679license.-
5680     (1)  Within 30 days after the applicant has completed any
5681examination required under s. 637.30042, the department or its
5682designee shall provide a score report and, if the applicant has
5683received a passing grade, the department shall within such
5684period notify the applicant and issue and transmit the license
5685to which such examination related. If the applicant did not make
5686a passing grade on the examination for a particular license, the
5687department or its designee shall within such period provide
5688notice to the applicant to that effect and of the denial of the
5689license. For an applicant who has completed the examination and
5690received a passing grade prior to submitting the license
5691application, the department shall promptly issue the license
5692applied for as soon as the department approves the application.
5693     (2)  A passing grade on an examination is valid for a
5694period of 1 year. The department may not issue a license to an
5695applicant based upon an examination taken more than 1 year prior
5696to the date an application for a license is filed.
5697     637.30097  Form and contents of licenses in general.-Each
5698license issued by the department shall be in such form as the
5699department may designate and must contain the licensee's name,
5700the licensee's personal identification number, the date of
5701issuance, and any other information the department deems
5702necessary to fully identify the licensee and the authority being
5703granted. The department may by rule require photographs of
5704applicants as a part of the licensing process.
5705     Section 44.  Section 626.84201, Florida Statutes, is
5706transferred, renumbered as section 637.3011, Florida Statutes,
5707and amended to read:
5708     637.3011 626.84201  Nonresident title insurance agents.-
5709Notwithstanding s. 637.3005(2) 626.8414(2), the department, upon
5710application and payment of the fees specified in s. 637.2031
5711624.501, may issue a license as a nonresident title insurance
5712agent to an individual not a resident of this state in the same
5713manner applicable to the licensure of nonresident general lines
5714agents under the provisions of s. 626.741, provided the
5715individual passes the examination for licensure required under
5716s. 637.30042 626.221. Nonresident title insurance agents
5717licensed pursuant to this section must complete the continuing
5718education requirements of s. 637.30093 626.2815 in the same
5719manner as resident title insurance agents. Sections 626.742 and
5720626.743 apply to nonresident title insurance agents.
5721     Section 45.  Section 626.8421, Florida Statutes, is
5722transferred, renumbered as section 637.3012, Florida Statutes,
5723and amended to read:
5724     637.3012 626.8421  Number of appointments permitted or
5725required.-A title agent shall be required to have a separate
5726appointment as to each insurer by which he or she is appointed
5727as agent. As a part of each appointment there shall be a
5728certified statement or affidavit of an appropriate officer or
5729official of the appointing insurer stating that to the best of
5730the insurer's knowledge and belief the applicant, or its
5731principals in the case of a corporation or other legal entity,
5732has met the requirements of s. 637.3006 626.8417.
5733     Section 46.  Section 637.30125, Florida Statutes, is
5734created to read:
5735     637.30125  Agent in charge.-
5736     (1)  Each location of a title insurance agency or insurer
5737at which primary title services as defined in s. 637.1004 are
5738performed shall have a separate agent in charge. The failure
5739to designate an agent in charge on a form prescribed by the
5740department, within 10 working days after an agency's inception
5741or a change of the agent in charge, is a violation of this
5742chapter, punishable as provided in s. 637.3018.
5743     (2)  The agent in charge shall accept and be responsible
5744for the overall operation and management of a title agency
5745location. The agent in charge's responsibilities may include,
5746but shall not be limited to, hiring and supervising all
5747individuals within the location, whether the individuals deal
5748with the public in the solicitation or negotiation of title
5749insurance contracts or in the collection or accounting of
5750moneys.
5751     (3)  An individual must be physically located on a full-
5752time basis in the same agency office in order to be the agent in
5753charge of that agency office, and an individual may be
5754designated as the agent in charge for only one licensed agency
5755at a single physical location.
5756     (4)  The department may suspend or revoke the license of
5757the owner, operator, and agent in charge if a title insurance
5758agency employs, contracts with, or uses the services of a
5759person who has had a license denied or whose license is
5760currently suspended or revoked. However, a person who has been
5761denied a license for failure to pass a required examination
5762may be employed to perform clerical or administrative functions
5763for which licensure is not required.
5764     (5)  An agency that has an attorney that is in charge of
5765the agency shall designate that attorney to be in charge of only
5766one location of a single licensed title agency.
5767     (6)  The department may adopt rules pursuant to ss.
5768120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement this section and interpret
5769the duties and responsibilities of the agent in charge or the
5770attorney in charge of a licensed title insurance agency.
5771     Section 47.  Section 626.8423, Florida Statutes, is
5772transferred and renumbered as section 637.3013, Florida
5773Statutes.
5774     Section 48.  Section 637.30133, Florida Statutes, is
5775created to read:
5776     637.30133  Consumer protections.-To transact title
5777insurance, title insurance agents shall comply with consumer
5778protection laws, including the following, as applicable:
5779     (1)  Continuing education requirements for resident and
5780nonresident agents, as required in s. 637.30093.
5781     (2)  Fingerprinting requirements for resident and
5782nonresident agents, as required under s. 626.171 or s.
5783637.30135.
5784     (3)  Fingerprinting following a department investigation
5785under s. 637.1019.
5786     (4)  The submission of credit and character reports, as
5787required by s. 626.171 or s. 626.521.
5788     (5)  Qualifications for licensure as an agent in s.
5789626.731, s. 626.741, s. 626.785, s. 626.831, s. 626.835, or s.
57906378.2077.
5791     (6)  Examination requirements in s. 626.741, s. 626.835,
5792637.2077, or s. 637.30042.
5793     (7)  Required licensure or registration of insurance
5794agencies under s. 626.112.
5795     (8)  Requirements for licensure of resident and
5796nonresident agents in s. 626.112, s. 626.321, s. 626.731, s.
5797626.741, s. 626.785, s. 626.831, s. 626.835, s. 626.927, or s.
5798637.2077.
5799     (9)  Any other licensing requirement, restriction, or
5800prohibition designated a consumer protection by the Chief
5801Financial Officer, but not inconsistent with the requirements of
5802Subtitle C of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, 15 U.S.C.A. ss. 6751
5803et seq.
5804     Section 49.  Section 637.30135, Florida Statutes, is
5805created to read:
5806     637.30135  Fingerprinting requirements.-If there is a
5807change in ownership or control of any entity licensed under this
5808chapter, or if a new partner, officer, or director is employed
5809or appointed, a set of fingerprints of the new owner, partner,
5810officer, or director must be filed with the department or office
5811within 30 days after the change. The acquisition of 10 percent
5812or more of the voting securities of a licensed entity is
5813considered a change of ownership or control. The fingerprints
5814must be taken by a law enforcement agency or other
5815department-approved entity and be accompanied by the
5816fingerprint processing fee in s. 637.2031.
5817     Section 50.  Section 626.8427, Florida Statutes, is
5818transferred and renumbered as section 637.3014, Florida
5819Statutes.
5820     Section 51.  Sections 637.30142, 637.30143, 637.30144,
5821637.30145, 637.30146, and 637.30147, Florida Statutes, are
5822created to read:
5823     637.30142  Payment of fees, taxes for appointment period
5824without appointment.-
5825     (1)  All initial appointments shall be submitted to the
5826department on a monthly basis no later than 45 days after the
5827date of appointment and shall become effective on the date
5828requested on the appointment form.
5829     (2)  Upon application and qualification for an initial or
5830renewal appointment and such investigation as the department may
5831make, if it appears to the department that an individual who was
5832formerly licensed or is currently licensed but not properly
5833appointed to represent an insurer or employer and who has
5834been actively engaged or is currently actively engaged as such
5835an appointee, but without being appointed as required, the
5836department, if it finds that such failure to be appointed was an
5837inadvertent error on the part of the insurer or employer so
5838represented, may issue or authorize the issuance of the
5839appointment as applied for but subject to the condition that,
5840before the appointment is issued, all fees and taxes which
5841would have been due had the applicant been so appointed during
5842such current and prior periods, with applicable fees pursuant to
5843s. 637.2031 for such current and prior periods of appointment,
5844shall be paid to the department.
5845     (3)(a)  Failure to notify the department within the
5846required time period shall result in the appointing entity being
5847assessed a delinquent fee of $250 per appointee. Delinquent fees
5848shall be paid by the appointing entity and may not be charged to
5849the appointee.
5850     (b)  Failure to timely renew an appointment by an
5851appointing entity prior to the expiration date of the
5852appointment shall result in the appointing entity being assessed
5853late filing, continuation, and reinstatement fees as prescribed
5854in s. 637.2031. Such fees shall be paid by the appointing entity
5855and may not be charged back to the appointee.
5856     637.30143  License or appointment; transferability.-A
5857license or appointment issued under this part is valid only as
5858to the person named and is not transferable to any other
5859person. A licensee or appointee may not allow any other
5860person to transact insurance by using the license or
5861appointment issued to such licensee or appointee.
5862     637.30144  Termination of appointment.-
5863     (1)  Subject to an appointee's contract rights, an
5864appointing entity may terminate its appointment of any appointee
5865at any time. Except when termination is upon a ground which
5866would subject the appointee to suspension or revocation of his
5867or her license and appointment under s. 637.3017 or s. 637.3018,
5868and except as provided by contract between the appointing entity
5869and the appointee, the appointing entity shall give to the
5870appointee at least 60 days' advance written notice of its
5871intention to terminate such appointment by delivery of such
5872notice to the appointee in person or by mailing the notice,
5873postage prepaid, addressed to the appointee at his or her last
5874address of record with the appointing entity. Notice so mailed
5875shall be deemed to have been given when deposited in a United
5876States Postal Service mail depository.
5877     (2)  Within 30 days after terminating the appointment
5878of an appointee, other than as to an appointment terminated by
5879the appointing entity's failure to continue or renew the
5880appointment, the appointing entity shall file with the
5881department a written notice of the termination, together with
5882a statement that the appointing entity has given the
5883appointee notice of the termination as provided in subsection
5884(1) and shall file with the department the reasons and facts
5885involved in such termination as required under s. 637.30145.
5886     (3)  Upon termination of the appointment of an appointee by
5887failure to renew or continue the appointment, the appointing
5888entity shall:
5889     (a)  File with the department the information required
5890under s. 637.30145.
5891     (b)  Subject to the exceptions provided under subsection
5892(1), continue the outstanding contracts transacted by an agent
5893until the expiration date or anniversary date when the policy is
5894a continuous policy with no expiration date. This paragraph
5895shall not be construed to prohibit the cancellation of such
5896contracts when not otherwise prohibited by law.
5897     (4)  An appointee may terminate the appointment at any
5898time by giving written or electronic notice of such termination
5899to the appointing entity, department, or person designated by the
5900department to administer the appointment process. The department
5901shall immediately terminate the appointment and notify the
5902appointing entity of such termination. Such termination shall be
5903subject to the appointee's contract rights, if any.
5904     (5)  Upon receiving a notice of termination, the department
5905or person designated by the department to administer the
5906appointment process shall terminate the appointment.
5907     637.30145  Reasons for termination.-
5908     (1)  Any insurer terminating the appointment of an agent or
5909managing general agent, whether such termination is by direct
5910action of the appointing insurer, agent, or employer or by
5911failure to renew or continue the appointment, shall file with
5912the department or office a statement of the reasons, if any, for
5913such termination and the facts relative to such termination. In
5914the case of a termination of the appointment of an agent, such
5915information may be filed by the insurer or by the general agent
5916of the insurer.
5917     (2)  In the case of terminations by failure to renew or
5918continue the appointment, the information required under
5919subsection (1) shall be filed with the department or office
5920within 30 days after the date notice of intention not to renew
5921or continue was filed with the department or office as required
5922by this chapter. In all other cases, the information required
5923under subsection (1) shall be filed with the department or
5924office within 10 days after notice of the termination was filed
5925with the department or office.
5926     637.30146  Delinquent agencies; notice of trusteeship.-If
5927any agent or agency becomes delinquent for 90 days in payment of
5928accounts owing to the insurer or insurers represented by the
5929agent or agency and a trusteeship or similar arrangement for the
5930administration of the affairs of the agent or agency is
5931instituted, the insurer or insurers involved in such trusteeship
5932or arrangement shall immediately give written notice of such
5933trusteeship or arrangement to the department. The notice shall
5934state the name and address of each such agent, the circumstances
5935and estimated amount of delinquency, and such other information
5936as the insurer deems pertinent or as the department may
5937reasonably require.
5938     637.30147  Procedure for refusal, suspension, or revocation
5939of license.-If any licensee is convicted of a violation of
5940this code or a felony, the licenses and appointments of such
5941person shall be immediately revoked by the department. The
5942licensee may subsequently request a hearing pursuant to ss.
5943120.569 and 120.57, and the department shall expedite any such
5944requested hearing. The sole issue at such hearing shall be
5945whether the revocation should be rescinded because such person
5946was not in fact convicted of a violation of this code or a
5947felony.
5948     Section 52.  Section 626.843, Florida Statutes, is
5949transferred, renumbered as section 637.3015, Florida Statutes,
5950and amended to read:
5951     637.3015 626.843  Renewal, continuation, reinstatement,
5952termination of title insurance agent's appointment.-
5953     (1)  The appointment of a title insurance agent shall
5954continue in force until suspended, revoked, or otherwise
5955terminated, but subject to a renewed request filed by the
5956insurer every 24 months after the original issue date of the
5957appointment, accompanied by payment of the renewal appointment
5958fee and taxes as prescribed in s. 637.2031 624.501.
5959     (2)(a)  Renewal of an appointment that is received by the
5960department or person designated by the department to administer
5961the appointment process prior to the expiration of an
5962appointment in the licensee's birth month or license issue date,
5963whichever applies, may be renewed by the department without
5964penalty and shall be effective as of the first day of the month
5965succeeding the month in which the appointment would have
5966expired.
5967     (b)  Renewal of an appointment that is received by the
5968department or person designated by the department to administer
5969the appointment process after the renewal date may be accepted
5970and effectuated by the department in its discretion if the
5971appointment, late filing, continuation, and reinstatement fee
5972accompanies the renewal request pursuant to s. 637.2031. Late
5973filing fees shall be paid by the appointing entity and may not
5974be charged to the appointee Title insurance agent appointments
5975shall be renewed pursuant to s. 626.381 for insurance
5976representatives in general.
5977     (3)  The appointment issued shall remain in effect for so
5978long as the appointment represented thereby continues in force
5979as provided in this section.
5980     Section 53.  Section 626.8433, Florida Statutes, is
5981transferred and renumbered as section 637.3016, Florida
5982Statutes.
5983     Section 54.  Section 626.8437, Florida Statutes, is
5984transferred, renumbered as section 637.3017, Florida Statutes,
5985and amended to read:
5986     637.3017 626.8437  Grounds for denial, suspension,
5987revocation, or refusal to renew license or appointment.-
5988     (1)  The department shall deny, suspend, revoke, or refuse
5989to renew or continue the license or appointment of any title
5990insurance agent or agency, and it shall suspend or revoke the
5991eligibility to hold a license or appointment of such person, if
5992it finds that as to the applicant, licensee, appointee, or any
5993principal thereof, any one or more of the following grounds
5994exist:
5995     (a)(1)  Lack of one or more of the qualifications for the
5996license or appointment as specified in ss. 637.3006, 637.3007,
5997and 637.3008 626.8417, 626.8418, and 626.8419.
5998     (b)(2)  Material misstatement, misrepresentation, or fraud
5999in obtaining, or attempting to obtain, the license or
6000appointment.
6001     (c)(3)  Willful misrepresentation of any title insurance
6002policy, guarantee of title, binder, or commitment, or willful
6003deception with regard to any such policy, guarantee, binder, or
6004commitment, done either in person or by any form of
6005dissemination of information or advertising.
6006     (d)(4)  Demonstrated lack of fitness or trustworthiness to
6007represent a title insurer in the issuance of its commitments,
6008binders, policies of title insurance, or guarantees of title.
6009     (e)(5)  Demonstrated lack of reasonably adequate knowledge
6010and technical competence to engage in the transactions
6011authorized by the license or appointment.
6012     (f)(6)  Fraudulent or dishonest practices in the conduct of
6013business under the license or appointment.
6014     (g)(7)  Misappropriation, conversion, or unlawful
6015withholding of moneys belonging to title insurers or insureds or
6016others and received in conduct of business under the license or
6017appointment.
6018     (h)(8)  Unlawful rebating, or attempting to unlawfully
6019rebate, or unlawfully dividing, or offering to unlawfully
6020divide, title insurance premiums, fees, or charges with another,
6021as prohibited by s. 637.1033(7)(b). 626.9541(1)(h)3.
6022     (i)(9)  Willful failure to comply with, or willful
6023violation of, any proper order or rule of the department or
6024willful violation of any provision of this act.
6025     (j)(10)  The licensee if an individual, or the partners if
6026a partnership, or owner if a sole proprietorship, or the
6027officers if a corporation, having been found guilty of or having
6028pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or a crime
6029punishable by imprisonment of 1 year or more under the law of
6030the United States or of any state or under the law of any other
6031country which involves moral turpitude, without regard to
6032whether a judgment of conviction has been entered by the court
6033having jurisdiction of such cases.
6034     (k)  Failure to timely submit data as required by the
6035department.
6036     (2)  Upon receipt of an information or indictment, the
6037department shall immediately temporarily suspend any license or
6038appointment issued under this chapter when the licensee has been
6039convicted of an insurance or financial-related felony or a crime
6040involving moral turpitude or a crime punishable by imprisonment
6041of 1 year or more under the law of any state, territory, or
6042country. Such suspension shall continue if the licensee has been
6043found guilty of, or has pleaded guilty or no contest to, the
6044crime, whether or not a judgment or conviction has been entered,
6045during a pending appeal. A person may not affect any additional
6046insurance after suspension of his or her license or appointment.
6047However, he or she may service the policies effected prior to
6048such suspension.
6049     Section 55.  Section 626.844, Florida Statutes, is
6050transferred, renumbered as section 637.3018, Florida Statutes,
6051and amended to read:
6052     637.3018 626.844  Grounds for discretionary refusal,
6053suspension, or revocation of license or appointment.-The
6054department may, in its discretion, deny, suspend, revoke, or
6055refuse to renew or continue the license or appointment of any
6056title insurance agent or agency, and it may suspend or revoke
6057the eligibility to hold a license or appointment of any such
6058title insurance agent or agency if it finds that as to the
6059applicant or licensee or appointee, or any principal thereof,
6060any one or more of the following grounds exist under
6061circumstances for which such denial, suspension, revocation, or
6062refusal is not mandatory under s. 637.3017 626.8437:
6063     (1)  Any cause for which issuance of the license or
6064appointment could have been refused had it then existed and been
6065known to the department.
6066     (2)  Violation of any provision of this act in the course
6067of dealing under the license or appointment.
6068     (3)  Violation of any lawful order or rule of the
6069department.
6070     (4)  Failure or refusal upon demand to pay over to any
6071title insurer that the appointee represents or has represented
6072any money coming into the hands of such appointee and belonging
6073to the title insurer.
6074     (5)  Engaging in unfair methods of competition or in unfair
6075or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of business, as
6076prohibited under part IX of this chapter, or having otherwise
6077shown himself or herself to be a source of injury or loss to the
6078public or to be detrimental to the public interest.
6079     (6)  The licensee if an individual, or the partners if a
6080partnership, or owner if a sole proprietorship, or the officers
6081if a corporation, having been found guilty of or having pleaded
6082guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or a crime punishable by
6083imprisonment of 1 year or more under the law of the United
6084States or of any state or under the law of any other country,
6085without regard to whether a judgment of conviction has been
6086entered by the court having jurisdiction of such cases.
6087     (7)  Failure or refusal upon demand by any title insurer
6088that the appointee represents or has represented to pay any
6089money coming into the hands of such appointee and belonging to
6090the title insurer.
6091     (8)  Failure to maintain the insurer's portion of the
6092premium in escrow.
6093     (9)  Fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit in any title
6094insurance transaction.
6095     (10)  Failure to comply with s. 637.3029.
6096     (11)  Failure to account or deliver to any person any
6097property that has come into the agency's hands and that is not
6098the agency's property or that the agency is not in law or equity
6099entitled to retain, under the circumstances and at the time that
6100has been agreed upon or is required by law or, in the absence of
6101a fixed time, upon demand of the person entitled to such
6102accounting and delivery absent a good faith dispute, lack of
6103mutual instructions, or doubt about entitlement thereto.
6104     (12)  Failure to disburse escrow funds in accordance with
6105agreements signed by the seller and the buyer absent a good
6106faith dispute or lack of mutual instructions from the buyer and
6107seller about entitlement thereto.
6108     (13)  Acting as or holding himself or herself out to be a
6109title insurance agent or title insurance agency without a
6110current, active license issued by the Department of Financial
6111Services.
6112     (14)  Providing a closing protection letter, title
6113insurance commitment, or title insurance policy for an insurer
6114that the licensee is not actively appointed to represent.
6115     (15)  Failure to maintain, preserve, and keep available for
6116examination all books, accounts, or other documents required by
6117ss. 637.30044-637.3015 and s. 637.3029 and the rules of the
6118department.
6119     (16)  Failure to allow an investigation or examination of
6120books and records by the department.
6121     (17)  Adding any amount to the charges of other providers
6122of service in a real estate transaction without adding value to
6123the services provided.
6124     (18)  Failure to timely deliver the property deed,
6125mortgage, and other documents related to a closing transaction
6126with the appropriate recording authority.
6127     (19)  Failure to timely deliver the escrow funds to the
6128appropriate entity or to the state if the owner is unable to be
6129located pursuant to chapter 717.
6130     Section 56.  Section 626.8443, Florida Statutes, is
6131transferred, renumbered as section 637.3019, Florida Statutes,
6132and subsection (4) of that section is amended to read:
6133     637.3019 626.8443  Duration of suspension or revocation.-
6134     (4)  During the period of suspension or after revocation of
6135the license and appointment, the former licensee shall not
6136engage in or attempt to profess to engage in any transaction or
6137business for which a license or appointment is required under
6138this chapter code or directly or indirectly own, control, or be
6139employed in any manner by any title insurance agent or title
6140insurance agency or adjuster or adjusting firm.
6141     Section 57.  Section 626.8447, Florida Statutes, is
6142transferred and renumbered as section 637.3021, Florida
6143Statutes.
6144     Section 58.  Section 626.845, Florida Statutes, is
6145transferred and renumbered as section 637.3022, Florida
6146Statutes.
6147     Section 59.  Section 626.8453, Florida Statutes, is
6148transferred, renumbered as section 637.3023, Florida Statutes,
6149and amended to read:
6150     637.3023 626.8453  Penalty for violation.-A person who
6151knowingly makes a false or otherwise fraudulent application for
6152a license or appointment under this act, or who knowingly
6153violates any provision of s. 637.2032 624.5015, ss. 637.3006-
6154637.3029 626.8417-626.847, or s. 637.2076 627.791, in addition
6155to any applicable denial, suspension, revocation, or refusal to
6156renew or continue any license or appointment, commits a
6157misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s.
6158775.082 or s. 775.083. Each instance of violation shall be
6159considered a separate offense.
6160     Section 60.  Section 626.8457, Florida Statutes, is
6161transferred and renumbered as section 637.3024, Florida
6162Statutes.
6163     Section 61.  Section 626.846, Florida Statutes, is
6164transferred, renumbered as section 637.3025, Florida Statutes,
6165and subsection (1) of that section is amended to read:
6166     637.3025 626.846  Probation.-
6167     (1)  If the department finds that one or more grounds exist
6168for the suspension of, revocation of, or refusal to renew or
6169continue any license or appointment issued under this act, the
6170department may, except when an administrative fine is not
6171permissible under s. 637.3024 626.8457 or when such suspension,
6172revocation, or refusal is mandatory, in lieu of such suspension,
6173revocation, or refusal, or in connection with any administrative
6174monetary penalty imposed under s. 637.3024 626.8457, place the
6175offending licensee or appointee on probation for a period not to
6176exceed 2 years, as specified by the department in its order.
6177     Section 62.  Section 626.8463, Florida Statutes, is
6178transferred, renumbered as section 637.3026, Florida Statutes,
6179and subsection (1) of that section is amended to read:
6180     637.3026 626.8463  Witnesses and evidence.-
6181     (1)  As to the subject of any examination, investigation,
6182or hearing being conducted by him or her under s. 637.2032, s.
6183637.2076, or 624.5015, ss. 637.3006-637.3029 626.8417-626.847,
6184or s. 627.791, an examiner appointed by the department or office
6185may administer oaths, examine and cross-examine witnesses, and
6186receive oral and documentary evidence and shall have the power
6187to subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance and testimony,
6188and require by subpoena the production of books, papers,
6189records, files, correspondence, documents, or other evidence
6190which the examiner deems relevant to the inquiry.
6191     Section 63.  Section 626.8467, Florida Statutes, is
6192transferred, renumbered as section 637.3027, Florida Statutes,
6193and amended to read:
6194     637.3027 626.8467  Testimony compelled; immunity from
6195prosecution.-
6196     (1)  If a person asks to be excused from attending or
6197testifying or from producing any books, papers, records,
6198contracts, documents, or other evidence in connection with any
6199examination, hearing, or investigation being conducted under s.
6200637.2032, s. 637.2076, or 624.5015, ss. 637.3006-637.3029
6201626.8417-626.847, or s. 627.791 by the department or office or
6202its examiner on the ground that the testimony or evidence
6203required of the person may tend to incriminate him or her or
6204subject him or her to a penalty or forfeiture and
6205notwithstanding is directed to give such testimony or produce
6206such evidence, the person must, if so directed by the Department
6207of Financial Services and the Department of Legal Affairs or by
6208the department office and the Department of Legal Affairs,
6209nonetheless comply with such direction, but he or she shall not
6210thereafter be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or
6211forfeiture for or on account of any transaction, matter, or
6212thing concerning which he or she may have so testified or
6213produced evidence, and no testimony so given or evidence
6214produced shall be received against the person upon any criminal
6215action, investigation, or proceeding. However, a person so
6216testifying shall not be exempt from prosecution or punishment
6217for any perjury committed by him or her in such testimony, and
6218the testimony or evidence so given or produced shall be
6219admissible against him or her upon any criminal action,
6220investigation, or proceeding concerning such perjury; and such
6221person shall not be exempt from the refusal, suspension, or
6222revocation of any license or appointment, permission, or
6223authority conferred or to be conferred pursuant to s. 637.2032,
6224s. 637.2076, or 624.5015, ss. 637.3006-637.3029 626.8417-
6225626.847, or s. 627.791.
6226     (2)  Any such person may execute, acknowledge, and file
6227with the department of Financial Services or the office, as
6228appropriate, a statement expressly waiving such immunity or
6229privilege with respect to any transaction, matter, or thing
6230specified in the statement, and thereupon the testimony of such
6231person or such evidence in relation to such transaction, matter,
6232or thing may be received or produced before any judge or
6233justice, court, tribunal, or grand jury or otherwise and, if so
6234received or produced, such person shall not be entitled to any
6235immunity or privilege on account of any testimony he or she may
6236so give or evidence so produced.
6237     Section 64.  Section 626.847, Florida Statutes, is
6238transferred, renumbered as section 637.3028, Florida Statutes,
6239and amended to read:
6240     637.3028 626.847  Penalty for refusal to testify.-A person
6241who refuses or fails, without lawful cause, to testify relative
6242to the affairs of any title insurer or other person when
6243subpoenaed under s. 637.3026 626.8463 and requested by the
6244department or office to so testify is guilty of a misdemeanor of
6245the second degree and, upon conviction, is punishable as
6246provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
6247     Section 65.  Section 626.8473, Florida Statutes, is
6248transferred, renumbered as section 637.3029, Florida Statutes,
6249and subsections (1) and (6) of that section are amended to read:
6250     637.3029 626.8473  Escrow; trust fund.-
6251     (1)  A title insurance agent may engage in business as an
6252escrow agent as to funds received from others to be subsequently
6253disbursed by the title insurance agent in connection with real
6254estate closing transactions involving the issuance of title
6255insurance binders, commitments, policies of title insurance, or
6256guarantees of title, provided that a licensed and appointed
6257title insurance agent complies with the requirements of s.
6258637.3006 626.8417, including such requirements added after the
6259initial licensure of the agent.
6260     (6)  In the event that the department adopts promulgates
6261rules necessary to implement the requirements of this section
6262pursuant to s. 637.1007 624.308, the department shall consider
6263reasonable standards necessary for the protection of funds held
6264in trust, including, but not limited to, standards for
6265accounting of funds, standards for receipt and disbursement of
6266funds, and protection for the person or persons to whom the
6267funds are to be disbursed.
6268     Section 66.  Section 637.30295, Florida Statutes, is
6269created to read:
6270     637.30295  Collection of title insurance information.-Each
6271title insurance agency licensed to do business in this state and
6272each insurer doing direct, retail, or affiliated business in
6273this state shall maintain and submit information, including
6274revenue, loss, and expense data, as the department determines to
6275be necessary to assist in the analysis of title insurance premium
6276rates, title search costs, and the condition of the title
6277insurance industry in this state. This information must be
6278transmitted to the department no later than March 31 of each
6279year following the reporting year. The department shall adopt
6280rules to assist in the collection and analysis of the data from
6281the title insurance industry.
6282     Section 67.  Paragraphs (a), (e), and (f) of subsection (1)
6283of section 624.5105, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
6284     624.5105  Community contribution tax credit; authorization;
6285limitations; eligibility and application requirements;
6286administration; definitions; expiration.-
6287     (1)  AUTHORIZATION TO GRANT TAX CREDITS; LIMITATIONS.-
6288     (a)  There shall be allowed a credit of 50 percent of a
6289community contribution against any tax due for a calendar year
6290under s. 624.509, or s. 624.510, or s. 637.2039.
6291     (e)  If the credit granted pursuant to this section is not
6292fully used in any one year because of insufficient tax liability
6293on the part of the insurer, the unused amount may be carried
6294forward for a period not to exceed 5 years. The carryover credit
6295may be used in a subsequent year when the tax imposed by s.
6296624.509, or s. 624.510, or 637.2039 for such year exceeds the
6297credit under this section for such year.
6298     (f)  An insurer that claims a credit against premium-tax
6299liability earned by making a community contribution under this
6300section need not pay any additional retaliatory tax levied under
6301s. 624.5091 or s. 637.2041 as a result of claiming such a
6302credit. Section 624.5091 or s. 637.2041 does not limit such a
6303credit in any manner.
6304     Section 68.  Subsection (1) of section 624.5107, Florida
6305Statutes, is amended to read:
6306     624.5107  Child care tax credits.-
6307     (1)  If the credit granted under this section is not fully
6308used in any one year because of insufficient tax liability on
6309the part of the insurer, the unused amount may be carried
6310forward for a period not to exceed 5 years. The carryover credit
6311may be used in a subsequent year when the tax imposed by s.
6312624.509, or s. 624.510, or s. 637.2039 for that year exceeds the
6313credit for which the insurer is eligible in that year under this
6314section.
6315     Section 69.  Transfers; rules; powers; regulatory
6316authority; orders.-
6317     (1)  Effective July 1, 2010, the rules of the Financial
6318Services Commission and the Office of Insurance Regulation with
6319respect to the regulation of title insurance shall become the
6320rules of the Department of Financial Services and shall remain
6321in effect until specifically amended or repealed in the manner
6322provided by law.
6323     (2)(a)  All of the statutory powers, duties and functions,
6324records, personnel, property, and unexpended balances of
6325appropriations, allocations, or other funds for the
6326administration of chapter 624, Florida Statutes, related to
6327title insurance, shall be transferred by a type two transfer, as
6328defined in s. 20.06(2), Florida Statutes, from the Financial
6329Services Commission and the Office of Insurance Regulation to
6330the Department of Financial Services.
6331     (b)  All of the statutory powers, duties and functions,
6332records, personnel, property, and unexpended balances of
6333appropriations, allocations, or other funds for the
6334administration of chapter 626, Florida Statutes, related to
6335title insurance, shall be transferred by a type two transfer, as
6336defined in s. 20.06(2), Florida Statutes, from the Financial
6337Services Commission and the Office of Insurance Regulation to
6338the Department of Financial Services.
6339     (c)  All of the statutory powers, duties and functions,
6340records, personnel, property, and unexpended balances of
6341appropriations, allocations, or other funds for the
6342administration of chapter 627, Florida Statutes, related to
6343title insurance, shall be transferred by a type two transfer, as
6344defined in s. 20.06(2), Florida Statutes, from the Financial
6345Services Commission and the Office of Insurance Regulation to
6346the Department of Financial Services.
6347     (3)(a)  The transfer of regulatory authority under chapter
6348624, Florida Statutes, provided by this act shall not affect the
6349validity of any judicial or administrative action relating to
6350title insurance pending as of 11:59 p.m. on the day before the
6351effective date of this act, to which action the Financial
6352Services Commission or the Office of Insurance Regulation are at
6353that time parties, and the Department of Financial Services
6354shall be substituted as a party in interest in any such action.
6355     (b)  The transfer of regulatory authority under chapter
6356626, Florida Statutes, provided by this act shall not affect the
6357validity of any judicial or administrative action relating to
6358title insurance pending as of 11:59 p.m. on the day before the
6359effective date of this act, to which action the Financial
6360Services Commission or the Office of Insurance Regulation are at
6361that time parties, and the Department of Financial Services
6362shall be substituted as a party in interest in any such action.
6363     (c)  The transfer of regulatory authority under chapter
6364627, Florida Statutes, provided by this act shall not affect the
6365validity of any judicial or administrative action relating to
6366title insurance pending as of 11:59 p.m. on the day before the
6367effective date of this act, to which action the Financial
6368Services Commission or the Office of Insurance Regulation are at
6369that time parties, and the Department of Financial Services
6370shall be substituted as a party in interest in any such action.
6371     (4)(a)  All lawful orders issued by the Financial Services
6372Commission or the Office of Insurance Regulation implementing or
6373enforcing or otherwise in regard to any provision of chapter
6374624, Florida Statutes, relating to title insurance, issued prior
6375to the effective date of this act, shall remain in effect and be
6376enforceable after the effective date of this act, unless
6377thereafter modified in accordance with law.
6378     (b)  All lawful orders issued by the Financial Services
6379Commission or the Office of Insurance Regulation, implementing
6380or enforcing or otherwise in regard to any provision of chapter
6381626, Florida Statutes, relating to title insurance, issued prior
6382to the effective date of this act, shall remain in effect and be
6383enforceable after the effective date of this act, unless
6384thereafter modified in accordance with law.
6385     (c)  All lawful orders issued by the Financial Services
6386Commission or the Office of Insurance Regulation, implementing
6387or enforcing or otherwise in regard to any provision of chapter
6388627, Florida Statutes, relating to title insurance, issued prior
6389to the effective date of this act, shall remain in effect and be
6390enforceable after the effective date of this act, unless
6391thereafter modified in accordance with law.
6392     Section 70.  The Legislature recognizes that there is a
6393need to conform the Florida Statutes to the policy decisions
6394reflected in the provisions of this act. The Division of
6395Statutory Revision is directed to provide the relevant
6396substantive committees of the Senate and the House of
6397Representatives with assistance, upon request, to enable such
6398committees to prepare draft legislation to conform the Florida
6399Statutes to the provisions of this act.
6400     Section 71.  Section 689.263, Florida Statutes, is created
6401to read:
6402     689.263  Sale of residential property; settlement statement
6403requirements.-A title insurance agent or title insurance agency
6404may not disburse funds pursuant to a completed purchase and sale
6405of residential real property without requiring a statement of
6406settlement costs meeting the following requirements:
6407     (1)  The settlement statement must be executed by the buyer
6408and the seller.
6409     (2)  If a title insurance premium is to be disbursed, the
6410title insurer and the title insurance agent or title insurance
6411agency, if any, must be disclosed.
6412     (3)  A copy of the executed settlement statement must be
6413delivered to the buyer and the seller.
6414     Section 72.  Section 717.1121, Florida Statutes, is created
6415to read:
6416     717.1121  Payments from escrow related to real estate
6417transactions.-All funds held as part of a real estate
6418transaction, including any outstanding payments for amounts to
6419be paid as listed on the settlement statement form by any title
6420insurance agency, title insurer, savings and loan association,
6421bank, trust company, or other financial institution, attorney
6422firm, real estate broker, or similar institution, are considered
6423unclaimed if the owner of those funds has not claimed the money
6424within 2 years after the closing performed under the real estate
6425transaction.
6426     Section 73.  Subsection (1) and paragraph (d) of subsection
6427(2) of section 877.101, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
6428     877.101  Escrow business by unauthorized persons; use of
6429name.-
6430     (1)  Except as provided in subsection (2), in connection
6431with the purchase and sale of real property, a person may not:
6432     (a)  Transact business under any name or title that
6433contains the word "escrow" or words of similar import; or
6434     (b)1.  Use any name, word, sign, symbol, or device in any
6435context or in any manner; or
6436     2.  Circulate or use any letterhead, billhead, circular,
6437paper, or writing of any kind or otherwise advertise or
6438represent in any manner
6439
6440that indicates or reasonably implies that the business being
6441conducted or advertised is the kind or character of business
6442transacted that is regulated by this state as an escrow agent;
6443or
6444     (c)  Engage in business as an escrow agent as to funds
6445received from others to be subsequently disbursed in connection
6446with real estate closing transactions.
6447     (2)  This section does not apply to:
6448     (d)  A title insurance agent who is licensed pursuant to s.
6449637.3006 626.8417, a title insurance agency that is licensed
6450pursuant to s. 637.3007 626.8418, or a title insurer who is
6451authorized to transact business in this state pursuant to s.
6452637.2001 624.401.
6453     Section 74.  Section 624.5015, Florida Statutes, is amended
6454to read:
6455     624.5015  Advance collection of fees and taxes; title
6456insurers not to pay without reimbursement.-
6457     (1)  The department or the office shall collect in advance
6458from the applicant or licensee fees and taxes as provided in s.
6459624.501.
6460     (2)  A title insurer shall not pay directly or indirectly
6461without reimbursement from a title insurance agent any
6462appointment fee required under this section. The failure of a
6463title insurance agent to make reimbursement is not a ground for
6464cancellation of the title insurance agent's appointment by the
6465title insurer.
6466     Section 75.  Subsections (7), (8), and (9) of section
6467626.241, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
6468     626.241  Scope of examination.-
6469     (7)  Examinations given applicants for licensure as title
6470agents must cover title insurance, abstracting, title searches,
6471examination of title, closing procedures, and escrow handling.
6472     (7)(8)  An examination for licensure as a personal lines
6473agent shall consist of 100 questions and shall be limited in
6474scope to the kinds of business transacted under such license.
6475     (8)(9)  This section applies to any person who submits an
6476application for license and to any person who submits an
6477application for examination prior to filing an application for
6478license.
6479     Section 76.  Subsection (5) of section 626.331, Florida
6480Statutes, is amended to read:
6481     626.331  Number of appointments permitted or required.-
6482     (5)  A title agent or title agency license must be limited
6483to selling title insurance only for the appointing title insurer
6484or insurers.
6485     Section 77.  Paragraph (a) of subsection (5) of section
6486197.502, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
6487     197.502  Application for obtaining tax deed by holder of
6488tax sale certificate; fees.-
6489     (5)(a)  The tax collector may contract with a title company
6490or an abstract company at a reasonable fee to provide the
6491minimum information required in subsection (4), consistent with
6492rules adopted by the department. If additional information is
6493required, the tax collector must make a written request to the
6494title or abstract company stating the additional requirements.
6495The tax collector may select any title or abstract company,
6496regardless of its location, as long as the fee is reasonable,
6497the minimum information is submitted, and the title or abstract
6498company is authorized to do business in this state. The tax
6499collector may advertise and accept bids for the title or
6500abstract company if he or she considers it appropriate to do so.
6501     1.  The ownership and encumbrance report must be printed or
6502typed on stationery or other paper showing a letterhead of the
6503person, firm, or company that makes the search, and the
6504signature of the person who makes the search or of an officer of
6505the firm must be attached. The tax collector is not liable for
6506payment to the firm unless these requirements are met.
6507     2.  The tax collector may not accept or pay for any title
6508search or abstract if no financial responsibility is assumed for
6509the search. However, reasonable restrictions as to the liability
6510or responsibility of the title or abstract company are
6511acceptable. Notwithstanding s. 637.2071(3) 627.7843(3), the tax
6512collector may contract for higher maximum liability limits.
6513     3.  In order to establish uniform prices for ownership and
6514encumbrance reports within the county, the tax collector shall
6515ensure that the contract for ownership and encumbrance reports
6516include all requests for title searches or abstracts for a given
6517period of time.
6518     Section 78.  Paragraph (d) of subsection (27) of section
6519624.501, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
6520     624.501  Filing, license, appointment, and miscellaneous
6521fees.-The department, commission, or office, as appropriate,
6522shall collect in advance, and persons so served shall pay to it
6523in advance, fees, licenses, and miscellaneous charges as
6524follows:
6525     (27)  Title insurance agents:
6526     (d)  Additional appointment continuation fee as prescribed
6527by s. 637.3015 626.843     $5.00
6528     Section 79.  Section 624.604, Florida Statutes, is amended
6529to read:
6530     624.604  "Property insurance" defined.-"Property insurance"
6531is insurance on real or personal property of every kind and of
6532every interest therein, whether on land, water, or in the air,
6533against loss or damage from any and all hazard or cause, and
6534against loss consequential upon such loss or damage, other than
6535noncontractual legal liability for any such loss or damage.
6536Property insurance may contain a provision for accidental death
6537or injury as part of a multiple peril homeowner's policy. Such
6538insurance, which is incidental to the property insurance, is not
6539subject to the provisions of this code applicable to life or
6540health insurance. Property insurance does not include title
6541insurance, as defined in s. 637.1004 624.608.
6542     Section 80.  Paragraph (r) of subsection (1) of section
6543624.605, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
6544     624.605  "Casualty insurance" defined.-
6545     (1)  "Casualty insurance" includes:
6546     (r)  Insurance for debt cancellation products.-Insurance
6547that a creditor may purchase against the risk of financial loss
6548from the use of debt cancellation products with consumer loans
6549or leases or retail installment contracts. Insurance for debt
6550cancellation products is not liability insurance but shall be
6551considered credit insurance only for the purposes of s.
6552631.52(4).
6553     1.  For purposes of this paragraph, the term "debt
6554cancellation products" means loan, lease, or retail installment
6555contract terms, or modifications to loan, lease, or retail
6556installment contracts, under which a creditor agrees to cancel
6557or suspend all or part of a customer's obligation to make
6558payments upon the occurrence of specified events and includes,
6559but is not limited to, debt cancellation contracts, debt
6560suspension agreements, and guaranteed asset protection
6561contracts. However, the term "debt cancellation products" does
6562not include title insurance as defined in s. 637.1004 624.608.
6563     2.  Debt cancellation products may be offered by financial
6564institutions, as defined in s. 655.005(1)(h), insured depository
6565institutions as defined in 12 U.S.C. s. 1813(c), and
6566subsidiaries of such institutions, as provided in the financial
6567institutions codes; by sellers as defined in s. 721.05, or by
6568the parents, subsidiaries, or affiliated entities of sellers, in
6569connection with the sale of timeshare interests; or by other
6570business entities as may be specifically authorized by law, and
6571such products shall not constitute insurance for purposes of the
6572Florida Insurance Code.
6573     Section 81.  Subsection (4) of section 625.031, Florida
6574Statutes, is amended to read:
6575     625.031  Assets not allowed.-In addition to assets
6576impliedly excluded by the provisions of s. 625.012, the
6577following expressly shall not be allowed as assets in any
6578determination of the financial condition of an insurer:
6579     (4)  Furniture, fixtures, furnishings, safes, vehicles,
6580libraries, stationery, literature, and supplies, other than data
6581processing and accounting systems authorized under s.
6582625.012(11), except in the case of title insurers such materials
6583and plants as the insurer is expressly authorized to invest in
6584under s. 637.20073 625.330 and except, in the case of any
6585insurer, such personal property as the insurer is permitted to
6586hold pursuant to part II of this chapter, or which is acquired
6587through foreclosure of chattel mortgages acquired pursuant to s.
6588625.329, or which is reasonably necessary for the maintenance
6589and operation of real estate lawfully acquired and held by the
6590insurer other than real estate used by it for home office,
6591branch office, and similar purposes.
6592     Section 82.  Section 626.207, Florida Statutes, is amended
6593to read:
6594     626.207  Department rulemaking authority; waiting periods
6595for applicants; penalties against licensees.-
6596     (1)  The department shall adopt rules establishing specific
6597waiting periods for applicants to become eligible for licensure
6598following denial, suspension, or revocation pursuant to s.
6599626.611, s. 626.621, s. 637.3017 626.8437, s. 637.3018 626.844,
6600s. 626.935, s. 634.181, s. 634.191, s. 634.320, s. 634.321, s.
6601634.422, s. 634.423, s. 642.041, or s. 642.043. The purpose of
6602the waiting periods is to provide sufficient time to demonstrate
6603reformation of character and rehabilitation. The waiting periods
6604shall vary based on the type of conduct and the length of time
6605since the conduct occurred and shall also be based on the
6606probability that the propensity to commit illegal conduct has
6607been overcome. The waiting periods may be adjusted based on
6608aggravating and mitigating factors established by rule and
6609consistent with this purpose.
6610     (2)  The department shall adopt rules establishing specific
6611penalties against licensees for violations of s. 626.611, s.
6612626.621, s. 637.3017 626.8437, s. 637.3018 626.844, s. 626.935,
6613s. 634.181, s. 634.191, s. 634.320, s. 634.321, s. 634.422, s.
6614634.423, s. 642.041, or s. 642.043. The purpose of the
6615revocation or suspension is to provide a sufficient penalty to
6616deter future violations of the Florida Insurance Code. The
6617imposition of a revocation or the length of suspension shall be
6618based on the type of conduct and the probability that the
6619propensity to commit further illegal conduct has been overcome
6620at the time of eligibility for relicensure. The revocation or
6621the length of suspension may be adjusted based on aggravating or
6622mitigating factors, established by rule and consistent with this
6623purpose.
6624     Section 83.  Paragraph (t) of subsection (1) of section
6625655.005, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
6626     655.005  Definitions.-
6627     (1)  As used in the financial institutions codes, unless
6628the context otherwise requires, the term:
6629     (t)  "Debt cancellation products" means loan, lease, or
6630retail installment contract terms, or modifications or addenda
6631to loan, lease, or retail installment contracts, under which a
6632creditor agrees to cancel or suspend all or part of a customer's
6633obligation to make payments upon the occurrence of specified
6634events and includes, but is not limited to, debt cancellation
6635contracts, debt suspension agreements, and guaranteed asset
6636protection contracts offered by financial institutions, insured
6637depository institutions as defined in 12 U.S.C. s. 1813(c), and
6638subsidiaries of such institutions. However, the term "debt
6639cancellation products" does not include title insurance as
6640defined in s. 637.1004 624.608.
6641     Section 84.  Paragraph (d) of subsection (6) of section
6642701.041, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
6643     701.041  Title insurer; mortgage release certificate.-
6644     (6)  LIABILITY OF TITLE INSURER AND TITLE INSURANCE AGENT.-
6645     (d)  Liability of a title insurer pursuant to this section
6646shall be considered to be a title insurance claim on real
6647property in this state pursuant to s. 637.2075 627.7865.
6648     Section 85.  Paragraph (d) of subsection (14) of section
6649721.05, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
6650     721.05  Definitions.-As used in this chapter, the term:
6651     (14)  "Escrow agent" includes only:
6652     (d)  A title insurance agent that is licensed pursuant to
6653s. 637.3006 626.8417, a title insurance agency that is licensed
6654pursuant to s. 637.3007 626.8418, or a title insurer authorized
6655to transact business in this state pursuant to s. 637.2001
6656624.401.
6657     Section 86.  Sections 624.4031, 624.608, 626.841, 626.8411,
6658626.9531, 627.7711, and 627.776, Florida Statutes, are repealed.
6659     Section 87.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.


CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.
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