September 26, 2020
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       Florida Senate - 2010                                    SB 1836
       
       
       
       By Senator Baker
       
       
       
       
       20-01661-10                                           20101836__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to title insurance; amending s.
    3         20.121, F.S.; creating the Division of Title Insurance
    4         in the Department of Financial Services; creating part
    5         I of ch. 637, F.S.; providing for administration of
    6         title insurance and general provisions; providing a
    7         short title; providing legislative findings, purposes,
    8         and intent; creating the Division of Title Insurance
    9         within the Department of Financial Services; providing
   10         powers and duties; providing for appointment of a
   11         division director; establishing the Bureau of Title
   12         Insurance Premium Rates and Forms and the Bureau of
   13         Title Insurance Licensing and Education within the
   14         division; providing definitions; preempting to the
   15         state the regulation of title insurance, title
   16         insurers, and title insurance agencies; providing for
   17         nonapplication of certain chapters; duplicating in ch.
   18         637, F.S., certain provisions of chs. 624, 625, 626,
   19         and 628, F.S., relating to insurance and making such
   20         provisions applicable to title insurance, title
   21         insurers, title insurance agents, and title insurance
   22         agencies; creating s. 637.10335, F.S.; providing for
   23         civil remedies against title insurers; providing
   24         procedures, requirements, and limitations; providing
   25         for award of damages, court costs, and attorney fees;
   26         prohibiting punitive damages under certain
   27         circumstances; providing construction prohibitions;
   28         preserving certain remedies and causes of action;
   29         creating s. 637.10435, F.S.; providing a Policyholders
   30         Bill of Rights; specifying principles; providing a
   31         construction prohibition; creating s. 637.10445, F.S.;
   32         providing procedures, requirements, and limitations
   33         for documents claimed as trade secrets; creating part
   34         II of ch. 637, F.S.; providing for licensing and
   35         administration of title insurers; duplicating in ch.
   36         637, F.S., and making applicable to title insurers
   37         certain provisions of ch. 624, F.S.; transferring to
   38         ch. 637, F.S., certain provisions of chs. 625 and 627,
   39         F.S., relating to title insurance; creating s.
   40         637.20035, F.S.; providing for structure of title
   41         insurers; creating s. 637.20635, F.S.; prohibiting
   42         title insurers, title insurance agencies, and title
   43         insurance agents from rebating portions of premiums;
   44         providing exceptions; specifying rebate prohibitions;
   45         creating s. 637.2091, F.S.; specifying that title
   46         insurance business in exclusive; creating part III of
   47         ch. 637, F.S.; providing for licensure and
   48         administration of title insurance agents and agencies;
   49         duplicating in ch. 637, F.S., and making applicable to
   50         title insurance agents and agencies certain provisions
   51         of ch. 626, F.S.; transferring to ch. 637, F.S.,
   52         certain provisions of ch. 626, F.S., relating to title
   53         insurance agents and agencies; creating s. 637.30125,
   54         F.S.; providing requirements for agents in charge;
   55         providing for authority, duties, and responsibilities
   56         of agents in charge; transferring regulation,
   57         administration, and enforcement of title insurers from
   58         the Office of Insurance Regulation and the Financial
   59         Services Commission to the Department of Financial
   60         Services and the Division of Title Insurance; deleting
   61         references to the office and commission to conform;
   62         amending ss. 624.5105 and 624.5107, F.S.; including
   63         references to applicable sections of ch. 637, F.S.,
   64         under the community contribution tax credit program
   65         and the child care tax credit program; specifying
   66         rules of the Financial Services Commission and the
   67         Office of Insurance Regulation as rules of the
   68         department; transferring certain powers, duties,
   69         functions, records, personnel, property, and
   70         unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations,
   71         and other funds relating to title insurance to the
   72         department; preserving the validity of certain
   73         judicial and administrative actions relating to title
   74         insurance; providing for transfer of certain orders
   75         relating to title insurance to the department;
   76         requiring the Division of Statutory Revision to assist
   77         substantive legislative committees in developing
   78         conforming legislation; creating s. 689.263, F.S.;
   79         prohibiting title insurance agents or title insurance
   80         agencies from disbursing certain funds under certain
   81         circumstances; providing requirements for a statement
   82         of settlement costs; creating s. 717.1121, F.S.;
   83         providing construction of certain payments from escrow
   84         related to real estate transactions; amending s.
   85         877.101, F.S.; providing an additional prohibition
   86         against transacting escrow business by unauthorized
   87         persons; revising cross-references for purposes of
   88         nonapplication to licensed title insurance agents;
   89         amending ss. 624.5015, 626.241, and 626.331, F.S.;
   90         deleting provisions relating to title insures;
   91         amending ss. 197.502, 624.501, 624.604, 624.605,
   92         625.031, 626.207, 655.005, 701.041, and 721.05, F.S.;
   93         conforming a cross-reference; repealing s. 624.4031,
   94         F.S., relating to church benefit plans and church
   95         benefits boards; repealing s. 624.608, F.S., relating
   96         to the definition of “title insurance”; repealing s.
   97         626.841, F.S., relating to definitions of “title
   98         insurance agent” and “title insurance agency”;
   99         repealing s. 626.8411, F.S., relating to application
  100         of Florida Insurance Code provisions to title
  101         insurance agents or agencies; repealing s. 626.9531,
  102         F.S., relating to identification of insurers, agents,
  103         and insurance contracts; repealing s. 627.7711, F.S.,
  104         relating to definitions; repealing s. 627.776, F.S.,
  105         relating to applicability or inapplicability of
  106         Florida Insurance Code provisions to title insurers;
  107         providing an effective date.
  108  
  109  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
  110  
  111         Section 1. Paragraph (o) is added to subsection (2) of
  112  section 20.121, Florida Statutes, to read:
  113         20.121 Department of Financial Services.—There is created a
  114  Department of Financial Services.
  115         (2) DIVISIONS.—The Department of Financial Services shall
  116  consist of the following divisions:
  117         (o) The Division of Title Insurance.
  118         Section 2. Part I of chapter 637, Florida Statutes,
  119  consisting of sections 637.1001, 637.1002, 637.1003, 637.1004,
  120  637.10045, 637.1005, 637.1006, 637.1007, 637.1008, 637.1009,
  121  637.1011, 637.1012, 637.1013, 637.1014, 637.1015, 637.1016,
  122  637.1017, 637.1018, 637.1019, 637.1021, 637.1022, 637.1023,
  123  637.1024, 637.1025, 637.1026, 637.1027, 637.1028, 637.1029,
  124  637.1031, 637.1032, 637.1033, 637.10335, 637.1034, 637.1035,
  125  637.1036, 637.1037, 637.1038, 637.1039, 637.1041, 637.1042,
  126  637.1043, 637.10435, 637.1044, 637.10445, 637.1045, 637.1046,
  127  637.1047, 637.1048, and 637.1049, is created and entitled
  128  “ADMINISTRATION AND GENERAL PROVISIONS.”
  129         Section 3. Sections 637.1001, 637.1002, 637.1003, 637.1004,
  130  637.10045, 637.1005, 637.1006, 637.1007, 637.1008, 637.1009,
  131  637.1011, 637.1012, 637.1013, 637.1014, 637.1015, 637.1016,
  132  637.1017, 637.1018, 637.1019, 637.1021, 637.1022, 637.1023,
  133  637.1024, 637.1025, 637.1026, 637.1027, 637.1029, 637.1031,
  134  637.1032, 637.1033, 637.10335, 637.1034, 637.1035, 637.1036,
  135  637.1037, 637.1038, 637.1039, 637.1041, 637.1042, 637.1043,
  136  637.10435, 637.1044, 637.10445, 637.1045, 637.1046, 637.1047,
  137  637.1048, and 637.1049, are created to read:
  138         637.1001 Short title.—This chapter may be cited as the
  139  “Florida Title Insurance Act.”
  140         637.1002 Legislative findings; purpose; intent.—
  141         (1) The Legislature finds that a stable and efficient title
  142  insurance delivery system is necessary to promote the economic
  143  wellbeing of the citizens of this state. Title insurance is
  144  essential to ensure homeowners and landowners of the safety of
  145  real property transfers in the state. Lienholders and investors
  146  require the security afforded their business interests accorded
  147  by a financially stable and regulated title insurance industry.
  148  A viable title insurance delivery system requires comprehensive
  149  state oversight, including regulation of title insurers, agents,
  150  and agencies. Accordingly, it is the intent of the Legislature
  151  to establish unitary regulation of the title insurance industry
  152  by the creation of a Division of Title Insurance within the
  153  Department of Financial Services. The division shall have
  154  comprehensive authority to regulate insurer and agent solvency,
  155  education, licensing, and discipline and to establish title
  156  insurance premium rates and forms.
  157         (2) The Legislature finds that title insurance is a unique
  158  form of insurance unlike any casualty-based insurance.
  159  Accordingly, a separate and distinct chapter of the Florida
  160  Statutes is deemed appropriate.
  161         (3) The Legislature recognizes that the title insurance
  162  industry is founded upon a unique structure that requires title
  163  agents and agencies to determine the insurability of titles,
  164  thereby placing the title insurance agent at the cornerstone of
  165  the delivery system. As such, the solvency and viability of
  166  title insurance agents is essential. Therefore, the Legislature
  167  deems it to be in the public interest to establish title
  168  insurance rates that are adequate and to also establish
  169  parameters for rebating portions of the title insurance premium.
  170         637.1003 Division of Title Insurance.—
  171         (1) The Division of Title Insurance is created within the
  172  Department of Financial Services. The division shall exercise
  173  all powers and duties with respect to title insurance
  174  regulation, including those exercised by the Office of Insurance
  175  Regulation and the Division of Insurance Agents and Agency
  176  Services of the Department of Financial Services prior to July
  177  1, 2010. The division director shall be appointed by the Chief
  178  Financial Officer and shall have experience, education, and
  179  expertise in the field of title insurance in this state. The
  180  director may also be known as the Florida Title Insurance
  181  Coordinator.
  182         (2) The Division of Title Insurance shall consist of:
  183         (a) The Bureau of Title Insurance Premium Rates and Forms.
  184         (b) The Bureau of Title Insurance Licensing and Education.
  185         637.1004 Definitions.—For purposes of this chapter, the
  186  term:
  187         (1) “Appointment” means the authority given by an insurer
  188  or employer to a licensee to transact insurance or adjust claims
  189  on behalf of an insurer or employer.
  190         (2) “Attorney” as used in this part means an individual
  191  duly admitted to and a member in good standing of The Florida
  192  Bar.
  193         (3) “Agent in charge” of a title insurance agency means an
  194  attorney or a licensed and appointed title insurance agent who
  195  is responsible for the overall operation and management of a
  196  title insurance agency location and whose responsibilities
  197  include supervising all individuals within that location. An
  198  attorney or a title insurance agent may be designated as the
  199  agent in charge for only one location of a single title
  200  insurance agency. Each location of a title insurance agency or
  201  insurer at which primary title services as defined in subsection
  202  (18) are performed shall have a separate agent in charge. An
  203  agency that has an attorney that is in charge of the agency
  204  shall designate that attorney to be in charge of only one
  205  location of a single title insurance agency.
  206         (4) “Authorized” means provided authority pursuant to a
  207  valid certificate of authority issued by the department to
  208  transact insurance in this state.
  209         (5) “Closing services” means services performed by a
  210  licensed title insurer, title insurance agent or agency, or
  211  attorney agent in the agent’s or agency’s capacity as such,
  212  including, but not limited to, preparing documents necessary to
  213  close the transaction, conducting the closing, or handling the
  214  disbursing of funds related to the closing in a real estate
  215  closing transaction in which a title insurance commitment or
  216  policy is to be issued.
  217         (6) “Commercially domiciled insurer” means every foreign or
  218  alien insurer that is authorized to do business in this state
  219  and that, during its 3 preceding fiscal years taken together, or
  220  during any lesser period of time if it has been licensed to
  221  transact its business in this state only for the lesser period
  222  of time, has written an average of 25 percent or more direct
  223  premiums in this state than it has written in its state of
  224  domicile during the same period, and the direct premiums written
  225  constitute more than 55 percent of its total direct premiums
  226  written everywhere in the United States during its 3 preceding
  227  fiscal years taken together, or during any lesser period of time
  228  if it has been authorized to transact its business in this state
  229  only for the lesser period of time, as reported in its most
  230  recent applicable annual or quarterly statements, shall be
  231  deemed a “commercially domiciled insurer” within this state.
  232         (7) “Consent” means authorized written agreement to
  233  supervision by the insurer.
  234         (8) “Department” means the Department of Financial
  235  Services. The term does not mean the Financial Services
  236  Commission or any office of the Financial Services Commission.
  237         (9) “Division” means the Division of Title Insurance of the
  238  department.
  239         (10) “Domestic,” “foreign,” and “alien” mean:
  240         (a) A “domestic” insurer is one formed under the laws of
  241  this state.
  242         (b) A “foreign” insurer is one formed under the laws of any
  243  state, district, territory, or commonwealth of the United States
  244  other than this state.
  245         (c) An “alien” insurer is an insurer other than a domestic
  246  or foreign insurer.
  247         (11) “Domicile,” except as provided in s. 631.011, means:
  248         (a) As to Canadian insurers, Canada and the province under
  249  the laws of which the insurer was formed.
  250         (b) As to other alien insurers authorized to transact
  251  insurance in one or more states, the state designated by the
  252  insurer in writing filed with the department at the time of
  253  admission to this state or within 6 months after the effective
  254  date of this chapter, whichever date is the later, and may be
  255  any of the following states:
  256         1. That in which the insurer was first authorized to
  257  transact insurance if the insurer is still so authorized.
  258         2. That in which is located the insurer’s principal place
  259  of business in the United States.
  260         3. That in which is held the larger deposit of trusteed
  261  assets of the insurer for the protection of its policyholders
  262  and creditors in the United States.
  263  If the insurer makes no such designation, its domicile shall be
  264  deemed to be that state in which is located its principal place
  265  of business in the United States.
  266         (c) As to alien insurers not authorized to transact
  267  insurance in one or more states, the country under the laws of
  268  which the insurer was formed.
  269         (d) As to all other insurers, the state under the laws of
  270  which the insurer was formed.
  271         (12) “Exceeded its powers” means the following conditions:
  272         (a) The insurer has refused to permit examination by the
  273  department of its books, papers, accounts, records, or business
  274  practices;
  275         (b) An insurer organized in this state has unlawfully
  276  removed from this state books, papers, accounts, or records
  277  necessary for an examination of the insurer by the department;
  278         (c) The insurer has failed to promptly comply with the
  279  applicable financial reporting statutes and division requests
  280  relating thereto;
  281         (d) The insurer has neglected or refused to observe an
  282  order of the department to correct a deficiency in its capital
  283  or surplus; or
  284         (e) The insurer has unlawfully or in violation of a
  285  department order:
  286         1. Totally reinsured its entire outstanding business; or
  287         2. Merged or consolidated substantially its entire property
  288  or business with another insurer.
  289         (13) “Insurer” means and includes every person as defined
  290  in subsection (16) and title insurer as defined in subsection
  291  (23) as limited to any domestic or commercially domiciled
  292  insurer who is doing business as an insurer, or has transacted
  293  insurance in this state, and against whom claims arising from
  294  that transaction may exist now or in the future.
  295         (14) “License” means a document issued by the department or
  296  office authorizing a person to be appointed to transact
  297  insurance or adjust claims for the kind, line, or class of
  298  insurance identified in the document.
  299         (15)(a) “Managing general agent” means any person managing
  300  all or part of the insurance business of an insurer, including
  301  the management of a separate division, department, or
  302  underwriting office, and acting as an agent for that insurer,
  303  whether known as a managing general agent, manager, or other
  304  similar term, who, with or without authority, separately or
  305  together with affiliates, produces, directly or indirectly, or
  306  underwrites an amount of gross direct written premium equal to
  307  or more than 5 percent of the policyholder surplus as reported
  308  in the last annual statement of the insurer in any single
  309  quarter or year and also does one or more of the following:
  310         1. Adjusts or pays claims.
  311         2. Negotiates reinsurance on behalf of the insurer.
  312         (b) The following persons shall not be considered managing
  313  general agents:
  314         1. An employee of the insurer.
  315         2. A United States manager of the United States branch of
  316  an alien insurer.
  317         3. An underwriting manager managing all the insurance
  318  operations of the insurer pursuant to a contract who is under
  319  the common control of the insurer subject to regulation and
  320  whose compensation is not based on the volume of premiums
  321  written.
  322         4. The attorney in fact authorized by and acting for the
  323  subscribers of a reciprocal insurer under powers of attorney.
  324         (16) “Person” means an individual, insurer, company,
  325  association, organization, Lloyds, society, reciprocal insurer
  326  or interinsurance exchange, partnership, syndicate, business
  327  trust, corporation, agent, general agent, broker, service
  328  representative, adjuster, and every legal entity.
  329         (17) “Premium” means the charge, as specified by rule of
  330  the department, that is made by a title insurer for a title
  331  insurance policy, including the charge for performance of
  332  primary title services by a title insurer or title insurance
  333  agent or agency, and incurring the risks incident to such
  334  policy, under the several classifications of title insurance
  335  contracts and forms, and upon which charge a premium tax is paid
  336  under s. 624.509. As used in this part or in any other law, with
  337  respect to title insurance, the word “premium” does not include
  338  a commission.
  339         (18) “Primary title services” means determining
  340  insurability in accordance with sound underwriting practices
  341  based upon evaluation of a reasonable title search or a search
  342  of the records of a Uniform Commercial Code filing office and
  343  such other information as may be necessary, determination and
  344  clearance of underwriting objections and requirements to
  345  eliminate risk, preparation and issuance of a title insurance
  346  commitment setting forth the requirements to insure, and
  347  preparation and issuance of the policy. Such services do not
  348  include closing services or title searches, for which a separate
  349  charge or separate charges may be made.
  350         (19) When used in context signifying a jurisdiction other
  351  than the State of Florida, “state” means any state, district,
  352  territory, or commonwealth of the United States.
  353         (20) “Title insurance” means:
  354         (a) Insurance of owners of real property or others having
  355  an interest in real property or a contractual interest derived
  356  from real property, or liens or encumbrances on real property,
  357  against loss by encumbrance, or defective titles, or invalidity,
  358  or adverse claim to title; or
  359         (b) Insurance of owners and secured parties of the
  360  existence, attachment, perfection, and priority of security
  361  interests in personal property under the Uniform Commercial
  362  Code.
  363         (21) “Title insurance agent” means a person appointed in
  364  writing by a title insurer to issue and countersign commitments
  365  or policies of title insurance on the title insurer’s behalf.
  366         (22) “Title insurance agency” means a business at which an
  367  individual, firm, partnership, corporation, association, or
  368  other entity, other than an employee of the individual, firm,
  369  partnership, corporation, association, or other entity, and
  370  under which a title insurance agent or other employee,
  371  determines insurability in accordance with underwriting rules
  372  and standards prescribed by the title insurer represented by the
  373  title insurance agency and issues and countersigns commitments,
  374  endorsements, or policies of title insurance on behalf of the
  375  appointing title insurer. The term does not include a title
  376  insurer.
  377         (23) “Title insurer” means any domestic company organized
  378  and authorized to do business under the provisions of this
  379  chapter, for the purpose of issuing title insurance, or any
  380  insurer organized under the laws of another state, the District
  381  of Columbia, or a foreign country and holding a certificate of
  382  authority to transact business in this state, for the purpose of
  383  issuing title insurance.
  384         (24) “Title search” means the compiling of title
  385  information from official or public records.
  386         (25) “Transact” means, with respect to insurance and in
  387  addition to other applicable provisions of this chapter:
  388         (a) Solicitation or inducement.
  389         (b) Preliminary negotiations.
  390         (c) Effectuation of a contract of insurance.
  391         (d) Transaction of matters subsequent to effectuation of a
  392  contract of insurance and arising out of it.
  393         (26) “Unsound condition” means that the department has
  394  determined that one or more of the following conditions exist
  395  with respect to an insurer:
  396         (a) The insurer’s required surplus, capital, or capital
  397  stock is impaired to an extent prohibited by law;
  398         (b) The insurer continues to write new business when it has
  399  not maintained the required surplus or capital stock;
  400         (c) The insurer attempts to dissolve or liquidate without
  401  first having made provisions, satisfactory to the department,
  402  for liabilities arising from insurance policies issued by the
  403  insurer; or
  404         (d) The insurer meets one or more of the grounds in s.
  405  631.051 for the appointment of the department as receiver.
  406         637.10045 Preemption to state.—The regulation of title
  407  insurance, title insurers, and title insurance agencies is
  408  preempted to the state.
  409         637.1005 General applicability of other chapters.—
  410         (1) The provisions of chapters 624, 626, and 627 do not
  411  apply to title insurers or their agents unless specifically
  412  incorporated by reference and made applicable to this chapter by
  413  a provision of this chapter.
  414         (2) The provisions of chapters 625, 628, and 631 apply to
  415  title insurance and for purposes of applying such provisions to
  416  title insurance, the term “department” shall be interpreted to
  417  mean office and the term “Director of the Division of Insurance
  418  Regulation” shall be interpreted to mean the “Florida Title
  419  Insurance Coordinator,” “Director of the Division of Title
  420  Insurance,” or “division director.”
  421         637.1006 General powers; duties.—
  422         (1) The powers and duties of the Chief Financial Officer
  423  and the department specified in this chapter apply only with
  424  respect to title insurance agents and title insurance agencies.
  425         (2) The department shall enforce the provisions of this
  426  chapter and shall execute the duties imposed upon the department
  427  by this chapter, as provided by law.
  428         (3) The department shall have the powers and authority
  429  expressly conferred upon it by, or reasonably implied from, the
  430  provisions of this chapter.
  431         (4) The department may conduct such investigations of
  432  insurance matters, in addition to investigations expressly
  433  authorized, as it may deem proper to determine whether any
  434  person has violated any provision of this chapter within its
  435  respective regulatory jurisdiction or to secure information
  436  useful in the lawful administration of any such provision. The
  437  cost of such investigations shall be borne by the state.
  438         (5) The department may each collect, propose, publish, and
  439  disseminate information relating to the subject matter of any
  440  duties imposed upon it by law.
  441         (6) The department shall each have such additional powers
  442  and duties as may be provided by other laws of this state.
  443         (7) The department may employ actuaries who shall be at
  444  will employees and who shall serve at the pleasure of the Chief
  445  Financial Officer, in the case of department employees.
  446  Actuaries employed pursuant to this subsection shall be members
  447  of the Society of Actuaries or the Casualty Actuarial Society
  448  and shall be exempt from the Career Service System established
  449  under chapter 110. The salaries of the actuaries employed
  450  pursuant to this paragraph shall be set in accordance with s.
  451  216.251(2)(a)5. and shall be set at levels which are
  452  commensurate with salary levels paid to actuaries by the
  453  insurance industry.
  454         (8) The department shall, within existing resources,
  455  develop and implement an outreach program for the purpose of
  456  encouraging the entry of additional insurers into the Florida
  457  market.
  458         (9) Upon receiving service of legal process issued in any
  459  civil action or proceeding in this state against any regulated
  460  person required to appoint the Chief Financial Officer as its
  461  attorney to receive service of all legal process, the Chief
  462  Financial Officer, as attorney, may, in lieu of sending the
  463  process by registered or certified mail, send the process by any
  464  other verifiable means to the person last designated by the
  465  regulated person to receive the process.
  466         (10) This section does not limit the authority of the
  467  department and the Division of Insurance Fraud, as specified in
  468  s. 637.1046.
  469         (11) The division may enforce violations of the Real Estate
  470  Settlement Procedures Act, 12 U.S.C. ss. 2601 et seq.
  471         637.1007 Rules.—
  472         (1) The department may adopt rules pursuant to ss.
  473  120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement provisions of this chapter
  474  and interpret the specific powers and duties provided in this
  475  chapter, which rules may:
  476         (a) Define the license and appointment requirements for
  477  title insurance agents and agencies.
  478         (b) Establish penalty guidelines for enforcing the
  479  requirements of this chapter.
  480         (c) Describe the fiduciary responsibilities of title
  481  insurance agents and agencies, including, but not limited to,
  482  duties related to escrow accounts.
  483         (d) Identify the responsibilities, duties, and designations
  484  of the agent in charge of the title insurance agency or the
  485  attorney in charge of an attorney-owned title insurance agency.
  486         (e) Enable the collection of information from agents and
  487  agencies relating to title insurance business.
  488         (f) Set reasonable requirements for the timely recording of
  489  documents and the delivery of final title policies.
  490         (g) Establish rules for the protection, calculation, and
  491  timely remittance of premiums that are owed to title insurers.
  492         (h) Prohibit the markup of the cost of any third-party
  493  services by the closing agent without adding value.
  494         (2) In addition to any other penalty provided, willful
  495  violation of any such rule shall subject the violator to such
  496  suspension or revocation of certificate of authority or license
  497  as may be applicable under this chapter as for violation of the
  498  provision as to which such rule relates.
  499         637.1008 General penalty.—
  500         (1) Each willful violation of this chapter or rule of the
  501  department as to which a greater penalty is not provided by
  502  another provision of this chapter or rule of the department or
  503  by other applicable laws of this state is a misdemeanor of the
  504  second degree and is, in addition to any prescribed applicable
  505  denial, suspension, or revocation of certificate of authority,
  506  license, or permit, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s.
  507  775.083. Each instance of such violation shall be considered a
  508  separate offense.
  509         (2) Each willful violation of an emergency rule or order of
  510  the department by a person who is not licensed, authorized, or
  511  eligible to engage in business in accordance with this chapter
  512  is a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s.
  513  775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. Each instance of such
  514  violation is a separate offense. This subsection does not apply
  515  to licensees or affiliated parties of licensees.
  516         637.1009 Enforcement; cease and desist orders; removal of
  517  certain persons; fines.—
  518         (1) DEFINITIONS.—For the purposes of this section, the
  519  term:
  520         (a) “Affiliated party” means any person who directs or
  521  participates in the conduct of the affairs of a licensee and who
  522  is:
  523         1. A director, officer, employee, trustee, committee
  524  member, or controlling stockholder of a licensee or a subsidiary
  525  or service corporation of the licensee, other than a controlling
  526  stockholder which is a holding company, or an agent of a
  527  licensee or a subsidiary or service corporation of the licensee;
  528         2. A person who has filed or is required to file a
  529  statement or any other information required to be filed under s.
  530  628.461 or s. 628.4615;
  531         3. A stockholder, other than a stockholder that is a
  532  holding company of the licensee, who participates in the conduct
  533  of the affairs of the licensee; or
  534         4. An independent contractor who:
  535         a. Renders a written opinion required by the laws of this
  536  state under her or his professional credentials on behalf of the
  537  licensee, which opinion is reasonably relied on by the
  538  department in the performance of its duties; or
  539         b. Affirmatively and knowingly conceals facts, through a
  540  written misrepresentation to the department, with knowledge that
  541  such misrepresentation:
  542         (I) Constitutes a violation of this chapter or a lawful
  543  rule or order of the department; and
  544         (II) Directly and materially endangers the ability of the
  545  licensee to meet its obligations to policyholders.
  546  
  547  For the purposes of this subparagraph, any representation of
  548  fact made by an independent contractor on behalf of a licensee,
  549  affirmatively communicated as a representation of the licensee
  550  to the independent contractor, shall not be considered a
  551  misrepresentation by the independent contractor.
  552         (b) “Licensee” means a person issued a license or
  553  certificate of authority or approval under this chapter or a
  554  person registered under a provision of this chapter.
  555         (2) ENFORCEMENT GENERALLY.—
  556         (a) The powers granted by this section to the department
  557  apply only with respect to licensees of the department and their
  558  affiliated parties and to unlicensed persons subject to
  559  regulatory jurisdiction of the department.
  560         (b) The department may institute such suits or other legal
  561  proceedings as may be required to enforce any provision of this
  562  chapter within the department’s regulatory jurisdiction. If it
  563  appears that any person has violated any provision of this
  564  chapter for which criminal prosecution is provided, the
  565  department shall provide the appropriate state attorney or other
  566  prosecuting agency having jurisdiction with respect to such
  567  prosecution with the relevant information in its possession.
  568         (3) CEASE AND DESIST ORDERS.—
  569         (a) The department may issue and serve a complaint stating
  570  charges upon any licensee or upon any affiliated party, whenever
  571  the department has reasonable cause to believe that the person
  572  or individual named therein is engaging in or has engaged in
  573  conduct that is:
  574         1. An act that demonstrates a lack of fitness or
  575  trustworthiness to engage in the business of insurance, is
  576  hazardous to the insurance buying public, or constitutes
  577  business operations that are a detriment to policyholders,
  578  stockholders, investors, creditors, or the public;
  579         2. A violation of any provision of this chapter;
  580         3. A violation of any rule of the department;
  581         4. A violation of any order of the department; or
  582         5. A breach of any written agreement with the department.
  583         (b) The complaint shall contain a statement of facts and
  584  notice of opportunity for a hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569 and
  585  120.57.
  586         (c) If no hearing is requested within the time allowed by
  587  ss. 120.569 and 120.57, or if a hearing is held and the
  588  department finds that any of the charges are proven, the
  589  department may enter an order directing the licensee or the
  590  affiliated party named in the complaint to cease and desist from
  591  engaging in the conduct complained of and take corrective action
  592  to remedy the effects of past improper conduct and assure future
  593  compliance.
  594         (d) If the licensee or affiliated party named in the order
  595  fails to respond to the complaint within the time allotted by
  596  ss. 120.569 and 120.57, the failure constitutes a default and
  597  justifies the entry of a cease and desist order.
  598         (e) A contested or default cease and desist order is
  599  effective when reduced to writing and served upon the licensee
  600  or affiliated party named therein. An uncontested cease and
  601  desist order is effective as agreed.
  602         (f) Whenever the department finds that conduct described in
  603  paragraph (a) is likely to cause insolvency, substantial
  604  dissipation or misvaluation of assets or earnings of the
  605  licensee, substantial inability to pay claims on a timely basis,
  606  or substantial prejudice to prospective or existing insureds,
  607  policyholders, subscribers, or the public, it may issue an
  608  emergency cease and desist order requiring the licensee or any
  609  affiliated party to immediately cease and desist from engaging
  610  in the conduct complained of and to take corrective and remedial
  611  action. The emergency order is effective immediately upon
  612  service of a copy of the order upon the licensee or affiliated
  613  party named therein and remains effective for 90 days. If the
  614  department begins nonemergency cease and desist proceedings
  615  under this subsection, the emergency order remains effective
  616  until the conclusion of the proceedings under ss. 120.569 and
  617  120.57.
  618         (4) REMOVAL OF AFFILIATED PARTIES.—
  619         (a) The department may issue and serve a complaint stating
  620  charges upon any affiliated party and upon the licensee
  621  involved, whenever the department has reason to believe that an
  622  affiliated party is engaging in or has engaged in conduct that
  623  constitutes:
  624         1. An act that demonstrates a lack of fitness or
  625  trustworthiness to engage in the business of insurance through
  626  engaging in illegal activity or mismanagement of business
  627  activities;
  628         2. A willful violation of any law relating to the business
  629  of insurance; however, if the violation constitutes a
  630  misdemeanor, no complaint shall be served as provided in this
  631  section until the affiliated party is notified in writing of the
  632  matter of the violation and has been afforded a reasonable
  633  period of time, as set forth in the notice, to correct the
  634  violation and has failed to do so;
  635         3. A violation of any other law involving fraud or moral
  636  turpitude that constitutes a felony;
  637         4. A willful violation of any rule of the department;
  638         5. A willful violation of any order of the department;
  639         6. A material misrepresentation of fact, made knowingly and
  640  willfully or made with reckless disregard for the truth of the
  641  matter; or
  642         7. An act of commission or omission or a practice which is
  643  a breach of trust or a breach of fiduciary duty.
  644         (b) The complaint shall contain a statement of facts and
  645  notice of opportunity for a hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569 and
  646  120.57.
  647         (c) If no hearing is requested within the time allotted by
  648  ss. 120.569 and 120.57, or if a hearing is held and the
  649  department finds that any of the charges in the complaint are
  650  proven true and that:
  651         1. The licensee has suffered or will likely suffer loss or
  652  other damage;
  653         2. The interests of the policyholders, creditors, or public
  654  are, or could be, seriously prejudiced by reason of the
  655  violation or act or breach of fiduciary duty;
  656         3. The affiliated party has received financial gain by
  657  reason of the violation, act, or breach of fiduciary duty; or
  658         4. The violation, act, or breach of fiduciary duty is one
  659  involving personal dishonesty on the part of the affiliated
  660  party or the conduct jeopardizes or could reasonably be
  661  anticipated to jeopardize the financial soundness of the
  662  licensee,
  663  
  664  The department may enter an order removing the affiliated party
  665  or restricting or prohibiting participation by the person in the
  666  affairs of that particular licensee or of any other licensee.
  667         (d) If the affiliated party fails to respond to the
  668  complaint within the time allotted by ss. 120.569 and 120.57,
  669  the failure constitutes a default and justifies the entry of an
  670  order of removal, suspension, or restriction.
  671         (e) A contested or default order of removal, restriction,
  672  or prohibition is effective when reduced to writing and served
  673  on the licensee and the affiliated party. An uncontested order
  674  of removal, restriction, or prohibition is effective as agreed.
  675         (f)1. The chief executive officer, or the person holding
  676  the equivalent office, of a licensee shall promptly notify the
  677  department that issued the license if she or he has actual
  678  knowledge that any affiliated party is charged with a felony in
  679  a state or federal court.
  680         2. Whenever any affiliated party is charged with a felony
  681  in a state or federal court or with the equivalent of a felony
  682  in the courts of any foreign country with which the United
  683  States maintains diplomatic relations, and the charge alleges
  684  violation of any law involving fraud, theft, or moral turpitude,
  685  the department may enter an emergency order suspending the
  686  affiliated party or restricting or prohibiting participation by
  687  the affiliated party in the affairs of the particular licensee
  688  or of any other licensee upon service of the order upon the
  689  licensee and the affiliated party charged. The order shall
  690  contain notice of opportunity for a hearing pursuant to ss.
  691  120.569 and 120.57, where the affiliated party may request a
  692  postsuspension hearing to show that continued service to or
  693  participation in the affairs of the licensee does not pose a
  694  threat to the interests of the licensee’s policyholders or
  695  creditors and does not threaten to impair public confidence in
  696  the licensee. In accordance with applicable rules, the
  697  department shall notify the affiliated party whether the order
  698  suspending or prohibiting the person from participation in the
  699  affairs of a licensee will be rescinded or otherwise modified.
  700  The emergency order remains in effect, unless otherwise modified
  701  by the department, until the criminal charge is disposed of. The
  702  acquittal of the person charged, or the final, unappealed
  703  dismissal of all charges against the person, dissolves the
  704  emergency order, but does not prohibit the department from
  705  instituting proceedings under paragraph (a). If the person
  706  charged is convicted or pleads guilty or nolo contendere,
  707  whether or not an adjudication of guilt is entered by the court,
  708  the emergency order shall become final.
  709         (g) Any affiliated party removed from office pursuant to
  710  this section is not eligible for reelection or appointment to
  711  the position or to any other official position in any licensee
  712  in this state except upon the written consent of the department.
  713  Any affiliated party who is removed, restricted, or prohibited
  714  from participation in the affairs of a licensee pursuant to this
  715  section may petition the department for modification or
  716  termination of the removal, restriction, or prohibition.
  717         (h) Resignation or termination of an affiliated party does
  718  not affect the department’s jurisdiction to proceed under this
  719  subsection.
  720         (5) ADMINISTRATIVE FINES; ENFORCEMENT.—
  721         (a) The department, in a proceeding initiated pursuant to
  722  chapter 120, impose an administrative fine against any person
  723  found in the proceeding to have violated any provision of this
  724  chapter, a cease and desist order of the department, or any
  725  written agreement with the department. A proceeding may not be
  726  initiated and a fine may not accrue until after the person has
  727  been notified in writing of the nature of the violation and has
  728  been afforded a reasonable period of time, as set forth in the
  729  notice, to correct the violation and has failed to do so.
  730         (b) A fine imposed under this subsection may not exceed the
  731  amounts specified in s. 637.2021, per violation.
  732         (c) In addition to the imposition of an administrative fine
  733  under this subsection, the department may also suspend or revoke
  734  the license or certificate of authority of the licensee fined
  735  under this subsection.
  736         (d) Any administrative fine levied by the department under
  737  this subsection may be enforced by the department by appropriate
  738  proceedings in the circuit court of the county in which the
  739  person resides or in which the principal office of a licensee is
  740  located, or, in the case of a foreign insurer or person not
  741  residing in this state, in Leon County. In any administrative or
  742  judicial proceeding arising under this section, a party may
  743  elect to correct the violation asserted by the department, and,
  744  upon doing so, any fine shall cease to accrue; however, the
  745  election to correct the violation does not render any
  746  administrative or judicial proceeding moot. All fines collected
  747  under this section shall be paid to the Title Insurance
  748  Regulatory Trust Fund.
  749         (e) In imposing any administrative penalty or remedy
  750  provided for under this section, the department shall take into
  751  account the appropriateness of the penalty with respect to the
  752  size of the financial resources and the good faith of the person
  753  charged, the gravity of the violation, the history of previous
  754  violations, and other matters as justice may require.
  755         (f) The imposition of an administrative fine under this
  756  subsection may be in addition to any other penalty or
  757  administrative fine authorized under this chapter.
  758         (6) ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES.—All administrative
  759  proceedings under subsections (3), (4), and (5) shall be
  760  conducted in accordance with chapter 120. Any service required
  761  or authorized to be made by the department under this chapter
  762  shall be made by certified mail, return receipt requested,
  763  delivered to the addressee only; by personal delivery; or in
  764  accordance with chapter 48. The service provided for herein
  765  shall be effective from the date of delivery.
  766         (7) CRIMINAL ENFORCEMENT.—It is unlawful for any affiliated
  767  party who is removed or prohibited from participation in the
  768  affairs of a licensee pursuant to this section, or for any
  769  licensee whose rights or privileges under such license have been
  770  suspended or revoked pursuant to this chapter, to knowingly act
  771  as an affiliated party as defined in this section or to
  772  knowingly transact insurance until expressly authorized to do so
  773  by the department. Such authorization by the department may not
  774  be provided unless the affiliated party or the licensee has made
  775  restitution, if applicable, to all parties damaged by the
  776  actions of the affiliated party or the licensee which served as
  777  the basis for the removal or prohibition of the affiliated party
  778  or the suspension or revocation of the rights and privileges of
  779  the licensee. Any person who violates the provisions of this
  780  subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as
  781  provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083 or s. 775.084.
  782         637.1011 Immunity from civil liability for providing
  783  department with information about condition of insurer.—A
  784  person, other than a person filing a required report or other
  785  required information, who provides the department with
  786  information about the financial condition of an insurer is
  787  immune from civil liability arising out of the provision of the
  788  information unless the person acted with knowledge that the
  789  information was false or with reckless disregard for the truth
  790  or falsity of the information.
  791         637.1012 Records; reproductions; destruction.—
  792         (1) Except as provided in this section, the department
  793  shall each preserve in permanent form records of its
  794  proceedings, hearings, investigations, and examinations and
  795  shall file such records in its department.
  796         (2) The department may photograph, microphotograph, or
  797  reproduce on film, or maintain in an electronic recordkeeping
  798  system, all financial records, financial statements of domestic
  799  insurers, reports of business transacted in this state by
  800  foreign insurers and alien insurers, reports of examination of
  801  domestic insurers, and such other records and documents on file
  802  in the department as the department may in its discretion
  803  select.
  804         (3) To facilitate the efficient use of floor space and
  805  filing equipment in its offices, the department may destroy the
  806  following records and documents pursuant to chapter 257:
  807         (a) General closed correspondence files over 3 years old.
  808         (b) Title insurance and similar license files, over 2 years
  809  old; except that the department shall preserve by reproduction
  810  or otherwise a copy of the original records upon the basis of
  811  which each such licensee qualified for her or his initial
  812  license, except a competency examination, and of any
  813  disciplinary proceeding affecting the licensee.
  814         (c) All title insurance agent and similar license files and
  815  records, including original license qualification records and
  816  records of disciplinary proceedings 5 years after a licensee has
  817  ceased to be qualified for a license.
  818         (d) Insurer certificate of authority files over 2 years
  819  old, except that the department shall preserve by reproduction
  820  or otherwise a copy of the initial certificate of authority of
  821  each insurer.
  822         (e) All documents and records which have been photographed
  823  or otherwise reproduced as provided in subsection (2), if such
  824  reproductions have been filed and an audit of the department has
  825  been completed for the period embracing the dates of such
  826  documents and records.
  827         (f) All other records, documents, and files not expressly
  828  provided for in paragraphs (a)-(e).
  829         637.1013 Reproductions and certified copies of records as
  830  evidence.—
  831         (1) Photographs or microphotographs in the form of film or
  832  prints, or other reproductions from an electronic recordkeeping
  833  system, of documents and records made under s. 637.1012(2), or
  834  made under former s. 624.311(3) before October 1, 1982, shall
  835  have the same force and effect as the originals thereof and
  836  shall be treated as originals for the purpose of their
  837  admissibility in evidence. Duly certified or authenticated
  838  reproductions of such photographs, microphotographs, or other
  839  reproductions from an electronic recordkeeping system shall be
  840  as admissible in evidence as the originals.
  841         (2) Upon the request of any person and payment of the
  842  applicable fee, the department shall give a certified copy of
  843  any record in its department which is then subject to public
  844  inspection.
  845         (3) Copies of original records or documents in its
  846  department certified by the department shall be received in
  847  evidence in all courts as if they were originals.
  848         637.1014 Publications.—
  849         (1) As early as reasonably possible, the department shall
  850  annually have printed and made available a statistical report
  851  which must include all of the following information on either a
  852  calendar year or fiscal year basis:
  853         (a) The total amount of premiums written and earned for
  854  title insurance.
  855         (b) The total amount of losses paid and losses incurred for
  856  title insurance.
  857         (c) The ratio of premiums written to losses paid by title
  858  insurance.
  859         (d) The ratio of premiums earned to losses incurred by
  860  title insurance.
  861         (e) The market share of the 10 largest insurers or insurer
  862  groups of title insurance and of each insurer or insurer group
  863  that has a market share of at least 1 percent of a line of
  864  insurance in this state.
  865         (f) The profitability of title insurance.
  866         (g) An analysis of the impact of the insurance industry on
  867  the economy of the state.
  868         (h) A complaint ratio by line of insurance for the insurers
  869  referred to in paragraph (e), based upon information provided to
  870  the department by the department. The department shall determine
  871  the most appropriate ratio or ratios for quantifying complaints.
  872         (i) A summary of the findings of market examinations
  873  performed by the department under s. 637.1018 during the
  874  preceding year.
  875         (j) Such other information as the department deems
  876  relevant.
  877         (2) The department may prepare and have printed and
  878  published in pamphlet or book form, as needed, questions and
  879  answers for the use of persons applying for an examination for
  880  licensing as title insurance agents.
  881         (3) The department shall sell the publications mentioned in
  882  subsections (1) and (2) to purchasers at a price fixed by the
  883  department at not less than the cost of printing and binding
  884  such publications, plus packaging and postage costs for mailing;
  885  except that the department may deliver copies of such
  886  publications free of cost to state agencies and officers;
  887  insurance supervisory authorities of other states and
  888  jurisdictions; institutions of higher learning located in
  889  Florida; the Library of Congress; insurance officers of Naval,
  890  Military, and Air Force bases located in this state; and to
  891  persons serving as advisers to the department in preparation of
  892  the publications.
  893         (4) The department may contract with outside vendors, in
  894  accordance with chapter 287, to compile data in an electronic
  895  data processing format that is compatible with the systems of
  896  the department.
  897         637.1015 Sale of publications; deposit of proceeds.—The
  898  department shall deposit all moneys received from the sale of
  899  publications under s. 637.1014 in the Title Insurance Regulatory
  900  Trust Fund for the purpose of paying costs for the preparation,
  901  printing, and delivery of the publications required in s.
  902  637.1014(2), packaging and mailing costs, and banking,
  903  accounting, and incidental expenses connected with the sale and
  904  delivery of such publications. All moneys deposited into and all
  905  funds transferred to the Title Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund
  906  are appropriated for such uses and purposes.
  907         637.1016 Department; annual report.—
  908         (1) As early as reasonably possible, the department shall
  909  annually prepare a report to the Speaker and Minority Leader of
  910  the House of Representatives, the President and Minority Leader
  911  of the Senate, the chairs of the legislative committees with
  912  jurisdiction over matters of insurance, and the Governor
  913  showing, with respect to the preceding calendar year:
  914         (a) Names of the authorized insurers transacting insurance
  915  in this state, with abstracts of their financial statements
  916  including assets, liabilities, and net worth.
  917         (b) Names of insurers whose business was closed during the
  918  year, the cause thereof, and amounts of assets and liabilities
  919  as ascertainable.
  920         (c) Names of insurers against which delinquency or similar
  921  proceedings were instituted, and a concise statement of the
  922  circumstances and results of each such proceeding.
  923         (d) The receipts and estimated expenses of the department
  924  for the year.
  925         (e) Such other pertinent information and matters as the
  926  department deems to be in the public interest.
  927         (f) Annually after each regular session of the Legislature,
  928  a compilation of the laws of this state relating to insurance.
  929  Any such publication may be printed, revised, or reprinted upon
  930  the basis of the original low bid.
  931         (g) An analysis and summary report of the state of the
  932  insurance industry in this state evaluated as of the end of the
  933  most recent calendar year.
  934         (2) The department shall maintain the following information
  935  and make such information available upon request:
  936         (a) Calendar year profitability, including investment
  937  income from loss reserves (Florida and countrywide).
  938         (b) Aggregate Florida loss reserves.
  939         (c) Premiums written (Florida and countrywide).
  940         (d) Premiums earned (Florida and countrywide).
  941         (e) Incurred losses (Florida and countrywide).
  942         (f) Paid losses (Florida and countrywide).
  943         (g) Allocated Florida loss adjustment expenses.
  944         (h) Variation of premiums charged by the industry as
  945  compared to rates promulgated by the Insurance Services Office
  946  (Florida and countrywide).
  947         (i) An analysis of policy size limits (Florida and
  948  countrywide).
  949         (j) Trends; emerging trends as exemplified by the
  950  percentage change in frequency and severity of both paid and
  951  incurred claims, and pure premium (Florida and countrywide).
  952         (3) The department may contract with outside vendors, in
  953  accordance with chapter 287, to compile data in an electronic
  954  data processing format that is compatible with the systems of
  955  the department.
  956         637.1017 Examination of insurers.—
  957         (1)(a) The department shall examine the affairs,
  958  transactions, accounts, records, and assets of each authorized
  959  insurer as to its transactions affecting the insurer as often as
  960  it deems advisable, except as provided in this section. The
  961  examination may include examination of the affairs,
  962  transactions, accounts, and records relating directly or
  963  indirectly to the insurer and of the assets of the insurer’s
  964  managing general agents and controlling or controlled person, as
  965  defined in s. 625.012. The examination shall be pursuant to a
  966  written order of the department. Such order shall expire upon
  967  receipt by the department of the written report of the
  968  examination.
  969         (b) The department shall examine each insurer according to
  970  accounting procedures designed to fulfill the requirements of
  971  generally accepted insurance accounting principles and practices
  972  and good internal control and in keeping with generally accepted
  973  accounting forms, accounts, records, methods, and practices
  974  relating to insurers. To facilitate uniformity in examinations,
  975  the department may adopt, by rule, the Market Conduct Examiners
  976  Handbook and the Financial Condition Examiners Handbook of the
  977  National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 2002, and may
  978  adopt subsequent amendments thereto, if the examination
  979  methodology remains substantially consistent.
  980         (2)(a) Except as provided in paragraph (f), the department
  981  may examine each insurer as often as may be warranted for the
  982  protection of the policyholders and in the public interest, and
  983  shall examine each domestic insurer not less frequently than
  984  once every 5 years. The examination shall cover the preceding 5
  985  fiscal years of the insurer and shall be commenced within 12
  986  months after the end of the most recent fiscal year being
  987  covered by the examination. The examination may cover any period
  988  of the insurer’s operations since the last previous examination.
  989  The examination may include examination of events subsequent to
  990  the end of the most recent fiscal year and the events of any
  991  prior period that affect the present financial condition of the
  992  insurer.
  993         (b) The department shall examine each insurer applying for
  994  an initial certificate of authority to transact insurance in
  995  this state before granting the initial certificate.
  996         (c) In lieu of making its own examination, the department
  997  may accept a full report of the last recent examination of a
  998  foreign insurer, certified to by the insurance supervisory
  999  official of another state.
 1000         (d) The examination by the department of an alien insurer
 1001  shall be limited to the alien insurer’s insurance transactions
 1002  and affairs in the United States, except as otherwise required
 1003  by the department.
 1004         (e) The department shall adopt rules providing that an
 1005  examination under this section may be conducted by independent
 1006  certified public accountants, actuaries, investment specialists,
 1007  information technology specialists, and reinsurance specialists
 1008  meeting criteria specified by rule. The rules shall provide:
 1009         1. That the rates charged to the insurer being examined are
 1010  consistent with rates charged by other firms in a similar
 1011  profession and are comparable with the rates charged for
 1012  comparable examinations.
 1013         2. That the firm selected by the department to perform the
 1014  examination has no conflicts of interest that might affect its
 1015  ability to independently perform its responsibilities on the
 1016  examination.
 1017         3. That the insurer being examined must make payment for
 1018  the examination pursuant to s. 637.1023(1) in accordance with
 1019  the rates and terms established by the department and the firm
 1020  performing the examination.
 1021         (f) An examination under this section must be conducted at
 1022  least once every year with respect to a domestic insurer that
 1023  has continuously held a certificate of authority for less than 3
 1024  years. The examination must cover the preceding fiscal year or
 1025  the period since the last examination of the insurer. The
 1026  department may limit the scope of the examination.
 1027         637.1018 Market conduct examinations.—
 1028         (1) As often as it deems necessary, the department shall
 1029  examine each licensed rating organization, each advisory
 1030  organization, each group, association, carrier, as defined in s.
 1031  440.02, or other organization of insurers which engages in joint
 1032  underwriting or joint reinsurance, and each authorized insurer
 1033  transacting in this state any class of insurance to which the
 1034  provisions of this chapter are applicable. The examination shall
 1035  be for the purpose of ascertaining compliance by the person
 1036  examined with the applicable provisions of this chapter.
 1037         (2) In lieu of any such examination, the department may
 1038  accept the report of a similar examination made by the insurance
 1039  supervisory official of another state.
 1040         (3) The examination may be conducted by an independent
 1041  professional examiner under contract to the department, in which
 1042  case payment shall be made directly to the contracted examiner
 1043  by the insurer examined in accordance with the rates and terms
 1044  agreed to by the department and the examiner.
 1045         (4) The reasonable cost of the examination shall be paid by
 1046  the person examined, and such person shall be subject, as though
 1047  an insurer, to the provisions of s. 637.1023.
 1048         (5) Such examinations shall also be subject to the
 1049  applicable provisions of chapter 440 and ss. 637.1021, 637.1022,
 1050  637.1024, and 637.1025.
 1051         637.1019 Investigation of title insurance agents and
 1052  others.—If the department has reason to believe that any title
 1053  insurance agent has violated or is violating any provision of
 1054  this chapter, or upon the written complaint signed by any
 1055  interested person indicating that any such violation may exist:
 1056         (1) The department shall conduct such investigation as it
 1057  deems necessary of the accounts, records, documents, and
 1058  transactions pertaining to or affecting the insurance affairs of
 1059  any title insurance agent, title insurance agency, customer
 1060  representative, service representative, or other person subject
 1061  to its jurisdiction.
 1062         (2) The department shall conduct such investigation as it
 1063  deems necessary of the accounts, records, documents, and
 1064  transactions pertaining to or affecting the insurance affairs of
 1065  any:
 1066         (a) Administrator, service company, or other person subject
 1067  to its jurisdiction.
 1068         (b) Person having a contract or power of attorney under
 1069  which she or he enjoys in fact the exclusive or dominant right
 1070  to manage or control an insurer.
 1071         (c) Person engaged in or proposing to be engaged in the
 1072  promotion or formation of:
 1073         1. A domestic insurer;
 1074         2. An insurance holding corporation; or
 1075         3. A corporation to finance a domestic insurer or in the
 1076  production of the domestic insurer’s business.
 1077         (3) In the investigation by the department of the alleged
 1078  misconduct, the licensee shall, whenever required by the
 1079  department, cause his or her books and records to be open for
 1080  inspection for the purpose of such inquiries.
 1081         (4) A complaint against any licensee may be informally
 1082  alleged and need not be in any language necessary to charge a
 1083  crime on an indictment or information.
 1084         (5) The expense for any hearings or investigations under
 1085  this section, as well as the fees and mileage of witnesses, may
 1086  be paid out of the appropriate fund.
 1087         (6) If the department, after investigation, has reason to
 1088  believe that a licensee may have been found guilty of or pleaded
 1089  guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or a crime related to the
 1090  business of insurance in this or any other state or
 1091  jurisdiction, the department or office may require the licensee
 1092  to file with the department or office a complete set of his or
 1093  her fingerprints, which shall be accompanied by the fingerprint
 1094  processing fee set forth in s. 637.2031. The fingerprints shall
 1095  be taken by an authorized law enforcement agency or other
 1096  department-approved entity.
 1097         637.1021 Conduct of examination or investigation; access to
 1098  records; correction of accounts; appraisals.—
 1099         (1) The examination or investigation may be conducted by
 1100  the accredited examiners or investigators of the department at
 1101  the offices wherever located of the person being examined or
 1102  investigated and at such other places as may be required for
 1103  determination of matters under examination or investigation. In
 1104  the case of alien insurers, the examination may be so conducted
 1105  in the insurer’s offices and places in the United States, except
 1106  as otherwise required by the department.
 1107         (2) Every person being examined or investigated, and its
 1108  officers, attorneys, employees, agents, and representatives,
 1109  shall make freely available to the department or its examiners
 1110  or investigators the accounts, records, documents, files,
 1111  information, assets, and matters in their possession or control
 1112  relating to the subject of the examination or investigation. An
 1113  agent who provides other products or services or maintains
 1114  customer information not related to insurance must maintain
 1115  records relating to insurance products and transactions
 1116  separately if necessary to give the department access to such
 1117  records. If records relating to the insurance transactions are
 1118  maintained by an agent on premises owned or operated by a third
 1119  party, the agent and the third party must provide access to the
 1120  records by the department.
 1121         (3) If the department finds any accounts or records to be
 1122  inadequate, or inadequately kept or posted, it may employ
 1123  experts to reconstruct, rewrite, post, or balance them at the
 1124  expense of the person being examined if such person has failed
 1125  to maintain, complete, or correct such records or accounting
 1126  after the department has given her or him notice and a
 1127  reasonable opportunity to do so.
 1128         (4) If the department deems it necessary to value any asset
 1129  involved in such an examination of an insurer, it may make
 1130  written request of the insurer to designate one or more
 1131  competent appraisers acceptable to the department, who shall
 1132  promptly make an appraisal of the asset and furnish a copy
 1133  thereof to the department. If the insurer fails to designate
 1134  such an appraiser or appraisers within 20 days after the request
 1135  of the department, the department may designate the appraiser or
 1136  appraisers. The reasonable expense of any such appraisal shall
 1137  be a part of the expense of examination, to be borne by the
 1138  insurer.
 1139         (5) Neither the department nor any examiner shall remove
 1140  any record, account, document, file, or other property of the
 1141  person being examined from the offices of such person except
 1142  with the written consent of such person given in advance of such
 1143  removal or pursuant to an order of court duly obtained.
 1144         (6) Any individual who willfully obstructs the department
 1145  or the examiner in the examinations or investigations authorized
 1146  by this part is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction
 1147  shall be punished as provided in s. 624.15.
 1148         (7) The department or its examiners or investigators may
 1149  electronically scan accounts, records, documents, files, and
 1150  information, relating to the subject of the examination or
 1151  investigation, in the possession or control of the person being
 1152  examined or investigated.
 1153         637.1022 Examination and investigation reports.—
 1154         (1) The department or its examiner shall make a full and
 1155  true written report of each examination. The examination report
 1156  shall contain only information obtained from examination of the
 1157  records, accounts, files, and documents of or relative to the
 1158  insurer examined or from testimony of individuals under oath,
 1159  together with relevant conclusions and recommendations of the
 1160  examiner based thereon. The department shall furnish a copy of
 1161  the examination report to the insurer examined not less than 30
 1162  days prior to filing the examination report in its office. If
 1163  such insurer so requests in writing within such 30-day period,
 1164  the department shall grant a hearing with respect to the
 1165  examination report and shall not so file the examination report
 1166  until after the hearing and after such modifications have been
 1167  made therein as the department deems proper.
 1168         (2) The examination report when so filed shall be
 1169  admissible in evidence in any action or proceeding brought by
 1170  the department against the person examined, or against its
 1171  officers, employees, or agents. In all other proceedings, the
 1172  admissibility of the examination report is governed by the
 1173  evidence code. The department or its examiners may at any time
 1174  testify and offer other proper evidence as to information
 1175  secured or matters discovered during the course of an
 1176  examination, whether or not a written report of the examination
 1177  has been either made, furnished, or filed with the department.
 1178         (3) After the examination report has been filed pursuant to
 1179  subsection (1), the department may publish the results of any
 1180  such examination in one or more newspapers published in this
 1181  state whenever it deems it to be in the public interest.
 1182         (4) After the examination report of an insurer has been
 1183  filed pursuant to subsection (1), an affidavit shall be filed
 1184  with the department, not more than 30 days after the report has
 1185  been filed, on a form furnished by the department and signed by
 1186  the officer of the company in charge of the insurer’s business
 1187  in this state, stating that she or he has read the report and
 1188  that the recommendations made in the report will be considered
 1189  within a reasonable time.
 1190         637.1023 Examination expenses.—
 1191         (1) Each insurer so examined shall pay to the department
 1192  the expenses of the examination at the rates adopted by the
 1193  department. Such expenses shall include actual travel expenses,
 1194  reasonable living expense allowance, compensation of the
 1195  examiner or other person making the examination, and necessary
 1196  attendant administrative costs of the department directly
 1197  related to the examination. Such travel expense and living
 1198  expense allowance shall be limited to those expenses necessarily
 1199  incurred on account of the examination and shall be paid by the
 1200  examined insurer together with compensation upon presentation by
 1201  the department to such insurer of a detailed account of such
 1202  charges and expenses after a detailed statement has been filed
 1203  by the examiner and approved by the department.
 1204         (2) All moneys collected from insurers for examinations
 1205  shall be deposited into the Title Insurance Regulatory Trust
 1206  Fund, and the department may make deposits from time to time
 1207  into such fund from moneys appropriated for the operation of the
 1208  department.
 1209         (3) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 112.061, the
 1210  department may pay to the examiner or person making the
 1211  examination out of such trust fund the actual travel expenses,
 1212  reasonable living expense allowance, and compensation in
 1213  accordance with the statement filed with the department by the
 1214  examiner or other person, as provided in subsection (1) upon
 1215  approval by the department.
 1216         (4) When not examining an insurer, the travel expenses, per
 1217  diem, and compensation for the examiners and other persons
 1218  employed to make examinations, if approved, shall be paid out of
 1219  moneys budgeted for such purpose as regular employees,
 1220  reimbursements for such travel expenses and per diem to be at
 1221  rates no more than as provided in s. 112.061.
 1222         (5) The department may pay to regular insurance examiners,
 1223  not residents of Leon County, Florida, per diem for periods not
 1224  exceeding 30 days for each such examiner while at the Department
 1225  of Financial Services in Tallahassee, Florida, for the purpose
 1226  of auditing insurers’ annual statements. Such expenses shall be
 1227  paid out of moneys budgeted for such purpose, as for regular
 1228  employees at rates provided in s. 112.061.
 1229         (6) The provisions of this section shall apply to rate
 1230  analysts and rate examiners in the discharge of their duties
 1231  under s. 637.1018.
 1232         637.1024 Witnesses and evidence.—
 1233         (1) As to any examination, investigation, or hearing being
 1234  conducted under this chapter, a person designated by the
 1235  department:
 1236         (a) May administer oaths, examine and cross-examine
 1237  witnesses, receive oral and documentary evidence.
 1238         (b) May subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance and
 1239  testimony, and require by subpoena the production of books,
 1240  papers, records, files, correspondence, documents, or other
 1241  evidence which is relevant to the inquiry.
 1242         (2) If any person refuses to comply with any such subpoena
 1243  or to testify as to any matter concerning which she or he may be
 1244  lawfully interrogated, the Circuit Court of Leon County or of
 1245  the county wherein such examination, investigation, or hearing
 1246  is being conducted, or of the county wherein such person
 1247  resides, may, on the application of the department, issue an
 1248  order requiring such person to comply with the subpoena and to
 1249  testify.
 1250         (3) Subpoenas shall be served, and proof of such service
 1251  made, in the same manner as if issued by a circuit court.
 1252  Witness fees, cost, and reasonable travel expenses, if claimed,
 1253  shall be allowed the same as for testimony in a circuit court.
 1254         637.1025 Testimony compelled; immunity from prosecution.—
 1255         (1) If any natural person asks to be excused from attending
 1256  or testifying or from producing any books, papers, records,
 1257  contracts, documents, or other evidence in connection with any
 1258  examination, hearing, or investigation being conducted by the
 1259  department or its examiner, on the ground that the testimony or
 1260  evidence required of her or him may tend to incriminate the
 1261  person or subject her or him to a penalty or forfeiture, and
 1262  shall notwithstanding be directed to give such testimony or
 1263  produce such evidence, the person must, if so directed by the
 1264  department and the Department of Legal Affairs, nonetheless
 1265  comply with such direction; but she or he shall not thereafter
 1266  be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture for or
 1267  on account of any transaction, matter, or thing concerning which
 1268  she or he may have so testified or produced evidence; and no
 1269  testimony so given or evidence produced shall be received
 1270  against the person upon any criminal action, investigation, or
 1271  proceeding. However, no such person so testifying shall be
 1272  exempt from prosecution or punishment for any perjury committed
 1273  by her or him in such testimony, and the testimony or evidence
 1274  so given or produced shall be admissible against her or him upon
 1275  any criminal action, investigation, or proceeding concerning
 1276  such perjury. No license or permit conferred or to be conferred
 1277  to such person shall be refused, suspended, or revoked based
 1278  upon the use of such testimony.
 1279         (2) Any such individual may execute, acknowledge, and file
 1280  with the department, as appropriate, a statement expressly
 1281  waiving such immunity or privilege in respect to any
 1282  transaction, matter, or thing specified in such statement; and
 1283  thereupon the testimony of such individual or such evidence in
 1284  relation to such transaction, matter, or thing may be received
 1285  or produced before any judge or justice, court, tribunal, grand
 1286  jury, or otherwise; and, if so received or produced, such
 1287  individual shall not be entitled to any immunity or privileges
 1288  on account of any testimony she or he may so give or evidence so
 1289  produced.
 1290         637.1026 Hearings.—The department may hold hearings for any
 1291  purpose within the scope of this chapter deemed to be necessary.
 1292         637.1027 Authority of Department of Law Enforcement to
 1293  accept fingerprints of, and exchange criminal history records
 1294  with respect to, certain persons.—
 1295         (1) The Department of Law Enforcement may accept
 1296  fingerprints of organizers, incorporators, subscribers,
 1297  officers, stockholders, directors, or any other persons
 1298  involved, directly or indirectly, in the organization,
 1299  operation, or management of:
 1300         (a) Any insurer or proposed insurer transacting or
 1301  proposing to transact insurance in this state.
 1302         (b) Any other entity which is examined or investigated or
 1303  which is eligible to be examined or investigated under the
 1304  provisions of this chapter.
 1305         (2) The Department of Law Enforcement may accept
 1306  fingerprints of individuals who apply for a license as a title
 1307  insurance agent, service representative, or managing general
 1308  agent or the fingerprints of the majority owner, sole
 1309  proprietor, partners, officers, and directors of a corporation
 1310  or other legal entity that applies for licensure with the
 1311  department under the provisions of this chapter.
 1312         (3) The Department of Law Enforcement may, to the extent
 1313  provided for by federal law, exchange state, multistate, and
 1314  federal criminal history records with the department for the
 1315  purpose of the issuance, denial, suspension, or revocation of a
 1316  certificate of authority, certification, or license to operate
 1317  in this state.
 1318         (4) The Department of Law Enforcement may accept
 1319  fingerprints of any other person required by statute or rule to
 1320  submit fingerprints to the department or any applicant or
 1321  licensee regulated by the department who is required to
 1322  demonstrate that he or she has not been convicted of or pled
 1323  guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or a misdemeanor.
 1324         (5) The Department of Law Enforcement shall, upon receipt
 1325  of fingerprints from the department, submit the fingerprints to
 1326  the Federal Bureau of Investigation to check federal criminal
 1327  history records.
 1328         (6) Statewide criminal records obtained through the
 1329  Department of Law Enforcement, federal criminal records obtained
 1330  through the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and local criminal
 1331  records obtained through local law enforcement agencies shall be
 1332  used by the department for the purpose of issuance, denial,
 1333  suspension, or revocation of certificates of authority,
 1334  certifications, or licenses issued to operate in this state.
 1335         637.1029 Declaration of purpose.—The purpose of ss.
 1336  637.1029-637.1049 is to regulate trade practices relating to the
 1337  business of title insurance in accordance with the intent of
 1338  Congress as expressed in the Act of Congress of March 9, 1945
 1339  (Pub. L. No. 15, 79th Congress), by defining, or providing for
 1340  the determination of, all such practices in this state which
 1341  constitute unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive
 1342  acts or practices and by prohibiting the trade practices so
 1343  defined or determined.
 1344         637.1031 Definitions.—When used in ss. 637.1029-637.1049,
 1345  the term “insurance policy” or “insurance contract” means a
 1346  written contract of, or a written agreement for or effecting,
 1347  insurance, or the certificate thereof, by whatever name called,
 1348  and includes all clauses, riders, endorsements, and papers which
 1349  are a part thereof.
 1350         637.1032 Unfair methods of competition and unfair or
 1351  deceptive acts or practices prohibited; penalties.—
 1352         (1) A person may not engage in this state in any trade
 1353  practice which is defined in ss. 637.1029-637.1049 as, or
 1354  determined pursuant to s. 637.1029 or s. 637.1035 to be, an
 1355  unfair method of competition or an unfair or deceptive act or
 1356  practice involving the business of insurance.
 1357         (2) Any person who violates any provision of ss. 637.1029
 1358  637.1049 shall be subject to a fine in an amount not greater
 1359  than $2,500 for each nonwillful violation and not greater than
 1360  $20,000 for each willful violation. Fines under this subsection
 1361  may not exceed an aggregate amount of $10,000 for all nonwillful
 1362  violations arising out of the same action or an aggregate amount
 1363  of $100,000 for all willful violations arising out of the same
 1364  action. The fines authorized by this subsection may be imposed
 1365  in addition to any other applicable penalty.
 1366         637.1033 Unfair methods of competition and unfair or
 1367  deceptive acts or practices defined.—The following are defined
 1368  as unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or
 1369  practices:
 1370         (1) Misrepresentations and false advertising of insurance
 1371  policies.—Knowingly making, issuing, circulating, or causing to
 1372  be made, issued, or circulated, any estimate, illustration,
 1373  circular, statement, sales presentation, omission, or comparison
 1374  which:
 1375         (a) Misrepresents the benefits, advantages, conditions, or
 1376  terms of any insurance policy.
 1377         (b) Misrepresents the dividends or share of the surplus to
 1378  be received on any insurance policy.
 1379         (c) Makes any false or misleading statements as to the
 1380  dividends or share of surplus previously paid on any insurance
 1381  policy.
 1382         (d) Is misleading, or is a misrepresentation, as to the
 1383  financial condition of any person or as to the legal reserve
 1384  system upon which any life insurer operates.
 1385         (e) Uses any name or title of any insurance policy or class
 1386  of insurance policies misrepresenting the true nature thereof.
 1387         (f) Is a misrepresentation for the purpose of inducing, or
 1388  tending to induce, the lapse, forfeiture, exchange, conversion,
 1389  or surrender of any insurance policy.
 1390         (g) Is a misrepresentation for the purpose of effecting a
 1391  pledge or assignment of, or effecting a loan against, any
 1392  insurance policy.
 1393         (h) Misrepresents any insurance policy as being shares of
 1394  stock or misrepresents ownership interest in the company.
 1395         (i) Uses any advertisement that would mislead or otherwise
 1396  cause a reasonable person to believe mistakenly that the state
 1397  or the Federal Government is responsible for the insurance sales
 1398  activities of any person or stands behind any person’s credit or
 1399  that any person, the state, or the Federal Government guarantees
 1400  any returns on insurance products or is a source of payment of
 1401  any insurance obligation of or sold by any person.
 1402         (2) False information and advertising generally.—Knowingly
 1403  making, publishing, disseminating, circulating, or placing
 1404  before the public, or causing, directly or indirectly, to be
 1405  made, published, disseminated, circulated, or placed before the
 1406  public:
 1407         (a) In a newspaper, magazine, or other publication;
 1408         (b) In the form of a notice, circular, pamphlet, letter, or
 1409  poster;
 1410         (c) Over any radio or television station; or
 1411         (d) In any other way,
 1412  
 1413  an advertisement, announcement, or statement containing any
 1414  assertion, representation, or statement with respect to the
 1415  business of insurance, which is untrue, deceptive, or
 1416  misleading.
 1417         (3) Defamation.—Knowingly making, publishing,
 1418  disseminating, or circulating, directly or indirectly, or
 1419  aiding, abetting, or encouraging the making, publishing,
 1420  disseminating, or circulating of, any oral or written statement,
 1421  or any pamphlet, circular, article, or literature, which is
 1422  false or maliciously critical of, or derogatory to, any person
 1423  and which is calculated to injure such person.
 1424         (4) Boycott, coercion, and intimidation.—Entering into any
 1425  agreement to commit, or by any concerted action committing, any
 1426  act of boycott, coercion, or intimidation resulting in, or
 1427  tending to result in, unreasonable restraint of, or monopoly in,
 1428  the business of insurance.
 1429         (5) False statements and entries.—
 1430         (a) Knowingly:
 1431         1. Filing with any supervisory or other public official;
 1432         2. Making, publishing, disseminating, circulating;
 1433         3. Delivering to any person;
 1434         4. Placing before the public; or
 1435         5. Causing, directly or indirectly, to be made, published,
 1436  disseminated, circulated, delivered to any person, or placed
 1437  before the public,
 1438  
 1439  any false material statement.
 1440         (b) Knowingly making any false entry of a material fact in
 1441  any book, report, or statement of any person, or knowingly
 1442  omitting to make a true entry of any material fact pertaining to
 1443  the business of such person in any book, report, or statement of
 1444  such person.
 1445         (6) Unlawful rebates.—
 1446         (a) Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, or in an
 1447  applicable filing with the department, knowingly:
 1448         1. Permitting, or offering to make, or making, any contract
 1449  or agreement as to such contract other than as plainly expressed
 1450  in the insurance contract issued thereon; or
 1451         2. Paying, allowing, or giving, or offering to pay, allow,
 1452  or give, directly or indirectly, as inducement to such insurance
 1453  contract, any unlawful rebate of premiums payable on the
 1454  contract, any special favor or advantage in the dividends or
 1455  other benefits thereon, or any valuable consideration or
 1456  inducement whatever not specified in the contract.
 1457         (b)1. A title insurer, or any member, employee, attorney,
 1458  agent, or agency thereof, may not pay, allow, or give, or offer
 1459  to pay, allow, or give, directly or indirectly, as inducement to
 1460  title insurance, or after such insurance has been effected, any
 1461  rebate or abatement of the premium or any other charge or fee,
 1462  or provide any special favor or advantage, or any monetary
 1463  consideration or inducement whatever.
 1464         2. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as
 1465  prohibiting the payment of fees to attorneys at law duly
 1466  licensed to practice law in the courts of this state, for
 1467  professional services, or as prohibiting the payment of earned
 1468  portions of the premium to duly appointed agents or agencies who
 1469  actually perform services for the title insurer. Nothing in this
 1470  paragraph shall be construed as prohibiting a rebate or
 1471  abatement of an attorney’s fee charged for professional
 1472  services, or that portion of the premium that is not required to
 1473  be retained by the insurer pursuant to s. 637.2064(1), or any
 1474  other agent charge or fee to the person responsible for paying
 1475  the premium, charge, or fee.
 1476         3. An insured named in a policy, or any other person
 1477  directly or indirectly connected with the transaction involving
 1478  the issuance of such policy, including, but not limited to, any
 1479  mortgage broker, real estate broker, builder, or attorney, any
 1480  employee, agent, agency, or representative thereof, or any other
 1481  person whatsoever, may not knowingly receive or accept, directly
 1482  or indirectly, any rebate or abatement of any portion of the
 1483  title insurance premium or of any other charge or fee or any
 1484  monetary consideration or inducement whatsoever, except as set
 1485  forth in subparagraph 2.; provided, in no event shall any
 1486  portion of the attorney’s fee, any portion of the premium that
 1487  is not required to be retained by the insurer pursuant to s.
 1488  637.2064(1), any agent charge or fee, or any other monetary
 1489  consideration or inducement be paid directly or indirectly for
 1490  the referral of title insurance business.
 1491         (7) Unfair claim settlement practices.—
 1492         (a) Attempting to settle claims on the basis of an
 1493  application, when serving as a binder or intended to become a
 1494  part of the policy, or any other material document which was
 1495  altered without notice to, or knowledge or consent of, the
 1496  insured;
 1497         (b) A material misrepresentation made to an insured or any
 1498  other person having an interest in the proceeds payable under
 1499  such contract or policy, for the purpose and with the intent of
 1500  effecting settlement of such claims, loss, or damage under such
 1501  contract or policy on less favorable terms than those provided
 1502  in, and contemplated by, such contract or policy; or
 1503         (c) Committing or performing with such frequency as to
 1504  indicate a general business practice any of the following:
 1505         1. Failing to adopt and implement standards for the proper
 1506  investigation of claims;
 1507         2. Misrepresenting pertinent facts or insurance policy
 1508  provisions relating to coverages at issue;
 1509         3. Failing to acknowledge and act promptly upon
 1510  communications with respect to claims;
 1511         4. Denying claims without conducting reasonable
 1512  investigations based upon available information;
 1513         5. Failing to affirm or deny full or partial coverage of
 1514  claims, and, as to partial coverage, the dollar amount or extent
 1515  of coverage, or failing to provide a written statement that the
 1516  claim is being investigated, upon the written request of the
 1517  insured within 30 days after proof-of-loss statements have been
 1518  completed;
 1519         6. Failing to promptly provide a reasonable explanation in
 1520  writing to the insured of the basis in the insurance policy, in
 1521  relation to the facts or applicable law, for denial of a claim
 1522  or for the offer of a compromise settlement;
 1523         7. Failing to promptly notify the insured of any additional
 1524  information necessary for the processing of a claim; or
 1525         8. Failing to clearly explain the nature of the requested
 1526  information and the reasons why such information is necessary.
 1527         (8) Failure to maintain complaint-handling procedures.
 1528  Failure of any person to maintain a complete record of all the
 1529  complaints received since the date of the last examination. For
 1530  purposes of this subsection, the term “complaint” means any
 1531  written communication primarily expressing a grievance.
 1532         (9) Misrepresentation in insurance applications.—
 1533         (a) Knowingly making a false or fraudulent written or oral
 1534  statement or representation on, or relative to, an application
 1535  or negotiation for an insurance policy for the purpose of
 1536  obtaining a fee, commission, money, or other benefit from any
 1537  insurer, agent, broker, or individual.
 1538         (b) Knowingly making a material omission in the comparison
 1539  of a life, health, or Medicare supplement insurance replacement
 1540  policy with the policy it replaces for the purpose of obtaining
 1541  a fee, commission, money, or other benefit from any insurer,
 1542  agent, broker, or individual. For the purposes of this
 1543  paragraph, a material omission includes the failure to advise
 1544  the insured of the existence and operation of a preexisting
 1545  condition clause in the replacement policy.
 1546         (10) Advertising gifts permitted.—No provision of
 1547  subsection (6) or subsection (7) shall be deemed to prohibit a
 1548  licensed insurer or its agent from giving to insureds,
 1549  prospective insureds, and others, for the purpose of
 1550  advertising, any article of merchandise having a value of not
 1551  more than $25.
 1552         (11) Illegal dealings in premiums; excess or reduced
 1553  charges for insurance.—
 1554         (a) Knowingly collecting any sum as a premium or charge for
 1555  insurance, which is not then provided, or is not in due course
 1556  to be provided, subject to acceptance of the risk by the
 1557  insurer, by an insurance policy issued by an insurer as
 1558  permitted by this chapter.
 1559         (b) Knowingly collecting as a premium or charge for
 1560  insurance any sum in excess of or less than the premium or
 1561  charge applicable to such insurance, in accordance with the
 1562  applicable classifications and rates as filed with and approved
 1563  by the department, and as specified in the policy; or, in cases
 1564  when classifications, premiums, or rates are not required by
 1565  this chapter to be so filed and approved, premiums and charges
 1566  collected from a resident of this state in excess of or less
 1567  than those specified in the policy and as fixed by the insurer.
 1568         (12) Interlocking ownership and management.—
 1569         (a) Any domestic insurer may retain, invest in, or acquire
 1570  the whole or any part of the capital stock of any other insurer
 1571  or insurers, or have a common management with any other insurer
 1572  or insurers, unless such retention, investment, acquisition, or
 1573  common management is inconsistent with any other provision of
 1574  this chapter, or unless by reason thereof the business of such
 1575  insurers with the public is conducted in a manner which
 1576  substantially lessens competition generally in the insurance
 1577  business.
 1578         (b) Any person otherwise qualified may be a director of two
 1579  or more domestic insurers which are competitors, unless the
 1580  effect thereof is substantially to lessen competition between
 1581  insurers generally or materially tend to create a monopoly.
 1582         (c) Any limitation contained in this subsection does not
 1583  apply to any person who is a director of two or more insurers
 1584  under common control or management.
 1585         (13) Soliciting or accepting new or renewal insurance risks
 1586  by insolvent or impaired insurer prohibited; penalty.—
 1587         (a) Whether or not delinquency proceedings as to the
 1588  insurer have been or are to be initiated, but while such
 1589  insolvency or impairment exists, a director or officer of an
 1590  insurer, except with the written permission of the department,
 1591  may not authorize or permit the insurer to solicit or accept new
 1592  or renewal insurance risks in this state after such director or
 1593  officer knew, or reasonably should have known, that the insurer
 1594  was insolvent or impaired. The term “impaired” includes
 1595  impairment of capital or surplus, as defined in s. 631.011(12)
 1596  and (13).
 1597         (b) Any such director or officer, upon conviction of a
 1598  violation of this subsection, is guilty of a felony of the third
 1599  degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s.
 1600  775.084.
 1601         (14) Refusal to insure.—In addition to other provisions of
 1602  this chapter, the refusal to insure, or continue to insure, any
 1603  individual or risk solely because of:
 1604         (a) Race, color, creed, marital status, sex, or national
 1605  origin;
 1606         (b) The residence, age, or lawful occupation of the
 1607  individual or the location of the risk, unless there is a
 1608  reasonable relationship between the residence, age, or lawful
 1609  occupation of the individual or the location of the risk and the
 1610  coverage issued or to be issued; or
 1611         (c) The insured’s or applicant’s failure to agree to place
 1612  collateral business with any insurer.
 1613         (15) Sliding.—Sliding is the act or practice of:
 1614         (a) Representing to the applicant that a specific ancillary
 1615  coverage or product is required by law in conjunction with the
 1616  purchase of insurance when such coverage or product is not
 1617  required;
 1618         (b) Representing to the applicant that a specific ancillary
 1619  coverage or product is included in the policy applied for
 1620  without an additional charge when such charge is required; or
 1621         (c) Charging an applicant for a specific ancillary coverage
 1622  or product, in addition to the cost of the insurance coverage
 1623  applied for, without the informed consent of the applicant.
 1624         637.10335 Civil remedies against title insurers.—
 1625         (1)(a) Any person may bring a civil action against a title
 1626  insurer when such person is damaged:
 1627         1. By a violation by the insurer of s. 637.1033(7), (11),
 1628  or (14); or
 1629         2. By the commission of any of the following acts by the
 1630  insurer:
 1631         a. Not attempting in good faith to settle claims when,
 1632  under all the circumstances, it could and should have done so
 1633  had it acted fairly and honestly toward its insured and with due
 1634  regard for her or his interests;
 1635         b. Making claims payments to insureds or beneficiaries not
 1636  accompanied by a statement setting forth the coverage under
 1637  which payments are being made; or
 1638         c. Except as to liability coverages, failing to promptly
 1639  settle claims, when the obligation to settle a claim has become
 1640  reasonably clear, under one portion of the insurance policy
 1641  coverage in order to influence settlements under other portions
 1642  of the insurance policy coverage.
 1643         (b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a person pursuing a
 1644  remedy under this section need not prove that such act was
 1645  committed or performed with such frequency as to indicate a
 1646  general business practice.
 1647         (2) Any party may bring a civil action against an
 1648  unauthorized insurer if such party is damaged by a violation of
 1649  s. 637.1033 by the unauthorized insurer.
 1650         (3)(a) As a condition precedent to bringing an action under
 1651  this section, the department and the authorized insurer must
 1652  have been given 60 days’ written notice of the violation. If the
 1653  department returns a notice for lack of specificity, the 60-day
 1654  time period shall not begin until a proper notice is filed.
 1655         (b) The notice shall be on a form provided by the
 1656  department and shall state with specificity the following
 1657  information, and such other information as the department may
 1658  require:
 1659         1. The statutory provision, including the specific language
 1660  of the statute, which the authorized insurer allegedly violated.
 1661         2. The facts and circumstances giving rise to the
 1662  violation.
 1663         3. The name of any individual involved in the violation.
 1664         4. A reference to specific policy language that is relevant
 1665  to the violation, if any. If the person bringing the civil
 1666  action is a third-party claimant, she or he shall not be
 1667  required to reference the specific policy language if the
 1668  authorized insurer has not provided a copy of the policy to the
 1669  third-party claimant pursuant to written request.
 1670         5. A statement that the notice is given in order to perfect
 1671  the right to pursue the civil remedy authorized by this section.
 1672         (c) Within 20 days after receipt of the notice, the
 1673  department may return any notice that does not provide the
 1674  specific information required by this section, and the
 1675  department shall indicate the specific deficiencies contained in
 1676  the notice. A determination by the department to return a notice
 1677  for lack of specificity shall be exempt from the requirements of
 1678  chapter 120.
 1679         (d) An action may not lie if, within 60 days after filing
 1680  notice, the damages are paid or the circumstances giving rise to
 1681  the violation are corrected.
 1682         (e) The authorized insurer that is the recipient of a
 1683  notice filed pursuant to this section shall report to the
 1684  department on the disposition of the alleged violation.
 1685         (f) The applicable statute of limitations for an action
 1686  under this section shall be tolled for a period of 65 days by
 1687  the mailing of the notice required by this subsection or the
 1688  mailing of a subsequent notice required by this subsection.
 1689         (4) Upon adverse adjudication at trial or upon appeal, the
 1690  authorized insurer shall be liable for damages, together with
 1691  court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the
 1692  plaintiff.
 1693         (5)(a) Punitive damages may not be awarded under this
 1694  section unless the acts giving rise to the violation occur with
 1695  such frequency as to indicate a general business practice and
 1696  these acts are:
 1697         1. Willful, wanton, and malicious;
 1698         2. In reckless disregard for the rights of any insured; or
 1699         3. In reckless disregard for the rights of a beneficiary
 1700  under a life insurance contract.
 1701         (b) Any person who pursues a claim under this subsection
 1702  shall post in advance the costs of discovery. Such costs shall
 1703  be awarded to the authorized insurer if no punitive damages are
 1704  awarded to the plaintiff.
 1705         (6) This section shall not be construed to authorize a
 1706  class action suit against an authorized insurer or a civil
 1707  action against the commission, the office, or the department or
 1708  any of their employees, or to create a cause of action when an
 1709  authorized health insurer refuses to pay a claim for
 1710  reimbursement on the ground that the charge for a service was
 1711  unreasonably high or that the service provided was not medically
 1712  necessary.
 1713         (7) In the absence of expressed language to the contrary,
 1714  this section shall not be construed to authorize a civil action
 1715  or create a cause of action against an authorized insurer or its
 1716  employees who, in good faith, release information about an
 1717  insured or an insurance policy to a law enforcement agency in
 1718  furtherance of an investigation of a criminal or fraudulent act
 1719  relating to a motor vehicle theft or a motor vehicle insurance
 1720  claim.
 1721         (8) The civil remedy specified in this section does not
 1722  preempt any other remedy or cause of action provided pursuant to
 1723  any other statute or pursuant to the common law of this state.
 1724  Any person may obtain a judgment under the common-law remedy of
 1725  bad faith or the remedy provided under this section but is not
 1726  entitled to a judgment under both remedies. This section shall
 1727  not be construed to create a common-law cause of action. The
 1728  damages recoverable pursuant to this section shall include those
 1729  damages that are a reasonably foreseeable result of a specified
 1730  violation of this section by the authorized insurer and may
 1731  include an award or judgment in an amount that exceeds the
 1732  policy limits.
 1733         637.1034 Favored title insurance agent or title insurer;
 1734  coercion of debtors.—
 1735         (1) A person may not:
 1736         (a) Require, as a condition precedent or condition
 1737  subsequent to the lending of money or extension of credit or any
 1738  renewal thereof, that the person to whom such money or credit is
 1739  extended, or whose obligation the creditor is to acquire or
 1740  finance, negotiate any policy or contract of insurance through a
 1741  particular insurer or group of insurers or agent or broker or
 1742  group of agents or brokers.
 1743         (b) Reject an insurance policy solely because the policy
 1744  has been issued or underwritten by any person who is not
 1745  associated with a financial institution, or with any subsidiary
 1746  or affiliate thereof, when such insurance is required in
 1747  connection with a loan or extension of credit; or unreasonably
 1748  disapprove the insurance policy provided by a borrower for the
 1749  protection of the property securing the credit or lien. For
 1750  purposes of this paragraph, such disapproval shall be deemed
 1751  unreasonable if it is not based solely on reasonable standards,
 1752  uniformly applied, relating to the extent of coverage required
 1753  by such lender or person extending credit and the financial
 1754  soundness and the services of an insurer. Such standards shall
 1755  not discriminate against any particular type of insurer, nor
 1756  shall such standards call for the disapproval of an insurance
 1757  policy because such policy contains coverage in addition to that
 1758  required.
 1759         (c) Require, directly or indirectly, that any borrower,
 1760  mortgagor, purchaser, insurer, broker, or agent pay a separate
 1761  charge in connection with the handling of any insurance policy
 1762  that is required in connection with a loan or other extension of
 1763  credit or the provision of another traditional banking product,
 1764  or pay a separate charge to substitute the insurance policy of
 1765  one insurer for that of another, unless such charge would be
 1766  required if the person were providing the insurance. This
 1767  paragraph does not include the interest which may be charged on
 1768  premium loans or premium advances in accordance with the
 1769  security instrument.
 1770         (d) Use or provide to others insurance information required
 1771  to be disclosed by a customer to a financial institution, or a
 1772  subsidiary or affiliate thereof, in connection with the
 1773  extension of credit for the purpose of soliciting the sale of
 1774  insurance, unless the customer has given express written consent
 1775  or has been given the opportunity to object to such use of the
 1776  information. Insurance information means information concerning
 1777  premiums, terms, and conditions of insurance coverage, insurance
 1778  claims, and insurance history provided by the customer. The
 1779  opportunity to object to the use of insurance information must
 1780  be in writing and must be clearly and conspicuously made.
 1781         (2)(a) Any person offering the sale of insurance at the
 1782  time of and in connection with an extension of credit or the
 1783  sale or lease of goods or services shall disclose in writing
 1784  that the choice of an insurance provider will not affect the
 1785  decision regarding the extension of credit or sale or lease of
 1786  goods or services, except that reasonable requirements may be
 1787  imposed pursuant to subsection (1).
 1788         (b) Federally insured or state-insured depository
 1789  institutions and credit unions shall make clear and conspicuous
 1790  disclosure in writing prior to the sale of any insurance policy
 1791  that such policy is not a deposit, is not insured by the Federal
 1792  Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other entity, is not
 1793  guaranteed by the insured depository institution or any person
 1794  soliciting the purchase of or selling the policy; that the
 1795  financial institution is not obligated to provide benefits under
 1796  the insurance contract; and, where appropriate, that the policy
 1797  involves investment risk, including potential loss of principal.
 1798         (c) All documents constituting policies of insurance shall
 1799  be separate and shall not be combined with or be a part of other
 1800  documents. A person may not include the expense of insurance
 1801  premiums in a primary credit transaction without the express
 1802  written consent of the customer.
 1803         (d) A loan officer of a financial institution who is
 1804  involved in the application, solicitation, or closing of a loan
 1805  transaction may not solicit or sell insurance in connection with
 1806  the same loan, but such loan officer may refer the loan customer
 1807  to another insurance agent who is not involved in the
 1808  application, solicitation, or closing of the same loan
 1809  transaction. This paragraph does not apply to an agent located
 1810  on premises having only a single person with lending authority,
 1811  or to a broker or dealer registered under the Federal Securities
 1812  Exchange Act of 1934 in connection with a margin loan secured by
 1813  securities.
 1814         (3) A person may not make an extension of credit or the
 1815  sale of any product or service that is the equivalent to an
 1816  extension of credit or lease or sale of property of any kind, or
 1817  furnish any services or fix or vary the consideration for any of
 1818  the foregoing, on the condition or requirement that the customer
 1819  obtain insurance from that person, or a subsidiary or affiliate
 1820  of that person, or a particular insurer, agent, or broker;
 1821  however, this subsection does not prohibit any person from
 1822  engaging in any activity that if done by a financial institution
 1823  would not violate s. 106 of the Bank Holding Company Act
 1824  Amendments of 1970, 12 U.S.C. s. 1972, as interpreted by the
 1825  Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
 1826         (4) The department may investigate the affairs of any
 1827  person to whom this section applies to determine whether such
 1828  person has violated this section. If a violation of this section
 1829  is found to have been committed knowingly, the person in
 1830  violation shall be subject to the same procedures and penalties
 1831  as provided in ss. 637.1036, 637.1037, 637.1038 and 637.1039.
 1832         637.1035 Power of department.—The department may examine
 1833  and investigate the affairs of every person involved in the
 1834  business of insurance in this state in order to determine
 1835  whether such person has been or is engaged in any unfair method
 1836  of competition or in any unfair or deceptive act or practice
 1837  prohibited by s. 637.1032, and shall each have the powers and
 1838  duties specified in ss. 637.1036637.1039 in connection
 1839  therewith.
 1840         637.1036 Defined practices; hearings, witnesses,
 1841  appearances, production of books and service of process.—
 1842         (1) Whenever the department has reason to believe that any
 1843  person has engaged, or is engaging, in this state in any unfair
 1844  method of competition or any unfair or deceptive act or practice
 1845  as defined in s. 637.1033 or s. 637.1034 or is engaging in the
 1846  business of insurance without being properly licensed as
 1847  required by this chapter and that a proceeding by it in respect
 1848  thereto would be to the interest of the public, it shall conduct
 1849  or cause to have conducted a hearing in accordance with chapter
 1850  120.
 1851         (2) The department, a duly empowered hearing officer, or an
 1852  administrative law judge shall, during the conduct of such
 1853  hearing, have those powers enumerated in s. 120.569; however,
 1854  the penalties for failure to comply with a subpoena or with an
 1855  order directing discovery shall be limited to a fine not to
 1856  exceed $1,000 per violation.
 1857         (3) Statements of charges, notices, and orders under this
 1858  act may be served by anyone duly authorized by the department,
 1859  in the manner provided by law for service of process in civil
 1860  actions or by certifying and mailing a copy thereof to the
 1861  person affected by such statement, notice, order, or other
 1862  process at his or her or its residence or principal office or
 1863  place of business. The verified return by the person so serving
 1864  such statement, notice, order, or other process, setting forth
 1865  the manner of the service, shall be proof of the same, and the
 1866  return postcard receipt for such statement, notice, order, or
 1867  other process, certified and mailed as aforesaid, shall be proof
 1868  of service of the same.
 1869         637.1037 Cease and desist and penalty orders.—After the
 1870  hearing provided in s. 637.1036, the department shall enter a
 1871  final order in accordance with s. 120.569. If it is determined
 1872  that the person charged has engaged in an unfair or deceptive
 1873  act or practice or the unlawful transaction of insurance, the
 1874  department shall also issue an order requiring the violator to
 1875  cease and desist from engaging in such method of competition,
 1876  act, or practice or the unlawful transaction of insurance.
 1877  Further, if the act or practice is a violation of s. 637.1033 or
 1878  s. 637.1034, the department may, at its discretion, order any
 1879  one or more of the following:
 1880         (1) Suspension or revocation of the person’s certificate of
 1881  authority, license, or eligibility for any certificate of
 1882  authority or license, if he or she knew, or reasonably should
 1883  have known, he or she was in violation of this chapter.
 1884         (2) Such other relief as may be provided in this chapter.
 1885         637.1038 Appeals from the department.—Any person subject to
 1886  an order of the department under s. 637.1037 or s. 637.1039 may
 1887  obtain a review of such order by filing an appeal therefrom in
 1888  accordance with the provisions and procedures for appeal from
 1889  the orders of the department in general under s. 120.68.
 1890         637.1039 Penalty for violation of cease and desist orders.
 1891  Any person who violates a cease and desist order of the
 1892  department under s. 637.1037 while such order is in effect,
 1893  after notice and hearing as provided in s. 637.1036, shall be
 1894  subject, at the discretion of the department, to any one or more
 1895  of the following:
 1896         (1) A monetary penalty of not more than $50,000 as to all
 1897  matters determined in such hearing.
 1898         (2) Suspension or revocation of such person’s certificate
 1899  of authority, license, or eligibility to hold such certificate
 1900  of authority or license.
 1901         (3) Such other relief as may be provided in this chapter.
 1902         637.1041 Rules.—
 1903         (1) The department may, in accordance with chapter 120,
 1904  adopt reasonable rules as are necessary or proper to identify
 1905  specific methods of competition or acts or practices which are
 1906  prohibited by s. 637.1033 or s. 637.1034, but the rules shall
 1907  not enlarge upon or extend the provisions of ss. 637.1033 and
 1908  637.1034.
 1909         (2) The department shall, in accordance with chapter 120,
 1910  adopt rules to protect members of the United States Armed Forces
 1911  from dishonest or predatory insurance sales practices by
 1912  insurers and insurance agents. The rules shall identify specific
 1913  false, misleading, deceptive, or unfair methods of competition,
 1914  acts, or practices which are prohibited by s. 637.1033 or s.
 1915  637.1034. The rules shall be based upon model rules or model
 1916  laws adopted by the National Association of Insurance
 1917  Commissioners which identify certain insurance practices
 1918  involving the solicitation or sale of insurance and annuities to
 1919  members of the United States Armed Forces which are false,
 1920  misleading, deceptive, or unfair.
 1921         637.1042 Provisions of chapter additional to existing law.
 1922  The powers vested in the department by this chapter shall be
 1923  additional to any other powers to enforce any penalties, fines,
 1924  or forfeitures authorized by law.
 1925         637.1043 Civil liability.—The provisions of this chapter
 1926  are cumulative to rights under the general civil and common law,
 1927  and no action of the department, shall abrogate such rights to
 1928  damages or other relief in any court.
 1929         637.10435 Policyholders Bill of Rights.—
 1930         (1) The principles expressed in the following statements
 1931  shall serve as standards to be followed by the department,
 1932  commission, and office in exercising their powers and duties, in
 1933  exercising administrative discretion, in dispensing
 1934  administrative interpretations of the law, and in adopting
 1935  rules:
 1936         (a) Policyholders have the right to competitive pricing
 1937  practices and marketing methods that enable them to determine
 1938  the best value among comparable policies.
 1939         (b) Policyholders have the right to obtain comprehensive
 1940  coverage.
 1941         (c) Policyholders have the right to insurance advertising
 1942  and other selling approaches that provide accurate and balanced
 1943  information on the benefits and limitations of a policy.
 1944         (d) Policyholders have a right to an insurance company that
 1945  is financially stable.
 1946         (e) Policyholders have the right to be serviced by a
 1947  competent, honest insurance agent or broker.
 1948         (f) Policyholders have the right to a readable policy.
 1949         (g) Policyholders have the right to an insurance company
 1950  that provides an economic delivery of coverage and that tries to
 1951  prevent losses.
 1952         (h) Policyholders have the right to a balanced and positive
 1953  regulation by the department, commission, and office.
 1954         (2) This section shall not be construed as creating a civil
 1955  cause of action by any individual policyholder against any
 1956  individual insurer.
 1957         637.1044 Privacy.—The department shall adopt rules
 1958  consistent with other provisions of this chapter to govern the
 1959  use of a consumer’s nonpublic personal financial and health
 1960  information. These rules must be based on, consistent with, and
 1961  not more restrictive than the Privacy of Consumer Financial and
 1962  Health Information Regulation, adopted September 26, 2000, by
 1963  the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. In
 1964  addition, these rules must be consistent with, and not more
 1965  restrictive than, the standards contained in Title V of the
 1966  Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, Pub. L. No. 106-102.
 1967         637.10445 Trade secret documents.—
 1968         (1) If any person who is required to submit documents or
 1969  other information to the department pursuant to this chapter or
 1970  by rule or order of the department claims that such submission
 1971  contains a trade secret, such person may file with the
 1972  department a notice of trade secret as provided in this section.
 1973  Failure to do so constitutes a waiver of any claim by such
 1974  person that the document or information is a trade secret.
 1975         (a) Each page of such document or specific portion of a
 1976  document claimed to be a trade secret must be clearly marked
 1977  “trade secret.”
 1978         (b) All material marked as a trade secret must be separated
 1979  from all non-trade secret material and be submitted in a
 1980  separate envelope clearly marked “trade secret.”
 1981         (c) In submitting a notice of trade secret to the
 1982  department, the submitting party must include an affidavit
 1983  certifying under oath to the truth of the following statements
 1984  concerning all documents or information that are claimed to be
 1985  trade secrets:
 1986         1. [I consider/My company considers] this information a
 1987  trade secret that has value and provides an advantage or an
 1988  opportunity to obtain an advantage over those who do not know or
 1989  use it.
 1990         2. [I have/My company has] taken measures to prevent the
 1991  disclosure of the information to anyone other than those who
 1992  have been selected to have access for limited purposes, and [I
 1993  intend/my company intends] to continue to take such measures.
 1994         3. The information is not, and has not been, reasonably
 1995  obtainable without [my/our] consent by other persons by use of
 1996  legitimate means.
 1997         4. The information is not publicly available elsewhere.
 1998         (d) Any data submitted by a title insurance agent or title
 1999  insurer pursuant to s. 637.1014 is presumed to be a trade secret
 2000  under this section whether or not so designated.
 2001         (2) If the department receives a public records request for
 2002  a document or information that is marked and certified as a
 2003  trade secret, the department shall promptly notify the person
 2004  that certified the document as a trade secret. The notice shall
 2005  inform such person that he or she or his or her company has 30
 2006  days after receipt of such notice to file an action in circuit
 2007  court seeking a determination whether the document in question
 2008  contains trade secrets and an order barring public disclosure of
 2009  the document. If that person or company files an action within
 2010  30 days after receipt of notice of the public records request,
 2011  the department may not release the documents pending the outcome
 2012  of the legal action. The failure to file an action within 30
 2013  days constitutes a waiver of any claim of confidentiality, and
 2014  the department shall release the document as requested.
 2015         (3) The department may disclose a trade secret, together
 2016  with the claim that it is a trade secret, to an officer or
 2017  employee of another governmental agency whose use of the trade
 2018  secret is within the scope of his or her employment.
 2019         637.1045 Financial institutions conducting title insurance
 2020  transactions.—A financial institution, as defined in s.
 2021  655.005(1)(g), (h), or (p), may conduct title insurance
 2022  transactions only through Florida-licensed title insurance
 2023  agents representing Florida-authorized title insurers.
 2024         637.1046 Investigation by department or Division of
 2025  Insurance Fraud; compliance; immunity; confidential information;
 2026  reports to division; division investigator’s power of arrest.—
 2027         (1) For the purposes of this section, a person commits a
 2028  “fraudulent insurance act” if the person knowingly and with
 2029  intent to defraud presents, causes to be presented, or prepares
 2030  with knowledge or belief that it will be presented, to or by a
 2031  title insurer or any title insurance agent, any written
 2032  statement as part of, or in support of, an application for the
 2033  issuance of, or the rating of, any insurance policy, or a claim
 2034  for payment or other benefit pursuant to any insurance policy,
 2035  which the person knows to contain materially false information
 2036  concerning any fact material thereto or if the person conceals,
 2037  for the purpose of misleading another, information concerning
 2038  any fact material thereto.
 2039         (2) If, by its own inquiries or as a result of complaints,
 2040  the department or its Division of Insurance Fraud has reason to
 2041  believe that a person has engaged in, or is engaging in, a
 2042  fraudulent insurance act, an act or practice that violates s.
 2043  637.1033 or s. 817.234, or an act or practice punishable under
 2044  s. 637.1008, it may administer oaths and affirmations, request
 2045  the attendance of witnesses or proffering of matter, and collect
 2046  evidence. The department shall not compel the attendance of any
 2047  person or matter in any such investigation except pursuant to
 2048  subsection (4).
 2049         (3) If matter that the department or its division seeks to
 2050  obtain by request is located outside the state, the person so
 2051  requested may make it available to the division or its
 2052  representative to examine the matter at the place where it is
 2053  located. The division may designate representatives, including
 2054  officials of the state in which the matter is located, to
 2055  inspect the matter on its behalf, and it may respond to similar
 2056  requests from officials of other states.
 2057         (4)(a) The department or the division may request that an
 2058  individual who refuses to comply with any such request be
 2059  ordered by the circuit court to provide the testimony or matter.
 2060  The court shall not order such compliance unless the department
 2061  or the division has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the
 2062  court that the testimony of the witness or the matter under
 2063  request has a direct bearing on the department of a fraudulent
 2064  insurance act, on a violation of s. 637.1033 or s. 817.234, or
 2065  on an act or practice punishable under s. 637.1008 or is
 2066  pertinent and necessary to further such investigation.
 2067         (b) Except in a prosecution for perjury, an individual who
 2068  complies with a court order to provide testimony or matter after
 2069  asserting a privilege against self-incrimination to which the
 2070  individual is entitled by law may not be subjected to a criminal
 2071  proceeding or to a civil penalty with respect to the act
 2072  concerning which the individual is required to testify or
 2073  produce relevant matter.
 2074         (c) In the absence of fraud or bad faith, a person is not
 2075  subject to civil liability for libel, slander, or any other
 2076  relevant tort by virtue of filing reports, without malice, or
 2077  furnishing other information, without malice, required by this
 2078  section or required by the department or division under the
 2079  authority granted in this section, and no civil cause of action
 2080  of any nature shall arise against such person:
 2081         1. For any information relating to suspected fraudulent
 2082  insurance acts or persons suspected of engaging in such acts
 2083  furnished to or received from law enforcement officials, their
 2084  agents, or employees;
 2085         2. For any information relating to suspected fraudulent
 2086  insurance acts or persons suspected of engaging in such acts
 2087  furnished to or received from other persons subject to the
 2088  provisions of this chapter;
 2089         3. For any such information furnished in reports to the
 2090  department, the division, the National Insurance Crime Bureau,
 2091  the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, or any
 2092  local, state, or federal enforcement officials or their agents
 2093  or employees; or
 2094         4. For other actions taken in cooperation with any of the
 2095  agencies or individuals specified in this paragraph in the
 2096  lawful investigation of suspected fraudulent insurance acts.
 2097         (d) In addition to the immunity granted in paragraph (c),
 2098  persons identified as designated employees whose
 2099  responsibilities include the investigation and disposition of
 2100  claims relating to suspected fraudulent insurance acts may share
 2101  information relating to persons suspected of committing
 2102  fraudulent insurance acts with other designated employees
 2103  employed by the same or other insurers whose responsibilities
 2104  include the investigation and disposition of claims relating to
 2105  fraudulent insurance acts, provided the department has been
 2106  given written notice of the names and job titles of such
 2107  designated employees prior to such designated employees sharing
 2108  information. Unless the designated employees of the insurer act
 2109  in bad faith or in reckless disregard for the rights of any
 2110  insured, neither the insurer nor its designated employees are
 2111  civilly liable for libel, slander, or any other relevant tort,
 2112  and a civil action does not arise against the insurer or its
 2113  designated employees:
 2114         1. For any information related to suspected fraudulent
 2115  insurance acts provided to an insurer; or
 2116         2. For any information relating to suspected fraudulent
 2117  insurance acts provided to the National Insurance Crime Bureau
 2118  or the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
 2119  
 2120  Provided, however, that the qualified immunity against civil
 2121  liability conferred on any insurer or its designated employees
 2122  shall be forfeited with respect to the exchange or publication
 2123  of any defamatory information with third persons not expressly
 2124  authorized by this paragraph to share in such information.
 2125         (e) The Chief Financial Officer and any employee or agent
 2126  of the department, when acting without malice and in the absence
 2127  of fraud or bad faith, is not subject to civil liability for
 2128  libel, slander, or any other relevant tort, and no civil cause
 2129  of action of any nature exists against such person by virtue of
 2130  the execution of official activities or duties of the department
 2131  under this section or by virtue of the publication of any report
 2132  or bulletin related to the official activities or duties of the
 2133  department under this section.
 2134         (f) This section does not abrogate or modify in any way any
 2135  common-law or statutory privilege or immunity heretofore enjoyed
 2136  by any person.
 2137         (5) Any person, other than an insurer, agent, or other
 2138  person licensed under this chapter, or an employee thereof,
 2139  having knowledge or who believes that a fraudulent insurance act
 2140  or any other act or practice which, upon conviction, constitutes
 2141  a felony or a misdemeanor under this chapter, or under s.
 2142  817.234, is being or has been committed may send to the Division
 2143  of Insurance Fraud a report or information pertinent to such
 2144  knowledge or belief and such additional information relative
 2145  thereto as the department may request. Any professional
 2146  practitioner licensed or regulated by the Department of Business
 2147  and Professional Regulation, except as otherwise provided by
 2148  law, any medical review committee as defined in s. 766.101, any
 2149  title insurer, title insurance agent, or other person licensed
 2150  under this chapter, or an employee thereof, having knowledge or
 2151  who believes that a fraudulent insurance act or any other act or
 2152  practice which, upon conviction, constitutes a felony or a
 2153  misdemeanor under this chapter, or under s. 817.234, is being or
 2154  has been committed shall send to the Division of Insurance Fraud
 2155  a report or information pertinent to such knowledge or belief
 2156  and such additional information relative thereto as the
 2157  department may require. The Division of Insurance Fraud shall
 2158  review such information or reports and select such information
 2159  or reports as, in its judgment, may require further
 2160  investigation. It shall then cause an independent examination of
 2161  the facts surrounding such information or report to be made to
 2162  determine the extent, if any, to which a fraudulent insurance
 2163  act or any other act or practice which, upon conviction,
 2164  constitutes a felony or a misdemeanor under this chapter, or
 2165  under s. 817.234, is being committed. The Division of Insurance
 2166  Fraud shall report any alleged violations of law which its
 2167  investigations disclose to the appropriate licensing agency and
 2168  state attorney or other prosecuting agency having jurisdiction
 2169  with respect to any such violation, as provided in s. 637.302.
 2170  If prosecution by the state attorney or other prosecuting agency
 2171  having jurisdiction with respect to such violation is not begun
 2172  within 60 days of the division’s report, the state attorney or
 2173  other prosecuting agency having jurisdiction with respect to
 2174  such violation shall inform the division of the reasons for the
 2175  lack of prosecution.
 2176         (6) Division investigators may make arrests for criminal
 2177  violations established as a result of investigations. Such
 2178  investigators shall also be considered state law enforcement
 2179  officers for all purposes and may execute arrest warrants and
 2180  search warrants; serve subpoenas issued for the examination,
 2181  investigation, and trial of all offenses; and arrest upon
 2182  probable cause without warrant any person found in the act of
 2183  violating any of the provisions of applicable laws.
 2184  Investigators empowered to make arrests under this section shall
 2185  be empowered to bear arms in the performance of their duties. In
 2186  such a situation, the investigator must be certified in
 2187  compliance with the provisions of s. 943.1395 or must meet the
 2188  temporary employment or appointment exemption requirements of s.
 2189  943.131 until certified.
 2190         (7) It is unlawful for any person to resist an arrest
 2191  authorized by this section or in any manner to interfere, either
 2192  by abetting or assisting such resistance or otherwise
 2193  interfering, with division investigators in the duties imposed
 2194  upon them by law or department rule.
 2195         637.1047 Insurer anti-fraud investigative units; reporting
 2196  requirements; penalties for noncompliance.—
 2197         (1) Every insurer admitted to do business in this state who
 2198  in the previous calendar year, at any time during that year, had
 2199  $10 million or more in direct premiums written shall:
 2200         (a) Establish and maintain a unit or division within the
 2201  company to investigate possible fraudulent claims by insureds or
 2202  by persons making claims for services or repairs against
 2203  policies held by insureds; or
 2204         (b) Contract with others to investigate possible fraudulent
 2205  claims for services or repairs against policies held by
 2206  insureds.
 2207  
 2208  An insurer subject to this subsection shall file with the
 2209  Division of Insurance Fraud of the department on or before July
 2210  1, 1996, a detailed description of the unit or division
 2211  established pursuant to paragraph (a) or a copy of the contract
 2212  and related documents required by paragraph (b).
 2213         (2) Every insurer admitted to do business in this state,
 2214  which in the previous calendar year had less than $10 million in
 2215  direct premiums written, must adopt an anti-fraud plan and file
 2216  it with the Division of Insurance Fraud of the department on or
 2217  before July 1, 1996. An insurer may, in lieu of adopting and
 2218  filing an anti-fraud plan, comply with the provisions of
 2219  subsection (1).
 2220         (3) Each insurers anti-fraud plans shall include:
 2221         (a) A description of the insurer’s procedures for detecting
 2222  and investigating possible fraudulent insurance acts.
 2223         (b) A description of the insurer’s procedures for the
 2224  mandatory reporting of possible fraudulent insurance acts to the
 2225  Division of Insurance Fraud of the department.
 2226         (c) A description of the insurer’s plan for anti-fraud
 2227  education and training of its claims adjusters or other
 2228  personnel.
 2229         (d) A written description or chart outlining the
 2230  organizational arrangement of the insurer’s anti-fraud personnel
 2231  who are responsible for the investigation and reporting of
 2232  possible fraudulent insurance acts.
 2233         (4) Any insurer who obtains a certificate of authority
 2234  after July 1, 1995, shall have 18 months in which to comply with
 2235  the requirements of this section.
 2236         (5) For purposes of this section, the term “unit or
 2237  division” includes the assignment of fraud investigation to
 2238  employees whose principal responsibilities are the investigation
 2239  and disposition of claims. If an insurer creates a distinct unit
 2240  or division, hires additional employees, or contracts with
 2241  another entity to fulfill the requirements of this section, the
 2242  additional cost incurred must be included as an administrative
 2243  expense for ratemaking purposes.
 2244         (6) If an insurer fails to timely submit a final acceptable
 2245  anti-fraud plan or anti-fraud investigative unit description,
 2246  fails to implement the provisions of a plan or an anti-fraud
 2247  investigative unit description, or otherwise refuses to comply
 2248  with the provisions of this section, the department, may:
 2249         (a) Impose an administrative fine of not more than $2,000
 2250  per day for such failure by an insurer to submit an acceptable
 2251  anti-fraud plan or anti-fraud investigative unit description,
 2252  until the department deems the insurer to be in compliance;
 2253         (b) Impose an administrative fine for failure by an insurer
 2254  to implement or follow the provisions of an anti-fraud plan or
 2255  anti-fraud investigative unit description; or
 2256         (c) Impose the provisions of both paragraphs (a) and (b).
 2257         (7) The department may adopt rules to administer this
 2258  section.
 2259         637.1048 Anti-Fraud Reward Program; reporting of title
 2260  insurance fraud.—
 2261         (1) The Anti-Fraud Reward Program is hereby established
 2262  within the department, to be funded from the Title Insurance
 2263  Regulatory Trust Fund.
 2264         (2) The department may pay rewards of up to $25,000 to
 2265  persons providing information leading to the arrest and
 2266  conviction of persons committing crimes investigated by the
 2267  Division of Insurance Fraud arising from violations of s.
 2268  440.105, s. 637.1008, s. 637.1033, s. 637.1046, or s. 817.234.
 2269         (3) Only a single reward amount may be paid by the
 2270  department for claims arising out of the same transaction or
 2271  occurrence, regardless of the number of persons arrested and
 2272  convicted and the number of persons submitting claims for the
 2273  reward. The reward may be disbursed among more than one person
 2274  in amounts determined by the department.
 2275         (4) The department shall adopt rules which set forth the
 2276  application and approval process, including the criteria against
 2277  which claims shall be evaluated, the basis for determining
 2278  specific reward amounts, and the manner in which rewards shall
 2279  be disbursed. Applications for rewards authorized by this
 2280  section must be made pursuant to rules established by the
 2281  department.
 2282         (5) Determinations by the department to grant or deny a
 2283  reward under this section shall not be considered agency action
 2284  subject to review under s. 120.569 or s. 120.57.
 2285         637.1049 Disposition of revenues; criminal or forfeiture
 2286  proceedings.—
 2287         (1) The Division of Insurance Fraud of the Department of
 2288  Financial Services may deposit revenues received as a result of
 2289  criminal proceedings or forfeiture proceedings, other than
 2290  revenues deposited into the Department of Financial Services’
 2291  Federal Law Enforcement Trust Fund under s. 17.43, into the
 2292  Title Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund. Moneys deposited pursuant
 2293  to this section shall be separately accounted for and shall be
 2294  used solely for the division to carry out its duties and
 2295  responsibilities.
 2296         (2) Moneys deposited into the Title Insurance Regulatory
 2297  Trust Fund pursuant to this section shall be appropriated by the
 2298  Legislature, pursuant to the provisions of chapter 216, for the
 2299  sole purpose of enabling the division to carry out its duties
 2300  and responsibilities.
 2301         (3) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 216.301 and
 2302  pursuant to s. 216.351, any balance of moneys deposited into the
 2303  Title Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund pursuant to this section
 2304  remaining at the end of any fiscal year shall remain in the
 2305  trust fund at the end of that year and shall be available for
 2306  carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the division.
 2307         Section 4. Part II of chapter 637, Florida Statutes,
 2308  consisting of sections 637.2001, 637.2002, 637.2003, 637.20035,
 2309  637.2004, 637.2005, 637.2006, 637.2007, 637.20073, 637.20075,
 2310  637.2008, 637.2009, 637.2011, 637.2012, 637.2013, 637.2014,
 2311  637.2015, 637.2016, 637.2017, 637.2018, 637.2019, 637.2021,
 2312  637.2022, 637.2023, 637.2024, 637.2025, 637.2026, 637.2027,
 2313  637.2028, 637.2029, 637.2031, 637.2032, 637.2033, 637.2034,
 2314  637.2035, 637.2036, 637.2037, 637.2038, 637.2039, 637.2041,
 2315  637.2042, 637.2043, 637.2046, 637.2047, 637.2048, 637.20485,
 2316  637.2049, 637.2051, 637.2052, 637.2053, 637.2054, 637.2055,
 2317  637.2056, 637.2057, 637.2058, 637.2059, 637.2061, 637.2063,
 2318  637.20635, 637.2064, 637.2065, 637.2066, 637.2067, 637.2068,
 2319  637.2069, 637.2071, 637.2072, 637.2073, 637.2074, 637.2075,
 2320  637.2076, 637.2077, 637.2078, 637.2079, 637.2081, 637.2082,
 2321  637.2083, 637.2084, 637.2085, 637.2086, 637.2087, 637.2088,
 2322  637.2089, and 637.2091, is created and entitled “ADMINISTRATION
 2323  OF TITLE INSURERS.”
 2324         Section 5. Sections 637.2001, 637.2002, 637.2003,
 2325  637.20035, 637.2004, 637.2005, 637.2006, and 637.2007, Florida
 2326  Statutes, are created to read:
 2327         637.2001 Certificate of authority required.—
 2328         (1) A person may not act as a title insurer, and a title
 2329  insurer or its agents, attorneys, or representatives may not
 2330  directly or indirectly transact title insurance, in this state
 2331  except as authorized by a subsisting certificate of authority
 2332  issued to the title insurer by the department, except as to such
 2333  transactions as are expressly otherwise provided for in this
 2334  chapter.
 2335         (2) A title insurer may not, from offices or by personnel
 2336  or facilities located in this state, solicit title insurance
 2337  applications or otherwise transact title insurance in another
 2338  state or country unless it holds a subsisting certificate of
 2339  authority issued to it by the department authorizing it to
 2340  transact the same kind or kinds of title insurance in this
 2341  state.
 2342         (3) This state hereby preempts the field of regulating
 2343  title insurers and their agents and representatives; and a
 2344  county, city, municipality, district, school district, or
 2345  political subdivision may not require of any title insurer,
 2346  title insurance agent, or representative regulated under this
 2347  chapter any authorization, permit, or registration of any kind
 2348  for conducting transactions lawful under the authority granted
 2349  by the state under this chapter.
 2350         (4)(a) Any person who acts as a title insurer, transacts
 2351  title insurance, or otherwise engages in title insurance
 2352  activities in this state without a certificate of authority in
 2353  violation of this section commits a felony of the third degree,
 2354  punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
 2355         (b) However, any person acting as a title insurer without a
 2356  valid certificate of authority who violates this section commits
 2357  insurance fraud, punishable as provided in this paragraph. If
 2358  the amount of any insurance premium collected with respect to
 2359  any violation of this section:
 2360         1. Is less than $20,000, the offender commits a felony of
 2361  the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s.
 2362  775.083, or s. 775.084, and the offender shall be sentenced to a
 2363  minimum term of imprisonment of 1 year.
 2364         2. Is $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000, the offender
 2365  commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in
 2366  s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, and the offender shall be
 2367  sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment of 18 months.
 2368         3. Is $100,000 or more, the offender commits a felony of
 2369  the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s.
 2370  775.083, or s. 775.084, and the offender shall be sentenced to a
 2371  minimum term of imprisonment of 2 years.
 2372         637.2002 Exceptions, certificate of authority required.—A
 2373  certificate of authority shall not be required of a title
 2374  insurer with respect to:
 2375         (1) Investigation, settlement, or litigation of claims
 2376  under its policies lawfully written in this state, or
 2377  liquidation of assets and liabilities of the insurer (other than
 2378  collection of new premiums), all as resulting from its former
 2379  authorized operations in this state.
 2380         (2) Transactions involving a policy, subsequent to issuance
 2381  thereof, covering only subjects of insurance not resident,
 2382  located, or expressly to be performed in this state at the time
 2383  of issuance, and lawfully solicited, written, or delivered
 2384  outside this state.
 2385         (3) Reinsurance, when transacted as authorized under s.
 2386  637.2049.
 2387         (4) Investment by a foreign insurer of its funds in real
 2388  estate in this state or in securities secured thereby, if the
 2389  foreign insurer complies with the laws of this state relating
 2390  generally to foreign business corporations.
 2391         637.2003 General eligibility of title insurers for
 2392  certificate of authority.—To qualify for and hold authority to
 2393  transact title insurance in this state, a title insurer must be
 2394  otherwise in compliance with this chapter and with its charter
 2395  powers and must be an incorporated stock insurer, an
 2396  incorporated mutual insurer, or a reciprocal insurer, of the
 2397  same general type as may be formed as a domestic insurer under
 2398  this chapter; except that:
 2399         (1) A title insurer may not be authorized to transact title
 2400  insurance in this state which does not maintain reserves as
 2401  required by part I of chapter 625 applicable to the kind or
 2402  kinds of insurance transacted by such insurer, wherever
 2403  transacted in the United States, or which transacts insurance in
 2404  the United States on the assessment premium plan, stipulated
 2405  premium plan, cooperative plan, or any similar plan.
 2406         (2) A foreign or alien title insurer or exchange may not be
 2407  authorized to transact title insurance in this state unless it
 2408  is otherwise qualified therefor under this chapter and has
 2409  operated satisfactorily for at least 3 years in its state or
 2410  country of domicile; however, the department may waive the 3
 2411  year requirement if the foreign or alien insurer or exchange:
 2412         (a) Has operated successfully and has capital and surplus
 2413  of $5 million;
 2414         (b) Is the wholly owned subsidiary of an insurer which is
 2415  an authorized insurer in this state; or
 2416         (c) Is the successor in interest through merger or
 2417  consolidation of an authorized insurer.
 2418         (3)(a) The department shall not grant or continue authority
 2419  to transact title insurance in this state as to any title
 2420  insurer the management, officers, or directors of which are
 2421  found by it to be incompetent or untrustworthy; or so lacking in
 2422  insurance company managerial experience as to make the proposed
 2423  operation hazardous to the insurance-buying public; or so
 2424  lacking in insurance experience, ability, and standing as to
 2425  jeopardize the reasonable promise of successful operation; or
 2426  which it has good reason to believe are affiliated directly or
 2427  indirectly through ownership, control, reinsurance transactions,
 2428  or other insurance or business relations, with any person or
 2429  persons whose business operations are or have been marked, to
 2430  the detriment of policyholders or stockholders or investors or
 2431  creditors or of the public, by manipulation of assets, accounts,
 2432  or reinsurance or by bad faith.
 2433         (b) The department shall not grant or continue authority to
 2434  transact title insurance in this state as to any title insurer
 2435  if any person, including any subscriber, stockholder, or
 2436  incorporator, who exercises or has the ability to exercise
 2437  effective control of the insurer, or who influences or has the
 2438  ability to influence the transaction of the business of the
 2439  insurer, does not possess the financial standing and business
 2440  experience for the successful operation of the insurer.
 2441         (c) The department may deny, suspend, or revoke the
 2442  authority to transact title insurance in this state of any title
 2443  insurer if any person, including any subscriber, stockholder, or
 2444  incorporator, who exercises or has the ability to exercise
 2445  effective control of the insurer, or who influences or has the
 2446  ability to influence the transaction of the business of the
 2447  insurer, has been found guilty of, or has pleaded guilty or nolo
 2448  contendere to, any felony or crime punishable by imprisonment of
 2449  1 year or more under the law of the United States or any state
 2450  thereof or under the law of any other country which involves
 2451  moral turpitude, without regard to whether a judgment of
 2452  conviction has been entered by the court having jurisdiction in
 2453  such case. However, in the case of an insurer operating under a
 2454  subsisting certificate of authority, the insurer shall remove
 2455  any such person immediately upon discovery of the conditions set
 2456  forth in this paragraph when applicable to such person or upon
 2457  the order of the department, and the failure to so act by said
 2458  insurer shall be grounds for revocation or suspension of the
 2459  insurer’s certificate of authority.
 2460         (d) The department may deny, suspend, or revoke the
 2461  authority of a title insurer to transact title insurance in this
 2462  state if any person, including any subscriber, stockholder, or
 2463  incorporator, who exercises or has the ability to exercise
 2464  effective control of the insurer, or who influences or has the
 2465  ability to influence the transaction of the business of the
 2466  insurer, which person the department has good reason to believe
 2467  is now or was in the past affiliated directly or indirectly,
 2468  through ownership interest of 10 percent or more, control, or
 2469  reinsurance transactions, with any business, corporation, or
 2470  other entity that has been found guilty of or has pleaded guilty
 2471  or nolo contendere to any felony or crime punishable by
 2472  imprisonment for 1 year or more under the laws of the United
 2473  States, any state, or any other country, regardless of
 2474  adjudication. However, in the case of an insurer operating under
 2475  a subsisting certificate of authority, the insurer shall
 2476  immediately remove such person or immediately notify the
 2477  department of such person upon discovery of the conditions set
 2478  forth in this paragraph, either when applicable to such person
 2479  or upon order of the department; the failure to remove such
 2480  person, provide such notice, or comply with such order
 2481  constitutes grounds for suspension or revocation of the
 2482  insurer’s certificate of authority.
 2483         (4)(a) An authorized title insurer may not act as a
 2484  fronting company for any unauthorized insurer which is not an
 2485  approved reinsurer.
 2486         (b) A “fronting company” is an authorized insurer which by
 2487  reinsurance or otherwise generally transfers more than 50
 2488  percent to one unauthorized insurer which does not meet the
 2489  requirements of s. 637.604(3)(a), (b), or (c), or more than 75
 2490  percent to two or more unauthorized insurers which do not meet
 2491  the requirements of s. 637.604(3)(a), (b), or (c), of the entire
 2492  risk of loss on all of the insurance written by it in this
 2493  state, or on one or more lines of insurance, on all of the
 2494  business produced through one or more agents or agencies, or on
 2495  all of the business from a designated geographical territory,
 2496  without obtaining the prior approval of the department.
 2497         (c) The department may, in its discretion, approve a
 2498  transfer of risk in excess of the limits in paragraph (b) upon
 2499  presentation of evidence, satisfactory to the department, that
 2500  the transfer would be in the best interests of the financial
 2501  condition of the insurer and in the best interests of the
 2502  policyholders.
 2503         (5) A title insurer may not be authorized to transact title
 2504  insurance in this state which, during the 3 years immediately
 2505  preceding its application for a certificate of authority, has
 2506  violated any of the insurance laws of this state and after being
 2507  informed of such violation has failed to correct the same;
 2508  except that, if all other requirements are met, the department
 2509  may nevertheless issue a certificate of authority to such an
 2510  insurer upon the filing by the insurer of a sworn statement of
 2511  all such insurance so written in violation of law, and upon
 2512  payment to the department of a sum of money as additional filing
 2513  fee equivalent to all premium taxes and other state taxes and
 2514  fees as would have been payable by the insurer if such insurance
 2515  had been lawfully written by an authorized insurer under the
 2516  laws of this state. This fee, when collected, shall be deposited
 2517  to the credit of the Title Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund.
 2518         (6) Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to prohibit the
 2519  granting and continuance of a certificate of authority to a
 2520  domestic title insurer organized as a business trust, if the
 2521  declaration of trust of such insurer was filed in the department
 2522  of the Secretary of State prior to January 1, 1959, and if the
 2523  insurer otherwise meets the applicable requirements of this
 2524  chapter. Such an insurer may hereinafter in this chapter be
 2525  referred to as a “business trust insurer.”
 2526         (7) For the purpose of satisfying the requirements of ss.
 2527  637.2004 and 637.2007, the investment portfolio of an insurer
 2528  applying for an initial certificate of authority to do business
 2529  in this state shall value its bonds and stocks in accordance
 2530  with the provisions of the latest edition of the publication
 2531  “Purposes and Procedures Manual of the NAIC Securities Valuation
 2532  Office” by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners,
 2533  July 1, 2002, and subsequent amendments thereto, if the
 2534  valuation methodology remains substantially unchanged.
 2535         637.20035 Structure of title insurers.—Except as to
 2536  domestic business trust title insurers as referred to in s.
 2537  637.2003(6) authorized prior to July 1, 2010, a title insurer
 2538  shall be a stock insurer.
 2539         637.2004 Capital funds required; new insurers.—
 2540         (1) To receive authority to transact title insurance, an
 2541  insurer applying for its original certificate of authority in
 2542  this state after the effective date of this section shall
 2543  possess surplus as to policyholders not less than the greater of
 2544  $2.5 million or 10 percent of the insurer’s total liabilities;
 2545  however, no insurer shall be required under this subsection to
 2546  have surplus as to policyholders greater than $100 million.
 2547         (2) The requirements of this section shall be based upon
 2548  all the kinds of insurance actually transacted or to be
 2549  transacted by the insurer in any and all areas in which it
 2550  operates, whether or not only a portion of such kinds are to be
 2551  transacted in this state.
 2552         (3) As to surplus as to policyholders required for
 2553  qualification to transact one or more kinds of insurance,
 2554  domestic mutual insurers are governed by chapter 628, and
 2555  domestic reciprocal insurers are governed by chapter 629.
 2556         (4) For the purposes of this section, liabilities shall not
 2557  include liabilities required under s. 625.041(4). For purposes
 2558  of computing minimum surplus as to policyholders pursuant to s.
 2559  625.305(1), liabilities shall include liabilities required under
 2560  s. 625.041(4).
 2561         (5) The provisions of this section, as amended by this act,
 2562  shall apply only to insurers applying for a certificate of
 2563  authority on or after the effective date of this act.
 2564         637.2005 Restrictions on insurers that are wholly owned
 2565  subsidiaries of insurers to do business in state.—Effective
 2566  December 31, 2010, and notwithstanding any other provision of
 2567  law:
 2568         (1) A new certificate of authority for the transaction of
 2569  title insurance may not be issued to any insurer domiciled in
 2570  this state that is a wholly owned subsidiary of an insurer
 2571  authorized to do business in any other state.
 2572         (2) The rate filings of any insurer domiciled in this state
 2573  that is a wholly owned subsidiary of an insurer authorized to do
 2574  business in any other state shall include information relating
 2575  to the profits of the parent company of the insurer domiciled in
 2576  this state.
 2577         637.2006 Officers and directors of insolvent insurers.—Any
 2578  person who was an officer or director of an insurer doing
 2579  business in this state and who served in that capacity within
 2580  the 2-year period prior to the date the insurer became
 2581  insolvent, for any insolvency that occurs on or after July 1,
 2582  2002, may not thereafter serve as an officer or director of an
 2583  insurer authorized in this state unless the officer or director
 2584  demonstrates that his or her personal actions or omissions were
 2585  not a significant contributing cause to the insolvency.
 2586         637.2007 Surplus as to policyholders required; new and
 2587  existing insurers.—
 2588         (1) To maintain a certificate of authority to transact
 2589  title insurance, an insurer in this state shall at all times
 2590  maintain surplus as to policyholders not less than the greater
 2591  of $1.5 million or 10 percent of the insurer’s total
 2592  liabilities.
 2593         (2) For purposes of this section, liabilities shall not
 2594  include liabilities required under s. 625.041(4). For purposes
 2595  of computing minimum surplus as to policyholders pursuant to s.
 2596  625.305(1), liabilities shall include liabilities required under
 2597  s. 625.041(4).
 2598         (3) An insurer may not be required under this section to
 2599  have surplus as to policyholders greater than $100 million.
 2600         Section 6. Section 625.330, Florida Statutes, is
 2601  transferred, renumbered as section 627.20073, Florida Statutes,
 2602  and amended to read:
 2603         637.20073 625.330 Special investments by title insurer.—
 2604         (1) In addition to other investments eligible under this
 2605  part, a title insurer may invest and have invested an amount not
 2606  exceeding the greater of $300,000 or 50 percent of that part of
 2607  its surplus as to policyholders which exceeds the minimum
 2608  surplus required by s. 637.2007 624.408 in its abstract plant
 2609  and equipment, in loans secured by mortgages on abstract plants
 2610  and equipment, and, with the consent of the office, in stocks of
 2611  abstract companies. If the insurer transacts kinds of insurance
 2612  in addition to title insurance, for the purposes of this section
 2613  its paid-in capital stock shall be prorated between title
 2614  insurance and such other insurances upon the basis of the
 2615  reserves maintained by the insurer for the various kinds of
 2616  insurance; but the capital so assigned to title insurance may
 2617  not shall in any no event be less than $100,000.
 2618         (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a business trust
 2619  insurer. Such an insurer may invest and have invested not
 2620  exceeding the greater of $300,000 or 50 percent of its net trust
 2621  fund in excess of the reserve provided for under s. 637.20075
 2622  625.111 in abstract plants, stock in abstract companies, or
 2623  corporations controlled by the business trust and created for
 2624  developing and servicing abstract plants.
 2625         (3) Investments authorized by this section shall not be
 2626  credited against the insurer’s required unearned premium or
 2627  guaranty fund reserve provided for under s. 637.20075 625.111.
 2628         Section 7. Section 625.111, Florida Statutes, is
 2629  transferred, renumbered as section 637.20075, Florida Statutes,
 2630  and amended to read:
 2631         637.20075 625.111 Title insurance reserve.—
 2632         (1) In addition to an adequate reserve as to outstanding
 2633  losses relating to known claims, as required under s. 625.041, a
 2634  title insurer shall establish, segregate, and maintain a
 2635  guaranty fund or unearned premium reserve as provided in this
 2636  section. The sums required under this section to be reserved for
 2637  unearned premiums on title guarantees and policies at all times
 2638  and for all purposes shall be considered and constitute unearned
 2639  portions of the original premiums and shall be charged as a
 2640  reserve liability of such insurer in determining its financial
 2641  condition. While such sums are so reserved, they shall be
 2642  withdrawn from the use of the insurer for its general purposes,
 2643  impressed with a trust in favor of the holders of title
 2644  guarantees and policies, and held available for reinsurance of
 2645  the title guarantees and policies in the event of the insolvency
 2646  of the insurer. Nothing contained in this section precludes
 2647  shall preclude such insurer from investing such reserve in
 2648  investments authorized by law for such an insurer and the income
 2649  from such invested reserve shall be included in the general
 2650  income of the insurer to be used by such insurer for any lawful
 2651  purpose.
 2652         (2)(1) For unearned premium reserves established on or
 2653  after July 1, 1999, such unearned premium reserve shall consist
 2654  of not less than an amount equal to the sum of:
 2655         (a) A reserve with respect to unearned premiums for
 2656  policies written or title liability assumed in reinsurance
 2657  before July 1, 1999, equal to the reserve established on June
 2658  30, 1999, for those unearned premiums with such reserve being
 2659  subsequently released as provided in subsection (3) (2). For
 2660  domestic title insurers subject to this section, such amounts
 2661  shall be calculated in accordance with provisions of law of this
 2662  state in effect at the time the associated premiums were written
 2663  or assumed and as amended prior to July 1, 1999.
 2664         (b) A total amount equal to 30 cents for each $1,000 of net
 2665  retained liability for policies written or title liability
 2666  assumed in reinsurance on or after July 1, 1999, with such
 2667  reserve being subsequently released as provided in subsection
 2668  (3) (2). For the purpose of calculating this reserve, the total
 2669  of the net retained liability for all simultaneous issue
 2670  policies covering a single risk shall be equal to the liability
 2671  for the policy with the highest limit covering that single risk,
 2672  net of any liability ceded in reinsurance.
 2673         (c) An additional amount, if deemed necessary by a
 2674  qualified actuary, which shall be subsequently released as
 2675  provided in subsection (3)(2). Using financial results as of
 2676  December 31 of each year, all domestic title insurers shall
 2677  obtain a Statement of Actuarial Opinion from a qualified actuary
 2678  regarding the insurer’s loss and loss adjustment expense
 2679  reserves, including reserves for known claims, adverse
 2680  development on known claims, incurred but not reported claims,
 2681  and unallocated loss adjustment expenses. The actuarial opinion
 2682  shall conform to the annual statement instructions for title
 2683  insurers adopted by the National Association of Insurance
 2684  Commissioners and shall include the actuary’s professional
 2685  opinion of the insurer’s reserves as of the date of the annual
 2686  statement. If the amount of the reserve stated in the opinion
 2687  and displayed in Schedule P of the annual statement for that
 2688  reporting date is greater than the sum of the known claim
 2689  reserve and unearned premium reserve as calculated under this
 2690  section, as of the same reporting date and including any
 2691  previous actuarial provisions added at earlier dates, the
 2692  insurer shall add to the insurer’s unearned premium reserve an
 2693  actuarial amount equal to the reserve shown in the actuarial
 2694  opinion, minus the known claim reserve and the unearned premium
 2695  reserve, as of the current reporting date and calculated in
 2696  accordance with this section, but in no event calculated as of
 2697  any date prior to December 31, 1999. The comparison shall be
 2698  made using that line on Schedule P displaying the Total Net Loss
 2699  and Loss Adjustment Expense which is comprised of the Known
 2700  Claim Reserve, and any associated Adverse Development Reserve,
 2701  the reserve for Incurred But Not Reported Losses, and
 2702  Unallocated Loss Adjustment Expenses.
 2703         (3)(2)(a) With respect to the reserve established in
 2704  accordance with paragraph (2)(1)(a), the domestic title insurer
 2705  shall release the reserve over a period of 20 subsequent years
 2706  as provided in this paragraph. The insurer shall release 30
 2707  percent of the initial aggregate sum during 1999, with one
 2708  quarter of that amount being released on March 31, June 30,
 2709  September 30, and December 31, 1999, with the March 31 and June
 2710  30 releases to be retroactive and reflected on the September 30
 2711  financial statements. Thereafter, the insurer shall release, on
 2712  the same quarterly basis as specified for reserves released
 2713  during 1999, a percentage of the initial aggregate sum as
 2714  follows: 15 percent during calendar year 2000, 10 percent during
 2715  each of calendar years 2001 and 2002, 5 percent during each of
 2716  calendar years 2003 and 2004, 3 percent during each of calendar
 2717  years 2005 and 2006, 2 percent during each of calendar years
 2718  2007-2013, and 1 percent during each of calendar years 2014
 2719  2018.
 2720         (b) With respect to reserves established in accordance with
 2721  paragraph (2)(1)(b), the unearned premium for policies written
 2722  or title liability assumed during a particular calendar year
 2723  shall be earned, and released from reserve, over a period of 20
 2724  subsequent years as provided in this paragraph. The insurer
 2725  shall release 30 percent of the initial sum during the year next
 2726  succeeding the year the premium was written or assumed, with one
 2727  quarter of that amount being released on March 31, June 30,
 2728  September 30, and December 31 of such year. Thereafter, the
 2729  insurer shall release, on the same quarterly basis as specified
 2730  for reserves released during the year first succeeding the year
 2731  the premium was written or assumed, a percentage of the initial
 2732  sum as follows: 15 percent during the next succeeding year, 10
 2733  percent during each of the next succeeding 2 years, 5 percent
 2734  during each of the next succeeding 2 years, 3 percent during
 2735  each of the next succeeding 2 years, 2 percent during each of
 2736  the next succeeding 7 years, and 1 percent during each of the
 2737  next succeeding 5 years.
 2738         (c) With respect to reserves established in accordance with
 2739  paragraph (2)(1)(c), any additional amount established in any
 2740  calendar year shall be released in the years subsequent to its
 2741  establishment as provided in paragraph (b), with the timing and
 2742  percentage of releases being in all respects identical to those
 2743  of unearned premium reserves that are calculated as provided in
 2744  paragraph (b) and established with regard to premiums written or
 2745  liability assumed in reinsurance in the same year as the year in
 2746  which any additional amount was originally established.
 2747         (4)(3) At any reporting date, the amount of the required
 2748  releases of existing unearned premium reserves under subsection
 2749  (3)(2) shall be calculated and deducted from the total unearned
 2750  premium reserve before any additional amount is established for
 2751  the current calendar year in accordance with the provisions of
 2752  paragraph (2)(1)(c).
 2753         (5)(4) As used in this section:
 2754         (a) “Net retained liability” means the total liability
 2755  retained by a title insurer for a single risk, after taking into
 2756  account the deduction for ceded liability, if any.
 2757         (b) “Qualified actuary” means a person who is, as detailed
 2758  in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Annual
 2759  Statement Instructions:
 2760         1. A member in good standing of the Casualty Actuarial
 2761  Society;
 2762         2. A member in good standing of the American Academy of
 2763  Actuaries who has been approved as qualified for signing
 2764  casualty loss reserve opinions by the Casualty Practice Council
 2765  of the American Academy of Actuaries; or
 2766         3. A person who otherwise has competency in loss reserve
 2767  evaluation as demonstrated to the satisfaction of the insurance
 2768  regulatory official of the domiciliary state. In such case, at
 2769  least 90 days prior to the filing of its annual statement, the
 2770  insurer must request approval that the person be deemed
 2771  qualified and that request must be approved or denied. The
 2772  request must include the National Association of Insurance
 2773  Commissioners’ Biographical Form and a list of all loss reserve
 2774  opinions issued in the last 3 years by this person.
 2775         (c) “Single risk” means the insured amount of any title
 2776  insurance policy, except that where two or more title insurance
 2777  policies are issued simultaneously covering different estates in
 2778  the same real property, “single risk” means the sum of the
 2779  insured amounts of all such title insurance policies. Any title
 2780  insurance policy insuring a mortgage interest, a claim payment
 2781  under which reduces the insured amount of a fee or leasehold
 2782  title insurance policy, shall be excluded in computing the
 2783  amount of a single risk to the extent that the insured amount of
 2784  the mortgage title insurance policy does not exceed the insured
 2785  amount of the fee or leasehold title insurance policy.
 2786         Section 8. Sections 637.2008, 637.2009, 637.2011, 637.2012,
 2787  637.2013, 637.2014, 637.2015, 637.2016, 637.2017, 637.2018,
 2788  637.2019, 637.2021, 637.2022, 637.2023, 637.2024, 637.2025,
 2789  637.2026, 637.2027, 637.2028, 637.2029, 637.2031, 637.2032,
 2790  637.2033, 637.2034, 637.2035, 637.2036, 637.2037, 637.2038,
 2791  637.2039, 637.2041, 637.2042, 637.2043, 637.2046, 637.2047, and
 2792  637.2048, Florida Statutes, are created to read:
 2793         637.2008 Premiums written; restrictions.—
 2794         (1) Whenever a title insurer’s ratio of actual or projected
 2795  annual written premiums as adjusted in accordance with
 2796  subsection (4) to current or projected surplus as to
 2797  policyholders as adjusted in accordance with subsection (6)
 2798  exceeds 10 to 1 for gross written premiums or exceeds 4 to 1 for
 2799  net written premiums, the department shall suspend the insurer’s
 2800  certificate of authority or establish by order maximum gross or
 2801  net annual premiums to be written by the insurer consistent with
 2802  maintaining the ratios specified herein unless the insurer
 2803  demonstrates to the department’s satisfaction that exceeding the
 2804  ratios of this section does not endanger the financial condition
 2805  of the insurer or endanger the interests of the insurer’s
 2806  policyholders.
 2807         (2) Projected annual net or gross premiums shall be based
 2808  on the actual writings to date for the title insurer’s current
 2809  calendar year or the insurer’s writings for the previous
 2810  calendar year or both. Ratios shall be computed on an annualized
 2811  basis.
 2812         (3) For the purposes of this section, gross premiums
 2813  written means direct premiums written and reinsurance assumed.
 2814         (4) For the purposes of this section, for each calendar
 2815  year premiums shall be calculated as the product of the actual
 2816  or projected premiums and 1.00.
 2817         637.2009 Deposit requirement; domestic title insurers and
 2818  foreign title insurers.—
 2819         (1) As to domestic title insurers, the department shall not
 2820  issue or permit to exist a certificate of authority unless such
 2821  insurer has deposited and maintains deposited in trust for the
 2822  protection of the insurer’s policyholders or its policyholders
 2823  and creditors with the department securities eligible for such
 2824  deposit under s. 625.52, having at all times a value of not less
 2825  than $100,000.
 2826         (2) As to foreign title insurers, the department, upon
 2827  issuing or permitting to exist a certificate of authority, may
 2828  require for good cause a deposit and maintenance of the deposit
 2829  in trust for the protection of the insured’s policyholders or
 2830  its policyholders and creditors with the department securities
 2831  eligible for such deposit under s. 625.52, having at all times a
 2832  value of not less than $100,000 A foreign insurer with surplus
 2833  as to policyholders of more than $10 million according to its
 2834  latest annual statement shall not be required to make a deposit
 2835  under this subsection.
 2836         (3) Whenever the department determines that the financial
 2837  condition of a title insurer has deteriorated or that the
 2838  policyholders’ best interests are not being preserved by the
 2839  activities of an insurer, the department may require such
 2840  insurer to deposit and maintain deposited in trust with the
 2841  department for the protection of the insurer’s policyholders or
 2842  its policyholders and creditors, for such time as the department
 2843  deems necessary, securities eligible for such deposit under s.
 2844  625.52, having a market value of not less than the amount which
 2845  the department determines is necessary, which amount shall be
 2846  not less than $100,000, or more than 25 percent of the insurer’s
 2847  obligations in this state, as determined from the latest annual
 2848  financial statement of the insured. The deposit required under
 2849  this subsection shall not exceed $2 million and is in addition
 2850  to any other deposits required of an insurer pursuant to
 2851  subsections (1) and (2) or any other provisions of this chapter.
 2852         (4) All such deposits in this state are subject to the
 2853  applicable provisions of part III of chapter 625.
 2854         637.2011 Deposit of alien insurers.—
 2855         (1) An alien title insurer may not transact insurance in
 2856  this state unless it has and maintains within the United States
 2857  as trust deposits with public officials having supervision over
 2858  insurers, or with trustees, public depositories, or trust
 2859  institutions approved by the department, assets available for
 2860  discharge of its United States insurance obligations, which
 2861  assets shall be in amount not less than the outstanding reserves
 2862  and other liabilities of the insurer arising out of its
 2863  insurance transactions in the United States together with the
 2864  amount of surplus as to policyholders required by s. 637.2007 of
 2865  a domestic stock insurer transacting like kinds of insurance.
 2866         (2) Any such deposit made in this state shall be held for
 2867  the protection of the insurer’s policyholders or policyholders
 2868  and creditors in the United States and shall be subject to the
 2869  applicable provisions of part III of chapter 625 and chapter
 2870  630.
 2871         637.2012 Application for certificate of authority.—
 2872         (1) To apply for a certificate of authority, a title
 2873  insurer shall file its application therefor with the department,
 2874  upon a form adopted by the department and furnished by the
 2875  department, showing its name; location of its home office and,
 2876  if an alien insurer, its principal office in the United States;
 2877  kinds of insurance to be transacted; state or country of
 2878  domicile; and such additional information as the department
 2879  reasonably requires, together with the following documents:
 2880         (a) One copy of its corporate charter, articles of
 2881  incorporation, existing and proposed nonfacultative reinsurance
 2882  contracts, declaration of trust, or other charter documents,
 2883  with all amendments thereto, certified by the public official
 2884  with whom the originals are on file in the state or country of
 2885  domicile.
 2886         (b) If a mutual insurer, a copy of its bylaws, as amended,
 2887  certified by its secretary or other officer having custody
 2888  thereof.
 2889         (c) If a foreign or alien reciprocal insurer, a copy of the
 2890  power of attorney of its attorney in fact and of its
 2891  subscribers’ agreement, if any, certified by the attorney in
 2892  fact; and, if a domestic reciprocal insurer, the declaration
 2893  provided for in s. 629.081.
 2894         (d) A copy of its financial statement as of December 31
 2895  next preceding, containing information generally included in
 2896  insurer financial statements prepared in accordance with
 2897  generally accepted insurance accounting principles and practices
 2898  and in a form generally utilized by insurers for financial
 2899  statements, sworn to by at least two executive officers of the
 2900  insurer, or certified by the public official having supervision
 2901  of insurance in the insurer’s state of domicile or of entry into
 2902  the United States. To facilitate uniformity in financial
 2903  statements, the department may by rule adopt the form for
 2904  financial statements approved by the National Association of
 2905  Insurance Commissioners in 2002, and may adopt subsequent
 2906  amendments thereto if the form remains substantially consistent.
 2907         (e) Supplemental quarterly financial statements for each
 2908  calendar quarter since the beginning of the year of its
 2909  application for the certificate of authority, sworn to by at
 2910  least two of its executive officers. To facilitate uniformity in
 2911  financial statements, the department may by rule adopt the form
 2912  for quarterly financial statements approved by the National
 2913  Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2002, and may adopt
 2914  subsequent amendments thereto if the form remains substantially
 2915  consistent.
 2916         (f) If a foreign or alien insurer, a copy of the report of
 2917  the most recent examination of the insurer certified by the
 2918  public official having supervision of insurance in its state of
 2919  domicile or of entry into the United States. The end of the most
 2920  recent year covered by the examination must be within the 3-year
 2921  period preceding the date of application. In lieu of the
 2922  certified examination report, the department may accept an
 2923  audited certified public accountant’s report prepared on a basis
 2924  consistent with the insurance laws of the insurer’s state of
 2925  domicile, certified by the public official having supervision of
 2926  insurance in its state of domicile or of entry into the United
 2927  States.
 2928         (g) If a foreign or alien insurer, a certificate of
 2929  compliance from the public official having supervision of
 2930  insurance in its state or country of domicile showing that it is
 2931  duly organized and authorized to transact insurance therein and
 2932  the kinds of insurance it is so authorized to transact.
 2933         (h) If a foreign or alien insurer, a certificate of the
 2934  public official having custody of any deposit maintained by the
 2935  insurer in another state in lieu of a deposit or part thereof
 2936  required in this state under s. 637.2009 or s. 637.2011, showing
 2937  the amount of such deposit and the assets or securities of which
 2938  comprised.
 2939         (i) If an alien insurer, a copy of the appointment and
 2940  authority of its United States manager, certified by its officer
 2941  having custody of its records.
 2942         (2) The application shall be accompanied by the applicable
 2943  fees and license tax as specified in s. 637.2031.
 2944         637.2013 Redomestication.—The department shall adopt rules
 2945  establishing procedures and forms for a foreign title insurer to
 2946  apply for a certificate of authority as a domestic title
 2947  insurer.
 2948         637.2014 Issuance or refusal of authority.—The fee for
 2949  filing application for a certificate of authority shall not be
 2950  subject to refund. The department shall issue to the applicant
 2951  title insurer a proper certificate of authority if it finds that
 2952  the insurer has met the requirements of this chapter, exclusive
 2953  of the requirements relative to the filing and approval of an
 2954  insurer’s policy forms, riders, endorsements, applications, and
 2955  rates. If it does not so find, the department shall issue its
 2956  order refusing the certificate. The certificate, if issued,
 2957  shall specify the kind or kinds and line or lines of insurance
 2958  the insurer is authorized to transact in this state. The
 2959  issuance of a certificate of authority does not signify that an
 2960  insurer has met the requirements of this chapter relative to the
 2961  filing and approval of an insurer’s policy forms, riders,
 2962  endorsements, applications, and rates which may be required
 2963  prior to an insurer actually writing any premiums.
 2964         637.2015 Ownership of certificate of authority; return.
 2965  Although issued to the insurer, the certificate of authority is
 2966  at all times the property of this state. Upon any expiration,
 2967  suspension, or termination thereof, the insurer shall promptly
 2968  deliver the certificate of authority to the department.
 2969         637.2016 Continuance, expiration, reinstatement, and
 2970  amendment of certificate of authority.—
 2971         (1) A certificate of authority issued under this chapter
 2972  shall continue in force as long as the insurer is entitled
 2973  thereto under this chapter and until suspended, revoked, or
 2974  terminated at the request of the insurer; subject, however, to
 2975  continuance of the certificate by the insurer each year by:
 2976         (a) Payment prior to June 1 of the annual license tax
 2977  provided for in s. 637.2031(3);
 2978         (b) Due filing by the insurer of its annual statement for
 2979  the calendar year preceding as required under s. 637.2024; and
 2980         (c) Payment by the insurer of applicable taxes with respect
 2981  to the preceding calendar year as required under this chapter.
 2982         (2) If not so continued by the insurer, its certificate of
 2983  authority shall expire at midnight on the May 31 next following
 2984  such failure of the insurer so to continue it in force. The
 2985  department shall promptly notify the insurer of the occurrence
 2986  of any failure resulting in impending expiration of its
 2987  certificate of authority.
 2988         (3) The department may, in its discretion, reinstate a
 2989  certificate of authority which the insurer has inadvertently
 2990  permitted to expire, after the insurer has fully cured all its
 2991  failures which resulted in the expiration, and upon payment by
 2992  the insurer of the fee for reinstatement, in the amount provided
 2993  in s. 637.2031(1)(b). Otherwise, the insurer shall be granted
 2994  another certificate of authority only after filing application
 2995  therefor and meeting all other requirements as for an original
 2996  certificate of authority in this state.
 2997         (4) The department may amend a certificate of authority at
 2998  any time to accord with changes in the insurer’s charter or
 2999  insuring powers.
 3000         637.2017 Suspension, revocation of certificate of authority
 3001  for violations and special grounds.—
 3002         (1) The department shall suspend or revoke a title
 3003  insurer’s certificate of authority if it finds that the insurer:
 3004         (a) Is in unsound financial condition.
 3005         (b) Is using such methods and practices in the conduct of
 3006  its business as to render its further transaction of insurance
 3007  in this state hazardous or injurious to its policyholders or to
 3008  the public.
 3009         (c) Has failed to pay any final judgment rendered against
 3010  it in this state within 60 days after the judgment became final.
 3011         (d) No longer meets the requirements for the authority
 3012  originally granted.
 3013         (2) The department may, in its discretion, suspend or
 3014  revoke the certificate of authority of an insurer if it finds
 3015  that the insurer:
 3016         (a) Has violated any lawful order or rule of the department
 3017  or any provision of this chapter.
 3018         (b) Has refused to be examined or to produce its accounts,
 3019  records, and files for examination, or if any of its officers
 3020  have refused to give information with respect to its affairs or
 3021  to perform any other legal obligation as to such examination,
 3022  when required by the department.
 3023         (c) Has for any line, class, or combination thereof, with
 3024  such frequency as to indicate its general business practice in
 3025  this state, without just cause refused to pay proper claims
 3026  arising under its policies, whether any such claim is in favor
 3027  of an insured or is in favor of a third person with respect to
 3028  the liability of an insured to such third person, or without
 3029  just cause compels such insureds or claimants to accept less
 3030  than the amount due them or to employ attorneys or to bring suit
 3031  against the insurer or such an insured to secure full payment or
 3032  settlement of such claims.
 3033         (d) Is affiliated with and under the same general
 3034  management or interlocking directorate or ownership as another
 3035  insurer which transacts direct insurance in this state without
 3036  having a certificate of authority therefor, except as permitted
 3037  as to surplus lines insurers under part VIII of chapter 626.
 3038         (e) Has been convicted of, or entered a plea of guilty or
 3039  nolo contendere to, a felony relating to the transaction of
 3040  insurance, in this state or in any other state, without regard
 3041  to whether adjudication was withheld.
 3042         (f) Has a ratio of net premiums written to surplus as to
 3043  policyholders that exceeds 4 to 1, and the department has reason
 3044  to believe that the financial condition of the insurer endangers
 3045  the interests of the policyholders. The ratio of net premiums
 3046  written to surplus as to policyholders shall be on an annualized
 3047  actual or projected basis. The ratio shall be based on the
 3048  insurer’s current calendar year activities and experience to
 3049  date or the insurer’s previous calendar year activities and
 3050  experience, or both, and shall be calculated to represent a 12
 3051  month period. However, the provisions of this paragraph do not
 3052  apply to any insurance or insurer exempted from s. 637.2008.
 3053         (g) Is under suspension or revocation in another state.
 3054         (3) The insolvency or impairment of an insurer constitutes
 3055  an immediate serious danger to the public health, safety, or
 3056  welfare; and the department may, at its discretion, without
 3057  prior notice and the opportunity for hearing immediately suspend
 3058  the certificate of authority of an insurer upon a determination
 3059  that:
 3060         (a) The insurer is impaired or insolvent; or
 3061         (b) Receivership, conservatorship, rehabilitation, or other
 3062  delinquency proceedings have been initiated against the insurer
 3063  by the public insurance supervisory official of any state.
 3064         637.2018 Order, notice of suspension or revocation of
 3065  certificate of authority; effect; publication.—
 3066         (1) Suspension or revocation of a title insurer’s
 3067  certificate of authority shall be by the order of the
 3068  department. The department shall promptly also give notice of
 3069  such suspension or revocation to the insurer’s agents in this
 3070  state of record. The insurer shall not solicit or write any new
 3071  coverages in this state during the period of any such suspension
 3072  and may renew coverages only upon a finding by the department
 3073  that the insurer is capable of servicing the renewal coverage.
 3074  The insurer shall not solicit or write any new or renewal
 3075  coverages after any such revocation.
 3076         (2) In its discretion, the department may cause notice of
 3077  any such suspension or revocation to be published in one or more
 3078  newspapers of general circulation published in this state.
 3079         637.2019 Duration of suspension; insurer’s obligations
 3080  during suspension period; reinstatement.—
 3081         (1) Suspension of a title insurer’s certificate of
 3082  authority shall be for:
 3083         (a) A fixed period of time not to exceed 2 years; or
 3084         (b) Until the occurrence of a specific event necessary for
 3085  remedying the reasons for suspension.
 3086  
 3087  Such suspension may be modified, rescinded, or reversed.
 3088         (2) During the period of suspension, the insurer shall file
 3089  with the department all documents and information and pay all
 3090  license fees and taxes as required under this chapter as if the
 3091  certificate had continued in full force.
 3092         (3) If the suspension of the certificate of authority is
 3093  for a fixed period of time and the certificate of authority has
 3094  not been otherwise terminated, upon expiration of the suspension
 3095  period the insurer’s certificate of authority shall be
 3096  reinstated unless the department finds that the insurer is not
 3097  in compliance with the requirements of this chapter. The
 3098  department shall promptly notify the insurer of such
 3099  reinstatement, and the insurer shall not consider its
 3100  certificate of authority reinstated until so notified by the
 3101  department. If not reinstated, the certificate of authority
 3102  shall be deemed to have expired as of the end of the suspension
 3103  period or upon failure of the insurer to continue the
 3104  certificate during the suspension period in accordance with
 3105  subsection (2), whichever event first occurs.
 3106         (4) If the suspension of the certificate of authority was
 3107  until the occurrence of a specific event or events and the
 3108  certificate of authority has not been otherwise terminated, upon
 3109  the presentation of evidence satisfactory to the department that
 3110  the specific event or events have occurred, the insurer’s
 3111  certificate of authority shall be reinstated unless the
 3112  department finds that the insurer is otherwise not in compliance
 3113  with the requirements of this chapter. The department shall
 3114  promptly notify the insurer of such reinstatement, and the
 3115  insurer shall not consider its certificate of authority
 3116  reinstated until so notified by the department. If satisfactory
 3117  evidence as to the occurrence of the specific event or events
 3118  has not been presented to the department within 2 years of the
 3119  date of such suspension, the certificate of authority shall be
 3120  deemed to have expired as of 2 years from the date of suspension
 3121  or upon failure of the insurer to continue the certificate
 3122  during the suspension period in accordance with subsection (2),
 3123  whichever first occurs.
 3124         (5) Upon reinstatement of the insurer’s certificate of
 3125  authority, the authority of its agents in this state to
 3126  represent the insurer shall likewise reinstate. The department
 3127  shall promptly notify the insurer of such reinstatement.
 3128         637.2021 Administrative fine in lieu of suspension or
 3129  revocation.—
 3130         (1) If the department finds that one or more grounds exist
 3131  for the discretionary revocation or suspension of a certificate
 3132  of authority issued under this chapter, the department may, in
 3133  lieu of such revocation or suspension, impose a fine upon the
 3134  title insurer.
 3135         (2) With respect to any nonwillful violation, such fine
 3136  shall not exceed $2,500 per violation. In no event shall such
 3137  fine exceed an aggregate amount of $10,000 for all nonwillful
 3138  violations arising out of the same action. When an insurer
 3139  discovers a nonwillful violation, the insurer shall correct the
 3140  violation and, if restitution is due, make restitution to all
 3141  affected persons. Such restitution shall include interest at 12
 3142  percent per year from either the date of the violation or the
 3143  date of inception of the affected person’s policy, at the
 3144  insurer’s option. The restitution may be a credit against future
 3145  premiums due provided that the interest shall accumulate until
 3146  the premiums are due. If the amount of restitution due to any
 3147  person is $50 or more and the insurer wishes to credit it
 3148  against future premiums, it shall notify such person that she or
 3149  he may receive a check instead of a credit. If the credit is on
 3150  a policy which is not renewed, the insurer shall pay the
 3151  restitution to the person to whom it is due.
 3152         (3) With respect to any knowing and willful violation of a
 3153  lawful order or rule of the department or a provision of this
 3154  chapter, the department may impose a fine upon the insurer in an
 3155  amount not to exceed $20,000 for each such violation. In no
 3156  event shall such fine exceed an aggregate amount of $100,000 for
 3157  all knowing and willful violations arising out of the same
 3158  action. In addition to such fines, such insurer shall make
 3159  restitution when due in accordance with the provisions of
 3160  subsection (2).
 3161         (4) The failure of an insurer to make restitution when due
 3162  as required under this section constitutes a willful violation
 3163  of this chapter. However, if an insurer in good faith is
 3164  uncertain as to whether any restitution is due or as to the
 3165  amount of such restitution, it shall promptly notify the
 3166  department of the circumstances; and the failure to make
 3167  restitution pending a determination thereof shall not constitute
 3168  a violation of this chapter.
 3169         637.2022 Service of process; appointment of Chief Financial
 3170  Officer as process agent.—
 3171         (1) Each licensed title insurer, whether domestic, foreign,
 3172  or alien, shall be deemed to have appointed the Chief Financial
 3173  Officer and her or his successors in the department as its
 3174  attorney to receive service of all legal process issued against
 3175  it in any civil action or proceeding in this state; and process
 3176  so served shall be valid and binding upon the insurer.
 3177         (2) Prior to its authorization to transact insurance in
 3178  this state, each insurer shall file with the department
 3179  designation of the name and address of the person to whom
 3180  process against it served upon the Chief Financial Officer is to
 3181  be forwarded. The insurer may change the designation at any time
 3182  by a new filing.
 3183         (3) Service of process upon the Chief Financial Officer as
 3184  the insurer’s attorney pursuant to such an appointment shall be
 3185  the sole method of service of process upon an authorized
 3186  domestic, foreign, or alien insurer in this state.
 3187         637.2023 Serving process.—
 3188         (1) Service of process upon the Chief Financial Officer as
 3189  process agent of the title insurer under s. 637.2022 shall be
 3190  made by serving copies in triplicate of the process upon the
 3191  Chief Financial Officer or upon her or his assistant, deputy, or
 3192  other person in charge of her or his office. Upon receiving such
 3193  service, the Chief Financial Officer shall file one copy in her
 3194  or his office, return one copy with her or his admission of
 3195  service, and promptly forward one copy of the process by
 3196  registered or certified mail to the person last designated by
 3197  the insurer to receive the same, as provided under s.
 3198  637.2022(2).
 3199         (2) When process is served upon the Chief Financial Officer
 3200  as an insurer’s process agent, the insurer shall not be required
 3201  to answer or plead except within 20 days after the date upon
 3202  which the Chief Financial Officer mailed a copy of the process
 3203  served upon her or him as required by subsection (1).
 3204         (3) Process served upon the Chief Financial Officer and
 3205  copy thereof forwarded as in this section provided shall for all
 3206  purposes constitute valid and binding service thereof upon the
 3207  insurer.
 3208         637.2024 Annual statement and other information.—
 3209         (1)(a) Each authorized title insurer shall file with the
 3210  department full and true statements of its financial condition,
 3211  transactions, and affairs. An annual statement covering the
 3212  preceding calendar year shall be filed on or before March 1, and
 3213  quarterly statements covering the periods ending on March 31,
 3214  June 30, and September 30 shall be filed within 45 days after
 3215  each such date. The department may, for good cause, grant an
 3216  extension of time for filing of an annual or quarterly
 3217  statement. The statements shall contain information generally
 3218  included in insurers’ financial statements prepared in
 3219  accordance with generally accepted insurance accounting
 3220  principles and practices and in a form generally utilized by
 3221  insurers for financial statements, sworn to by at least two
 3222  executive officers of the insurer or, if a reciprocal insurer,
 3223  by the oath of the attorney in fact or its like officer if a
 3224  corporation. To facilitate uniformity in financial statements
 3225  and to facilitate department analysis, the department may by
 3226  rule adopt the form for financial statements approved by the
 3227  National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2002, and may
 3228  adopt subsequent amendments thereto if the methodology remains
 3229  substantially consistent, and may by rule require each insurer
 3230  to submit to the department or such organization as the
 3231  department may designate all or part of the information
 3232  contained in the financial statement in a computer-readable form
 3233  compatible with the electronic data processing system specified
 3234  by the department.
 3235         (b) The department may by rule require reports or filings
 3236  required under this chapter to be submitted by electronic means
 3237  in a computer-readable form compatible with the electronic data
 3238  processing equipment specified by the department.
 3239         (2) The statement of an alien insurer shall be verified by
 3240  the insurer’s United States manager or other officer duly
 3241  authorized. It shall be a separate statement, to be known as its
 3242  general statement, of its transactions, assets, and affairs
 3243  within the United States unless the department requires
 3244  otherwise. If the department requires a statement as to the
 3245  insurer’s affairs elsewhere, the insurer shall file such
 3246  statement with the department as soon as reasonably possible.
 3247         (3) At the time of filing, the insurer shall pay the fee
 3248  for filing its annual statement in the amount specified in s.
 3249  637.2031.
 3250         (4) The department may refuse to continue, or may suspend
 3251  or revoke, the certificate of authority of an insurer failing to
 3252  file its annual or quarterly statements and accompanying
 3253  certificates when due.
 3254         (5) In addition to information called for and furnished in
 3255  connection with its annual or quarterly statements, an insurer
 3256  shall furnish to the department as soon as reasonably possible
 3257  such information as to its transactions or affairs as the
 3258  department may from time to time request in writing. All such
 3259  information furnished pursuant to the department’s request shall
 3260  be verified by the oath of two executive officers of the insurer
 3261  or, if a reciprocal insurer, by the oath of the attorney in fact
 3262  or its like officers if a corporation.
 3263         (6) The signatures of all such persons when written on
 3264  annual or quarterly statements or other reports required by this
 3265  section shall be presumed to have been so written by authority
 3266  of the person whose signature is affixed thereon. The affixing
 3267  of any signature by anyone other than the purported signer
 3268  constitutes a felony of the second degree, punishable as
 3269  provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
 3270         (7)(a) All authorized insurers must have conducted an
 3271  annual audit by an independent certified public accountant and
 3272  must file an audited financial report with the department on or
 3273  before June 1 for the preceding year ending December 31. The
 3274  department may require an insurer to file an audited financial
 3275  report earlier than June 1 upon 90 days’ advance notice to the
 3276  insurer. The department may immediately suspend an insurer’s
 3277  certificate of authority by order if an insurer’s failure to
 3278  file required reports, financial statements, or information
 3279  required by this subsection or rule adopted pursuant thereto
 3280  creates a significant uncertainty as to the insurer’s continuing
 3281  eligibility for a certificate of authority.
 3282         (b) Any authorized insurer otherwise subject to this
 3283  section having direct premiums written in this state of less
 3284  than $1 million in any calendar year and fewer than 1,000
 3285  policyholders or certificateholders of directly written policies
 3286  nationwide at the end of such calendar year is exempt from this
 3287  section for such year unless the department makes a specific
 3288  finding that compliance is necessary in order for the department
 3289  to carry out its statutory responsibilities. However, any
 3290  insurer having assumed premiums pursuant to contracts or
 3291  treaties or reinsurance of $1 million or more is not exempt. Any
 3292  insurer subject to an exemption must submit by March 1 following
 3293  the year to which the exemption applies an affidavit sworn to by
 3294  a responsible officer of the insurer specifying the amount of
 3295  direct premiums written in this state and number of
 3296  policyholders or certificateholders.
 3297         (c) The board of directors of an insurer shall hire the
 3298  certified public accountant that prepares the audit required by
 3299  this subsection and the board shall establish an audit committee
 3300  of three or more directors of the insurer or an affiliated
 3301  company. The audit committee shall be responsible for discussing
 3302  audit findings and interacting with the certified public
 3303  accountant with regard to her or his findings. The audit
 3304  committee shall be comprised solely of members who are free from
 3305  any relationship that, in the opinion of its board of directors,
 3306  would interfere with the exercise of independent judgment as a
 3307  committee member. The audit committee shall report to the board
 3308  any findings of adverse financial conditions or significant
 3309  deficiencies in internal controls that have been noted by the
 3310  accountant. The insurer may request the department to waive this
 3311  requirement of the audit committee membership based upon unusual
 3312  hardship to the insurer.
 3313         (d) An insurer may not use the same accountant or partner
 3314  of an accounting firm responsible for preparing the report
 3315  required by this subsection for more than 7 consecutive years.
 3316  Following this period, the insurer may not use such accountant
 3317  or partner for a period of 2 years, but may use another
 3318  accountant or partner of the same firm. An insurer may request
 3319  the department to waive this prohibition based upon an unusual
 3320  hardship to the insurer and a determination that the accountant
 3321  is exercising independent judgment that is not unduly influenced
 3322  by the insurer considering such factors as the number of
 3323  partners, expertise of the partners or the number of insurance
 3324  clients of the accounting firm; the premium volume of the
 3325  insurer; and the number of jurisdictions in which the insurer
 3326  transacts business.
 3327         (e) The department shall adopt rules to implement this
 3328  subsection, which rules must be in substantial conformity with
 3329  the 1998 Model Rule Requiring Annual Audited Financial Reports
 3330  adopted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners,
 3331  except where inconsistent with the requirements of this
 3332  subsection. Any exception to, waiver of, or interpretation of
 3333  accounting requirements of the department must be in writing and
 3334  signed by an authorized representative of the department. No
 3335  insurer may raise as a defense in any action, any exception to,
 3336  waiver of, or interpretation of accounting requirements, unless
 3337  previously issued in writing by an authorized representative of
 3338  the department.
 3339         637.2025 NAIC filing requirements.—
 3340         (1) Each domestic, foreign, and alien title insurer who is
 3341  authorized to transact title insurance in this state shall file
 3342  one extra copy of its annual statement convention blank, along
 3343  with such additional filings as prescribed by the department for
 3344  the preceding year. Such extra copy shall be for the explicit
 3345  purpose of allowing the department to forward it to the National
 3346  Association of Insurance Commissioners.
 3347         (2) Coincident with the filing of the documents required in
 3348  subsection (1), each insurer shall pay to the department a
 3349  reasonable fee to cover the costs associated with the filing and
 3350  analysis of the documents by the National Association of
 3351  Insurance Commissioners and the department.
 3352         (3) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any
 3353  foreign, domestic, or alien insurer which has filed such
 3354  documents directly with the National Association of Insurance
 3355  Commissioners if the National Association of Insurance
 3356  Commissioners has certified receipt of the required documents to
 3357  the department.
 3358         637.2026 Change in controlling interest of foreign or alien
 3359  title insurer; report required.—In the event of a change in the
 3360  controlling capital stock or a change of 50 percent or more of
 3361  the assets of a foreign or alien title insurer, such insurer
 3362  shall report such change in writing to the department within 30
 3363  days of the effective date thereof. The report shall contain the
 3364  name and address of the new owner or owners of the controlling
 3365  stock or assets, the nature and value of the new assets, and
 3366  such other relevant information as the department may reasonably
 3367  require. For the purposes of this section, the term “controlling
 3368  capital stock” means a sufficient number of shares of the issued
 3369  and outstanding capital stock of such insurer or person so as to
 3370  give the owner thereof power to exercise a controlling influence
 3371  over the management or policies of such insurer or person.
 3372         637.2027 Withdrawal of title insurer or discontinuance of
 3373  writing insurance.—
 3374         (1) Any title insurer desiring to surrender its certificate
 3375  of authority, withdraw from this state, or discontinue the
 3376  writing of title insurance in this state shall give 90 days’
 3377  notice in writing to the department setting forth its reasons
 3378  for such action. Any insurer who does not write any premiums
 3379  within a calendar year shall have title insurance removed from
 3380  its certificate of authority; however, such line of insurance
 3381  shall be restored to the insurer’s certificate upon the insurer
 3382  demonstrating that it has available the expertise necessary and
 3383  meets the other requirements of this chapter to write that line
 3384  of insurance.
 3385         (2) If the department determines, based upon its review of
 3386  the notice and other required information, that the plan of an
 3387  insurer withdrawing from this state makes adequate provision for
 3388  the satisfaction of the insurer’s obligations and is not
 3389  hazardous to policyholders or the public, the department shall
 3390  approve the surrender of the insurer’s certificate of authority.
 3391  The department shall, within 45 days from receipt of a complete
 3392  notice and all required or requested additional information,
 3393  approve, disapprove, or approve with conditions the plan
 3394  submitted by the insurer. Failure to timely take action with
 3395  respect to the notice shall be deemed an approval of the
 3396  surrender of the certificate of authority.
 3397         (3) Any insurer withdrawing from this state or
 3398  discontinuing the writing of insurance in this state shall
 3399  surrender its certificate of authority.
 3400         (4) This section does not apply to insurers during the
 3401  calendar year in which they first receive their certificate of
 3402  authority.
 3403         (5) This section does not apply to insurers who have
 3404  discontinued writing in accordance with an order issued by the
 3405  department.
 3406         (6) Notwithstanding subsection (5), any insurer desiring to
 3407  surrender its certificate of authority, withdraw from this
 3408  state, or discontinue the writing of insurance in this state is
 3409  expected to have availed itself of all reasonably available
 3410  reinsurance. Reasonably available reinsurance shall include
 3411  unrealized reinsurance, which is defined as reinsurance
 3412  recoverable on known losses incurred and due under valid
 3413  reinsurance contracts that have not been identified in the
 3414  normal course of business and have not been reported in
 3415  financial statements filed with the department. Within 90 days
 3416  after surrendering its certificate of authority, withdrawing
 3417  from this state, or discontinuing the writing of any one or
 3418  multiple kinds or lines of insurance in this state, the insurer
 3419  shall certify to the department that the insurer has engaged an
 3420  independent third party to search for unrealized reinsurance,
 3421  and that the insurer has made all relevant books and records
 3422  available to such third party. The compensation to such third
 3423  party may be a percentage of unrealized reinsurance identified
 3424  and collected.
 3425         (7) The department may adopt rules to administer this
 3426  section.
 3427         637.2028 Assets of title insurers; reporting requirements.—
 3428         (1) As used in this section, the term “material acquisition
 3429  of assets” or “material disposition of assets” means one or more
 3430  transactions occurring during any 30-day period which are
 3431  nonrecurring and not in the ordinary course of business and
 3432  involve more than 5 percent of the reporting title insurer’s
 3433  total admitted assets as reported in its most recent statutory
 3434  statement filed with the insurance department of the insurer’s
 3435  state of domicile.
 3436         (2) Each domestic title insurer shall file a report with
 3437  the department disclosing a material acquisition of assets, a
 3438  material disposition of assets, or a material nonrenewal,
 3439  cancellation, or revision of a ceded reinsurance agreement,
 3440  unless the material acquisition or disposition of assets or the
 3441  material nonrenewal, cancellation, or revision of a ceded
 3442  reinsurance agreement has been submitted to the department for
 3443  review, approval, or informational purposes under another
 3444  section of this chapter or a rule adopted thereunder. A copy of
 3445  the report and each exhibit or other attachment must be filed by
 3446  the insurer with the National Association of Insurance
 3447  Commissioners. The report required in this section is due within
 3448  15 days after the end of the calendar month in which the
 3449  transaction occurs.
 3450         (3) An immaterial acquisition or disposition of assets need
 3451  not be reported under this section.
 3452         (4)(a) Acquisitions of assets which are subject to this
 3453  section include each purchase, lease, exchange, merger,
 3454  consolidation, succession, or other acquisition of assets. Asset
 3455  acquisitions for the construction or development of real
 3456  property by or for the reporting insurer and the acquisition of
 3457  construction materials for this purpose are not subject to this
 3458  section.
 3459         (b) Dispositions of assets which are subject to this
 3460  section include each sale, lease, exchange, merger,
 3461  consolidation, mortgage, hypothecation, assignment for the
 3462  benefit of a creditor or otherwise, abandonment, destruction, or
 3463  other disposition of assets.
 3464         (5)(a) The following information must be disclosed in any
 3465  report of a material acquisition or disposition of assets:
 3466         1. The date of the transaction.
 3467         2. The manner of acquisition or disposition.
 3468         3. The description of the assets involved.
 3469         4. The nature and amount of the consideration given or
 3470  received.
 3471         5. The purpose of, or reason for, the transaction.
 3472         6. The manner by which the amount of consideration was
 3473  determined.
 3474         7. The gain or loss recognized or realized as a result of
 3475  the transaction.
 3476         8. The name of the person from whom the assets were
 3477  acquired or to whom they were disposed.
 3478         (b) Insurers must report material acquisitions or
 3479  dispositions on a nonconsolidated basis unless the insurer is
 3480  part of a consolidated group of insurers which uses a pooling
 3481  arrangement or a 100-percent reinsurance agreement that affects
 3482  the solvency and integrity of the insurer’s reserves and the
 3483  insurer has ceded substantially all of its direct and assumed
 3484  business to the pool. An insurer is deemed to have ceded
 3485  substantially all of its direct and assumed business to a pool
 3486  if the insurer has less than $1 million in total direct and
 3487  assumed written premiums during a calendar year which are not
 3488  subject to a pooling arrangement and if the net income of the
 3489  business which is not subject to the pooling arrangement
 3490  represents less than 5 percent of the insurer’s capital and
 3491  surplus.
 3492         (6)(a) The following information must be disclosed in any
 3493  report of a material nonrenewal, cancellation, or revision of a
 3494  ceded reinsurance agreement:
 3495         1. The effective date of the nonrenewal, cancellation, or
 3496  revision.
 3497         2. The description of the transaction and the
 3498  identification of the initiator of the transaction.
 3499         3. The purpose of, or reason for, the transaction.
 3500         4. If applicable, the identity of each replacement
 3501  reinsurer.
 3502         (b) Insurers shall report the material nonrenewal,
 3503  cancellation, or revision of a ceded reinsurance agreement on a
 3504  nonconsolidated basis unless the insurer is part of a
 3505  consolidated group of insurers which uses a pooling arrangement
 3506  or a 100-percent reinsurance agreement that affects the solvency
 3507  and integrity of the insurer’s reserves and the insurer has
 3508  ceded substantially all of its direct and assumed business to
 3509  the pool. An insurer is deemed to have ceded substantially all
 3510  of its direct and assumed business to a pool if the insurer has
 3511  less than $1 million in total direct and assumed written
 3512  premiums during a calendar year which are not subject to a
 3513  pooling arrangement and if the net income of the business not
 3514  subject to the pooling arrangement represents less than 5
 3515  percent of the insurer’s capital and surplus.
 3516         637.2029 Participation of financial institutions in
 3517  reinsurance and in insurance exchanges.—Subject to applicable
 3518  laws relating to financial institutions and to any other
 3519  applicable provision of this chapter, any financial institution
 3520  or aggregation of such institutions may own or control, directly
 3521  or indirectly, any title insurer which is authorized or approved
 3522  by the department, which insurer transacts only reinsurance in
 3523  this state and which actively engages in reinsuring risks
 3524  located in this state. Nothing in this section shall be deemed
 3525  to prohibit a financial institution from engaging in any
 3526  presently authorized insurance activity.
 3527         637.2031 Filing, license, appointment, and miscellaneous
 3528  fees.—The department shall collect in advance, and persons so
 3529  served shall pay to it in advance, fees, licenses, and
 3530  miscellaneous charges as follows:
 3531         (1) Certificate of authority of title insurer.
 3532         (a) Filing application for original certificate of
 3533  authority or modification thereof as a result of a merger,
 3534  acquisition, or change of controlling interest due to a sale or
 3535  exchange of stock, including all documents required to be filed
 3536  therewith, filing fee..................................$1,500.00
 3537         (b) Reinstatement fee..............................$50.00
 3538         (2) Charter documents of insurer.
 3539         (a) Filing articles of incorporation or other charter
 3540  documents, other than at time of application for original
 3541  certificate of authority, filing fee......................$10.00
 3542         (b) Filing amendment to articles of incorporation or
 3543  charter, other than at time of application for original
 3544  certificate of authority, filing fee.......................$5.00
 3545         (c) Filing bylaws, when required, or amendments thereof,
 3546  filing fee.................................................$5.00
 3547         (3) Annual license tax of insurer, each domestic insurer,
 3548  foreign insurer, and alien insurer (except that, as to fraternal
 3549  benefit societies insuring less than 200 members in this state
 3550  and the members of which as a prerequisite to membership possess
 3551  a physical handicap or disability, such license tax shall be
 3552  $25)...................................................$1,000.00
 3553         (4) Statements of insurer, filing (except when filed as
 3554  part of application for original certificate of authority),
 3555  filing fees:
 3556         (a) Annual statement..............................$250.00
 3557         (b) Quarterly statement...........................$250.00
 3558         (5) All insurance representatives, application for license,
 3559  each filing, filing fee...................................$50.00
 3560         (6) Examination—Fee to cover actual cost of examination.
 3561         (7) Temporary license and appointment as agent where
 3562  expressly provided for, rate of fee for each month of the period
 3563  for which the license and appointment is issued............$5.00
 3564         (8) Issuance, reissuance, reinstatement, modification
 3565  resulting in a modified license being issued, duplicate copy of
 3566  any insurance representative license, or an appointment being
 3567  reinstated.................................................$5.00
 3568         (9) Additional appointment continuation fees as prescribed
 3569  in chapter 626.............................................$5.00
 3570         (10) Filing application for permit to form insurer as
 3571  referred to in chapter 628, filing fee....................$25.00
 3572         (11) Annual license fee of rating organization, each
 3573  domestic or foreign organization..........................$25.00
 3574         (12) Miscellaneous services:
 3575         (a) For copies of documents or records on file with the
 3576  department, per page........................................$.50
 3577         (b) For each certificate of the department, under its seal,
 3578  authenticating any document or other instrument (other than a
 3579  license or certificate of authority).......................$5.00
 3580         (c) For preparing lists of agents and other insurance
 3581  representatives, and for other miscellaneous services, such
 3582  reasonable charge as may be fixed by the department.
 3583         (d) For processing requests for approval of continuing
 3584  education courses, processing fee........................$100.00
 3585         (13) Fingerprinting processing fee—Fee to cover fingerprint
 3586  processing.
 3587         (14) Title insurance agents:
 3588         (a) Agent’s original appointment or biennial renewal or
 3589  continuation thereof, each insurer:
 3590         Appointment fee....................................$42.00
 3591         State tax...........................................12.00
 3592         County tax...........................................6.00
 3593         Total..............................................$60.00
 3594         (b) Agency original appointment or biennial renewal or
 3595  continuation thereof, each insurer:
 3596         Appointment fee....................................$42.00
 3597         State tax...........................................12.00
 3598         County tax...........................................6.00
 3599         Total..............................................$60.00
 3600         (c) Filing for title insurance agent’s license:
 3601         Application for filing, each filing, filing fee....$10.00
 3602         (d) Additional appointment continuation fee as prescribed
 3603  by s. 637.3015.............................................$5.00
 3604         (e) Title insurer and title insurance agency administrative
 3605  surcharge:
 3606         1. On or before January 30 of each calendar year, each
 3607  title insurer shall pay to the department for each licensed
 3608  title insurance agency appointed by the title insurer and for
 3609  each retail office of the insurer on January 1 of that calendar
 3610  year an administrative surcharge of $200.00.
 3611         2. On or before January 30 of each calendar year, each
 3612  licensed title insurance agency shall remit to the department an
 3613  administrative surcharge of $200.00.
 3614  
 3615  The administrative surcharge may be used solely to defray the
 3616  costs to the department in their examination or audit of title
 3617  insurance agencies and retail offices of title insurers and to
 3618  gather title insurance data for statistical purposes to be
 3619  furnished to and used by the department in its regulation of
 3620  title insurance.
 3621         (15) Late filing of appointment renewals for agents,
 3622  adjusters, and other insurance representatives, each
 3623  appointment...............................................$20.00
 3624         637.2032 Advance collection of fees and taxes; title
 3625  insurers not to pay without reimbursement.—
 3626         (1) The department shall collect in advance from the
 3627  applicant or licensee fees and taxes as provided in s. 637.2031.
 3628         (2) A title insurer shall not pay directly or indirectly
 3629  without reimbursement from a title insurance agent any
 3630  appointment fee required under this section. The failure of a
 3631  title insurance agent to make reimbursement is not a ground for
 3632  cancellation of the title insurance agent’s appointment by the
 3633  title insurer.
 3634         637.2033 Service of process fee.—In all instances as
 3635  provided in any section of this chapter and s. 48.151(3) in
 3636  which service of process is authorized to be made upon the Chief
 3637  Financial Officer , the plaintiff shall pay to the department a
 3638  fee of $15 for such service of process, which fee shall be
 3639  deposited into the Title Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund.
 3640         637.2034 Liability for state, county tax.—Each authorized
 3641  title insurer that uses insurance agents in this state shall be
 3642  liable for and shall pay the state and county taxes required
 3643  therefor under s. 637.2031 or s. 637.2035.
 3644         637.2035 County tax; determination; additional offices;
 3645  nonresident agents.—
 3646         (1) The county tax provided for under s. 637.2031 as to an
 3647  agent shall be paid by each title insurer for each agent only
 3648  for the county where the agent resides, or if such agent’s place
 3649  of business is located in a county other than that of her or his
 3650  residence, then for the county wherein is located such place of
 3651  business. If an agent maintains an office or place of business
 3652  in more than one county, the tax shall be paid for her or him by
 3653  each such insurer for each county wherein the agent represents
 3654  such insurer and has a place of business. When under this
 3655  subsection an insurer is required to pay county tax for an agent
 3656  for a county or counties other than the agent’s county of
 3657  residence, the insurer shall designate the county or counties
 3658  for which the taxes are paid.
 3659         (2) A county tax of $3 per year shall be paid by each
 3660  insurer for each county in this state in which an agent who
 3661  resides outside of this state represents and engages in person
 3662  in the activities of an agent for the insurer. This provision
 3663  shall not be deemed to authorize any activities by an agent
 3664  which are otherwise prohibited under this chapter.
 3665         637.2036 County tax; deposit and remittance.—
 3666         (1) The department shall deposit in the Agents County Tax
 3667  Trust Fund all moneys accepted as county tax under this chapter.
 3668  She or he shall keep a separate account for all moneys so
 3669  collected for each county and, after deducting therefrom the
 3670  service charges provided for in s. 215.20, shall remit the
 3671  balance to the counties.
 3672         (2) The payment and collection of county tax under this
 3673  chapter shall be in lieu of collection thereof by the respective
 3674  county tax collectors.
 3675         (3) The Chief Financial Officer shall annually, as of
 3676  January 1 following the date of collection, and thereafter at
 3677  such other times as she or he may elect, draw her or his
 3678  warrants on the State Treasury payable to the respective
 3679  counties entitled to receive the same for the full net amount of
 3680  such taxes to each county.
 3681         637.2037 Municipal tax.—Municipal corporations may require
 3682  a tax of title insurance agents not to exceed 50 percent of the
 3683  state tax specified as to such agents under this chapter, and
 3684  unless otherwise authorized by law. Such a tax may be required
 3685  only by a municipal corporation within the boundaries of which
 3686  is located the agent’s business office, or if no such office is
 3687  required under this chapter, by the municipal corporation of the
 3688  agent’s place of residence.
 3689         637.2038 Insurer’s license tax; when payable.—
 3690         (1) The title insurer’s license tax provided for in s.
 3691  637.2031(3) shall be paid by an insurer newly applying for a
 3692  certificate of authority to transact insurance in this state
 3693  prior to and contingent upon the issuance of its original
 3694  certificate of authority. If the certificate of authority is not
 3695  issued, the license tax payment shall be refunded to the
 3696  insurer. The license tax so paid by a newly authorized insurer
 3697  shall cover the period expiring on the June 1 following the date
 3698  of its original certificate of authority.
 3699         (2) Each authorized title insurer shall pay the license tax
 3700  annually on or before June 1.
 3701         637.2039 Premium tax; rate and computation.—
 3702         (1) In addition to the license taxes provided for in this
 3703  chapter, each title insurer shall also annually, and on or
 3704  before March 1 in each year, pay to the Department of Revenue a
 3705  tax on premiums for title insurance received during the
 3706  preceding calendar year an amount equal to 1.75 percent of the
 3707  gross amount of such receipts on account of all policies and
 3708  covering property, subjects, or risks located, resident, or to
 3709  be performed in this state, omitting premiums on reinsurance
 3710  accepted, and less return premiums or assessments, but without
 3711  deductions:
 3712         (a) For reinsurance ceded to other insurers;
 3713         (b) For moneys paid upon surrender of policies or
 3714  certificates for cash surrender value.
 3715         (2) Payment by the insurer of the license taxes and premium
 3716  receipts taxes provided for in this chapter is a condition
 3717  precedent to doing business within this state.
 3718         (3) Notwithstanding other provisions of law, the
 3719  distribution of the premium tax and any penalties or interest
 3720  collected thereunder shall be made to the General Revenue Fund
 3721  in accordance with rules adopted by the Department of Revenue
 3722  and approved by the Administration Commission.
 3723         (4) The income tax imposed under chapter 220 and the
 3724  emergency excise tax imposed under chapter 221 which are paid by
 3725  any insurer shall be credited against, and to the extent thereof
 3726  shall discharge, the liability for tax imposed by this section
 3727  for the annual period in which such tax payments are made. For
 3728  purposes of this subsection, payments of estimated income tax
 3729  under chapter 220 and of estimated emergency excise tax under
 3730  chapter 221 shall be deemed paid at the time the insurer
 3731  actually files its annual returns under chapter 220 or at the
 3732  time such returns are required to be filed, whichever first
 3733  occurs, and not at such earlier time as such payments of
 3734  estimated tax are actually made.
 3735         (5)(a)1. There shall be allowed a credit against the net
 3736  tax imposed by this section equal to 15 percent of the amount
 3737  paid by an insurer in salaries to employees located or based
 3738  within this state and who are covered by the provisions of
 3739  chapter 443.
 3740         2. As an alternative to the credit allowed in subparagraph
 3741  1., an affiliated group of corporations which includes at least
 3742  one insurance company writing premiums in this state may elect
 3743  to take a credit against the net tax imposed by this section in
 3744  an amount that may not exceed 15 percent of the salary of the
 3745  employees of the affiliated group of corporations who perform
 3746  insurance-related activities, are located or based within this
 3747  state, and are covered by chapter 443. For purposes of this
 3748  subparagraph, the term “affiliated group of corporations” means
 3749  two or more corporations that are entirely owned directly or
 3750  indirectly by a single corporation and that constitute an
 3751  affiliated group as defined in s. 1504(a) of the Internal
 3752  Revenue Code. The amount of credit allowed under this
 3753  subparagraph is limited to the combined Florida salary tax
 3754  credits allowed for all insurance companies that were members of
 3755  the affiliated group of corporations for the tax year ending
 3756  December 31, 2002, divided by the combined Florida taxable
 3757  premiums written by all insurance companies that were members of
 3758  the affiliated group of corporations for the tax year ending
 3759  December 31, 2002, multiplied by the combined Florida taxable
 3760  premiums of the affiliated group of corporations for the current
 3761  year. An affiliated group of corporations electing this
 3762  alternative calculation method must make such election on or
 3763  before August 1, 2005. The election of this alternative
 3764  calculation method is irrevocable and binding upon successors
 3765  and assigns of the affiliated group of corporations electing
 3766  this alternative. However, if a member of an affiliated group of
 3767  corporations acquires or merges with another insurance company
 3768  after the date of the irrevocable election, the acquired or
 3769  merged company is not entitled to the affiliated group election
 3770  and shall only be entitled to calculate the tax credit under
 3771  subparagraph 1.
 3772  
 3773  In no event shall the salary paid to an employee by an
 3774  affiliated group of corporations be claimed as a credit by more
 3775  than one insurer or be counted more than once in an insurer’s
 3776  calculation of the credit as described in subparagraph 1. or
 3777  subparagraph 2. Only the portion of an employee’s salary paid
 3778  for the performance of insurance-related activities may be
 3779  included in the calculation of the premium tax credit in this
 3780  subsection.
 3781         (b) For purposes of this subsection:
 3782         1. The term “salaries” does not include amounts paid as
 3783  commissions.
 3784         2. The term “employees” does not include independent
 3785  contractors or any person whose duties require that the person
 3786  hold a valid license under the Florida Insurance Code, except
 3787  adjusters, managing general agents, and service representatives,
 3788  as defined in s. 626.015.
 3789         3. The term “net tax” means the tax imposed by this section
 3790  after applying the calculations and credits set forth in
 3791  subsection (4).
 3792         4. An affiliated group of corporations that created a
 3793  service company within its affiliated group on July 30, 2002,
 3794  shall allocate the salary of each service company employee
 3795  covered by contracts with affiliated group members to the
 3796  companies for which the employees perform services. The salary
 3797  allocation is based on the amount of time during the tax year
 3798  that the individual employee spends performing services or
 3799  otherwise working for each company over the total amount of time
 3800  the employee spends performing services or otherwise working for
 3801  all companies. The total amount of salary allocated to an
 3802  insurance company within the affiliated group shall be included
 3803  as that insurer’s employee salaries for purposes of this
 3804  section.
 3805         a. Except as provided in subparagraph (a)2., the term
 3806  “affiliated group of corporations” means two or more
 3807  corporations that are entirely owned by a single corporation and
 3808  that constitute an affiliated group of corporations as defined
 3809  in s. 1504(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.
 3810         b. The term “service company” means a separate corporation
 3811  within the affiliated group of corporations whose employees
 3812  provide services to affiliated group members and which are
 3813  treated as service company employees for unemployment
 3814  compensation and common law purposes. The holding company of an
 3815  affiliated group may not qualify as a service company. An
 3816  insurance company may not qualify as a service company.
 3817         c. If an insurance company fails to substantiate, whether
 3818  by means of adequate records or otherwise, its eligibility to
 3819  claim the service company exception under this section, or its
 3820  salary allocation under this section, no credit shall be
 3821  allowed.
 3822         5. A service company that is a subsidiary of a mutual
 3823  insurance holding company, which mutual insurance holding
 3824  company was in existence on or before January 1, 2000, shall
 3825  allocate the salary of each service company employee covered by
 3826  contracts with members of the mutual insurance holding company
 3827  system to the companies for which the employees perform
 3828  services. The salary allocation is based on the ratio of the
 3829  amount of time during the tax year which the individual employee
 3830  spends performing services or otherwise working for each company
 3831  to the total amount of time the employee spends performing
 3832  services or otherwise working for all companies. The total
 3833  amount of salary allocated to an insurance company within the
 3834  mutual insurance holding company system shall be included as
 3835  that insurer’s employee salaries for purposes of this section.
 3836  However, this subparagraph does not apply for any tax year
 3837  unless funds sufficient to offset the anticipated salary credits
 3838  have been appropriated to the General Revenue Fund prior to the
 3839  due date of the final return for that year.
 3840         a. The term “mutual insurance holding company system” means
 3841  two or more corporations that are subsidiaries of a mutual
 3842  insurance holding company and in compliance with part IV of
 3843  chapter 628.
 3844         b. The term “service company” means a separate corporation
 3845  within the mutual insurance holding company system whose
 3846  employees provide services to other members of the mutual
 3847  insurance holding company system and are treated as service
 3848  company employees for unemployment compensation and common-law
 3849  purposes. The mutual insurance holding company may not qualify
 3850  as a service company.
 3851         c. If an insurance company fails to substantiate, whether
 3852  by means of adequate records or otherwise, its eligibility to
 3853  claim the service company exception under this section, or its
 3854  salary allocation under this section, no credit shall be
 3855  allowed.
 3856         (c) The department may adopt rules pursuant to ss.
 3857  120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer this subsection.
 3858         (6)(a) The total of the credit granted for the taxes paid
 3859  by the insurer under chapters 220 and 221 and the credit granted
 3860  by subsection (5) shall not exceed 65 percent of the tax due
 3861  under subsection (1) after deducting therefrom the taxes paid by
 3862  the insurer under ss. 175.101 and 185.08 and any assessments
 3863  pursuant to s. 440.51.
 3864         (b) To the extent that any credits granted by subsection
 3865  (5) remain as a result of the limitation set forth in paragraph
 3866  (a), such excess credits related to salaries and wages of
 3867  employees whose place of employment is located within an
 3868  enterprise zone created pursuant to chapter 290 may be
 3869  transferred, in an aggregate amount not to exceed 25 percent of
 3870  such excess salary credits, to any insurer that is a member of
 3871  an affiliated group of corporations, as defined in sub
 3872  subparagraph (5)(b)4.a., that includes the original insurer
 3873  qualifying for the credits under subsection (5). The amount of
 3874  such excess credits to be transferred shall be calculated by
 3875  multiplying the amount of such excess credits by a fraction, the
 3876  numerator of which is the sum of the salaries qualifying for the
 3877  credit allowed by subsection (5) of employees whose place of
 3878  employment is located in an enterprise zone and the denominator
 3879  of which is the sum of the salaries qualifying for the credit
 3880  allowed by subsection (5). Any such transferred credits shall be
 3881  subject to the same provisions and limitations set forth within
 3882  this chapter. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply to
 3883  an affiliated group of corporations that participate in a common
 3884  paymaster arrangement as defined in s. 443.1216.
 3885         (7) Credits and deductions against the tax imposed by this
 3886  section shall be taken in the following order: deductions for
 3887  assessments made pursuant to s. 440.51; credits for taxes paid
 3888  under ss. 175.101 and 185.08; credits for income taxes paid
 3889  under chapter 220, the emergency excise tax paid under chapter
 3890  221 and the credit allowed under subsection (5), as these
 3891  credits are limited by subsection (6); all other available
 3892  credits and deductions.
 3893         (8) As used in this section, “insurer” includes any entity
 3894  subject to the tax imposed by this section.
 3895         637.2041 Retaliatory provision, insurers.—
 3896         (1)(a) When by or pursuant to the laws of any other state
 3897  or foreign country any taxes, licenses, and other fees, in the
 3898  aggregate, and any fines, penalties, deposit requirements, or
 3899  other material obligations, prohibitions, or restrictions are or
 3900  would be imposed upon title insurers in this state or upon the
 3901  agents or representatives of such insurers, which are in excess
 3902  of such taxes, licenses, and other fees, in the aggregate, or
 3903  which are in excess of the fines, penalties, deposit
 3904  requirements, or other obligations, prohibitions, or
 3905  restrictions directly imposed upon similar insurers, or upon the
 3906  agents or representatives of such insurers, of such other state
 3907  or country under the statutes of this state, so long as such
 3908  laws of such other state or country continue in force or are so
 3909  applied, the same taxes, licenses, and other fees, in the
 3910  aggregate, or fines, penalties, deposit requirements, or other
 3911  material obligations, prohibitions, or restrictions of whatever
 3912  kind shall be imposed by the Department of Revenue upon the
 3913  insurers, or upon the agents or representatives of such
 3914  insurers, of such other state or country doing business or
 3915  seeking to do business in this state. In determining the taxes
 3916  to be imposed under this section, 80 percent and a portion of
 3917  the remaining 20 percent as provided in paragraph (b) of the
 3918  credit provided by s. 637.2039(5), as limited by s. 637.2039(6)
 3919  and further determined by s. 637.2039(7), shall not be taken
 3920  into consideration.
 3921         (b) As used in this subsection, the term “portion of the
 3922  remaining 20 percent” shall be calculated by multiplying the
 3923  remaining 20 percent by a fraction, the numerator of which is
 3924  the sum of the salaries qualifying for the credit allowed by s.
 3925  637.2039(5) of employees whose place of employment is located in
 3926  an enterprise zone created pursuant to chapter 290 and the
 3927  denominator of which is the sum of the salaries qualifying for
 3928  the credit allowed by s. 637.2039(5).
 3929         (2) Any tax, license, or other obligation imposed by any
 3930  city, county, or other political subdivision or agency of a
 3931  state, jurisdiction, or foreign country on Florida title
 3932  insurers or their agents or representatives shall be deemed to
 3933  be imposed by such state, jurisdiction, or foreign country
 3934  within the meaning of subsection (1).
 3935         (3) This section does not apply as to personal income
 3936  taxes, nor as to sales or use taxes, nor as to ad valorem taxes
 3937  on real or personal property, nor as to reimbursement premiums
 3938  paid to the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, nor as to
 3939  emergency assessments paid to the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe
 3940  Fund, nor as to special purpose obligations or assessments
 3941  imposed in connection with particular kinds of insurance other
 3942  than property insurance, except that deductions, from premium
 3943  taxes or other taxes otherwise payable, allowed on account of
 3944  real estate or personal property taxes paid shall be taken into
 3945  consideration by the department in determining the propriety and
 3946  extent of retaliatory action under this section.
 3947         (4) For the purposes of this section, a “similar insurer”
 3948  is an insurer with identical premiums, personnel, and property
 3949  to that of the alien or foreign insurer’s Florida premiums,
 3950  personnel, and property. The similar insurer’s premiums,
 3951  personnel, and property shall be used to calculate any taxes,
 3952  licenses, other fees, in the aggregate, or any fines, penalties,
 3953  deposit requirements, or other material obligations,
 3954  prohibitions, or restrictions that are or would be imposed under
 3955  the laws of this state and under the law of the foreign or alien
 3956  insurer’s state of domicile.
 3957         (5) The excess amount of all fees, licenses, and taxes
 3958  collected by the Department of Revenue under this section over
 3959  the amount of similar fees, licenses, and taxes provided for in
 3960  this part, together with all fines, penalties, or other monetary
 3961  obligations collected under this section exclusive of such fees,
 3962  licenses, and taxes, shall be deposited by the Department of
 3963  Revenue to the credit of the Title Insurance Regulatory Trust
 3964  Fund; provided that such excess amount shall not exceed $125,000
 3965  for 1992, and for any subsequent year shall not exceed $125,000
 3966  adjusted annually by the lesser of 20 percent or the growth in
 3967  the total of such excess amount. The remainder of such excess
 3968  amount shall be deposited into the General Revenue Fund.
 3969         637.2042 Administration of taxes; payments.—
 3970         (1) The Department of Revenue shall administer, audit, and
 3971  enforce the assessment and collection of those taxes to which
 3972  this section is applicable. The department and division may
 3973  share information with the Department of Revenue as necessary to
 3974  verify premium tax or other tax liability arising under such
 3975  taxes and credits which may apply thereto.
 3976         (2)(a) Installments of the taxes to which this section is
 3977  applicable shall be due and payable on April 15, June 15, and
 3978  October 15 in each year, based upon the estimated gross amount
 3979  of receipts of insurance premiums or assessments received during
 3980  the immediately preceding calendar quarter. A final payment of
 3981  tax due for the year shall be made at the time the taxpayer
 3982  files her or his return for such year. On or before March 1 in
 3983  each year, an annual return shall be filed showing, by quarters,
 3984  the gross amount of receipts taxable for the preceding year and
 3985  the installment payments made during that year.
 3986         (b) Any taxpayer who fails to report and timely pay any
 3987  installment of tax, who estimates any installment of tax to be
 3988  less than 90 percent of the amount finally shown to be due in
 3989  any quarter, or who fails to report and timely pay any tax due
 3990  with the final return is in violation of this section and is
 3991  subject to a penalty of 10 percent on any underpayment of taxes
 3992  or delinquent taxes due and payable for that quarter or on any
 3993  delinquent taxes due and payable with the final return. Any
 3994  taxpayer paying, for each installment required in this section,
 3995  27 percent of the amount of the net tax due as reported on her
 3996  or his return for the preceding year shall not be subject to the
 3997  penalty provided by this section for underpayment of estimated
 3998  taxes.
 3999         (c) When any taxpayer fails to pay any amount due under
 4000  this section, or any portion thereof, on or before the day when
 4001  such tax or installment of tax is required by law to be paid,
 4002  there shall be added to the amount due interest at the rate of
 4003  12 percent per year from the date due until paid.
 4004         (d) All penalties and interest imposed on those taxes to
 4005  which this section is applicable shall be payable to and
 4006  collectible by the Department of Revenue in the same manner as
 4007  if they were a part of the tax imposed.
 4008         (e) The Department of Revenue may settle or compromise any
 4009  such interest or penalties imposed on those taxes to which this
 4010  section is applicable pursuant to s. 213.21.
 4011         (3) This section is applicable to taxes imposed by ss.
 4012  629.5100, 637.2039, and 637.2046.
 4013         637.2043 Adjustments.—
 4014         (1) If a taxpayer is required to amend its corporate income
 4015  tax liability under chapter 220, or the taxpayer receives a
 4016  refund of its workers’ compensation administrative assessment
 4017  paid under chapter 440, the taxpayer shall file an amended
 4018  insurance premium tax return not later than 60 days after such
 4019  an occurrence.
 4020         (2) If an amended insurance premium tax return is required
 4021  under subsection (1), notwithstanding any other provision of s.
 4022  95.091(3):
 4023         (a) A notice of deficiency may be issued at any time within
 4024  3 years after the date the amended insurance premium tax return
 4025  is given; or
 4026         (b) If a taxpayer fails to file an amended insurance
 4027  premium tax return, a notice of deficiency may be issued at any
 4028  time.
 4029  
 4030  The amount of any proposed assessment set forth in such a notice
 4031  of deficiency shall be limited to the amount of any deficiency
 4032  resulting under this chapter from recomputation of the
 4033  taxpayer’s insurance premium tax and retaliatory tax for the
 4034  taxable year after giving effect only to the change in corporate
 4035  income tax paid and the change in the amount of the workers’
 4036  compensation administrative assessment paid. Interest in
 4037  accordance with s. 637.2042 is due on the amount of any
 4038  deficiency from the date fixed for filing the original insurance
 4039  premium tax return for the taxable year until the date of
 4040  payment of the deficiency.
 4041         (3) If an amended insurance premium tax return is required
 4042  by subsection (1), a claim for refund may be filed within 2
 4043  years after the date on which the amended insurance premium tax
 4044  return was due, regardless of whether such notice was given,
 4045  notwithstanding any other provision of s. 215.26. However, the
 4046  amount recoverable pursuant to such a claim shall be limited to
 4047  the amount of any overpayment resulting under this chapter from
 4048  recomputation of the taxpayer’s insurance premium tax and
 4049  retaliatory tax for the taxable year after giving effect only to
 4050  the change in corporate income tax paid and the change in the
 4051  amount of the workers’ compensation administrative assessment
 4052  paid.
 4053         637.2046 Tax statement; overpayments.—
 4054         (1) Tax returns as to taxes mentioned in s. 637.2039 shall
 4055  be made by insurers on forms to be prescribed by the Department
 4056  of Revenue and shall be sworn to by one or more of the executive
 4057  officers or attorney, if a reciprocal insurer, of the insurer
 4058  making the returns.
 4059         (2) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 215.26(1), if any
 4060  insurer makes an overpayment on account of taxes due under s.
 4061  637.2039, a refund of the overpayment of taxes shall be made out
 4062  of the General Revenue Fund. Overpayment of taxes due under s.
 4063  637.2039 shall be refunded no sooner than the first day of the
 4064  state fiscal year following the date the tax was due.
 4065         (3)(a) If it appears, upon examination of an insurance
 4066  premium tax return made under this chapter, that an amount of
 4067  insurance premium tax has been paid in excess of the amount due,
 4068  the Department of Revenue may refund the amount of the
 4069  overpayment to the taxpayer by a warrant of the Chief Financial
 4070  Officer. The Department of Revenue may refund the overpayment
 4071  without regard to whether the taxpayer has filed a written claim
 4072  for a refund; however, the Department of Revenue may request
 4073  that the taxpayer file a statement affirming that the taxpayer
 4074  made the overpayment.
 4075         (b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), a refund of the
 4076  insurance premium tax may not be made, and a taxpayer is not
 4077  entitled to bring an action for a refund of the insurance
 4078  premium tax, after the period specified in s. 215.26(2) has
 4079  elapsed.
 4080         (c) If a refund issued by the Department of Revenue under
 4081  this subsection is found to exceed the amount of refund legally
 4082  due to the taxpayer, the provisions of s. 637.2042 concerning
 4083  penalties and interest do not apply if the taxpayer reimburses
 4084  the department for any overpayment within 60 days after the
 4085  taxpayer is notified that the overpayment was made.
 4086         637.2047 Preemption by state.—
 4087         (1) This state hereby preempts the field of imposing
 4088  excise, privilege, franchise, income, license, permit,
 4089  registration, and similar taxes and fees, measured by premiums,
 4090  income, or volume of transactions, upon insurers and their
 4091  agents and other representatives; and a county, city,
 4092  municipality, district, school district, or other political
 4093  subdivision or agency in this state may not impose, levy,
 4094  charge, or require the same, subject however to the provisions
 4095  of subsection (2).
 4096         (2) This section shall not be construed to limit or modify
 4097  the power of any incorporated city or town to levy the taxes
 4098  authorized by ss. 175.101 and 185.08 or the power of any special
 4099  fire control district to levy the taxes authorized by s.
 4100  175.101.
 4101         637.2048 Deposit of certain tax receipts; refund of
 4102  improper payments.—
 4103         (1) The Department of Financial Services shall promptly
 4104  deposit in the State Treasury to the credit of the Title
 4105  Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund all “state tax” portions of
 4106  agents’ licenses collected under s. 637.2031. All moneys
 4107  received by the Department of Financial Services or the
 4108  department not in accordance with the provisions of this chapter
 4109  or not in the exact amount as specified by the applicable
 4110  provisions of this chapter shall be returned to the remitter.
 4111  The records of the department shall show the date and reason for
 4112  such return.
 4113         (2) The Department of Revenue shall promptly deposit into
 4114  the Department of Revenue Premium Tax Clearing Trust Fund all
 4115  premium taxes collected according to s. 637.2039. Such taxes
 4116  shall be distributed on an estimated basis within 15 days after
 4117  receipt by the Department of Revenue. Such distribution shall be
 4118  adjusted pursuant to an audit by the Department of Revenue.
 4119         Section 9. Section 627.778, Florida Statutes, is
 4120  transferred, renumbered as section 637.20485, Florida Statutes,
 4121  and subsection (2) of that section is amended to read:
 4122         637.20485 627.778 Limit of risk.—
 4123         (2) Surplus as to policyholders shall be determined from
 4124  the last annual statement of the insurer filed under s. 637.2024
 4125  624.424.
 4126         Section 10. Sections 637.2049, 637.2051, 637.2053,
 4127  637.2054, 637.2055, 637.2056, and 637.2057, Florida Statutes,
 4128  are created to read:
 4129         637.2049 Reinsurance.—
 4130         (1) The purpose of this section is to protect the interests
 4131  of insureds, claimants, ceding insurers, assuming insurers, and
 4132  the public. It is the intent of the Legislature to ensure
 4133  adequate regulation of insurers and reinsurers and adequate
 4134  protection for those to whom they owe obligations. In
 4135  furtherance of that state interest, the Legislature requires
 4136  that upon the insolvency of a non-United States insurer or
 4137  reinsurer which provides security to fund its United States
 4138  obligations in accordance with this section, such security shall
 4139  be maintained in the United States and claims shall be filed
 4140  with and valued by the state insurance regulator with regulatory
 4141  oversight, and the assets shall be distributed in accordance
 4142  with the insurance laws of the state in which the trust is
 4143  domiciled that are applicable to the liquidation of domestic
 4144  United States insurance companies. The Legislature declares that
 4145  the matters contained in this section are fundamental to the
 4146  business of insurance in accordance with 15 U.S.C. ss. 1011
 4147  1012.
 4148         (2) Credit for reinsurance must be allowed a ceding insurer
 4149  as either an asset or a deduction from liability on account of
 4150  reinsurance ceded only when the reinsurer meets the requirements
 4151  of paragraph (3)(a), paragraph (3)(b), or paragraph (3)(c).
 4152  Credit must be allowed under paragraph (3)(a) or paragraph
 4153  (3)(b) only for cessions of those kinds or lines of business
 4154  that the assuming insurer is licensed, authorized, or otherwise
 4155  permitted to write or assume in its state of domicile or, in the
 4156  case of a United States branch of an alien assuming insurer, in
 4157  the state through which it is entered and licensed or authorized
 4158  to transact insurance or reinsurance.
 4159         (3)(a) Credit must be allowed when the reinsurance is ceded
 4160  to an assuming insurer that is authorized to transact insurance
 4161  or reinsurance in this state.
 4162         (b)1. Credit must be allowed when the reinsurance is ceded
 4163  to an assuming insurer that is accredited as a reinsurer in this
 4164  state. An accredited reinsurer is one that:
 4165         a. Files with the department evidence of its submission to
 4166  this state’s jurisdiction.
 4167         b. Submits to this state’s authority to examine its books
 4168  and records.
 4169         c. Is licensed or authorized to transact insurance or
 4170  reinsurance in at least one state or, in the case of a United
 4171  States branch of an alien assuming insurer, is entered through,
 4172  licensed, or authorized to transact insurance or reinsurance in
 4173  at least one state.
 4174         d. Files annually with the department a copy of its annual
 4175  statement filed with the insurance department of its state of
 4176  domicile any quarterly statements if required by its state of
 4177  domicile or such quarterly statements if specifically requested
 4178  by the department, and a copy of its most recent audited
 4179  financial statement.
 4180         (I) Maintains a surplus as regards policyholders in an
 4181  amount not less than $20 million and whose accreditation has not
 4182  been denied by the department within 90 days after its
 4183  submission; or
 4184         (II) Maintains a surplus as regards policyholders in an
 4185  amount not less than $20 million and whose accreditation has
 4186  been approved by the department.
 4187         2. The department may deny or revoke an assuming insurer’s
 4188  accreditation if the assuming insurer does not submit the
 4189  required documentation pursuant to subparagraph 1., if the
 4190  assuming insurer fails to meet all of the standards required of
 4191  an accredited reinsurer, or if the assuming insurer’s
 4192  accreditation would be hazardous to the policyholders of this
 4193  state. In determining whether to deny or revoke accreditation,
 4194  the department may consider the qualifications of the assuming
 4195  insurer with respect to all the following subjects:
 4196         a. Its financial stability.
 4197         b. The lawfulness and quality of its investments.
 4198         c. The competency, character, and integrity of its
 4199  management.
 4200         d. The competency, character, and integrity of persons who
 4201  own or have a controlling interest in the assuming insurer.
 4202         e. Whether claims under its contracts are promptly and
 4203  fairly adjusted and are promptly and fairly paid in accordance
 4204  with the law and the terms of the contracts.
 4205         3. Credit must not be allowed a ceding insurer if the
 4206  assuming insurer’s accreditation has been revoked by the
 4207  department after notice and the opportunity for a hearing.
 4208         4. The actual costs and expenses incurred by the department
 4209  to review a reinsurer’s request for accreditation and subsequent
 4210  reviews must be charged to and collected from the requesting
 4211  reinsurer. If the reinsurer fails to pay the actual costs and
 4212  expenses promptly when due, the department may refuse to
 4213  accredit the reinsurer or may revoke the reinsurer’s
 4214  accreditation.
 4215         (c)1. Credit must be allowed when the reinsurance is ceded
 4216  to an assuming insurer that maintains a trust fund in a
 4217  qualified United States financial institution, as defined in
 4218  paragraph (5)(b), for the payment of the valid claims of its
 4219  United States ceding insurers and their assigns and successors
 4220  in interest. To enable the department to determine the
 4221  sufficiency of the trust fund, the assuming insurer shall report
 4222  annually to the department information substantially the same as
 4223  that required to be reported on the NAIC Annual Statement form
 4224  by authorized insurers. The assuming insurer shall submit to
 4225  examination of its books and records by the department and bear
 4226  the expense of examination.
 4227         2.a. Credit for reinsurance must not be granted under this
 4228  subsection unless the form of the trust and any amendments to
 4229  the trust have been approved by:
 4230         (I) The insurance regulator of the state in which the trust
 4231  is domiciled; or
 4232         (II) The insurance regulator of another state who, pursuant
 4233  to the terms of the trust instrument, has accepted principal
 4234  regulatory oversight of the trust.
 4235         b. The form of the trust and any trust amendments must be
 4236  filed with the insurance regulator of every state in which the
 4237  ceding insurer beneficiaries of the trust are domiciled. The
 4238  trust instrument must provide that contested claims are valid
 4239  and enforceable upon the final order of any court of competent
 4240  jurisdiction in the United States. The trust must vest legal
 4241  title to its assets in its trustees for the benefit of the
 4242  assuming insurer’s United States ceding insurers and their
 4243  assigns and successors in interest. The trust and the assuming
 4244  insurer are subject to examination as determined by the
 4245  insurance regulator.
 4246         c. The trust remains in effect for as long as the assuming
 4247  insurer has outstanding obligations due under the reinsurance
 4248  agreements subject to the trust. No later than February 28 of
 4249  each year, the trustee of the trust shall report to the
 4250  insurance regulator in writing the balance of the trust and list
 4251  the trust’s investments at the preceding year end, and shall
 4252  certify that the trust will not expire prior to the following
 4253  December 31.
 4254         3. The following requirements apply to the following
 4255  categories of assuming insurer:
 4256         a. The trust fund for a single assuming insurer consists of
 4257  funds in trust in an amount not less than the assuming insurer’s
 4258  liabilities attributable to reinsurance ceded by United States
 4259  ceding insurers, and, in addition, the assuming insurer shall
 4260  maintain a trusteed surplus of not less than $20 million. Not
 4261  less than 50 percent of the funds in the trust covering the
 4262  assuming insurer’s liabilities attributable to reinsurance ceded
 4263  by United States ceding insurers and trusteed surplus shall
 4264  consist of assets of a quality substantially similar to that
 4265  required in part II of chapter 625. Clean, irrevocable,
 4266  unconditional, and evergreen letters of credit, issued or
 4267  confirmed by a qualified United States financial institution, as
 4268  defined in paragraph (5)(a), effective no later than December 31
 4269  of the year for which the filing is made and in the possession
 4270  of the trust on or before the filing date of its annual
 4271  statement, may be used to fund the remainder of the trust and
 4272  trusteed surplus.
 4273         b.(I) In the case of a group including incorporated and
 4274  individual unincorporated underwriters:
 4275         (A) For reinsurance ceded under reinsurance agreements with
 4276  an inception, amendment, or renewal date on or after August 1,
 4277  1995, the trust consists of a trusteed account in an amount not
 4278  less than the group’s several liabilities attributable to
 4279  business ceded by United States domiciled ceding insurers to any
 4280  member of the group.
 4281         (B) For reinsurance ceded under reinsurance agreements with
 4282  an inception date on or before July 31, 1995, and not amended or
 4283  renewed after that date, notwithstanding the other provisions of
 4284  this section, the trust consists of a trusteed account in an
 4285  amount not less than the group’s several insurance and
 4286  reinsurance liabilities attributable to business written in the
 4287  United States.
 4288         (C) In addition to these trusts, the group shall maintain
 4289  in trust a trusteed surplus of which $100 million must be held
 4290  jointly for the benefit of the United States domiciled ceding
 4291  insurers of any member of the group for all years of account.
 4292         (II) The incorporated members of the group must not be
 4293  engaged in any business other than underwriting of a member of
 4294  the group, and are subject to the same level of regulation and
 4295  solvency control by the group’s domiciliary regulator as the
 4296  unincorporated members.
 4297         (III) Within 90 days after its financial statements are due
 4298  to be filed with the group’s domiciliary regulator, the group
 4299  shall provide to the insurance regulator an annual certification
 4300  by the group’s domiciliary regulator of the solvency of each
 4301  underwriter member or, if a certification is unavailable,
 4302  financial statements, prepared by independent public
 4303  accountants, of each underwriter member of the group.
 4304         (d) Credit must be allowed when the reinsurance is ceded to
 4305  an assuming insurer not meeting the requirements of paragraph
 4306  (a), paragraph (b), or paragraph (c), but only as to the
 4307  insurance of risks located in jurisdictions in which the
 4308  reinsurance is required to be purchased by a particular entity
 4309  by applicable law or regulation of that jurisdiction.
 4310         (e) If the reinsurance is ceded to an assuming insurer not
 4311  meeting the requirements of paragraph (a), paragraph (b),
 4312  paragraph (c), or paragraph (d), the department may allow
 4313  credit, but only if the assuming insurer holds surplus in excess
 4314  of $100 million and has a secure financial strength rating from
 4315  at least two nationally recognized statistical rating
 4316  organizations deemed acceptable by the department. In
 4317  determining whether credit should be allowed, the department
 4318  shall consider the following:
 4319         1. The domiciliary regulatory jurisdiction of the assuming
 4320  insurer.
 4321         2. The structure and authority of the domiciliary regulator
 4322  with regard to solvency regulation requirements and the
 4323  financial surveillance of the reinsurer.
 4324         3. The substance of financial and operating standards for
 4325  reinsurers in the domiciliary jurisdiction.
 4326         4. The form and substance of financial reports required to
 4327  be filed by the reinsurers in the domiciliary jurisdiction or
 4328  other public financial statements filed in accordance with
 4329  generally accepted accounting principles.
 4330         5. The domiciliary regulator’s willingness to cooperate
 4331  with United States regulators in general and the department in
 4332  particular.
 4333         6. The history of performance by reinsurers in the
 4334  domiciliary jurisdiction.
 4335         7. Any documented evidence of substantial problems with the
 4336  enforcement of valid United States judgments in the domiciliary
 4337  jurisdiction.
 4338         8. Any other matters deemed relevant by the department. The
 4339  department shall give appropriate consideration to insurer group
 4340  ratings that may have been issued. The department may, in lieu
 4341  of granting full credit under this subsection, reduce the amount
 4342  required to be held in trust under paragraph (c).
 4343         (f) If the assuming insurer is not authorized or accredited
 4344  to transact insurance or reinsurance in this state pursuant to
 4345  paragraph (a) or paragraph (b), the credit permitted by
 4346  paragraph (c) or paragraph (d) must not be allowed unless the
 4347  assuming insurer agrees in the reinsurance agreements:
 4348         1.a. That in the event of the failure of the assuming
 4349  insurer to perform its obligations under the terms of the
 4350  reinsurance agreement, the assuming insurer, at the request of
 4351  the ceding insurer, shall submit to the jurisdiction of any
 4352  court of competent jurisdiction in any state of the United
 4353  States, will comply with all requirements necessary to give the
 4354  court jurisdiction, and will abide by the final decision of the
 4355  court or of any appellate court in the event of an appeal.
 4356         b. To designate the Chief Financial Officer, pursuant to s.
 4357  48.151, or a designated attorney as its true and lawful attorney
 4358  upon whom may be served any lawful process in any action, suit,
 4359  or proceeding instituted by or on behalf of the ceding company.
 4360         2. This paragraph is not intended to conflict with or
 4361  override the obligation of the parties to a reinsurance
 4362  agreement to arbitrate their disputes, if this obligation is
 4363  created in the agreement.
 4364         (g) If the assuming insurer does not meet the requirements
 4365  of paragraph (a) or paragraph (b), the credit permitted by
 4366  paragraph (c) or paragraph (d) is not allowed unless the
 4367  assuming insurer agrees in the trust agreements, in substance,
 4368  to the following conditions:
 4369         1. Notwithstanding any other provisions in the trust
 4370  instrument, if the trust fund is inadequate because it contains
 4371  an amount less than the amount required by paragraph (c), or if
 4372  the grantor of the trust has been declared insolvent or placed
 4373  into receivership, rehabilitation, liquidation, or similar
 4374  proceedings under the laws of its state or country of domicile,
 4375  the trustee shall comply with an order of the insurance
 4376  regulator with regulatory oversight over the trust or with an
 4377  order of a United States court of competent jurisdiction
 4378  directing the trustee to transfer to the insurance regulator
 4379  with regulatory oversight all of the assets of the trust fund.
 4380         2. The assets must be distributed by and claims must be
 4381  filed with and valued by the insurance regulator with regulatory
 4382  oversight in accordance with the laws of the state in which the
 4383  trust is domiciled which are applicable to the liquidation of
 4384  domestic insurance companies.
 4385         3. If the insurance regulator with regulatory oversight
 4386  determines that the assets of the trust fund or any part thereof
 4387  are not necessary to satisfy the claims of the United States
 4388  ceding insurers of the grantor of the trust, the assets or part
 4389  thereof must be returned by the insurance regulator with
 4390  regulatory oversight to the trustee for distribution in
 4391  accordance with the trust agreement.
 4392         4. The grantor shall waive any right otherwise available to
 4393  it under United States law which is inconsistent with this
 4394  provision.
 4395         (4) An asset allowed or a deduction from liability taken
 4396  for the reinsurance ceded by an insurer to an assuming insurer
 4397  not meeting the requirements of subsections (2) and (3) is
 4398  allowed in an amount not exceeding the liabilities carried by
 4399  the ceding insurer. The deduction must be in the amount of funds
 4400  held by or on behalf of the ceding insurer, including funds held
 4401  in trust for the ceding insurer, under a reinsurance contract
 4402  with the assuming insurer as security for the payment of
 4403  obligations thereunder, if the security is held in the United
 4404  States subject to withdrawal solely by, and under the exclusive
 4405  control of, the ceding insurer, or, in the case of a trust, held
 4406  in a qualified United States financial institution, as defined
 4407  in paragraph (5)(b). This security may be in the form of:
 4408         (a) Cash in United States dollars;
 4409         (b) Securities listed by the Securities Valuation Office of
 4410  the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and
 4411  qualifying as admitted assets pursuant to part II of chapter
 4412  625;
 4413         (c) Clean, irrevocable, unconditional letters of credit,
 4414  issued or confirmed by a qualified United States financial
 4415  institution, as defined in paragraph (5)(a), effective no later
 4416  than December 31 of the year for which the filing is made, and
 4417  in the possession of, or in trust for, the ceding company on or
 4418  before the filing date of its annual statement; or
 4419         (d) Any other form of security acceptable to the
 4420  department.
 4421         (5)(a) For purposes of paragraph (4)(c) regarding letters
 4422  of credit, a “qualified United States financial institution”
 4423  means an institution that:
 4424         1. Is organized or, in the case of a United States
 4425  department of a foreign banking organization, is licensed under
 4426  the laws of the United States or any state thereof;
 4427         2. Is regulated, supervised, and examined by United States
 4428  or state authorities having regulatory authority over banks and
 4429  trust companies; and
 4430         3. Has been determined by either the department or the
 4431  Securities Valuation Office of the National Association of
 4432  Insurance Commissioners to meet such standards of financial
 4433  condition and standing as are considered necessary and
 4434  appropriate to regulate the quality of financial institutions
 4435  whose letters of credit will be acceptable to the department.
 4436         (b) For purposes of those provisions of this law which
 4437  specify institutions that are eligible to act as a fiduciary of
 4438  a trust, a “qualified United States financial institution” means
 4439  an institution that is a member of the Federal Reserve System or
 4440  that has been determined by the department to meet the following
 4441  criteria:
 4442         1. Is organized or, in the case of a United States branch
 4443  or agency department of a foreign banking organization, is
 4444  licensed under the laws of the United States or any state
 4445  thereof and has been granted authority to operate with fiduciary
 4446  powers; and
 4447         2. Is regulated, supervised, and examined by federal or
 4448  state authorities having regulatory authority over banks and
 4449  trust companies.
 4450         (6) For the purposes of this section only, the term “ceding
 4451  insurer” includes any health maintenance organization operating
 4452  under a certificate of authority issued under part I of chapter
 4453  641.
 4454         (7) After notice and an opportunity for a hearing, the
 4455  department may disallow any credit that it finds would be
 4456  contrary to the proper interests of the policyholders or
 4457  stockholders of a ceding domestic insurer.
 4458         (8) Credit must be allowed to any ceding insurer for
 4459  reinsurance otherwise complying with this section only when the
 4460  reinsurance is payable by the assuming insurer on the basis of
 4461  the liability of the ceding insurer under the contract or
 4462  contracts reinsured without diminution because of the insolvency
 4463  of the ceding insurer. Such credit must be allowed to the ceding
 4464  insurer for reinsurance otherwise complying with this section
 4465  only when the reinsurance agreement provides that payments by
 4466  the assuming insurer will be made directly to the ceding insurer
 4467  or its receiver, except when:
 4468         (a) The reinsurance contract specifically provides payment
 4469  to the named insured, assignee, or named beneficiary of the
 4470  policy issued by the ceding insurer in the event of the
 4471  insolvency of the ceding insurer; or
 4472         (b) The assuming insurer, with the consent of the named
 4473  insured, has assumed the policy obligations of the ceding
 4474  insurer as direct obligations of the assuming insurer in
 4475  substitution for the obligations of the ceding insurer to the
 4476  named insured.
 4477         (9) No person, other than the ceding insurer, has any
 4478  rights against the reinsurer which are not specifically set
 4479  forth in the contract of reinsurance or in a specific written,
 4480  signed agreement between the reinsurer and the person.
 4481         (10) An authorized insurer may not knowingly accept as
 4482  assuming reinsurer any risk covering subject of insurance which
 4483  is resident, located, or to be performed in this state and which
 4484  is written directly by any insurer not then authorized to
 4485  transact such insurance in this state, other than as to surplus
 4486  lines insurance lawfully written under part VIII of chapter 626.
 4487         (11)(a) Any domestic or commercially domiciled insurer
 4488  ceding directly written risks of loss under this section shall,
 4489  within 30 days after receipt of a cover note or similar
 4490  confirmation of coverage, or, without exception, no later than 6
 4491  months after the effective date of the reinsurance treaty, file
 4492  with the department one copy of a summary statement containing
 4493  the following information about each treaty:
 4494         1. The contract period.
 4495         2. The nature of the reinsured’s business.
 4496         3. An indication as to whether the treaty is proportional,
 4497  nonproportional, coinsurance, modified coinsurance, or
 4498  indemnity, as applicable.
 4499         4. The ceding company’s loss retention per risk.
 4500         5. The reinsured limits.
 4501         6. Any special contract restrictions.
 4502         7. A schedule of reinsurers assuming the risks of loss.
 4503         8. An indication as to whether payments to the assuming
 4504  insurer are based on written premiums or earned premiums.
 4505         9. Identification of any intermediary or broker used in
 4506  obtaining the reinsurance and the department paid to such
 4507  intermediary or broker if known.
 4508         10. Ceding commissions and allowances.
 4509         (b) The summary statement must be signed and attested to by
 4510  either the chief executive officer or the chief financial
 4511  officer of the reporting insurer. In addition to the summary
 4512  statement, the department may require the filing of any
 4513  supporting information relating to the ceding of such risks as
 4514  it deems necessary. If the summary statement prepared by the
 4515  ceding insurer discloses that the net effect of a reinsurance
 4516  treaty or treaties, or series of treaties with one or more
 4517  affiliated reinsurers entered into for the purpose of avoiding
 4518  the following threshold amount, at any time results in an
 4519  increase of more than 25 percent to the insurer’s surplus as to
 4520  policyholders, then the insurer shall certify in writing to the
 4521  department that the relevant reinsurance treaty or treaties
 4522  comply with the accounting requirements contained in any rule
 4523  adopted by the department under subsection (14). If such
 4524  certificate is filed after the summary statement of such
 4525  reinsurance treaty or treaties, the insurer shall refile the
 4526  summary statement with the certificate. In any event, the
 4527  certificate must state that a copy of the certificate was sent
 4528  to the reinsurer under the reinsurance treaty.
 4529         (c) This subsection applies to cessions of directly written
 4530  risk or loss. This subsection does not apply to contracts of
 4531  facultative reinsurance or to any ceding insurer with surplus as
 4532  to policyholders that exceeds $100 million as of the immediately
 4533  preceding December 31. Additionally, any ceding insurer
 4534  otherwise subject to this section with less than $500,000 in
 4535  direct premiums written in this state during the preceding
 4536  calendar year or with less than 1,000 policyholders at the end
 4537  of the preceding calendar year is exempt from the requirements
 4538  of this subsection. However, any ceding insurer otherwise
 4539  subject to this section with more than $250,000 in direct
 4540  premiums written in this state during the preceding calendar
 4541  quarter is not exempt from the requirements of this subsection.
 4542         (d) An authorized insurer not otherwise exempt from the
 4543  provisions of this subsection shall provide the information
 4544  required by this subsection with underlying and supporting
 4545  documentation upon written request of the department.
 4546         (e) The department may, upon a showing of good cause, waive
 4547  the requirements of this subsection.
 4548         (12) If the department finds that a reinsurance agreement
 4549  creates a substantial risk of insolvency to either insurer
 4550  entering into the reinsurance agreement, the department may by
 4551  order require a cancellation of the reinsurance agreement.
 4552         (13) No credit shall be allowed for reinsurance with regard
 4553  to which the reinsurance agreement does not create a meaningful
 4554  transfer of risk of loss to the reinsurer.
 4555         (14) The department may adopt rules implementing the
 4556  provisions of this section. Rules are authorized to protect the
 4557  interests of insureds, claimants, ceding insurers, assuming
 4558  insurers, and the public. These rules shall be in substantial
 4559  compliance with:
 4560         (a) The National Association of Insurance Commissioners
 4561  model regulations relating to credit for reinsurance.
 4562         (b) The National Association of Insurance Commissioners
 4563  Accounting Practices and Procedures Manual as of March 2002 and
 4564  subsequent amendments thereto if the methodology remains
 4565  substantially consistent.
 4566         (c) The National Association of Insurance Commissioners
 4567  model regulation for Credit for Reinsurance and Life and Health
 4568  Reinsurance Agreements.
 4569  
 4570  The department may further adopt rules to provide for transition
 4571  from existing requirements for the approval of reinsurers to the
 4572  accreditation of reinsurers pursuant to this section.
 4573         637.2051 Notice to comply with written requirements of
 4574  department; noncompliance.—
 4575         (1) If the department determines that the conditions set
 4576  forth in subsection (2) exist, the department shall issue an
 4577  order placing the title insurer in administrative supervision,
 4578  setting forth the reasons giving rise to the determination, and
 4579  specifying that the department is applying and effectuating the
 4580  provisions of this chapter. An order issued by the department
 4581  pursuant to this subsection entitles the insurer to request a
 4582  proceeding under ss. 120.569 and 120.57, and such a request
 4583  shall stay the action pending such proceeding.
 4584         (2) A title insurer shall be subject to administrative
 4585  supervision by the department if upon examination or at any
 4586  other time the department determines that:
 4587         (a) The insurer is in unsound condition;
 4588         (b) The insurer’s methods or practices render the
 4589  continuance of its business hazardous to the public or to its
 4590  insureds; or
 4591         (c) The insurer has exceeded its powers granted under its
 4592  certificate of authority and applicable law.
 4593         (3) Within 15 days after receipt of notice of the
 4594  department’s determination to proceed under this chapter, an
 4595  insurer shall submit to the department a plan to correct the
 4596  conditions set forth in the notice. For good cause shown, the
 4597  department may extend the 15-day time period for submission of
 4598  the plan. If the department and the insurer agree on a
 4599  corrective plan, a written agreement shall be entered into to
 4600  carry out the plan.
 4601         (4) If a title insurer fails to timely submit a plan, the
 4602  department may specify the requirements of a plan to address the
 4603  conditions giving rise to imposition of administrative
 4604  supervision under this chapter. In addition, failure of the
 4605  insurer to timely submit a plan is a violation of the provisions
 4606  of this chapter punishable in accordance with s. 637.2017.
 4607         (5) The plan shall address, but shall not be limited to,
 4608  each of the activities of the insurer’s business which are set
 4609  forth in s. 637.2053.
 4610         (6) Any insurer subject to administrative supervision is
 4611  expected to avail itself of all reasonably available
 4612  reinsurance. Reasonably available reinsurance shall include
 4613  unrealized reinsurance, which is defined as reinsurance
 4614  recoverable on known losses incurred and due under valid
 4615  reinsurance contracts that have not been identified in the
 4616  normal course of business and have not been reported in
 4617  financial statements filed with the department. Within 90 days
 4618  after being placed under administrative supervision, the insurer
 4619  shall certify to the Chief Financial Officer that the insurer
 4620  has engaged an independent third party to search for unrealized
 4621  reinsurance, and that the insurer has made all relevant books
 4622  and records available to the third party. The compensation to
 4623  the third party may be a percentage of unrealized reinsurance
 4624  identified and collected.
 4625         (7) If the department and the insurer are unable to agree
 4626  on the provisions of the plan, the department may require the
 4627  insurer to take such corrective action as may be reasonably
 4628  necessary to remove the causes and conditions giving rise to the
 4629  need for administrative supervision.
 4630         (8) The insurer shall have 60 days, or a longer period of
 4631  time as designated by the department but not to exceed 120 days,
 4632  after the date of the written agreement or the receipt of the
 4633  department’s plan within which to comply with the requirements
 4634  of the department. At the conclusion of the initial period of
 4635  supervision, the department may extend the supervision in
 4636  increments of 60 days or longer, not to exceed 120 days, if
 4637  conditions justifying supervision exist. Each extension of
 4638  supervision shall provide the insurer with a point of entry
 4639  pursuant to chapter 120.
 4640         (9) The initiation or pendency of administrative
 4641  proceedings arising from actions taken under this section shall
 4642  not preclude the department from initiating judicial proceedings
 4643  to place an insurer in conservation, rehabilitation, or
 4644  liquidation or initiating other delinquency proceedings however
 4645  designated under the laws of this state.
 4646         (10) If it is determined that the conditions giving rise to
 4647  administrative supervision have been remedied so that the
 4648  continuance of its business is no longer hazardous to the public
 4649  or to its insureds, the department shall release the insurer
 4650  from supervision.
 4651         (11) The department may adopt rules to define standards of
 4652  hazardous financial condition and corrective action
 4653  substantially similar to that indicated in the National
 4654  Association of Insurance Commissioners’ 1997 “Model Regulation
 4655  to Define Standards and Commissioner’s Authority for Companies
 4656  Deemed to be in Hazardous Financial Condition,” which are
 4657  necessary to implement the provisions of this part.
 4658         637.2053 Prohibited acts during period of supervision.—The
 4659  department may provide that the title insurer may not conduct
 4660  the following activities during the period of supervision,
 4661  without prior approval by the department:
 4662         (1) Dispose of, convey, or encumber any of its assets or
 4663  its business in force;
 4664         (2) Withdraw any of its bank accounts;
 4665         (3) Lend any of its funds;
 4666         (4) Invest any of its funds;
 4667         (5) Transfer any of its property;
 4668         (6) Incur any debt, obligation, or liability;
 4669         (7) Merge or consolidate with another company;
 4670         (8) Enter into any new reinsurance contract or treaty;
 4671         (9) Terminate, surrender, forfeit, convert, or lapse any
 4672  insurance policy, certificate, or contract of insurance, except
 4673  for nonpayment of premiums due;
 4674         (10) Release, pay, or refund premium deposits, accrued cash
 4675  or loan values, unearned premiums, or other reserves on any
 4676  insurance policy or certificate; or
 4677         (11) Make any material change in management.
 4678         637.2054 Review.—During the period of supervision, the
 4679  title insurer may contest an action taken or proposed to be
 4680  taken by the supervisor, specifying the manner wherein the
 4681  action complained of would not result in improving the condition
 4682  of the insurer. Such request shall not stay the action specified
 4683  pending reconsideration of the action by the department. Denial
 4684  of the insurer’s request upon reconsideration entitles the
 4685  insurer to request a proceeding under ss. 120.569 and 120.57.
 4686         637.2055 Administrative election of proceedings.—If the
 4687  department determines to act under authority of this chapter,
 4688  the sequence of its acts and proceedings shall be as set forth
 4689  herein. However, it is a purpose and substance of this chapter
 4690  to allow the department administrative discretion in the event
 4691  of insurer delinquencies and, in furtherance of that purpose,
 4692  the department may, in respect to insurer delinquencies or
 4693  suspected delinquencies, proceed and administer under the
 4694  provisions of this chapter or any other applicable law, or under
 4695  the provisions of this chapter in conjunction with other
 4696  applicable law, and it is so provided. Nothing contained in this
 4697  part or in any other provision of law shall preclude the
 4698  department from initiating judicial proceedings to place an
 4699  insurer in conservation, rehabilitation, or liquidation
 4700  proceedings or other delinquency proceedings however designated
 4701  under the laws of this state, regardless of whether the
 4702  department has previously initiated administrative supervision
 4703  proceedings under this part against the insurer. The entry of an
 4704  order of seizure, rehabilitation, or liquidation pursuant to
 4705  chapter 631 shall terminate all proceedings pending pursuant to
 4706  this part.
 4707         637.2056 Other laws; conflicts; meetings between the
 4708  department and the supervisor.—During the period of
 4709  administrative supervision, the department may meet with a
 4710  supervisor appointed under this chapter and with the attorney or
 4711  other representative of the supervisor and such meetings are
 4712  exempt from the provisions of s. 286.011.
 4713         637.2057 Administrative supervision; expenses.—
 4714         (1) During the period of supervision the department by
 4715  contract or otherwise may appoint a deputy supervisor to
 4716  supervise the title insurer.
 4717         (2) Each insurer which is subject to administrative
 4718  supervision by the department shall pay to the department the
 4719  expenses of its administrative supervision at the rates adopted
 4720  by the department. Expenses shall include actual travel
 4721  expenses, a reasonable living expense allowance, compensation of
 4722  the deputy supervisor or other person employed or appointed by
 4723  the department for purposes of the supervision, and necessary
 4724  attendant administrative costs of the department directly
 4725  related to the supervision. The travel expense and living
 4726  expense allowance shall be limited to those expenses necessarily
 4727  incurred on account of the administrative supervision and shall
 4728  be paid by the insurer together with compensation upon
 4729  presentation by the department to the insurer of a detailed
 4730  account of the charges and expenses after a detailed statement
 4731  has been filed by the deputy supervisor or other person employed
 4732  or appointed by the department and approved by the department.
 4733         (3) All moneys collected from insurers for the expenses of
 4734  administrative supervision shall be deposited into the Title
 4735  Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund, and the department is
 4736  authorized to make deposits from time to time into this fund
 4737  from moneys appropriated for the operation of the department.
 4738         (4) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 112.061, the
 4739  department is authorized to pay to the deputy supervisor or
 4740  person employed or appointed by the department for purposes of
 4741  the supervision out of such trust fund the actual travel
 4742  expenses, reasonable living expense allowance, and compensation
 4743  in accordance with the statement filed with the department by
 4744  the deputy supervisor or other person, as provided in subsection
 4745  (2), upon approval by the department.
 4746         (5) The department may in whole or in part defer payment of
 4747  expenses due from the insurer pursuant to this section upon a
 4748  showing that payment would adversely impact on the financial
 4749  condition of the insurer and jeopardize its rehabilitation. The
 4750  payment shall be made by the insurer when the condition is
 4751  removed and the payment would no longer jeopardize the insurer’s
 4752  financial condition.
 4753         Section 11. Section 627.777, Florida Statutes, is
 4754  transferred, renumbered as section 637.2058, Florida Statutes,
 4755  and amended to read:
 4756         637.2058 627.777 Approval of forms.—
 4757         (1) A title insurer may not issue or agree to issue any
 4758  form of title insurance commitment, title insurance policy,
 4759  other contract of title insurance, or related form until it is
 4760  filed with and approved by the department office. The department
 4761  office may not disapprove a title guarantee or policy form on
 4762  the ground that it has on it a blank form for an attorney’s
 4763  opinion on the title.
 4764         (2) If a form filed for approval is a form recommended by
 4765  the American Land Title Association at the time of the filing,
 4766  the department shall approve or disapprove the form within 180
 4767  days. If a form filed for approval is a form not recommended by
 4768  the American Land Title Association at the time of the filing,
 4769  the department shall approve or disapprove the form within 1
 4770  year.
 4771         (3) At the time of the approval of any form, the department
 4772  shall determine if a rate in effect at that time applies or if
 4773  the coverages require adoption of a rule pursuant to s.
 4774  637.2064.
 4775         (4) The department may revoke approval of any form upon 180
 4776  days’ notice.
 4777         (5) An insurer may not achieve any competitive advantage
 4778  over any other insurer or agent as to forms.
 4779         Section 12. Section 627.7773, Florida Statutes, is
 4780  transferred, renumbered as section 637.2059, Florida Statutes,
 4781  and amended to read:
 4782         637.2059 627.7773 Accounting and auditing of forms by title
 4783  insurers.—
 4784         (1) Each title insurer authorized to do business in this
 4785  state shall, at least once during each calendar year, require of
 4786  each of its title insurance agents or agencies accountings of
 4787  all outstanding forms in the agent’s or agency’s possession of
 4788  the types that are specified in s. 637.2058 627.777.
 4789         (2) If the department office has reason to believe that an
 4790  audit of outstanding forms should be required of any title
 4791  insurer as to a title insurance agent or agency, the department
 4792  office may require the title insurer to make a special audit of
 4793  the forms. The title insurer shall complete the audit not later
 4794  than 60 days after the request is received from the department
 4795  office, and shall report the results of the special audit to the
 4796  department office no later than 90 days after the request is
 4797  received.
 4798         Section 13. Section 627.7776, Florida Statutes, is
 4799  transferred, renumbered as section 637.2061, Florida Statutes,
 4800  and subsection (1) of that section is amended to read:
 4801         637.2061 627.7776 Furnishing of supplies; civil liability.—
 4802         (1) A title insurer may not furnish to any person any blank
 4803  forms, applications, stationery, or other supplies to be used in
 4804  soliciting, negotiating, or effecting contracts of title
 4805  insurance on its behalf until that person has received from the
 4806  insurer a contract to act as a title insurance agent or agency
 4807  and has been licensed by the department, if required by s.
 4808  637.3006 626.8417.
 4809         Section 14. Section 627.780, Florida Statutes, is
 4810  transferred, renumbered as section 637.2063, Florida Statutes,
 4811  and subsection (1) of that section is amended to read:
 4812         637.2063 627.780 Illegal dealings in premium.—
 4813         (1) A person may not knowingly quote, charge, accept,
 4814  collect, or receive a premium for title insurance other than the
 4815  premium adopted by the department commission, except as provided
 4816  in s. 637.1033(7)(b). 626.9541(1)(h)3.b.
 4817         Section 15. Section 637.20635, Florida Statutes, is created
 4818  to read:
 4819         637.20635 Rebating; when allowed.—
 4820         (1) A title insurer, title insurance agency, or title
 4821  insurance agent may not rebate any portion of the premium except
 4822  as follows:
 4823         (a) A rebate shall be in accordance with a uniform
 4824  percentage of the premium established by the insurer issuing the
 4825  policy to which the rebate applies. Deviations from the approved
 4826  rebate may not be permitted for any reason, including, but not
 4827  limited to, the amount of the coverage, the insured, any
 4828  geographic limitation within this state, or the type of policy.
 4829         (b) Any rebates shall be uniformly applied to all policies
 4830  of whatever kind issued by or on behalf of the insurer. Each
 4831  person responsible for paying the premium must receive the same
 4832  rebate regardless of whether the policy is purchased from a
 4833  title insurance agent or agency, directly from the title
 4834  insurer, or from an affiliated company. For purposes of this
 4835  paragraph, the term “affiliated company” means any company of an
 4836  affiliated group of corporations as defined in s.
 4837  637.2039(5)(a)(2).
 4838         (c) The age, sex, place of residence, nationality, ethnic
 4839  origin, marital status, or occupation of the insured may not be
 4840  used in determining the amount of the rebate or whether a rebate
 4841  is available.
 4842         (d) The insurer shall file a copy of the uniform rebate
 4843  percentage and its effective date quarterly with the department.
 4844  The insurer may not establish a rebate schedule that has the
 4845  effect of impairing the financial solvency of the insurer or the
 4846  title insurance agent or agency. The insurer must obtain
 4847  department approval of the rebates consistent with s. 637.2064
 4848  prior to their implementation.
 4849         (2) A rebate may not be:
 4850         (a) Withheld or limited in amount based on factors that are
 4851  unfairly discriminatory.
 4852         (b) Given if it is inconsistent with the filed and approved
 4853  uniform rebate percentage.
 4854         (c) Granted or refused based upon the purchase or failure
 4855  of the insured to purchase additional services.
 4856         Section 16. Section 627.782, Florida Statutes, is
 4857  transferred, renumbered as section 637.2064, Florida Statutes,
 4858  and amended to read:
 4859         637.2064 627.782 Adoption of rates.—
 4860         (1) Subject to the rating provisions of this chapter code,
 4861  the department commission must adopt a rule specifying the
 4862  premium to be charged in this state by title insurers for the
 4863  respective types of title insurance contracts and, for policies
 4864  issued through agents or agencies, the percentage of such
 4865  premium required to be retained by the title insurer which shall
 4866  not be less than 30 percent. However, in a transaction subject
 4867  to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974, 12 U.S.C.
 4868  ss. 2601 et seq., as amended, no portion of the premium
 4869  attributable to providing a primary title service shall be paid
 4870  to or retained by any person who does not actually perform or is
 4871  not liable for the performance of such service.
 4872         (2) In adopting premium rates, the department commission
 4873  must give due consideration to the following:
 4874         (a) The title insurers’ loss experience and prospective
 4875  loss experience under closing protection letters and policy
 4876  liabilities.
 4877         (b) A reasonable margin for underwriting profit and
 4878  contingencies, including contingent liability under s. 637.2075
 4879  627.7865, sufficient to allow title insurers, agents, and
 4880  agencies to earn a rate of return on their capital that will
 4881  attract and retain adequate capital investment in the title
 4882  insurance business and maintain an efficient title insurance
 4883  delivery system.
 4884         (c) Past expenses and prospective expenses for
 4885  administration and handling of risks.
 4886         (d) Liability for defalcation.
 4887         (e) Other relevant factors.
 4888         (3) Rates may be grouped by classification or schedule and
 4889  may differ as to class of risk assumed.
 4890         (4) Rates may not be excessive, inadequate, or unfairly
 4891  discriminatory.
 4892         (5) The premium applies to each $100 of insurance issued to
 4893  an insured.
 4894         (6) The premium rates apply throughout this state.
 4895         (7) The department commission shall, in accordance with the
 4896  standards provided in subsection (2), review the premium as
 4897  needed, but not less frequently than once every 3 years, and
 4898  shall, based upon the review required by this subsection, revise
 4899  the premium if the results of the review so warrant.
 4900         (8) The department commission may, by rule, require
 4901  licensees under this part to annually submit statistical
 4902  information, including loss and expense data, as the department
 4903  determines to be necessary to analyze premium rates, retention
 4904  rates, and the condition of the title insurance industry.
 4905         Section 17. Section 627.783, Florida Statutes, is
 4906  transferred, renumbered as section 637.2065, Florida Statutes,
 4907  and amended to read:
 4908         637.2065 627.783 Rate deviation.—
 4909         (1) A title insurer may petition the department office for
 4910  an order authorizing a specific deviation from the adopted
 4911  premium. The petition shall be in writing and sworn to and shall
 4912  set forth allegations of fact upon which the petitioner will
 4913  rely, including the petitioner’s reasons for requesting the
 4914  deviation. Any authorized title insurer, agent, or agency may
 4915  join in the petition for like authority to deviate or may file a
 4916  separate petition praying for like authority or opposing the
 4917  deviation. The department office shall rule on all such
 4918  petitions simultaneously.
 4919         (2) If, in the judgment of the department office, the
 4920  requested deviation is not justified, the department office may
 4921  enter an order denying the petition. An order granting a
 4922  petition constitutes an amendment to the adopted premium as to
 4923  the petitioners named in the order, and is subject to s.
 4924  637.2064 627.782.
 4925         Section 18. Section 627.7831, Florida Statutes, is
 4926  transferred and renumbered as section 637.2066, Florida
 4927  Statutes.
 4928         Section 19. Section 627.784, Florida Statutes, is
 4929  transferred and renumbered as section 637.2067, Florida
 4930  Statutes.
 4931         Section 20. Section 627.7841, Florida Statutes, is
 4932  transferred and renumbered as section 637.2068, Florida
 4933  Statutes.
 4934         Section 21. Section 627.7842, Florida Statutes, is
 4935  transferred and renumbered as section 637.2069, Florida
 4936  Statutes.
 4937         Section 22. Section 627.7843, Florida Statutes, is
 4938  transferred and renumbered as section 637.2071, Florida
 4939  Statutes.
 4940         Section 23. Section 627.7845, Florida Statutes, is
 4941  transferred, renumbered as section 637.2072, Florida Statutes,
 4942  and amended to read:
 4943         637.2072 627.7845 Determination of insurability required;
 4944  preservation of evidence of title search and examination.—
 4945         (1) A title insurer may not issue a title insurance
 4946  commitment, endorsement, or title insurance policy until the
 4947  title insurer has caused to be made a determination of
 4948  insurability based upon the evaluation of a reasonable title
 4949  search or a search of the records of a Uniform Commercial Code
 4950  filing office, as applicable, has examined such other
 4951  information as may be necessary, and has caused to be made a
 4952  determination of insurability of title or the existence,
 4953  attachments, perfection, and priority of a Uniform Commercial
 4954  Code security interest, including endorsement coverages, in
 4955  accordance with sound underwriting practices.
 4956         (2) The title insurer shall cause the evidence of the
 4957  determination of insurability and the reasonable title search or
 4958  search of the records of a Uniform Commercial Code filing office
 4959  to be preserved and retained in its files or in the files of its
 4960  title insurance agent or agency for a period of not less than 7
 4961  years after the title insurance commitment, title insurance
 4962  policy, or guarantee of title was issued. The title insurer or
 4963  agent or agency must produce the evidence required to be
 4964  maintained by this subsection at its offices upon the demand of
 4965  the department office. Instead of retaining the original
 4966  evidence, the title insurer or the title insurance agent or
 4967  agency may, in the regular course of business, establish a
 4968  system under which all or part of the evidence is recorded,
 4969  copied, or reproduced by any photographic, photostatic,
 4970  microfilm, microcard, miniature photographic, or other process
 4971  which accurately reproduces or forms a durable medium for
 4972  reproducing the original.
 4973         (3) The title insurer or its agent or agency must maintain
 4974  a record of the actual premium charged for issuance of the
 4975  policy and any endorsements in its files for a period of not
 4976  less than 7 years. The title insurer, agent, or agency must
 4977  produce the record at its office upon demand of the department
 4978  office.
 4979         (4) This section does not apply to an insurer assuming no
 4980  primary liability in a contract of reinsurance or to an insurer
 4981  acting as a coinsurer if any other coinsuring insurer has
 4982  complied with this section.
 4983         Section 24. Section 627.785, Florida Statutes, is
 4984  transferred and renumbered as section 637.2073, Florida
 4985  Statutes.
 4986         Section 25. Section 627.786, Florida Statutes, is
 4987  transferred, renumbered as section 637.2074, Florida Statutes,
 4988  and subsection (3) of that section is amended to read:
 4989         637.2074 627.786 Transaction of title insurance and any
 4990  other kind of insurance prohibited.—
 4991         (3) Subsection (1) does not preclude a title insurer from
 4992  providing instruments to any prospective insured, in the form
 4993  and content approved by the department office, under which the
 4994  title insurer assumes liability for loss due to the fraud of,
 4995  dishonesty of, misappropriation of funds by, or failure to
 4996  comply with written closing instructions by, its contract
 4997  agents, agencies, or approved attorneys in connection with a
 4998  real property transaction for which the title insurer is to
 4999  issue a title insurance policy.
 5000         Section 26. Section 627.7865, Florida Statutes, is
 5001  transferred, renumbered as section 637.2075, Florida Statutes,
 5002  and amended to read:
 5003         637.2075 627.7865 Title insurer assessments.—As a condition
 5004  of doing business in this state, each title insurer shall be
 5005  liable for an assessment to pay all unpaid title insurance
 5006  claims on real property in this state for any title insurer
 5007  which is liquidated with unpaid outstanding claims. The
 5008  department office shall assess all title insurers on a pro rata
 5009  basis determined by their writings in this state for amounts
 5010  necessary to pay the claims. A title insurer is not required to
 5011  pay an amount in excess of one-tenth of its surplus as to
 5012  policyholders.
 5013         Section 27. Section 627.791, Florida Statutes, is
 5014  transferred, renumbered as section 637.2076, Florida Statutes,
 5015  and amended to read:
 5016         637.2076 627.791 Penalties against title insurers for
 5017  violations by persons or entities not licensed.—A title insurer
 5018  is subject to the penalties in ss. 637.2017(2) and 637.2021
 5019  624.418(2) and 624.4211 for any violation of a lawful order or
 5020  rule of the department office or commission, or for any
 5021  violation of this chapter code, committed by:
 5022         (1) A person, firm, association, corporation, cooperative,
 5023  joint-stock company, or other legal entity not licensed under
 5024  this part when issuing and countersigning commitments or
 5025  policies of title insurance on behalf of the title insurer.
 5026         (2) An attorney when issuing and countersigning commitments
 5027  or policies of title insurance on behalf of the title insurer.
 5028         Section 28. Section 627.792, Florida Statutes, is
 5029  transferred, renumbered as section 637.2077, Florida Statutes,
 5030  and amended to read:
 5031         637.2077 627.792 Liability of title insurers for
 5032  defalcation by title insurance agents or agencies.—A title
 5033  insurer is liable for the defalcation, conversion, or
 5034  misappropriation by a licensed title insurance agent or agency
 5035  of funds held in trust by the agent or agency pursuant to s.
 5036  637.3029 626.8473. If the agent or agency is an agent or agency
 5037  for two or more title insurers, any liability shall be borne by
 5038  the title insurer upon which a title insurance commitment or
 5039  policy was issued prior to the illegal act. If no commitment or
 5040  policy was issued, each title insurer represented by the agent
 5041  or agency at the time of the illegal act shares in the liability
 5042  in the same proportion that the premium remitted to it by the
 5043  agent or agency during the 1-year period before the illegal act
 5044  bears to the total premium remitted to all title insurers by the
 5045  agent or agency during the same time period.
 5046         Section 29. Section 627.793, Florida Statutes, is
 5047  transferred, renumbered as section 637.2078, Florida Statutes,
 5048  and amended to read:
 5049         637.2078 627.793 Rulemaking authority.—The department
 5050  commission may adopt rules implementing the provisions of this
 5051  chapter part.
 5052         Section 30. Section 627.796, Florida Statutes, is
 5053  transferred and renumbered as section 637.2079, Florida
 5054  Statutes.
 5055         Section 31. Section 627.797, Florida Statutes, is
 5056  transferred, renumbered as section 637.2081, Florida Statutes,
 5057  and subsection (1) of that section is amended to read:
 5058         637.2081 627.797 Exempt title insurance agent list.—
 5059         (1) Every insurer shall file with the department a list
 5060  containing the name and address of each appointed agent who is
 5061  exempt from licensure under s. 637.3006(4) 626.8417(4) and who
 5062  issues or countersigns binders, commitments, title insurance
 5063  policies, or guarantees of title.
 5064         Section 32. Section 627.798, Florida Statutes, is
 5065  transferred, renumbered as section 637.2082, Florida Statutes,
 5066  and amended to read:
 5067         637.2082 627.798 Rulemaking authority.—The department may
 5068  commission shall by rule adopt rules implementing the provisions
 5069  of this part a form to be used to provide notice to a purchaser
 5070  mortgagor that the purchaser-mortgagor is not protected by the
 5071  title policy of the mortgagee.
 5072         Section 33. Sections 637.2083, 637.2084, 637.2085,
 5073  637.2086, 637.2087, 637.2088, 637.2089, and 637.2091, Florida
 5074  Statutes, are created to read:
 5075         637.2083 Assets not allowed.—In addition to assets
 5076  impliedly excluded by the provisions of s. 625.012, the
 5077  following expressly shall not be allowed as assets in any
 5078  determination of the financial condition of a title insurer:
 5079         (1) Trade names, patents, agreements not to compete, and
 5080  other like intangible assets.
 5081         (2) Advances (other than policy loans) to officers and
 5082  directors, whether secured or not, and advances to employees,
 5083  agents, and other persons on personal security only.
 5084         (3) Stock of such insurer, owned by it, or any material
 5085  equity therein or loans secured thereby, or any material
 5086  proportionate interest in such stock acquired or held through
 5087  the ownership by such insurer of an interest in another firm,
 5088  corporation, or business unit.
 5089         (4) Furniture, fixtures, furnishings, safes, vehicles,
 5090  libraries, stationery, literature, and supplies, other than data
 5091  processing and accounting systems authorized under s.
 5092  625.012(11), except in the case of title insurers such materials
 5093  and plants as the insurer is expressly authorized to invest in
 5094  under s. 637.20073 and except, in the case of any insurer, such
 5095  personal property as the insurer is permitted to hold pursuant
 5096  to part II of this chapter, or which is acquired through
 5097  foreclosure of chattel mortgages acquired pursuant to s.
 5098  625.329, or which is reasonably necessary for the maintenance
 5099  and operation of real estate lawfully acquired and held by the
 5100  insurer other than real estate used by it for home office,
 5101  branch office, and similar purposes.
 5102         (5) The amount, if any, by which the aggregate book value
 5103  of investments as carried in the ledger assets of the insurer
 5104  exceeds the aggregate value thereof as determined under this
 5105  code.
 5106         (6) Bonds, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness which
 5107  are secured by mortgages or deeds of trust which are in default.
 5108         (7) Prepaid and deferred expenses.
 5109         637.2084 Power to contract; purchase of title insurance by
 5110  or for minor.—
 5111         (1) Any person of competent legal capacity may contract for
 5112  title insurance.
 5113         (2) Any minor of the age of 15 years or more, as determined
 5114  by the nearest birthday, may, notwithstanding his or her
 5115  minority, contract for title insurance on his or her own
 5116  property.
 5117         (3) If any minor mentioned in subsection (2) is possessed
 5118  of an estate that is being administered by a guardian or
 5119  curator, such contract shall not be binding upon such estate as
 5120  to payment of premiums, except as and when consented to by the
 5121  guardian or curator and approved by the probate court of the
 5122  county in which the administration of the estate is pending; and
 5123  such consent and approval shall be required as to each premium
 5124  payment.
 5125         637.2085 Charter, bylaw provisions.—A title insurance
 5126  policy may not contain any provision purporting to make any
 5127  portion of the charter, bylaws, or other constituent document of
 5128  the title insurer a part of the contract unless such portion is
 5129  set forth in full in the policy. Any policy provision in
 5130  violation of this section is invalid.
 5131         637.2086 Execution of policies.—
 5132         (1) Every title insurance policy shall be executed in the
 5133  name of and on behalf of the insurer by its officer, attorney in
 5134  fact, employee, or representative duly authorized by the title
 5135  insurer.
 5136         (2) A facsimile signature of any such executing individual
 5137  may be used in lieu of an original signature.
 5138         (3) A title insurance contract that is otherwise valid may
 5139  not be rendered invalid by reason of the apparent execution
 5140  thereof on behalf of the title insurer by the imprinted
 5141  facsimile signature of an individual not authorized so to
 5142  execute as of the date of the policy.
 5143         637.2087 Construction of policies.—
 5144         (1) Every title insurance contract shall be construed
 5145  according to the entirety of its terms and conditions as set
 5146  forth in the policy and as amplified, extended, or modified by
 5147  any application therefor or any rider or endorsement thereto.
 5148         (2) If a title insurer or licensee advertises title
 5149  insurance policy in a language other than English, the
 5150  advertisements shall not be construed to modify or change the
 5151  insurance policy written in English. The advertisement must
 5152  disclose that the policy written in English controls in the
 5153  event of a dispute and that statements contained in the
 5154  advertisement do not necessarily, as a result of possible
 5155  linguistic differences, reflect the contents of the policy
 5156  written in English. Nothing in this subsection shall affect the
 5157  provisions of s. 637.1033 relating to misrepresentations and
 5158  false advertising of insurance policies.
 5159         637.2088 Payment of judgment by title insurer; penalty for
 5160  failure.—
 5161         (1) Every judgment or decree for the recovery of money
 5162  entered in any of the courts of this state against any
 5163  authorized title insurer shall be fully satisfied within 60 days
 5164  after the entry thereof or, in the case of an appeal from such
 5165  judgment or decree, within 60 days after the affirmance of the
 5166  same by the appellate court.
 5167         (2) If the judgment or decree is not satisfied as required
 5168  under subsection (1), and proof of such failure to satisfy is
 5169  made by filing with the department a certified transcript of the
 5170  docket of the judgment or decree together with a certificate by
 5171  the clerk of the court wherein the judgment or decree was
 5172  entered that the judgment or decree remains unsatisfied, in
 5173  whole or in part, after the time aforesaid, the department shall
 5174  forthwith revoke the title insurer’s certificate of authority.
 5175  The department shall not issue to such insurer any new
 5176  certificate of authority until the judgment or decree is wholly
 5177  paid and satisfied and proof thereof filed with the department
 5178  under the official certificate of the clerk of the court wherein
 5179  the judgment was recovered, showing that the same is satisfied
 5180  of record, and until the expenses and fees incurred in the case
 5181  are also paid by the insurer.
 5182         637.2089 Attorney’s fee.—
 5183         (1) Upon the rendition of a judgment or decree by any of
 5184  the courts of this state against a title insurer and in favor of
 5185  any named or omnibus insured or the named beneficiary under a
 5186  policy or contract executed by the title insurer, the trial
 5187  court or, in the event of an appeal in which the insured or
 5188  beneficiary prevails, the appellate court shall adjudge or
 5189  decree against the title insurer and in favor of the insured or
 5190  beneficiary a reasonable sum as fees or compensation for the
 5191  insured’s or beneficiary’s attorney prosecuting the suit in
 5192  which the recovery is had.
 5193         (2) When so awarded, compensation or fees of the attorney
 5194  shall be included in the judgment or decree rendered in the
 5195  case.
 5196         637.2091 Title insurance business exclusive.—
 5197         (1) A domestic title insurer may not engage directly or
 5198  indirectly in any business other than the title insurance
 5199  business and business activities reasonably and necessarily
 5200  incidental to such title insurance business.
 5201         (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a title insurer may
 5202  engage in business as an escrow agent, and any title insurer may
 5203  also engage in the business of making, acquiring, selling,
 5204  dealing in, and servicing of real estate mortgage loans and
 5205  loans incidental thereto.
 5206         (3) A business trust whose declaration of trust was filed
 5207  with the Secretary of State prior to January 1, 1959, and which,
 5208  at the time of the adoption of the Florida Insurance Code, held
 5209  a certificate of authority as a title insurer may qualify as an
 5210  insurer for lawyers’ professional liability insurance by
 5211  complying with the applicable provisions of the code.
 5212         Section 34. Part III of chapter 637, Florida Statutes,
 5213  consisting of sections 637.3001, 637.3002, 637.3003, 637.30041,
 5214  637.30042, 637.30043, 637.30044, 637.30045, 637.30046,
 5215  637.30047, 637.30048, 637.30049, 637.3005, 637.3006, 637.3007,
 5216  637.3008, 637.3009, 637.30093, 637.30094, 637.30095, 637.30096,
 5217  637.30097, 637.3011, 637.3012, 637.30125, 637.3013, 637.30133,
 5218  637.30135, 637.3014, 637.30142, 637.30143, 637.30144, 637.30145,
 5219  637.30146, 637.30147, 637.3015, 637.3016, 637.3017, 637.3018,
 5220  637.3019, 637.3021, 637.3022, 637.3023, 637.3024, 637.3025,
 5221  637.3026, 637.3027, 637.3028, 637.3029, and 637.30295, is
 5222  created and entitled “TITLE INSURANCE AGENT AND AGENCY LICENSING
 5223  AND ADMINISTRATION.”
 5224         Section 35. Section 626.8412, Florida Statutes, is
 5225  transferred, renumbered as section 637.3001, Florida Statutes,
 5226  and amended to read:
 5227         637.3001 626.8412 License and appointments required.—
 5228         (1) Except as otherwise provided in this part:
 5229         (a) Title insurance business may be conducted sold only by
 5230  a title insurer or a licensed title insurance agent employed by
 5231  a licensed and appointed title insurance agency or employed by a
 5232  title insurer.
 5233         (b) A title insurance agent may not provide sell a title
 5234  insurance policy for issued by an insurer for which the agent
 5235  and agency does not hold a current appointment.
 5236         (2) Except as otherwise provided in this part, a person,
 5237  other than a title insurance agency or an employee of a title
 5238  insurance agency, may not perform any of the functions of a
 5239  title insurance agency without a title insurance agency license.
 5240         (3) Each title insurance agency shall annually remit the
 5241  administrative surcharge required in s. 637.2031(14)(e) prior to
 5242  January 30 of each year.
 5243         (a) Noncompliance with the payment of the fees as required
 5244  in s. 637.2031(14)(e) shall result in the immediate suspension
 5245  of the title insurance agency’s appointments to represent an
 5246  insurer.
 5247         (b) Absent other cause for suspension, the appointments of
 5248  a title insurance agency may be reinstated upon receipt of the
 5249  amount due for the administrative surcharge plus any penalties
 5250  imposed.
 5251         (c) A penalty may be imposed to reinstate the appointments
 5252  of an agency.
 5253         Section 36. Section 626.8413, Florida Statutes, is
 5254  transferred, renumbered as section 637.3002, Florida Statutes,
 5255  and amended to read:
 5256         637.3002 626.8413 Title insurance agents; certain names
 5257  prohibited.—After October 1, 1985, A title insurance agent as
 5258  defined in s. 626.841 shall not adopt a name which contains the
 5259  words “title insurance,” “title guaranty,” or “title guarantee,”
 5260  unless such words are followed by the word “agent” or “agency”
 5261  in the same size and type as the words preceding them. This
 5262  section does not apply to a title insurer acting as an agent for
 5263  another title insurer.
 5264         Section 37. Sections 637.3003, 637.30041, 637.30042,
 5265  637.30043, 637.30044, 637.30045, 637.30046, 637.30047,
 5266  637.30048, and 637.30049, Florida Statutes, are created to read
 5267  	637.3003 Firm, corporate, and business names; officers;
 5268  associates; notice of changes.—
 5269         (1) Any licensed title agent doing business under a firm or
 5270  corporate name or under any business name other than his or her
 5271  own individual name shall, within 30 days after the initial
 5272  transaction of insurance under such business name, file with the
 5273  department, on forms adopted and furnished by the department, a
 5274  written statement of the firm, corporate, or business name being
 5275  used, the address of any office or offices or places of business
 5276  making use of such name, and the name and social security number
 5277  of each officer and director of the corporation and of each
 5278  individual associated in such firm or corporation as to the
 5279  insurance transactions of such firm or corporation or in the use
 5280  of such business name.
 5281         (2) In the event of any change of such name, a change of
 5282  any of the officers or directors, a change of any of such
 5283  addresses, or a change in the personnel associated with such
 5284  firm or corporation, written notice of such change shall be
 5285  filed with the department within 30 days by or on behalf of
 5286  those licensees terminating any such firm, corporation, or
 5287  business name or continuing to operate under such name.
 5288         (3) Within 30 days after a change, any licensed title
 5289  insurance agency shall notify the department of any change in
 5290  the information contained in the application filed pursuant to
 5291  s. 637.3007.
 5292         637.30041 Insurance agency names; disapproval.—The
 5293  department may disapprove the use of any true or fictitious
 5294  name, other than the bona fide natural name of an individual, by
 5295  any title insurance agency on any of the following grounds:
 5296         (1) The name interferes with or is too similar to a name
 5297  already filed and in use by another title insurance agency or
 5298  title insurer.
 5299         (2) The use of the name may mislead the public in any
 5300  respect.
 5301         (3) The name states or implies that the title insurance
 5302  agency is an insurer, motor club, hospital service plan, state
 5303  or federal agency, charitable organization, or entity that
 5304  primarily provides advice and counsel rather than sells or
 5305  solicits title insurance, or is entitled to engage in title
 5306  insurance activities not permitted under licenses held or
 5307  applied for. This subsection does not prohibit the use of the
 5308  word “state” or “states” in the name of the agency. The use of
 5309  the word “state” or “states” in the name of an agency does not
 5310  imply that the agency is a state agency.
 5311         637.30042 Examination requirement; exemptions.—The
 5312  department may not issue any license as a title insurance agent
 5313  to any individual who has not qualified for, taken, and passed
 5314  to the satisfaction of the department a written examination of
 5315  the scope prescribed in s. 637.30044.
 5316         637.30043 Eligibility; application for examination.—
 5317         (1) A person may not be permitted to take an examination
 5318  for license until his or her application for examination or
 5319  application for the license has been approved and the required
 5320  fees have been received by the department or a person designated
 5321  by the department to administer the examination.
 5322         (2) A person required to take an examination for a license
 5323  may be permitted to take an examination prior to submitting an
 5324  application for licensure pursuant to s. 637.3006 by submitting
 5325  an application for examination through the department’s Internet
 5326  website. In the application, the applicant shall set forth:
 5327         (a) His or her full name, age, social security number,
 5328  residence address, business address, and mailing address.
 5329         (b) The type of license that the applicant intends to apply
 5330  for.
 5331         (c) The name of any required pre-licensing course he or she
 5332  has completed or is in the process of completing.
 5333         (d) The method by which the applicant intends to qualify
 5334  for the type of license if other than by completing a pre
 5335  licensing course.
 5336         (e) The applicant’s gender.
 5337         (f) The applicant’s native language.
 5338         (g) The highest level of education achieved by the
 5339  applicant.
 5340         (h) The applicant’s race or ethnicity. However, the
 5341  application must contain a statement that an applicant is not
 5342  required to disclose his or her race or ethnicity, gender, or
 5343  native language, that he or she will not be penalized for not
 5344  making such disclosure, and that the department will use this
 5345  information exclusively for research and statistical purposes
 5346  and to improve the quality and fairness of the examinations.
 5347         (3) Each application shall be accompanied by payment of the
 5348  applicable examination fee.
 5349         637.30044 Scope of examination.—
 5350         (1) Each examination for a license as a title insurance
 5351  agent, shall be of such scope as is deemed by the department to
 5352  be reasonably necessary to test the applicant’s ability and
 5353  competence and knowledge of title insurance and real property
 5354  transactions of the duties and responsibilities of such a
 5355  licensee, and of the pertinent provisions of the laws of this
 5356  state.
 5357         (2) Examinations must cover title insurance, abstracting,
 5358  title searches, examination of title, closing procedures, and
 5359  escrow handling.
 5360         (3) This section applies to any person who submits an
 5361  application for license and to any person who submits an
 5362  application for examination prior to filing an application for
 5363  license.
 5364         637.30045 Time and place of examination; notice.—
 5365         (1) The department or a person designated by the department
 5366  shall mail written notice of the time and place of the
 5367  examination to each applicant for examination and each applicant
 5368  for license required to take an examination who is eligible to
 5369  take the examination as of the examination date. The notice
 5370  shall be mailed, postage prepaid, and addressed to the applicant
 5371  at his or her address shown on the application for license or at
 5372  such other address as requested by the applicant in writing
 5373  filed with the department prior to the mailing of the notice.
 5374  Notice shall be deemed given when mailed.
 5375         (2) The examination shall be held in an adequate and
 5376  designated examination center in this state.
 5377         (3) The department shall make an examination available to
 5378  the applicant, to be taken as soon as reasonably possible after
 5379  the applicant is eligible to take the examination. Any
 5380  examination required under this part shall be available in this
 5381  state at a designated examination center.
 5382         637.30046 Conduct of examination.—
 5383         (1) The applicant for license or the applicant for
 5384  examination shall appear in person and personally take the
 5385  examination for license at the time and place specified by the
 5386  department or by a person designated by the department.
 5387         (2) The examination shall be conducted by an employee of
 5388  the department or a person designated by the department for that
 5389  purpose.
 5390         (3) The questions propounded shall be as prepared by the
 5391  department, or by a person designated by the department for that
 5392  purpose, consistent with the applicable provisions of this code.
 5393         (4) All examinations shall be given and graded in a fair
 5394  and impartial manner and without unfair discrimination in favor
 5395  of or against any particular applicant.
 5396         637.30047 Printing of examinations or related materials to
 5397  preserve examination security.—A contract let for the
 5398  development, administration, or grading of examinations or
 5399  related materials by the department pursuant to the agent,
 5400  customer representative, or adjuster licensing and examination
 5401  provisions of this code may include the printing or furnishing
 5402  of such examinations or related materials in order to preserve
 5403  security. Any such contract shall be let as a contract for a
 5404  contractual service pursuant to s. 287.057.
 5405         637.30048 Examination fee; determination, refund.—
 5406         (1) Prior to being permitted to take an examination, each
 5407  applicant who is subject to examination shall pay an examination
 5408  fee to the department or a person designated by the department.
 5409  A separate and additional examination fee shall be payable for
 5410  each separate class of license applied for, notwithstanding that
 5411  all such examinations are taken on the same date and at the same
 5412  place.
 5413         (2) The fee for examination is not refundable.
 5414         637.30049 Reexamination.—
 5415         (1) Any applicant for license or applicant for examination
 5416  who has taken an examination and failed to make a passing grade,
 5417  or failed to appear for the examination or to take or complete
 5418  the examination at the time and place specified in the notice of
 5419  the department, may take additional examinations after filing
 5420  with the department an application for reexamination together
 5421  with applicable fees. The failure of an applicant to pass an
 5422  examination or the failure to appear for the examination or to
 5423  take or complete the examination does not preclude the applicant
 5424  from taking subsequent examinations.
 5425         (2) The department may require any individual whose license
 5426  as an agent has expired or has been suspended to pass an
 5427  examination prior to reinstating or relicensing the individual
 5428  as to any class of license. The examination fee shall be paid as
 5429  to each examination.
 5430         Section 38. Section 626.8414, Florida Statutes, is
 5431  transferred and renumbered as section 637.3005, Florida
 5432  Statutes.
 5433         Section 39. Section 626.8417, Florida Statutes, is
 5434  transferred, renumbered as section 637.3006, Florida Statutes,
 5435  and subsections (1) and (3) of that section are amended to read:
 5436         637.3006 626.8417 Title insurance agent licensure;
 5437  exemptions.—
 5438         (1) A person may not act as or hold himself or herself out
 5439  to be a title insurance agent as defined in s. 626.841 until a
 5440  valid title insurance agent’s license has been issued to that
 5441  person by the department.
 5442         (3) The department shall not grant or issue a license as
 5443  title agent to any individual found by it to be untrustworthy or
 5444  incompetent, who does not meet the qualifications for
 5445  examination specified in s. 637.3005 626.8414, or who does not
 5446  meet the following qualifications:
 5447         (a) Within the 4 years immediately preceding the date of
 5448  the application for license, the applicant must have completed a
 5449  40-hour classroom course in title insurance, 3 hours of which
 5450  shall be on the subject matter of ethics, as approved by the
 5451  department, or must have had at least 12 months of experience in
 5452  responsible title insurance duties, while working in the title
 5453  insurance business as a substantially full-time, bona fide
 5454  employee of a title agency, title agent, title insurer, or
 5455  attorney who conducts real estate closing transactions and
 5456  issues title insurance policies but who is exempt from licensure
 5457  pursuant to paragraph (4)(a). If an applicant’s qualifications
 5458  are based upon the periods of employment at responsible title
 5459  insurance duties, the applicant must submit, with the
 5460  application for license on a form prescribed by the department,
 5461  the affidavit of the applicant and of the employer setting forth
 5462  the period of such employment, that the employment was
 5463  substantially full time, and giving a brief abstract of the
 5464  nature of the duties performed by the applicant.
 5465         (b) The applicant must have passed an any examination for
 5466  licensure required under s. 626.221.
 5467         Section 40. Section 626.8418, Florida Statutes, is
 5468  transferred, renumbered as section 637.3007, Florida Statutes,
 5469  and subsection (1) of that section is amended to read:
 5470         637.3007 626.8418 Application for title insurance agency
 5471  license.—Prior to doing business in this state as a title
 5472  insurance agency, a title insurance agency must meet all of the
 5473  following requirements:
 5474         (1) The applicant must file with the department an
 5475  application for a license as a title insurance agency, on
 5476  printed forms furnished by the department, that includes all of
 5477  the following:
 5478         (a) The name of each majority owner, partner, officer, and
 5479  director of the agency.
 5480         (b) The residence address of each person required to be
 5481  listed under paragraph (a).
 5482         (c) The name of the agency and its principal business
 5483  address.
 5484         (d) The location of each title insurance agency office and
 5485  the name under which each title insurance agency office conducts
 5486  or will conduct business.
 5487         (e) The name of each title insurance agent to be in full
 5488  time charge of a title insurance an agency office and
 5489  specification of which title insurance agency office.
 5490         (f) Such additional information as the department requires
 5491  by rule to ascertain the trustworthiness and competence of
 5492  persons required to be listed on the application and to
 5493  ascertain that such persons meet the requirements of this
 5494  chapter code.
 5495         Section 41. Section 626.8419, Florida Statutes, is
 5496  transferred and renumbered as section 637.3008, Florida
 5497  Statutes.
 5498         Section 42. Section 626.842, Florida Statutes, is
 5499  transferred and renumbered as section 637.3009, Florida
 5500  Statutes.
 5501         Section 43. Sections 637.30093, 637.30094, 637.30095,
 5502  637.30096, and 637.30097, Florida Statutes, are created to read:
 5503         637.30093 Continuing education required; application;
 5504  exceptions; requirements; penalties.—
 5505         (1) The purpose of this section is to establish
 5506  requirements and standards for continuing education courses for
 5507  persons licensed to solicit or sell title insurance in this
 5508  state.
 5509         (2)(a) Each person subject to the provisions of this
 5510  section must complete a minimum of 10 hours of continuing
 5511  education courses every 2 years in title insurance courses
 5512  approved by this state. Each person subject to the provisions of
 5513  this section must complete, as part of his or her required
 5514  number of continuing education hours, 2 hours of continuing
 5515  education, approved by the department, every 2 years on the
 5516  subject matter of ethics, rules, or state and federal regulatory
 5517  compliance matters relating to title insurance and closing
 5518  services.
 5519         (b) Any person who holds a license as a title agent must
 5520  complete 10 hours of continuing education courses every 2 years.
 5521         (c) Except as provided in paragraph (d), compliance with
 5522  continuing education requirements is a condition precedent to
 5523  the issuance, continuation, reinstatement, or renewal of any
 5524  appointment subject to this chapter.
 5525         (d) A person teaching any approved course of instruction or
 5526  lecturing at any approved seminar and attending the entire
 5527  course or seminar shall qualify for the same number of classroom
 5528  hours as would be granted to a person taking and successfully
 5529  completing such course, seminar, or program. Credit shall be
 5530  limited to the number of hours actually taught unless a person
 5531  attends the entire course or seminar. Any person who is an
 5532  official of or employed by any governmental entity in this state
 5533  and serves as a professor, instructor, or in any other position
 5534  or office the duties and responsibilities of which are
 5535  determined by the department to require monitoring and review of
 5536  insurance laws or insurance regulations and practices shall be
 5537  exempt from this section.
 5538         (e) Excess classroom hours accumulated during any
 5539  compliance period may be carried forward to the next compliance
 5540  period.
 5541         (f) For good cause shown, the department may grant an
 5542  extension of time during which the requirements imposed by this
 5543  section may be completed, but such extension of time may not
 5544  exceed 1 year.
 5545         (3) The following courses may be completed in order to meet
 5546  the continuing education course requirements:
 5547         (a) In the case of title agents, completion of the
 5548  Certified Land Closer (CLC) professional designation program and
 5549  receipt of the designation: 24 hours.
 5550         (b) In the case of title agents, completion of the
 5551  Certified Land Searcher (CLS) professional designation program
 5552  and receipt of the designation: 24 hours.
 5553         (c) Any insurance-related course that is approved by the
 5554  department and taught by an accredited college or university per
 5555  credit hour granted: 12 hours.
 5556         (d) Any course, including courses relating to agency
 5557  management or errors and omissions, developed or sponsored by
 5558  any authorized insurer or recognized agents’ association or
 5559  insurance trade association or any independent study program of
 5560  instruction, subject to approval by the department, qualifies
 5561  for the equivalency of the number of classroom hours assigned to
 5562  such course by the department. However, unless otherwise
 5563  provided in this section, continuing education course hours may
 5564  not be credited toward meeting the requirements of this section
 5565  unless the course is provided by classroom instruction or
 5566  results in a monitored examination.
 5567         (e) A monitored examination is not required for:
 5568         1. An independent study program of instruction presented
 5569  through interactive, online technology that the department
 5570  determines has sufficient internal testing to validate the
 5571  student’s full comprehension of the materials presented; or
 5572         2. An independent study program of instruction presented on
 5573  paper or in printed material that imposes a final closed book
 5574  examination that meets the requirements of the department’s rule
 5575  for self-study courses. The examination may be taken without a
 5576  proctor provided the student presents to the provider a sworn
 5577  affidavit certifying that the student did not consult any
 5578  written materials or receive outside assistance of any kind or
 5579  from any person, directly or indirectly, while taking the
 5580  examination. If the student is an employee of an agency or
 5581  corporate entity, the student’s supervisor or a manager or owner
 5582  of the agency or corporate entity must also sign the sworn
 5583  affidavit. If the student is self-employed, a sole proprietor,
 5584  or a partner, or if the examination is administered online, the
 5585  sworn affidavit must also be signed by a disinterested third
 5586  party. The sworn affidavit must be received by the approved
 5587  provider prior to reporting continuing education credits to the
 5588  department.
 5589         (f) Each person or entity sponsoring a course for
 5590  continuing education credit shall furnish, within 30 days after
 5591  completion of the course, in a form satisfactory to the
 5592  department or its designee, a written and certified roster
 5593  showing the name and license number of all persons successfully
 5594  completing such course and requesting credit, accompanied by the
 5595  required fee.
 5596         (4) The department shall refuse to renew the appointment of
 5597  any agent who has not had his or her continuing education
 5598  requirements certified unless the agent has been granted an
 5599  extension by the department. The department may not issue a new
 5600  appointment of the same or similar type, with any insurer, to an
 5601  agent who was denied a renewal appointment for failure to
 5602  complete continuing education as required until the agent
 5603  completes his or her continuing education requirement.
 5604         (5) An 11-member continuing education advisory board is
 5605  created, to be appointed by the Chief Financial Officer.
 5606  Appointments shall be for terms of 4 years. The purpose of the
 5607  board is to advise the department in determining standards by
 5608  which courses may be evaluated and categorized as basic,
 5609  intermediate, or advanced. The board shall submit to the
 5610  department recommendations of changes needed in such criteria
 5611  not less frequently than every 2 years. The department shall
 5612  require all approved course providers to submit courses for
 5613  approval to the department using the criteria. All materials,
 5614  brochures, and advertisements related to the approved courses
 5615  must specify the level assigned to the course.
 5616         (6) The department may contract services relative to the
 5617  administration of the continuing education program to a private
 5618  entity. The contract shall be procured as a contract for a
 5619  contractual service pursuant to s. 287.057.
 5620         637.30094 Regulation of continuing education for licensees,
 5621  course providers, instructors, school officials, and monitor
 5622  groups.—
 5623         (1) Continuing education course providers, instructors,
 5624  school officials, and monitor groups must be approved by the
 5625  department before offering continuing education courses pursuant
 5626  to s. 637.30093.
 5627         (2) The department shall adopt rules establishing standards
 5628  for the approval, regulation, and operation of the continuing
 5629  education programs and for the discipline of licensees, course
 5630  providers, instructors, school officials, and monitor groups.
 5631  The standards must be designed to ensure that such course
 5632  providers, instructors, school officials, and monitor groups
 5633  have the knowledge, competence, and integrity to fulfill the
 5634  educational objectives of s. 637.30093.
 5635         (3) The department shall adopt rules establishing a process
 5636  by which compliance with the continuing education requirements
 5637  of s. 637.30093 can be determined, establishing a continuing
 5638  education compliance period for licensees, and specifying forms
 5639  necessary to implement such a process.
 5640         637.30095 Regulation of course providers, instructors,
 5641  school officials, and monitor groups involved in prelicensure
 5642  education for insurance agents and other licensees.—
 5643         (1) Any course provider, instructor, school official, or
 5644  monitor group must be approved by and registered with the
 5645  department before offering prelicensure education courses for
 5646  insurance agents and other licensees.
 5647         (2) The department shall adopt rules establishing standards
 5648  for the approval, registration, discipline, or removal from
 5649  registration of course providers, instructors, school officials,
 5650  and monitor groups. The standards must be designed to ensure
 5651  that such persons have the knowledge, competence, and integrity
 5652  to fulfill the educational objectives of the pre­licensure
 5653  requirements of this chapter and chapter 648 and to ensure that
 5654  insurance agents and licensees are competent to engage in the
 5655  activities authorized under the license.
 5656         (3) The department shall adopt rules to establish a process
 5657  for determining compliance with the prelicensure requirements of
 5658  this chapter and chapter 648. The department shall adopt rules
 5659  prescribing the forms necessary to administer the prelicensure
 5660  requirements.
 5661         637.30096 Examination results; denial, issuance of
 5662  license.—
 5663         (1) Within 30 days after the applicant has completed any
 5664  examination required under s. 637.30042, the department or its
 5665  designee shall provide a score report and, if the applicant has
 5666  received a passing grade, the department shall within such
 5667  period notify the applicant and issue and transmit the license
 5668  to which such examination related. If the applicant did not make
 5669  a passing grade on the examination for a particular license, the
 5670  department or its designee shall within such period provide
 5671  notice to the applicant to that effect and of the denial of the
 5672  license. For an applicant who has completed the examination and
 5673  received a passing grade prior to submitting the license
 5674  application, the department shall promptly issue the license
 5675  applied for as soon as the department approves the application.
 5676         (2) A passing grade on an examination is valid for a period
 5677  of 1 year. The department may not issue a license to an
 5678  applicant based upon an examination taken more than 1 year prior
 5679  to the date an application for a license is filed.
 5680         637.30097 Form and contents of licenses in general.—Each
 5681  license issued by the department shall be in such form as the
 5682  department may designate and must contain the licensee’s name,
 5683  the licensee’s personal identification number, the date of
 5684  issuance, and any other information the department deems
 5685  necessary to fully identify the licensee and the authority being
 5686  granted. The department may by rule require photographs of
 5687  applicants as a part of the licensing process.
 5688         Section 44. Section 626.84201, Florida Statutes, is
 5689  transferred, renumbered as section 637.3011, Florida Statutes,
 5690  and amended to read:
 5691         637.3011 626.84201 Nonresident title insurance agents.
 5692  Notwithstanding s. 637.3005(2) 626.8414(2), the department, upon
 5693  application and payment of the fees specified in s. 637.2031
 5694  624.501, may issue a license as a nonresident title insurance
 5695  agent to an individual not a resident of this state in the same
 5696  manner applicable to the licensure of nonresident general lines
 5697  agents under the provisions of s. 626.741, provided the
 5698  individual passes the examination for licensure required under
 5699  s. 637.30042 626.221. Nonresident title insurance agents
 5700  licensed pursuant to this section must complete the continuing
 5701  education requirements of s. 637.30093 626.2815 in the same
 5702  manner as resident title insurance agents. Sections 626.742 and
 5703  626.743 apply to nonresident title insurance agents.
 5704         Section 45. Section 626.8421, Florida Statutes, is
 5705  transferred, renumbered as section 637.3012, Florida Statutes,
 5706  and amended to read:
 5707         637.3012 626.8421 Number of appointments permitted or
 5708  required.—A title agent shall be required to have a separate
 5709  appointment as to each insurer by which he or she is appointed
 5710  as agent. As a part of each appointment there shall be a
 5711  certified statement or affidavit of an appropriate officer or
 5712  official of the appointing insurer stating that to the best of
 5713  the insurer’s knowledge and belief the applicant, or its
 5714  principals in the case of a corporation or other legal entity,
 5715  has met the requirements of s. 637.3006 626.8417.
 5716         Section 46. Section 637.30125, Florida Statutes, is created
 5717  to read:
 5718         637.30125 Agent in charge.—
 5719         (1) Each location of a title insurance agency or insurer at
 5720  which primary title services as defined in s. 637.1004 are
 5721  performed shall have a separate agent in charge. The failure to
 5722  designate an agent in charge on a form prescribed by the
 5723  department, within 10 working days after an agency’s inception
 5724  or a change of the agent in charge, is a violation of this
 5725  chapter, punishable as provided in s. 637.3018.
 5726         (2) The agent in charge shall accept and be responsible for
 5727  the overall operation and management of a title agency location.
 5728  The agent in charge’s responsibilities may include, but shall
 5729  not be limited to, hiring and supervising all individuals within
 5730  the location, whether the individuals deal with the public in
 5731  the solicitation or negotiation of title insurance contracts or
 5732  in the collection or accounting of moneys.
 5733         (3) An individual must be physically located on a full-time
 5734  basis in the same agency office in order to be the agent in
 5735  charge of that agency office, and an individual may be
 5736  designated as the agent in charge for only one licensed agency
 5737  at a single physical location.
 5738         (4) The department may suspend or revoke the license of the
 5739  owner, operator, and agent in charge if a title insurance agency
 5740  employs, contracts with, or uses the services of a person who
 5741  has had a license denied or whose license is currently suspended
 5742  or revoked. However, a person who has been denied a license for
 5743  failure to pass a required examination may be employed to
 5744  perform clerical or administrative functions for which licensure
 5745  is not required.
 5746         (5) An agency that has an attorney that is in charge of the
 5747  agency shall designate that attorney to be in charge of only one
 5748  location of a single licensed title agency.
 5749         (6) The department may adopt rules pursuant to ss.
 5750  120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement this section and interpret
 5751  the duties and responsibilities of the agent in charge or the
 5752  attorney in charge of a licensed title insurance agency.
 5753         Section 47. Section 626.8423, Florida Statutes, is
 5754  transferred and renumbered as section 637.3013, Florida
 5755  Statutes.
 5756         Section 48. Section 637.30133, Florida Statutes, is created
 5757  to read:
 5758         637.30133 Consumer protections.—To transact title
 5759  insurance, title insurance agents shall comply with consumer
 5760  protection laws, including the following, as applicable:
 5761         (1) Continuing education requirements for resident and
 5762  nonresident agents, as required in s. 637.30093.
 5763         (2) Fingerprinting requirements for resident and
 5764  nonresident agents, as required under s. 626.171 or s.
 5765  637.30135.
 5766         (3) Fingerprinting following a department investigation
 5767  under s. 637.1019.
 5768         (4) The submission of credit and character reports, as
 5769  required by s. 626.171 or s. 626.521.
 5770         (5) Qualifications for licensure as an agent in s. 626.731,
 5771  s. 626.741, s. 626.785, s. 626.831, s. 626.835, or s. 6378.2077.
 5772         (6) Examination requirements in s. 626.741, s. 626.835,
 5773  637.2077, or s. 637.30042.
 5774         (7) Required licensure or registration of insurance
 5775  agencies under s. 626.112.
 5776         (8) Requirements for licensure of resident and nonresident
 5777  agents in s. 626.112, s. 626.321, s. 626.731, s. 626.741, s.
 5778  626.785, s. 626.831, s. 626.835, s. 626.927, or s. 637.2077.
 5779         (9) Any other licensing requirement, restriction, or
 5780  prohibition designated a consumer protection by the Chief
 5781  Financial Officer, but not inconsistent with the requirements of
 5782  Subtitle C of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, 15 U.S.C.A. ss. 6751
 5783  et seq.
 5784         Section 49. Section 637.30135, Florida Statutes, is created
 5785  to read:
 5786         637.30135 Fingerprinting requirements.—If there is a change
 5787  in ownership or control of any entity licensed under this
 5788  chapter, or if a new partner, officer, or director is employed
 5789  or appointed, a set of fingerprints of the new owner, partner,
 5790  officer, or director must be filed with the department or office
 5791  within 30 days after the change. The acquisition of 10 percent
 5792  or more of the voting securities of a licensed entity is
 5793  considered a change of ownership or control. The fingerprints
 5794  must be taken by a law enforcement agency or other department
 5795  approved entity and be accompanied by the fingerprint processing
 5796  fee in s. 637.2031.
 5797         Section 50. Section 626.8427, Florida Statutes, is
 5798  transferred and renumbered as section 637.3014, Florida
 5799  Statutes.
 5800         Section 51. Sections 637.30142, 637.30143, 637.30144,
 5801  637.30145, 637.30146, and 637.30147, Florida Statutes, are
 5802  created to read:
 5803         637.30142 Payment of fees, taxes for appointment period
 5804  without appointment.—
 5805         (1) All initial appointments shall be submitted to the
 5806  department on a monthly basis no later than 45 days after the
 5807  date of appointment and shall become effective on the date
 5808  requested on the appointment form.
 5809         (2) Upon application and qualification for an initial or
 5810  renewal appointment and such investigation as the department may
 5811  make, if it appears to the department that an individual who was
 5812  formerly licensed or is currently licensed but not properly
 5813  appointed to represent an insurer or employer and who has been
 5814  actively engaged or is currently actively engaged as such an
 5815  appointee, but without being appointed as required, the
 5816  department, if it finds that such failure to be appointed was an
 5817  inadvertent error on the part of the insurer or employer so
 5818  represented, may issue or authorize the issuance of the
 5819  appointment as applied for but subject to the condition that,
 5820  before the appointment is issued, all fees and taxes which would
 5821  have been due had the applicant been so appointed during such
 5822  current and prior periods, with applicable fees pursuant to s.
 5823  637.2031 for such current and prior periods of appointment,
 5824  shall be paid to the department.
 5825         (3)(a) Failure to notify the department within the required
 5826  time period shall result in the appointing entity being assessed
 5827  a delinquent fee of $250 per appointee. Delinquent fees shall be
 5828  paid by the appointing entity and may not be charged to the
 5829  appointee.
 5830         (b) Failure to timely renew an appointment by an appointing
 5831  entity prior to the expiration date of the appointment shall
 5832  result in the appointing entity being assessed late filing,
 5833  continuation, and reinstatement fees as prescribed in s.
 5834  637.2031. Such fees shall be paid by the appointing entity and
 5835  may not be charged back to the appointee.
 5836         637.30143 License or appointment; transferability.—A
 5837  license or appointment issued under this part is valid only as
 5838  to the person named and is not transferable to any other person.
 5839  A licensee or appointee may not allow any other person to
 5840  transact insurance by using the license or appointment issued to
 5841  such licensee or appointee.
 5842         637.30144 Termination of appointment.—
 5843         (1) Subject to an appointee’s contract rights, an
 5844  appointing entity may terminate its appointment of any appointee
 5845  at any time. Except when termination is upon a ground which
 5846  would subject the appointee to suspension or revocation of his
 5847  or her license and appointment under s. 637.3017 or s. 637.3018,
 5848  and except as provided by contract between the appointing entity
 5849  and the appointee, the appointing entity shall give to the
 5850  appointee at least 60 days’ advance written notice of its
 5851  intention to terminate such appointment by delivery of such
 5852  notice to the appointee in person or by mailing the notice,
 5853  postage prepaid, addressed to the appointee at his or her last
 5854  address of record with the appointing entity. Notice so mailed
 5855  shall be deemed to have been given when deposited in a United
 5856  States Postal Service mail depository.
 5857         (2) Within 30 days after terminating the appointment of an
 5858  appointee, other than as to an appointment terminated by the
 5859  appointing entity’s failure to continue or renew the
 5860  appointment, the appointing entity shall file with the
 5861  department a written notice of the termination, together with a
 5862  statement that the appointing entity has given the appointee
 5863  notice of the termination as provided in subsection (1) and
 5864  shall file with the department the reasons and facts involved in
 5865  such termination as required under s. 637.30145.
 5866         (3) Upon termination of the appointment of an appointee by
 5867  failure to renew or continue the appointment, the appointing
 5868  entity shall:
 5869         (a) File with the department the information required under
 5870  s. 637.30145.
 5871         (b) Subject to the exceptions provided under subsection
 5872  (1), continue the outstanding contracts transacted by an agent
 5873  until the expiration date or anniversary date when the policy is
 5874  a continuous policy with no expiration date. This paragraph
 5875  shall not be construed to prohibit the cancellation of such
 5876  contracts when not otherwise prohibited by law.
 5877         (4) An appointee may terminate the appointment at any time
 5878  by giving written or electronic notice of such termination to
 5879  the appointing entity, department, or person designated by the
 5880  department to administer the appointment process. The department
 5881  shall immediately terminate the appointment and notify the
 5882  appointing entity of such termination. Such termination shall be
 5883  subject to the appointee’s contract rights, if any.
 5884         (5) Upon receiving a notice of termination, the department
 5885  or person designated by the department to administer the
 5886  appointment process shall terminate the appointment.
 5887         637.30145 Reasons for termination.—
 5888         (1) Any insurer terminating the appointment of an agent or
 5889  managing general agent, whether such termination is by direct
 5890  action of the appointing insurer, agent, or employer or by
 5891  failure to renew or continue the appointment, shall file with
 5892  the department or office a statement of the reasons, if any, for
 5893  such termination and the facts relative to such termination. In
 5894  the case of a termination of the appointment of an agent, such
 5895  information may be filed by the insurer or by the general agent
 5896  of the insurer.
 5897         (2) In the case of terminations by failure to renew or
 5898  continue the appointment, the information required under
 5899  subsection (1) shall be filed with the department or office
 5900  within 30 days after the date notice of intention not to renew
 5901  or continue was filed with the department or office as required
 5902  by this chapter. In all other cases, the information required
 5903  under subsection (1) shall be filed with the department or
 5904  office within 10 days after notice of the termination was filed
 5905  with the department or office.
 5906         637.30146 Delinquent agencies; notice of trusteeship.—If
 5907  any agent or agency becomes delinquent for 90 days in payment of
 5908  accounts owing to the insurer or insurers represented by the
 5909  agent or agency and a trusteeship or similar arrangement for the
 5910  administration of the affairs of the agent or agency is
 5911  instituted, the insurer or insurers involved in such trusteeship
 5912  or arrangement shall immediately give written notice of such
 5913  trusteeship or arrangement to the department. The notice shall
 5914  state the name and address of each such agent, the circumstances
 5915  and estimated amount of delinquency, and such other information
 5916  as the insurer deems pertinent or as the department may
 5917  reasonably require.
 5918         637.30147 Procedure for refusal, suspension, or revocation
 5919  of license.—If any licensee is convicted of a violation of this
 5920  code or a felony, the licenses and appointments of such person
 5921  shall be immediately revoked by the department. The licensee may
 5922  subsequently request a hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569 and
 5923  120.57, and the department shall expedite any such requested
 5924  hearing. The sole issue at such hearing shall be whether the
 5925  revocation should be rescinded because such person was not in
 5926  fact convicted of a violation of this code or a felony.
 5927         Section 52. Section 626.843, Florida Statutes, is
 5928  transferred, renumbered as section 637.3015, Florida Statutes,
 5929  and amended to read:
 5930         637.3015 626.843 Renewal, continuation, reinstatement,
 5931  termination of title insurance agent’s appointment.—
 5932         (1) The appointment of a title insurance agent shall
 5933  continue in force until suspended, revoked, or otherwise
 5934  terminated, but subject to a renewed request filed by the
 5935  insurer every 24 months after the original issue date of the
 5936  appointment, accompanied by payment of the renewal appointment
 5937  fee and taxes as prescribed in s. 637.2031 624.501.
 5938         (2)(a) Renewal of an appointment that is received by the
 5939  department or person designated by the department to administer
 5940  the appointment process prior to the expiration of an
 5941  appointment in the licensee’s birth month or license issue date,
 5942  whichever applies, may be renewed by the department without
 5943  penalty and shall be effective as of the first day of the month
 5944  succeeding the month in which the appointment would have
 5945  expired.
 5946         (b) Renewal of an appointment that is received by the
 5947  department or person designated by the department to administer
 5948  the appointment process after the renewal date may be accepted
 5949  and effectuated by the department in its discretion if the
 5950  appointment, late filing, continuation, and reinstatement fee
 5951  accompanies the renewal request pursuant to s. 637.2031. Late
 5952  filing fees shall be paid by the appointing entity and may not
 5953  be charged to the appointee Title insurance agent appointments
 5954  shall be renewed pursuant to s. 626.381 for insurance
 5955  representatives in general.
 5956         (3) The appointment issued shall remain in effect for so
 5957  long as the appointment represented thereby continues in force
 5958  as provided in this section.
 5959         Section 53. Section 626.8433, Florida Statutes, is
 5960  transferred and renumbered as section 637.3016, Florida
 5961  Statutes.
 5962         Section 54. Section 626.8437, Florida Statutes, is
 5963  transferred, renumbered as section 637.3017, Florida Statutes,
 5964  and amended to read:
 5965         637.3017 626.8437 Grounds for denial, suspension,
 5966  revocation, or refusal to renew license or appointment.—
 5967         (1) The department shall deny, suspend, revoke, or refuse
 5968  to renew or continue the license or appointment of any title
 5969  insurance agent or agency, and it shall suspend or revoke the
 5970  eligibility to hold a license or appointment of such person, if
 5971  it finds that as to the applicant, licensee, appointee, or any
 5972  principal thereof, any one or more of the following grounds
 5973  exist:
 5974         (a)(1) Lack of one or more of the qualifications for the
 5975  license or appointment as specified in ss. 637.3006, 637.3007,
 5976  and 637.3008 626.8417, 626.8418, and 626.8419.
 5977         (b)(2) Material misstatement, misrepresentation, or fraud
 5978  in obtaining, or attempting to obtain, the license or
 5979  appointment.
 5980         (c)(3) Willful misrepresentation of any title insurance
 5981  policy, guarantee of title, binder, or commitment, or willful
 5982  deception with regard to any such policy, guarantee, binder, or
 5983  commitment, done either in person or by any form of
 5984  dissemination of information or advertising.
 5985         (d)(4) Demonstrated lack of fitness or trustworthiness to
 5986  represent a title insurer in the issuance of its commitments,
 5987  binders, policies of title insurance, or guarantees of title.
 5988         (e)(5) Demonstrated lack of reasonably adequate knowledge
 5989  and technical competence to engage in the transactions
 5990  authorized by the license or appointment.
 5991         (f)(6) Fraudulent or dishonest practices in the conduct of
 5992  business under the license or appointment.
 5993         (g)(7) Misappropriation, conversion, or unlawful
 5994  withholding of moneys belonging to title insurers or insureds or
 5995  others and received in conduct of business under the license or
 5996  appointment.
 5997         (h)(8) Unlawful rebating, or attempting to unlawfully
 5998  rebate, or unlawfully dividing, or offering to unlawfully
 5999  divide, title insurance premiums, fees, or charges with another,
 6000  as prohibited by s. 637.1033(7)(b). 626.9541(1)(h)3.
 6001         (i)(9) Willful failure to comply with, or willful violation
 6002  of, any proper order or rule of the department or willful
 6003  violation of any provision of this act.
 6004         (j)(10) The licensee if an individual, or the partners if a
 6005  partnership, or owner if a sole proprietorship, or the officers
 6006  if a corporation, having been found guilty of or having pleaded
 6007  guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or a crime punishable by
 6008  imprisonment of 1 year or more under the law of the United
 6009  States or of any state or under the law of any other country
 6010  which involves moral turpitude, without regard to whether a
 6011  judgment of conviction has been entered by the court having
 6012  jurisdiction of such cases.
 6013         (k) Failure to timely submit data as required by the
 6014  department.
 6015         (2) Upon receipt of an information or indictment, the
 6016  department shall immediately temporarily suspend any license or
 6017  appointment issued under this chapter when the licensee has been
 6018  convicted of an insurance or financial-related felony or a crime
 6019  involving moral turpitude or a crime punishable by imprisonment
 6020  of 1 year or more under the law of any state, territory, or
 6021  country. Such suspension shall continue if the licensee has been
 6022  found guilty of, or has pleaded guilty or no contest to, the
 6023  crime, whether or not a judgment or conviction has been entered,
 6024  during a pending appeal. A person may not affect any additional
 6025  insurance after suspension of his or her license or appointment.
 6026  However, he or she may service the policies effected prior to
 6027  such suspension.
 6028         Section 55. Section 626.844, Florida Statutes, is
 6029  transferred, renumbered as section 637.3018, Florida Statutes,
 6030  and amended to read:
 6031         637.3018 626.844 Grounds for discretionary refusal,
 6032  suspension, or revocation of license or appointment.—The
 6033  department may, in its discretion, deny, suspend, revoke, or
 6034  refuse to renew or continue the license or appointment of any
 6035  title insurance agent or agency, and it may suspend or revoke
 6036  the eligibility to hold a license or appointment of any such
 6037  title insurance agent or agency if it finds that as to the
 6038  applicant or licensee or appointee, or any principal thereof,
 6039  any one or more of the following grounds exist under
 6040  circumstances for which such denial, suspension, revocation, or
 6041  refusal is not mandatory under s. 637.3017 626.8437:
 6042         (1) Any cause for which issuance of the license or
 6043  appointment could have been refused had it then existed and been
 6044  known to the department.
 6045         (2) Violation of any provision of this act in the course of
 6046  dealing under the license or appointment.
 6047         (3) Violation of any lawful order or rule of the
 6048  department.
 6049         (4) Failure or refusal upon demand to pay over to any title
 6050  insurer that the appointee represents or has represented any
 6051  money coming into the hands of such appointee and belonging to
 6052  the title insurer.
 6053         (5) Engaging in unfair methods of competition or in unfair
 6054  or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of business, as
 6055  prohibited under part IX of this chapter, or having otherwise
 6056  shown himself or herself to be a source of injury or loss to the
 6057  public or to be detrimental to the public interest.
 6058         (6) The licensee if an individual, or the partners if a
 6059  partnership, or owner if a sole proprietorship, or the officers
 6060  if a corporation, having been found guilty of or having pleaded
 6061  guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or a crime punishable by
 6062  imprisonment of 1 year or more under the law of the United
 6063  States or of any state or under the law of any other country,
 6064  without regard to whether a judgment of conviction has been
 6065  entered by the court having jurisdiction of such cases.
 6066         (7) Failure or refusal upon demand by any title insurer
 6067  that the appointee represents or has represented to pay any
 6068  money coming into the hands of such appointee and belonging to
 6069  the title insurer.
 6070         (8) Failure to maintain the insurer’s portion of the
 6071  premium in escrow.
 6072         (9) Fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit in any title
 6073  insurance transaction.
 6074         (10) Failure to comply with s. 637.3029.
 6075         (11) Failure to account or deliver to any person any
 6076  property that has come into the agency’s hands and that is not
 6077  the agency’s property or that the agency is not in law or equity
 6078  entitled to retain, under the circumstances and at the time that
 6079  has been agreed upon or is required by law or, in the absence of
 6080  a fixed time, upon demand of the person entitled to such
 6081  accounting and delivery absent a good faith dispute, lack of
 6082  mutual instructions, or doubt about entitlement thereto.
 6083         (12) Failure to disburse escrow funds in accordance with
 6084  agreements signed by the seller and the buyer absent a good
 6085  faith dispute or lack of mutual instructions from the buyer and
 6086  seller about entitlement thereto.
 6087         (13) Acting as or holding himself or herself out to be a
 6088  title insurance agent or title insurance agency without a
 6089  current, active license issued by the Department of Financial
 6090  Services.
 6091         (14) Providing a closing protection letter, title insurance
 6092  commitment, or title insurance policy for an insurer that the
 6093  licensee is not actively appointed to represent.
 6094         (15) Failure to maintain, preserve, and keep available for
 6095  examination all books, accounts, or other documents required by
 6096  ss. 637.30044-637.3015 and s. 637.3029 and the rules of the
 6097  department.
 6098         (16) Failure to allow an investigation or examination of
 6099  books and records by the department.
 6100         (17) Adding any amount to the charges of other providers of
 6101  service in a real estate transaction without adding value to the
 6102  services provided.
 6103         (18) Failure to timely deliver the property deed, mortgage,
 6104  and other documents related to a closing transaction with the
 6105  appropriate recording authority.
 6106         (19) Failure to timely deliver the escrow funds to the
 6107  appropriate entity or to the state if the owner is unable to be
 6108  located pursuant to chapter 717.
 6109         Section 56. Section 626.8443, Florida Statutes, is
 6110  transferred, renumbered as section 637.3019, Florida Statutes,
 6111  and subsection (4) of that section is amended to read:
 6112         637.3019 626.8443 Duration of suspension or revocation.—
 6113         (4) During the period of suspension or after revocation of
 6114  the license and appointment, the former licensee shall not
 6115  engage in or attempt to profess to engage in any transaction or
 6116  business for which a license or appointment is required under
 6117  this chapter code or directly or indirectly own, control, or be
 6118  employed in any manner by any title insurance agent or title
 6119  insurance agency or adjuster or adjusting firm.
 6120         Section 57. Section 626.8447, Florida Statutes, is
 6121  transferred and renumbered as section 637.3021, Florida
 6122  Statutes.
 6123         Section 58. Section 626.845, Florida Statutes, is
 6124  transferred and renumbered as section 637.3022, Florida
 6125  Statutes.
 6126         Section 59. Section 626.8453, Florida Statutes, is
 6127  transferred, renumbered as section 637.3023, Florida Statutes,
 6128  and amended to read:
 6129         637.3023 626.8453 Penalty for violation.—A person who
 6130  knowingly makes a false or otherwise fraudulent application for
 6131  a license or appointment under this act, or who knowingly
 6132  violates any provision of s. 637.2032 624.5015, ss. 637.3006
 6133  637.3029 626.8417-626.847, or s. 637.2076 627.791, in addition
 6134  to any applicable denial, suspension, revocation, or refusal to
 6135  renew or continue any license or appointment, commits a
 6136  misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s.
 6137  775.082 or s. 775.083. Each instance of violation shall be
 6138  considered a separate offense.
 6139         Section 60. Section 626.8457, Florida Statutes, is
 6140  transferred and renumbered as section 637.3024, Florida
 6141  Statutes.
 6142         Section 61. Section 626.846, Florida Statutes, is
 6143  transferred, renumbered as section 637.3025, Florida Statutes,
 6144  and subsection (1) of that section is amended to read:
 6145         637.3025 626.846 Probation.—
 6146         (1) If the department finds that one or more grounds exist
 6147  for the suspension of, revocation of, or refusal to renew or
 6148  continue any license or appointment issued under this act, the
 6149  department may, except when an administrative fine is not
 6150  permissible under s. 637.3024 626.8457 or when such suspension,
 6151  revocation, or refusal is mandatory, in lieu of such suspension,
 6152  revocation, or refusal, or in connection with any administrative
 6153  monetary penalty imposed under s. 637.3024 626.8457, place the
 6154  offending licensee or appointee on probation for a period not to
 6155  exceed 2 years, as specified by the department in its order.
 6156         Section 62. Section 626.8463, Florida Statutes, is
 6157  transferred, renumbered as section 637.3026, Florida Statutes,
 6158  and subsection (1) of that section is amended to read:
 6159         637.3026 626.8463 Witnesses and evidence.—
 6160         (1) As to the subject of any examination, investigation, or
 6161  hearing being conducted by him or her under s. 637.2032, s.
 6162  637.2076, or 624.5015, ss. 637.3006-637.3029 626.8417-626.847,
 6163  or s. 627.791, an examiner appointed by the department or office
 6164  may administer oaths, examine and cross-examine witnesses, and
 6165  receive oral and documentary evidence and shall have the power
 6166  to subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance and testimony,
 6167  and require by subpoena the production of books, papers,
 6168  records, files, correspondence, documents, or other evidence
 6169  which the examiner deems relevant to the inquiry.
 6170         Section 63. Section 626.8467, Florida Statutes, is
 6171  transferred, renumbered as section 637.3027, Florida Statutes,
 6172  and amended to read:
 6173         637.3027 626.8467 Testimony compelled; immunity from
 6174  prosecution.—
 6175         (1) If a person asks to be excused from attending or
 6176  testifying or from producing any books, papers, records,
 6177  contracts, documents, or other evidence in connection with any
 6178  examination, hearing, or investigation being conducted under s.
 6179  637.2032, s. 637.2076, or 624.5015, ss. 637.3006-637.3029
 6180  626.8417-626.847, or s. 627.791 by the department or office or
 6181  its examiner on the ground that the testimony or evidence
 6182  required of the person may tend to incriminate him or her or
 6183  subject him or her to a penalty or forfeiture and
 6184  notwithstanding is directed to give such testimony or produce
 6185  such evidence, the person must, if so directed by the Department
 6186  of Financial Services and the Department of Legal Affairs or by
 6187  the department office and the Department of Legal Affairs,
 6188  nonetheless comply with such direction, but he or she shall not
 6189  thereafter be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or
 6190  forfeiture for or on account of any transaction, matter, or
 6191  thing concerning which he or she may have so testified or
 6192  produced evidence, and no testimony so given or evidence
 6193  produced shall be received against the person upon any criminal
 6194  action, investigation, or proceeding. However, a person so
 6195  testifying shall not be exempt from prosecution or punishment
 6196  for any perjury committed by him or her in such testimony, and
 6197  the testimony or evidence so given or produced shall be
 6198  admissible against him or her upon any criminal action,
 6199  investigation, or proceeding concerning such perjury; and such
 6200  person shall not be exempt from the refusal, suspension, or
 6201  revocation of any license or appointment, permission, or
 6202  authority conferred or to be conferred pursuant to s. 637.2032,
 6203  s. 637.2076, or 624.5015, ss. 637.3006-637.3029 626.8417
 6204  626.847, or s. 627.791.
 6205         (2) Any such person may execute, acknowledge, and file with
 6206  the department of Financial Services or the office, as
 6207  appropriate, a statement expressly waiving such immunity or
 6208  privilege with respect to any transaction, matter, or thing
 6209  specified in the statement, and thereupon the testimony of such
 6210  person or such evidence in relation to such transaction, matter,
 6211  or thing may be received or produced before any judge or
 6212  justice, court, tribunal, or grand jury or otherwise and, if so
 6213  received or produced, such person shall not be entitled to any
 6214  immunity or privilege on account of any testimony he or she may
 6215  so give or evidence so produced.
 6216         Section 64. Section 626.847, Florida Statutes, is
 6217  transferred, renumbered as section 637.3028, Florida Statutes,
 6218  and amended to read:
 6219         637.3028 626.847 Penalty for refusal to testify.—A person
 6220  who refuses or fails, without lawful cause, to testify relative
 6221  to the affairs of any title insurer or other person when
 6222  subpoenaed under s. 637.3026 626.8463 and requested by the
 6223  department or office to so testify is guilty of a misdemeanor of
 6224  the second degree and, upon conviction, is punishable as
 6225  provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
 6226         Section 65. Section 626.8473, Florida Statutes, is
 6227  transferred, renumbered as section 637.3029, Florida Statutes,
 6228  and subsections (1) and (6) of that section are amended to read:
 6229         637.3029 626.8473 Escrow; trust fund.—
 6230         (1) A title insurance agent may engage in business as an
 6231  escrow agent as to funds received from others to be subsequently
 6232  disbursed by the title insurance agent in connection with real
 6233  estate closing transactions involving the issuance of title
 6234  insurance binders, commitments, policies of title insurance, or
 6235  guarantees of title, provided that a licensed and appointed
 6236  title insurance agent complies with the requirements of s.
 6237  637.3006 626.8417, including such requirements added after the
 6238  initial licensure of the agent.
 6239         (6) In the event that the department adopts promulgates
 6240  rules necessary to implement the requirements of this section
 6241  pursuant to s. 637.1007 624.308, the department shall consider
 6242  reasonable standards necessary for the protection of funds held
 6243  in trust, including, but not limited to, standards for
 6244  accounting of funds, standards for receipt and disbursement of
 6245  funds, and protection for the person or persons to whom the
 6246  funds are to be disbursed.
 6247         Section 66. Section 637.30295, Florida Statutes, is created
 6248  to read:
 6249         637.30295 Collection of title insurance information.—Each
 6250  title insurance agency licensed to do business in this state and
 6251  each insurer doing direct, retail, or affiliated business in
 6252  this state shall maintain and submit information, including
 6253  revenue, loss, and expense data, as the department determines to
 6254  be necessary to assist in the analysis of title insurance
 6255  premium rates, title search costs, and the condition of the
 6256  title insurance industry in this state. This information must be
 6257  transmitted to the department no later than March 31 of each
 6258  year following the reporting year. The department shall adopt
 6259  rules to assist in the collection and analysis of the data from
 6260  the title insurance industry.
 6261         Section 67. Paragraphs (a), (e), and (f) of subsection (1)
 6262  of section 624.5105, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
 6263         624.5105 Community contribution tax credit; authorization;
 6264  limitations; eligibility and application requirements;
 6265  administration; definitions; expiration.—
 6266         (1) AUTHORIZATION TO GRANT TAX CREDITS; LIMITATIONS.—
 6267         (a) There shall be allowed a credit of 50 percent of a
 6268  community contribution against any tax due for a calendar year
 6269  under s. 624.509, or s. 624.510, or s. 637.2039.
 6270         (e) If the credit granted pursuant to this section is not
 6271  fully used in any one year because of insufficient tax liability
 6272  on the part of the insurer, the unused amount may be carried
 6273  forward for a period not to exceed 5 years. The carryover credit
 6274  may be used in a subsequent year when the tax imposed by s.
 6275  624.509, or s. 624.510, or 637.2039 for such year exceeds the
 6276  credit under this section for such year.
 6277         (f) An insurer that claims a credit against premium-tax
 6278  liability earned by making a community contribution under this
 6279  section need not pay any additional retaliatory tax levied under
 6280  s. 624.5091 or s. 637.2041 as a result of claiming such a
 6281  credit. Section 624.5091 or s. 637.2041 does not limit such a
 6282  credit in any manner.
 6283         Section 68. Subsection (1) of section 624.5107, Florida
 6284  Statutes, is amended to read:
 6285         624.5107 Child care tax credits.—
 6286         (1) If the credit granted under this section is not fully
 6287  used in any one year because of insufficient tax liability on
 6288  the part of the insurer, the unused amount may be carried
 6289  forward for a period not to exceed 5 years. The carryover credit
 6290  may be used in a subsequent year when the tax imposed by s.
 6291  624.509, or s. 624.510, or s. 637.2039 for that year exceeds the
 6292  credit for which the insurer is eligible in that year under this
 6293  section.
 6294         Section 69. Transfers; rules; powers; regulatory authority;
 6295  orders.—
 6296         (1) Effective July 1, 2010, the rules of the Financial
 6297  Services Commission and the Office of Insurance Regulation with
 6298  respect to the regulation of title insurance shall become the
 6299  rules of the Department of Financial Services and shall remain
 6300  in effect until specifically amended or repealed in the manner
 6301  provided by law.
 6302         (2)(a) All of the statutory powers, duties and functions,
 6303  records, personnel, property, and unexpended balances of
 6304  appropriations, allocations, or other funds for the
 6305  administration of chapter 624, Florida Statutes, related to
 6306  title insurance, shall be transferred by a type two transfer, as
 6307  defined in s. 20.06(2), Florida Statutes, from the Financial
 6308  Services Commission and the Office of Insurance Regulation to
 6309  the Department of Financial Services.
 6310         (b) All of the statutory powers, duties and functions,
 6311  records, personnel, property, and unexpended balances of
 6312  appropriations, allocations, or other funds for the
 6313  administration of chapter 626, Florida Statutes, related to
 6314  title insurance, shall be transferred by a type two transfer, as
 6315  defined in s. 20.06(2), Florida Statutes, from the Financial
 6316  Services Commission and the Office of Insurance Regulation to
 6317  the Department of Financial Services.
 6318         (c) All of the statutory powers, duties and functions,
 6319  records, personnel, property, and unexpended balances of
 6320  appropriations, allocations, or other funds for the
 6321  administration of chapter 627, Florida Statutes, related to
 6322  title insurance, shall be transferred by a type two transfer, as
 6323  defined in s. 20.06(2), Florida Statutes, from the Financial
 6324  Services Commission and the Office of Insurance Regulation to
 6325  the Department of Financial Services.
 6326         (3)(a) The transfer of regulatory authority under chapter
 6327  624, Florida Statutes, provided by this act shall not affect the
 6328  validity of any judicial or administrative action relating to
 6329  title insurance pending as of 11:59 p.m. on the day before the
 6330  effective date of this act, to which action the Financial
 6331  Services Commission or the Office of Insurance Regulation are at
 6332  that time parties, and the Department of Financial Services
 6333  shall be substituted as a party in interest in any such action.
 6334         (b) The transfer of regulatory authority under chapter 626,
 6335  Florida Statutes, provided by this act shall not affect the
 6336  validity of any judicial or administrative action relating to
 6337  title insurance pending as of 11:59 p.m. on the day before the
 6338  effective date of this act, to which action the Financial
 6339  Services Commission or the Office of Insurance Regulation are at
 6340  that time parties, and the Department of Financial Services
 6341  shall be substituted as a party in interest in any such action.
 6342         (c) The transfer of regulatory authority under chapter 627,
 6343  Florida Statutes, provided by this act shall not affect the
 6344  validity of any judicial or administrative action relating to
 6345  title insurance pending as of 11:59 p.m. on the day before the
 6346  effective date of this act, to which action the Financial
 6347  Services Commission or the Office of Insurance Regulation are at
 6348  that time parties, and the Department of Financial Services
 6349  shall be substituted as a party in interest in any such action.
 6350         (4)(a) All lawful orders issued by the Financial Services
 6351  Commission or the Office of Insurance Regulation implementing or
 6352  enforcing or otherwise in regard to any provision of chapter
 6353  624, Florida Statutes, relating to title insurance, issued prior
 6354  to the effective date of this act, shall remain in effect and be
 6355  enforceable after the effective date of this act, unless
 6356  thereafter modified in accordance with law.
 6357         (b) All lawful orders issued by the Financial Services
 6358  Commission or the Office of Insurance Regulation, implementing
 6359  or enforcing or otherwise in regard to any provision of chapter
 6360  626, Florida Statutes, relating to title insurance, issued prior
 6361  to the effective date of this act, shall remain in effect and be
 6362  enforceable after the effective date of this act, unless
 6363  thereafter modified in accordance with law.
 6364         (c) All lawful orders issued by the Financial Services
 6365  Commission or the Office of Insurance Regulation, implementing
 6366  or enforcing or otherwise in regard to any provision of chapter
 6367  627, Florida Statutes, relating to title insurance, issued prior
 6368  to the effective date of this act, shall remain in effect and be
 6369  enforceable after the effective date of this act, unless
 6370  thereafter modified in accordance with law.
 6371         Section 70. The Legislature recognizes that there is a need
 6372  to conform the Florida Statutes to the policy decisions
 6373  reflected in the provisions of this act. The Division of
 6374  Statutory Revision is directed to provide the relevant
 6375  substantive committees of the Senate and the House of
 6376  Representatives with assistance, upon request, to enable such
 6377  committees to prepare draft legislation to conform the Florida
 6378  Statutes to the provisions of this act.
 6379         Section 71. Section 689.263, Florida Statutes, is created
 6380  to read:
 6381         689.263 Sale of residential property; settlement statement
 6382  requirements.—A title insurance agent or title insurance agency
 6383  may not disburse funds pursuant to a completed purchase and sale
 6384  of residential real property without requiring a statement of
 6385  settlement costs meeting the following requirements:
 6386         (1) The settlement statement must be executed by the buyer
 6387  and the seller.
 6388         (2) If a title insurance premium is to be disbursed, the
 6389  title insurer and the title insurance agent or title insurance
 6390  agency, if any, must be disclosed.
 6391         (3) A copy of the executed settlement statement must be
 6392  delivered to the buyer and the seller.
 6393         Section 72. Section 717.1121, Florida Statutes, is created
 6394  to read:
 6395         717.1121 Payments from escrow related to real estate
 6396  transactions.—All funds held as part of a real estate
 6397  transaction, including any outstanding payments for amounts to
 6398  be paid as listed on the settlement statement form by any title
 6399  insurance agency, title insurer, savings and loan association,
 6400  bank, trust company, other financial institution, attorney firm,
 6401  real estate broker, or similar institution, are considered
 6402  unclaimed if the owner of those funds has not claimed the money
 6403  within 2 years after the closing performed under the real estate
 6404  transaction.
 6405         Section 73. Subsection (1) and paragraph (d) of subsection
 6406  (2) of section 877.101, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
 6407         877.101 Escrow business by unauthorized persons; use of
 6408  name.—
 6409         (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), in connection
 6410  with the purchase and sale of real property, a person may not:
 6411         (a) Transact business under any name or title that contains
 6412  the word “escrow” or words of similar import; or
 6413         (b)1. Use any name, word, sign, symbol, or device in any
 6414  context or in any manner; or
 6415         2. Circulate or use any letterhead, billhead, circular,
 6416  paper, or writing of any kind or otherwise advertise or
 6417  represent in any manner
 6418  
 6419  that indicates or reasonably implies that the business being
 6420  conducted or advertised is the kind or character of business
 6421  transacted that is regulated by this state as an escrow agent;
 6422  or
 6423         (c) Engage in business as an escrow agent as to funds
 6424  received from others to be subsequently disbursed in connection
 6425  with real estate closing transactions.
 6426         (2) This section does not apply to:
 6427         (d) A title insurance agent who is licensed pursuant to s.
 6428  637.3006 626.8417, a title insurance agency that is licensed
 6429  pursuant to s. 637.3007 626.8418, or a title insurer who is
 6430  authorized to transact business in this state pursuant to s.
 6431  637.2001 624.401.
 6432         Section 74. Section 624.5015, Florida Statutes, is amended
 6433  to read:
 6434         624.5015 Advance collection of fees and taxes; title
 6435  insurers not to pay without reimbursement.—
 6436         (1) The department or the office shall collect in advance
 6437  from the applicant or licensee fees and taxes as provided in s.
 6438  624.501.
 6439         (2) A title insurer shall not pay directly or indirectly
 6440  without reimbursement from a title insurance agent any
 6441  appointment fee required under this section. The failure of a
 6442  title insurance agent to make reimbursement is not a ground for
 6443  cancellation of the title insurance agent’s appointment by the
 6444  title insurer.
 6445         Section 75. Subsections (7), (8), and (9) of section
 6446  626.241, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
 6447         626.241 Scope of examination.—
 6448         (7) Examinations given applicants for licensure as title
 6449  agents must cover title insurance, abstracting, title searches,
 6450  examination of title, closing procedures, and escrow handling.
 6451         (7)(8) An examination for licensure as a personal lines
 6452  agent shall consist of 100 questions and shall be limited in
 6453  scope to the kinds of business transacted under such license.
 6454         (8)(9) This section applies to any person who submits an
 6455  application for license and to any person who submits an
 6456  application for examination prior to filing an application for
 6457  license.
 6458         Section 76. Subsection (5) of section 626.331, Florida
 6459  Statutes, is amended to read:
 6460         626.331 Number of appointments permitted or required.—
 6461         (5) A title agent or title agency license must be limited
 6462  to selling title insurance only for the appointing title insurer
 6463  or insurers.
 6464         Section 77. Paragraph (a) of subsection (5) of section
 6465  197.502, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 6466         197.502 Application for obtaining tax deed by holder of tax
 6467  sale certificate; fees.—
 6468         (5)(a) The tax collector may contract with a title company
 6469  or an abstract company at a reasonable fee to provide the
 6470  minimum information required in subsection (4), consistent with
 6471  rules adopted by the department. If additional information is
 6472  required, the tax collector must make a written request to the
 6473  title or abstract company stating the additional requirements.
 6474  The tax collector may select any title or abstract company,
 6475  regardless of its location, as long as the fee is reasonable,
 6476  the minimum information is submitted, and the title or abstract
 6477  company is authorized to do business in this state. The tax
 6478  collector may advertise and accept bids for the title or
 6479  abstract company if he or she considers it appropriate to do so.
 6480         1. The ownership and encumbrance report must be printed or
 6481  typed on stationery or other paper showing a letterhead of the
 6482  person, firm, or company that makes the search, and the
 6483  signature of the person who makes the search or of an officer of
 6484  the firm must be attached. The tax collector is not liable for
 6485  payment to the firm unless these requirements are met.
 6486         2. The tax collector may not accept or pay for any title
 6487  search or abstract if no financial responsibility is assumed for
 6488  the search. However, reasonable restrictions as to the liability
 6489  or responsibility of the title or abstract company are
 6490  acceptable. Notwithstanding s. 637.2071(3) 627.7843(3), the tax
 6491  collector may contract for higher maximum liability limits.
 6492         3. In order to establish uniform prices for ownership and
 6493  encumbrance reports within the county, the tax collector shall
 6494  ensure that the contract for ownership and encumbrance reports
 6495  include all requests for title searches or abstracts for a given
 6496  period of time.
 6497         Section 78. Paragraph (d) of subsection (27) of section
 6498  624.501, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 6499         624.501 Filing, license, appointment, and miscellaneous
 6500  fees.—The department, commission, or office, as appropriate,
 6501  shall collect in advance, and persons so served shall pay to it
 6502  in advance, fees, licenses, and miscellaneous charges as
 6503  follows:
 6504         (27) Title insurance agents:
 6505         (d) Additional appointment continuation fee as prescribed
 6506  by s. 637.3015 626.843.....................................$5.00
 6507         Section 79. Section 624.604, Florida Statutes, is amended
 6508  to read:
 6509         624.604 “Property insurance” defined.—“Property insurance”
 6510  is insurance on real or personal property of every kind and of
 6511  every interest therein, whether on land, water, or in the air,
 6512  against loss or damage from any and all hazard or cause, and
 6513  against loss consequential upon such loss or damage, other than
 6514  noncontractual legal liability for any such loss or damage.
 6515  Property insurance may contain a provision for accidental death
 6516  or injury as part of a multiple peril homeowner’s policy. Such
 6517  insurance, which is incidental to the property insurance, is not
 6518  subject to the provisions of this code applicable to life or
 6519  health insurance. Property insurance does not include title
 6520  insurance, as defined in s. 637.1004 624.608.
 6521         Section 80. Paragraph (r) of subsection (1) of section
 6522  624.605, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 6523         624.605 “Casualty insurance” defined.—
 6524         (1) “Casualty insurance” includes:
 6525         (r) Insurance for debt cancellation products.—Insurance
 6526  that a creditor may purchase against the risk of financial loss
 6527  from the use of debt cancellation products with consumer loans
 6528  or leases or retail installment contracts. Insurance for debt
 6529  cancellation products is not liability insurance but shall be
 6530  considered credit insurance only for the purposes of s.
 6531  631.52(4).
 6532         1. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “debt
 6533  cancellation products” means loan, lease, or retail installment
 6534  contract terms, or modifications to loan, lease, or retail
 6535  installment contracts, under which a creditor agrees to cancel
 6536  or suspend all or part of a customer’s obligation to make
 6537  payments upon the occurrence of specified events and includes,
 6538  but is not limited to, debt cancellation contracts, debt
 6539  suspension agreements, and guaranteed asset protection
 6540  contracts. However, the term “debt cancellation products” does
 6541  not include title insurance as defined in s. 637.1004 624.608.
 6542         2. Debt cancellation products may be offered by financial
 6543  institutions, as defined in s. 655.005(1)(h), insured depository
 6544  institutions as defined in 12 U.S.C. s. 1813(c), and
 6545  subsidiaries of such institutions, as provided in the financial
 6546  institutions codes; by sellers as defined in s. 721.05, or by
 6547  the parents, subsidiaries, or affiliated entities of sellers, in
 6548  connection with the sale of timeshare interests; or by other
 6549  business entities as may be specifically authorized by law, and
 6550  such products shall not constitute insurance for purposes of the
 6551  Florida Insurance Code.
 6552         Section 81. Subsection (4) of section 625.031, Florida
 6553  Statutes, is amended to read:
 6554         625.031 Assets not allowed.—In addition to assets impliedly
 6555  excluded by the provisions of s. 625.012, the following
 6556  expressly shall not be allowed as assets in any determination of
 6557  the financial condition of an insurer:
 6558         (4) Furniture, fixtures, furnishings, safes, vehicles,
 6559  libraries, stationery, literature, and supplies, other than data
 6560  processing and accounting systems authorized under s.
 6561  625.012(11), except in the case of title insurers such materials
 6562  and plants as the insurer is expressly authorized to invest in
 6563  under s. 637.20073 625.330 and except, in the case of any
 6564  insurer, such personal property as the insurer is permitted to
 6565  hold pursuant to part II of this chapter, or which is acquired
 6566  through foreclosure of chattel mortgages acquired pursuant to s.
 6567  625.329, or which is reasonably necessary for the maintenance
 6568  and operation of real estate lawfully acquired and held by the
 6569  insurer other than real estate used by it for home office,
 6570  branch office, and similar purposes.
 6571         Section 82. Section 626.207, Florida Statutes, is amended
 6572  to read:
 6573         626.207 Department rulemaking authority; waiting periods
 6574  for applicants; penalties against licensees.—
 6575         (1) The department shall adopt rules establishing specific
 6576  waiting periods for applicants to become eligible for licensure
 6577  following denial, suspension, or revocation pursuant to s.
 6578  626.611, s. 626.621, s. 626.8437, s. 626.844, s. 626.935, s.
 6579  634.181, s. 634.191, s. 634.320, s. 634.321, s. 634.422, s.
 6580  634.423, s. 637.3017, s. 637.3018, s. 642.041, or s. 642.043.
 6581  The purpose of the waiting periods is to provide sufficient time
 6582  to demonstrate reformation of character and rehabilitation. The
 6583  waiting periods shall vary based on the type of conduct and the
 6584  length of time since the conduct occurred and shall also be
 6585  based on the probability that the propensity to commit illegal
 6586  conduct has been overcome. The waiting periods may be adjusted
 6587  based on aggravating and mitigating factors established by rule
 6588  and consistent with this purpose.
 6589         (2) The department shall adopt rules establishing specific
 6590  penalties against licensees for violations of s. 626.611, s.
 6591  626.621, s. 626.8437, s. 626.844, s. 626.935, s. 634.181, s.
 6592  634.191, s. 634.320, s. 634.321, s. 634.422, s. 634.423, s.
 6593  637.3017, s. 637.3018, s. 642.041, or s. 642.043. The purpose of
 6594  the revocation or suspension is to provide a sufficient penalty
 6595  to deter future violations of the Florida Insurance Code. The
 6596  imposition of a revocation or the length of suspension shall be
 6597  based on the type of conduct and the probability that the
 6598  propensity to commit further illegal conduct has been overcome
 6599  at the time of eligibility for relicensure. The revocation or
 6600  the length of suspension may be adjusted based on aggravating or
 6601  mitigating factors, established by rule and consistent with this
 6602  purpose.
 6603         Section 83. Paragraph (t) of subsection (1) of section
 6604  655.005, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 6605         655.005 Definitions.—
 6606         (1) As used in the financial institutions codes, unless the
 6607  context otherwise requires, the term:
 6608         (t) “Debt cancellation products” means loan, lease, or
 6609  retail installment contract terms, or modifications or addenda
 6610  to loan, lease, or retail installment contracts, under which a
 6611  creditor agrees to cancel or suspend all or part of a customer’s
 6612  obligation to make payments upon the occurrence of specified
 6613  events and includes, but is not limited to, debt cancellation
 6614  contracts, debt suspension agreements, and guaranteed asset
 6615  protection contracts offered by financial institutions, insured
 6616  depository institutions as defined in 12 U.S.C. s. 1813(c), and
 6617  subsidiaries of such institutions. However, the term “debt
 6618  cancellation products” does not include title insurance as
 6619  defined in s. 637.1004 624.608.
 6620         Section 84. Paragraph (d) of subsection (6) of section
 6621  701.041, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 6622         701.041 Title insurer; mortgage release certificate.—
 6623         (6) LIABILITY OF TITLE INSURER AND TITLE INSURANCE AGENT.—
 6624         (d) Liability of a title insurer pursuant to this section
 6625  shall be considered to be a title insurance claim on real
 6626  property in this state pursuant to s. 637.2075 627.7865.
 6627         Section 85. Paragraph (d) of subsection (14) of section
 6628  721.05, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 6629         721.05 Definitions.—As used in this chapter, the term:
 6630         (14) “Escrow agent” includes only:
 6631         (d) A title insurance agent that is licensed pursuant to s.
 6632  637.3006 626.8417, a title insurance agency that is licensed
 6633  pursuant to s. 637.3007 626.8418, or a title insurer authorized
 6634  to transact business in this state pursuant to s. 637.2001
 6635  624.401.
 6636         Section 86. Sections 624.4031, 624.608, 626.841, 626.8411,
 6637  626.9531, 627.7711, and 627.776, Florida Statutes, are repealed.
 6638         Section 87. This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.

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