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Senate Bill 2994

Senate Bill sb2994

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.
    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2994

    By Senator Posey





    24-1483A-04

  1                      A bill to be entitled

  2         An act relating to the Department of Financial

  3         Services; amending s. 17.16, F.S.; providing

  4         that the office of the Chief Financial Officer

  5         may have an official seal; amending s. 20.121,

  6         F.S.; providing that the Chief Financial

  7         Officer may be referred to as the "Treasurer";

  8         providing that the Department of Financial

  9         Services, rather than the Office of Insurance

10         Regulation, is responsible for regulation of

11         insurance adjusters; amending s. 110.1227,

12         F.S.; providing that the Director of the Office

13         of Insurance Regulation, rather than the Chief

14         Financial Officer, shall appoint an actuary to

15         the Florida Employee Long-Term-Care Plan Board

16         of Directors; amending s. 408.05, F.S.;

17         providing that the Director of the Office of

18         Insurance Regulation, rather than the Chief

19         Financial Officer, shall appoint an employee to

20         the State Comprehensive Health Information

21         System Advisory Council; amending s. 501.212,

22         F.S.; specifying persons or activities that are

23         exempt from part II of chapter 501, F.S., the

24         Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practice Act;

25         amending s. 516.35, F.S.; correcting a

26         reference to the agency that licenses the sale

27         of credit insurance; amending ss. 624.313,

28         624.317, 624.501, 626.016, 626.112, 626.161,

29         626.171, 626.181, 626.191, 626.211, 626.221,

30         626.231, 626.241, 626.251, 626.261, 626.266,

31         626.271, 626.281, 626.2817, 626.291, 626.301,

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2994
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 1         626.371, 626.381, 626.431, 626.461, 626.471,

 2         626.521, 626.541, 626.551, 626.611, 626.621,

 3         626.631, 626.641, 626.661, 626.681, 626.691,

 4         626.692, 626.8582, 626.8584, 626.859, 626.863,

 5         626.865, 626.866, 626.867, 626.869, 626.8695,

 6         626.8696, 626.8697, 626.8698, 626.870, 626.871,

 7         626.872, 626.873, 626.8732, 626.8734, 626.8736,

 8         626.8738, 626.874, 626.878, F.S.; transferring

 9         and renumbering s. 627.7012, F.S., as s.

10         626.879, F.S., and amending such section;

11         making conforming changes to authorize the

12         Department of Financial Services, rather than

13         the Office of Insurance Regulation, to regulate

14         insurance adjusters; amending s. 626.9543,

15         F.S.; specifying that the Department of

16         Financial Services, rather than the former

17         Department of Insurance, administers the

18         Holocaust Victims Insurance Act; amending s.

19         626.989, F.S.; correcting references to the

20         Bureau of Workers' Compensation Insurance Fraud

21         with regard to the required annual report of

22         the Department of Financial Services related to

23         workers' compensation fraud; amending s.

24         627.0628, F.S.; providing that the Director of

25         the Office of Insurance, rather than the Chief

26         Financial Officer, shall appoint an employee of

27         the office who is an actuary to the Florida

28         Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection

29         Methodology; amending s. 627.6699, F.S.;

30         providing that the Director of the Office of

31         Insurance Regulation, rather than the Chief

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2994
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 1         Financial Officer, shall be a member of the

 2         board of the Small Employer Health Reinsurance

 3         Program; providing that the transfer of the

 4         regulation of adjusters from the Office of

 5         Insurance Regulation to the Department of

 6         Financial Services does not affect any

 7         administrative or judicial action prior to or

 8         pending on the effective date of the act;

 9         providing that any action approved or

10         authorized by the Financial Services Commission

11         or the Office of Insurance Regulation continues

12         to be effective until the Department of

13         Financial Services otherwise prescribes;

14         providing that the rules of the Financial

15         Services Commission related to adjusters shall

16         become rules of the Department of Financial

17         Services; providing an effective date.

18  

19  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

20  

21         Section 1.  Section 17.16, Florida Statutes, is amended

22  to read:

23         17.16  Seal.--The seal of office of the Chief Financial

24  Officer shall have an official seal by which its proceedings

25  are authenticated be the same as the seal heretofore used for

26  that purpose.

27         Section 2.  Subsection (1) and paragraph (a) of

28  subsection (3) of section 20.121, Florida Statutes, are

29  amended to read:

30         20.121  Department of Financial Services.--There is

31  created a Department of Financial Services.

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2994
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 1         (1)  DEPARTMENT HEAD.--The head of the Department of

 2  Financial Services is the Chief Financial Officer who may also

 3  be known as the Treasurer.

 4         (3)  FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMISSION.--Effective January

 5  7, 2003, there is created within the Department of Financial

 6  Services the Financial Services Commission, composed of the

 7  Governor, the Attorney General, the Chief Financial Officer,

 8  and the Commissioner of Agriculture, which shall for purposes

 9  of this section be referred to as the commission.  Commission

10  members shall serve as agency head of the Financial Services

11  Commission.  The commission shall be a separate budget entity

12  and shall be exempt from the provisions of s. 20.052.

13  Commission action shall be by majority vote consisting of at

14  least three affirmative votes.  The commission shall not be

15  subject to control, supervision, or direction by the

16  Department of Financial Services in any manner, including

17  purchasing, transactions involving real or personal property,

18  personnel, or budgetary matters.

19         (a)  Structure.--The major structural unit of the

20  commission is the office. Each office shall be headed by a

21  director. The following offices are established:

22         1.  The Office of Insurance Regulation, which shall be

23  responsible for all activities concerning insurers and other

24  risk bearing entities, including licensing, rates, policy

25  forms, market conduct, claims, adjusters, issuance of

26  certificates of authority, solvency, viatical settlements,

27  premium financing, and administrative supervision, as provided

28  under the insurance code or chapter 636. The head of the

29  Office of Insurance Regulation is the Director of the Office

30  of Insurance Regulation.

31  

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2994
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 1         2.  The Office of Financial Regulation, which shall be

 2  responsible for all activities of the Financial Services

 3  Commission relating to the regulation of banks, credit unions,

 4  other financial institutions, finance companies, and the

 5  securities industry.  The head of the office is the Director

 6  of the Office of Financial Regulation. The Office of Financial

 7  Regulation shall include a Bureau of Financial Investigations,

 8  which shall function as a criminal justice agency for purposes

 9  of ss. 943.045-943.08 and shall have a separate budget.  The

10  bureau may conduct investigations within or outside this state

11  as the bureau deems necessary to aid in the enforcement of

12  this section. If, during an investigation, the office has

13  reason to believe that any criminal law of this state has or

14  may have been violated, the office shall refer any records

15  tending to show such violation to state or federal law

16  enforcement or prosecutorial agencies and shall provide

17  investigative assistance to those agencies as required.

18         Section 3.  Subsection (6) of section 110.1227, Florida

19  Statutes, is amended to read:

20         110.1227  Florida Employee Long-Term-Care Plan Act.--

21         (6)  A Florida Employee Long-Term-Care Plan Board of

22  Directors is created, composed of nine members who shall serve

23  2-year terms, to be appointed after May 1, 1999, as follows:

24         (a)  The secretary of the Department of Elderly Affairs

25  shall appoint a member who is a plan participant.

26         (b)  The Director of the Office of Insurance Regulation

27  Chief Financial Officer shall appoint an actuary.

28         (c)  The Attorney General shall appoint an attorney

29  licensed to practice law in this state.

30         (d)  The Governor shall appoint three members from a

31  broad cross-section of the residents of this state.

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 1         (e)  The Department of Management Services shall

 2  appoint a member.

 3         (f)  The President of the Senate shall appoint a member

 4  of the Senate.

 5         (g)  The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall

 6  appoint a member of the House of Representatives.

 7         Section 4.  Paragraph (a) of subsection (8) of section

 8  408.05, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

 9         408.05  State Center for Health Statistics.--

10         (8)  STATE COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH INFORMATION SYSTEM

11  ADVISORY COUNCIL.--

12         (a)  There is established in the agency the State

13  Comprehensive Health Information System Advisory Council to

14  assist the center in reviewing the comprehensive health

15  information system and to recommend improvements for such

16  system. The council shall consist of the following members:

17         1.  An employee of the Executive Office of the

18  Governor, to be appointed by the Governor.

19         2.  An employee of the Office of Insurance Regulation

20  Department of Financial Services, to be appointed by the

21  director of the office Chief Financial Officer.

22         3.  An employee of the Department of Education, to be

23  appointed by the Commissioner of Education.

24         4.  Ten persons, to be appointed by the Secretary of

25  Health Care Administration, representing other state and local

26  agencies, state universities, the Florida Association of

27  Business/Health Coalitions, local health councils,

28  professional health-care-related associations, consumers, and

29  purchasers.

30         Section 5.  Subsection (4) of section 501.212, Florida

31  Statutes, is amended to read:

                                  6

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2994
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 1         501.212  Application.--This part does not apply to:

 2         (4)  Any person or activity regulated under laws

 3  administered by:

 4         (a)  The Department of Financial Services or the Office

 5  of Insurance Regulation of the Financial Services Commission;

 6  or

 7         (b)  Banks and savings and loan associations regulated

 8  by the Office of Financial Regulation of the Financial

 9  Services Commission; or

10         (c)  Banks or savings and loan associations regulated

11  by federal agencies; or.

12         (d)  Any person or activity regulated under the laws

13  administered by the former Department of Insurance which are

14  now administered by the Department of Financial Services.

15         Section 6.  Subsection (1) of section 516.35, Florida

16  Statutes, is amended to read:

17         516.35  Credit insurance must comply with credit

18  insurance act.--

19         (1)  Tangible property offered as security may be

20  reasonably insured against loss for a reasonable term,

21  considering the circumstances of the loan. If such insurance

22  is sold at standard rates through a person duly licensed by

23  the Department of Financial Services Office of Insurance

24  Regulation of the Financial Services Commission and if the

25  policy is payable to the borrower or any member of her or his

26  family, it shall not be deemed to be a collateral sale,

27  purchase, or agreement even though a customary mortgagee

28  clause is attached or the licensee is a coassured.

29         Section 7.  Subsection (2) of section 624.313, Florida

30  Statutes, is amended to read:

31         624.313  Publications.--

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2994
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 1         (2)(a)  The department may prepare and have printed and

 2  published in pamphlet or book form the following:

 3         (a)1.  As needed, questions and answers for the use of

 4  persons applying for an examination for licensing as agents

 5  for property, casualty, surety, health, and miscellaneous

 6  insurers.

 7         (b)2.  As needed, questions and answers for the use of

 8  persons applying for an examination for licensing as agents

 9  for life and health insurers.

10         (c)(b)  The office may prepare and have printed and

11  published in pamphlet or book form, As needed, questions and

12  answers for the use of persons applying for an examination for

13  licensing as adjusters.

14         Section 8.  Subsection (1) and paragraph (a) of

15  subsection (2) of section 624.317, Florida Statutes, are

16  amended to read:

17         624.317  Investigation of agents, adjusters,

18  administrators, service companies, and others.--If it has

19  reason to believe that any person has violated or is violating

20  any provision of this code, or upon the written complaint

21  signed by any interested person indicating that any such

22  violation may exist:

23         (1)  The department shall conduct such investigation as

24  it deems necessary of the accounts, records, documents, and

25  transactions pertaining to or affecting the insurance affairs

26  of any general agent, surplus line agent, adjuster, managing

27  general agent, insurance agent, customer representative,

28  service representative, or other person subject to its

29  jurisdiction, subject to the requirements of s. 626.601.

30         (2)  The office shall conduct such investigation as it

31  deems necessary of the accounts, records, documents, and

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2994
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 1  transactions pertaining to or affecting the insurance affairs

 2  of any:

 3         (a)  Adjuster, Administrator, service company, or other

 4  person subject to its jurisdiction.

 5         Section 9.  Paragraph (d) of subsection (12) of section

 6  624.501, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

 7         624.501  Filing, license, appointment, and

 8  miscellaneous fees.--The department, commission, or office, as

 9  appropriate, shall collect in advance, and persons so served

10  shall pay to it in advance, fees, licenses, and miscellaneous

11  charges as follows:

12         (12)  Adjusters:

13         (d)  Fee to cover actual cost of credit report, when

14  such report must be secured by department office.

15         Section 10.  Subsections (1) and (2) of section

16  626.016, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

17         626.016  Powers and duties of department, commission,

18  and office.--

19         (1)  The powers and duties of the Chief Financial

20  Officer and the department specified in this part apply only

21  with respect to insurance agents, managing general agents,

22  insurance adjusters, reinsurance intermediaries, viatical

23  settlement brokers, customer representatives, service

24  representatives, and agencies.

25         (2)  The powers and duties of the commission and office

26  specified in this part apply only with respect to insurance

27  adjusters, service companies, administrators, and viatical

28  settlement providers and contracts.

29         Section 11.  Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section

30  626.112, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

31  

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2994
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 1         626.112  License and appointment required; agents,

 2  customer representatives, adjusters, insurance agencies,

 3  service representatives, managing general agents.--

 4         (1)(a)  No person may be, act as, or advertise or hold

 5  himself or herself out to be an insurance agent, insurance

 6  adjuster, or customer representative unless he or she is

 7  currently licensed by the department and appointed by an

 8  appropriate appointing entity or person one or more insurers.

 9  No person may be, act as, or advertise or hold himself or

10  herself out to be an insurance adjuster unless he or she is

11  currently licensed by the office and appointed by one or more

12  insurers.

13         Section 12.  Section 626.161, Florida Statutes, is

14  amended to read:

15         626.161  Licensing forms.--The department shall

16  prescribe and furnish all printed forms required in connection

17  with the application for issuance of and termination of all

18  licenses and appointments, except that, with respect to

19  adjusters, the commission shall prescribe and the office shall

20  furnish such forms.

21         Section 13.  Subsection (1), paragraph (f) of

22  subsection (2), and subsection (5) of section 626.171, Florida

23  Statutes, are amended to read:

24         626.171  Application for license.--

25         (1)  The department or office shall not issue a license

26  as agent, customer representative, adjuster, insurance agency,

27  service representative, managing general agent, or reinsurance

28  intermediary to any person except upon written application

29  therefor filed with it, qualification therefor, and payment in

30  advance of all applicable fees. Any such application shall be

31  made under the oath of the applicant and be signed by the

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2994
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 1  applicant. Beginning November 1, 2002, the department shall

 2  accept the uniform application for nonresident agent

 3  licensing. The department may adopt revised versions of the

 4  uniform application by rule.

 5         (2)  In the application, the applicant shall set forth:

 6         (f)  Such other or additional information as the

 7  department or office may deem proper to enable it to determine

 8  the character, experience, ability, and other qualifications

 9  of the applicant to hold himself or herself out to the public

10  as an insurance representative.

11         (5)  An application for a license as an agent, customer

12  representative, adjuster, insurance agency, service

13  representative, managing general agent, or reinsurance

14  intermediary must be accompanied by a set of the individual

15  applicant's fingerprints, or, if the applicant is not an

16  individual, by a set of the fingerprints of the sole

17  proprietor, majority owner, partners, officers, and directors,

18  on a form adopted by rule of the department or commission and

19  accompanied by the fingerprint processing fee set forth in s.

20  624.501. Fingerprints shall be used to investigate the

21  applicant's qualifications pursuant to s. 626.201. The

22  fingerprints shall be taken by a law enforcement agency or

23  other department-approved entity.

24         Section 14.  Section 626.181, Florida Statutes, is

25  amended to read:

26         626.181  Number of applications for licensure

27  required.--After a license as agent, customer representative,

28  or adjuster has been issued to an individual, the same

29  individual shall not be required to take another examination

30  for a similar license, regardless, in the case of an agent, of

31  

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 2994
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 1  the number of insurers to be represented by him or her as

 2  agent, unless:

 3         (1)  Specifically ordered by the department or office

 4  to complete a new application for license; or

 5         (2)  During any period of 48 months since the filing of

 6  the original license application, such individual was not

 7  appointed as an agent, customer representative, or adjuster,

 8  unless the failure to be so appointed was due to military

 9  service, in which event the period within which a new

10  application is not required may, in the discretion of the

11  department or office, be extended to 12 months following the

12  date of discharge from military service if the military

13  service does not exceed 3 years, but in no event to extend

14  under this clause for a period of more than 6 years from the

15  date of filing of the original application for license.

16         Section 15.  Section 626.191, Florida Statutes, is

17  amended to read:

18         626.191  Repeated applications.--The failure of an

19  applicant to secure a license upon an application shall not

20  preclude him or her from applying again as many times as

21  desired, but the department or office shall not give

22  consideration to or accept any further application by the same

23  individual for a similar license dated or filed within 30 days

24  subsequent to the date the department or office denied the

25  last application, except as provided in s. 626.281.

26         Section 16.  Section 626.211, Florida Statutes, is

27  amended to read:

28         626.211  Approval, disapproval of application.--

29         (1)  If upon the basis of a completed application for

30  license and such further inquiry or investigation as the

31  department or office may make concerning an applicant the

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 1  department or office is satisfied that, subject to any

 2  examination required to be taken and passed by the applicant

 3  for a license, the applicant is qualified for the license

 4  applied for and that all pertinent fees have been paid, it

 5  shall approve the application.  The department or office shall

 6  not deny, delay, or withhold approval of an application due to

 7  the fact that it has not received a criminal history report

 8  based on the applicant's fingerprints.

 9         (2)  Upon approval of an applicant for license as

10  agent, customer representative, or adjuster who is subject to

11  written examination, the department or office shall notify the

12  applicant when and where he or she may take the required

13  examination.

14         (3)  Upon approval of an applicant for license who is

15  not subject to examination, the department or office shall

16  promptly issue the license.

17         (4)  If upon the basis of the completed application and

18  such further inquiry or investigation the department or office

19  deems the applicant to be lacking in any one or more of the

20  required qualifications for the license applied for, the

21  department or office shall disapprove the application and

22  notify the applicant, stating the grounds of disapproval.

23         Section 17.  Subsection (1) and paragraphs (a), (c),

24  (d), (f), (g), and (l) of subsection (2) of section 626.221,

25  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

26         626.221  Examination requirement; exemptions.--

27         (1)  The department or office shall not issue any

28  license as agent, customer representative, or adjuster to any

29  individual who has not qualified for, taken, and passed to the

30  satisfaction of the department or office a written examination

31  of the scope prescribed in s. 626.241.

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 1         (2)  However, no such examination shall be necessary in

 2  any of the following cases:

 3         (a)  An applicant for renewal of appointment as an

 4  agent, customer representative, or adjuster, unless the

 5  department or office determines that an examination is

 6  necessary to establish the competence or trustworthiness of

 7  such applicant.

 8         (c)  In the discretion of the department or office, an

 9  applicant for reinstatement of license or appointment as an

10  agent, customer representative, or adjuster whose license has

11  been suspended within 2 years prior to the date of application

12  or written request for reinstatement.

13         (d)  An applicant who, within 2 years prior to

14  application for license and appointment as an agent, customer

15  representative, or adjuster, was a full-time salaried employee

16  of the department or office and had continuously been such an

17  employee with responsible insurance duties for not less than 2

18  years and who had been a licensee within 2 years prior to

19  employment by the department or office with the same class of

20  license as that being applied for.

21         (f)  A person who has been licensed and appointed as a

22  public adjuster or independent adjuster, or licensed and

23  appointed either as an agent or company adjuster as to all

24  property, casualty, and surety insurances, may be licensed and

25  appointed as a company adjuster as to any of such insurances,

26  or as an independent adjuster or public adjuster, without

27  additional written examination if an application for

28  appointment is filed with the department office within 48

29  months following the date of cancellation or expiration of the

30  prior appointment.

31  

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 1         (g)  A person who has been licensed as an adjuster for

 2  motor vehicle, property and casualty, workers' compensation,

 3  and health insurance may be licensed as such an adjuster

 4  without additional written examination if his or her

 5  application for appointment is filed with the department

 6  office within 48 months after cancellation or expiration of

 7  the prior license.

 8         (l)  An applicant for license as an adjuster who has

 9  the designation of Accredited Claims Adjuster (ACA) from a

10  regionally accredited postsecondary institution in this state,

11  or the designation of Professional Claims Adjuster (PCA) from

12  the Professional Career Institute, whose curriculum has been

13  approved by the department office and whose curriculum

14  includes comprehensive analysis of basic property and casualty

15  lines of insurance and testing at least equal to that of

16  standard department office testing for the all-lines adjuster

17  license. The department commission shall adopt rules

18  establishing standards for the approval of curriculum.

19         Section 18.  Section 626.231, Florida Statutes, is

20  amended to read:

21         626.231  Eligibility for examination.--No person shall

22  be permitted to take an examination for license until his or

23  her application for the license has been approved and the

24  required fees have been received by the department or office

25  or a person designated by the department or office to

26  administer the examination.

27         Section 19.  Subsection (1) of section 626.241, Florida

28  Statutes, is amended to read:

29         626.241  Scope of examination.--

30         (1)  Each examination for a license as agent, customer

31  representative, or adjuster shall be of such scope as is

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 1  deemed by the department or office to be reasonably necessary

 2  to test the applicant's ability and competence and knowledge

 3  of the kinds of insurance and transactions to be handled under

 4  the license applied for, of the duties and responsibilities of

 5  such a licensee, and of the pertinent provisions of the laws

 6  of this state.

 7         Section 20.  Subsections (1) and (3) of section

 8  626.251, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

 9         626.251  Time and place of examination; notice.--

10         (1)  The department or office or a person designated by

11  the department or office shall mail written notice of the time

12  and place of the examination to each applicant for license

13  required to take an examination who will be eligible to take

14  the examination as of the examination date.  The notice shall

15  be so mailed, postage prepaid, and addressed to the applicant

16  at his or her address shown on the application for license or

17  at such other address as requested by the applicant in writing

18  filed with the department or office prior to the mailing of

19  the notice. Notice shall be deemed given when so mailed.

20         (3)  The department or office shall make an examination

21  available to the applicant, to be taken as soon as reasonably

22  possible after the applicant is eligible therefor.  Any

23  examination required under this part shall be available in

24  this state at a designated examination center.

25         Section 21.  Subsections (1), (2), and (3) of section

26  626.261, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

27         626.261  Conduct of examination.--

28         (1)  The applicant for license shall appear in person

29  and personally take the examination for license at the time

30  and place specified by the department or office or by a person

31  designated by the department or office.

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 1         (2)  The examination shall be conducted by an employee

 2  of the department or office or a person designated by the

 3  department or office for that purpose.

 4         (3)  The questions propounded shall be as prepared by

 5  the department or office, or by a person designated by the

 6  department or office for that purpose, consistent with the

 7  applicable provisions of this code.

 8         Section 22.  Section 626.266, Florida Statutes, is

 9  amended to read:

10         626.266  Printing of examinations or related materials

11  to preserve examination security.--A contract let for the

12  development, administration, or grading of examinations or

13  related materials by the department or office pursuant to the

14  various agent, customer representative, or adjuster licensing

15  and examination provisions of this code may include the

16  printing or furnishing of these examinations or related

17  materials in order to preserve security. Any such contract

18  shall be let as a contract for a contractual service pursuant

19  to s. 287.057.

20         Section 23.  Subsection (1) of section 626.271, Florida

21  Statutes, is amended to read:

22         626.271  Examination fee; determination, refund.--

23         (1)  Prior to being permitted to take an examination,

24  each applicant who is subject to examination shall pay to the

25  department or office or a person designated by the department

26  or office an examination fee.  A separate and additional

27  examination fee shall be payable for each separate class of

28  license applied for, notwithstanding that all such

29  examinations are taken on the same date and at the same place.

30         Section 24.  Section 626.281, Florida Statutes, is

31  amended to read:

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 1         626.281  Reexamination.--

 2         (1)  Any applicant for license who has either:

 3         (a)  Taken an examination and failed to make a passing

 4  grade, or

 5         (b)  Failed to appear for the examination or to take or

 6  complete the examination at the time and place specified in

 7  the notice of the department or office,

 8  

 9  may take additional examinations, after filing with the

10  department or office an application for reexamination together

11  with applicable fees.  The failure of an applicant to pass an

12  examination or the failure to appear for the examination or to

13  take or complete the examination does not preclude the

14  applicant from taking subsequent examinations.

15         (2)  The department or office may require any

16  individual whose license as an agent, customer representative,

17  or adjuster has expired or has been suspended to pass an

18  examination prior to reinstating or relicensing the individual

19  as to any class of license.  The examination fee shall be paid

20  as to each examination.

21         Section 25.  Section 626.2817, Florida Statutes, is

22  amended to read:

23         626.2817  Regulation of course providers, instructors,

24  school officials, and monitor groups involved in prelicensure

25  education for insurance agents and other licensees.--

26         (1)  Any course provider, instructor, school official,

27  or monitor group must be approved by and registered with the

28  department or office before offering prelicensure education

29  courses for insurance agents and other licensees.

30         (2)  The department or commission shall adopt rules

31  establishing standards for the approval, registration,

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 1  discipline, or removal from registration of course providers,

 2  instructors, school officials, and monitor groups. The

 3  standards must be designed to ensure that such persons have

 4  the knowledge, competence, and integrity to fulfill the

 5  educational objectives of the prelicensure requirements of

 6  this chapter and chapter 648 and to assure that insurance

 7  agents and licensees are competent to engage in the activities

 8  authorized under the license.

 9         (3)  The department or commission shall adopt rules to

10  establish a process for determining compliance with the

11  prelicensure requirements of this chapter and chapter 648. The

12  department or commission shall adopt rules prescribing the

13  forms necessary to administer the prelicensure requirements.

14         Section 26.  Section 626.291, Florida Statutes, is

15  amended to read:

16         626.291  Denial, issuance of license.--

17         (1)  Within 30 days after the applicant has completed

18  any examination required under s. 626.221, the department or

19  office or its designee shall provide a score report; and, if

20  it finds that the applicant has received a passing grade, the

21  department or office shall within such period notify the

22  applicant and issue and transmit the license to which such

23  examination related.  If it finds that the applicant did not

24  make a passing grade on the examination for a particular

25  license, the department or office or its designee shall within

26  this period provide notice to the applicant to that effect and

27  of its denial of the license.

28         (2)  As to an applicant for a license for which no

29  examination is required, the department or office shall

30  promptly issue the license applied for as soon as it has

31  approved the application.

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 1         (3)  The department or office shall not deny, delay, or

 2  withhold issuance of a license due to the fact that it has not

 3  received a criminal history report based on the applicant's

 4  fingerprints.

 5         Section 27.  Section 626.301, Florida Statutes, is

 6  amended to read:

 7         626.301  Form and contents of licenses, in

 8  general.--Each license issued by the department or office

 9  shall be in such form as the department or commission may

10  designate and contain the licensee's name, lines of authority

11  the licensee is authorized to transact, the licensee's

12  personal identification number, the date of issuance, and any

13  other information the department or commission deems necessary

14  to fully identify the licensee and the authority being

15  granted. The department or commission may by rule require

16  photographs of applicants as a part of the licensing process.

17         Section 28.  Subsection (2) of section 626.371, Florida

18  Statutes, is amended to read:

19         626.371  Payment of fees, taxes for appointment period

20  without appointment.--

21         (2)  If, upon application and qualification for an

22  initial or renewal appointment and such investigation as the

23  department or office may make, it appears to the department or

24  office that an individual who was formerly licensed or is

25  currently licensed but not properly appointed to represent an

26  insurer or employer and who has been actively engaged or is

27  currently actively engaged as such an appointee, but without

28  being appointed as required, the department or office may, if

29  it finds that such failure to be appointed was an inadvertent

30  error on the part of the insurer or employer so represented,

31  nevertheless issue or authorize the issuance of the

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 1  appointment as applied for but subject to the condition that,

 2  before the appointment is issued, all fees and taxes which

 3  would have been due had the applicant been so appointed during

 4  such current and prior periods, with applicable fees pursuant

 5  to s. 624.501 for such current and prior periods of

 6  appointment, shall be paid to the department or office.

 7         Section 29.  Subsections (2), (3), and (4) of section

 8  626.381, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

 9         626.381  Renewal, continuation, reinstatement, or

10  termination of appointment.--

11         (2)  Each appointing entity shall file with the

12  department or office the lists, statements, and information as

13  to appointees whose appointments are being renewed or

14  terminated, accompanied by payment of the applicable renewal

15  fees and taxes as prescribed in s. 624.501, by a date set

16  forth by the department or office following the month during

17  which the appointments will expire.

18         (3)  Renewal of an appointment which is received by the

19  department or office or person designated by the department to

20  administer the appointment process prior to the expiration of

21  an appointment in the licensee's birth month or license issue

22  date, whichever applies, may be renewed by the department or

23  office without penalty and shall be effective as of the first

24  day of the month succeeding the month in which the appointment

25  would have expired.

26         (4)  Renewal of an appointment which is received by the

27  department or office or person designated by the department to

28  administer the appointment process after the renewal date may

29  be accepted and effectuated by the department or office in its

30  discretion if the appointment, late filing, continuation, and

31  reinstatement fee accompanies the renewal request pursuant to

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 1  s. 624.501. Late filing fees shall be paid by the appointing

 2  entity and may not be charged to the appointee.

 3         Section 30.  Subsection (2) of section 626.431, Florida

 4  Statutes, is amended to read:

 5         626.431  Effect of expiration of license and

 6  appointment.--

 7         (2)  When a licensee's last appointment for a

 8  particular class of insurance has been terminated or not

 9  renewed, the department or office must notify the licensee

10  that his or her eligibility for appointment as such an

11  appointee will expire unless he or she is appointed prior to

12  expiration of the 48-month period referred to in subsection

13  (3).

14         Section 31.  Section 626.461, Florida Statutes, is

15  amended to read:

16         626.461  Continuation of appointment of agent or other

17  representative.--Subject to renewal or continuation by the

18  appointing entity, the appointment of the agent, adjuster,

19  service representative, customer representative, or managing

20  general agent shall continue in effect until the person's

21  license is revoked or otherwise terminated, unless written

22  notice of earlier termination of the appointment is filed with

23  the department or office or person designated by the

24  department to administer the appointment process by either the

25  appointing entity or the appointee.

26         Section 32.  Subsections (2), (3), (4), and (5) of

27  section 626.471, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

28         626.471  Termination of appointment.--

29         (2)  As soon as possible and at all events within 30

30  days after terminating the appointment of an appointee, other

31  than as to an appointment terminated by the appointing

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 1  entity's failure to continue or renew it, the appointing

 2  entity shall file written notice thereof with the department

 3  or office, together with a statement that it has given the

 4  appointee notice thereof as provided in subsection (1) and

 5  shall file with the department or office the reasons and facts

 6  involved in such termination as required under s. 626.511.

 7         (3)  Upon termination of the appointment of an

 8  appointee, whether by failure to renew or continue the

 9  appointment, the appointing entity shall:

10         (a)  File with the department or office the information

11  required under s. 626.511.

12         (b)  Subject to the exceptions provided under

13  subsection (1), continue the outstanding contracts transacted

14  by an agent until the expiration date or anniversary date when

15  the policy is a continuous policy with no expiration date.

16  This paragraph shall not be construed to prohibit the

17  cancellation of such contracts when not otherwise prohibited

18  by law.

19         (4)  An appointee may terminate the appointment at any

20  time by giving written or electronic notice thereof to the

21  appointing entity, department or office, or person designated

22  by the department to administer the appointment process. The

23  department shall immediately terminate the appointment and

24  notify the appointing entity of such termination. Such

25  termination shall be subject to the appointee's contract

26  rights, if any.

27         (5)  Upon receiving notice of termination, the

28  department or office or person designated by the department to

29  administer the appointment process shall terminate the

30  appointment.

31  

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 1         Section 33.  Subsections (2), (3), and (5) of section

 2  626.521, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

 3         626.521  Character, credit reports.--

 4         (2)  If requested by the department or office, the

 5  insurer, manager, general agent, general lines agent, or

 6  employer, as the case may be, shall furnish to the department

 7  or office on a form adopted and furnished by the department or

 8  commission and furnished by the department or office, such

 9  information as it may reasonably requires require relative to

10  such individual and investigation.

11         (3)  As to an applicant for an adjuster's or

12  reinsurance intermediary's license who is to be self-employed,

13  the department or office may secure, at the cost of the

14  applicant, a full detailed credit and character report made by

15  an established and reputable independent reporting service

16  relative to the applicant.

17         (5)  Information contained in credit or character

18  reports furnished to or secured by the department or office

19  under this section is confidential and exempt from the

20  provisions of s. 119.07(1).

21         Section 34.  Subsections (1) and (2) of section

22  626.541, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

23         626.541  Firm, corporate, and business names; officers;

24  associates; notice of changes.--

25         (1)  Any licensed agent or adjuster doing business

26  under a firm or corporate name or under any business name

27  other than his or her own individual name shall, within 30

28  days after the initial transaction of insurance under such

29  business name, file with the department or office, on forms

30  adopted and furnished by the department or commission and

31  furnished by the department or office, a written statement of

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 1  the firm, corporate, or business name being so used, the

 2  address of any office or offices or places of business making

 3  use of such name, and the name and social security number of

 4  each officer and director of the corporation and of each

 5  individual associated in such firm or corporation as to the

 6  insurance transactions thereof or in the use of such business

 7  name.

 8         (2)  In the event of any change of such name, or of any

 9  of the officers and directors, or of any of such addresses, or

10  in the personnel so associated, written notice of such change

11  must be filed with the department or office within 30 days by

12  or on behalf of those licensees terminating any such firm,

13  corporate, or business name or continuing to operate

14  thereunder.

15         Section 35.  Section 626.551, Florida Statutes, is

16  amended to read:

17         626.551  Notice of change of address, name.--Every

18  licensee shall notify the department or office in writing

19  within 60 days after a change of name, residence address,

20  principal business street address, or mailing address. Any

21  licensed agent who has moved his or her residence from this

22  state shall have his or her license and all appointments

23  immediately terminated by the department or office. Failure to

24  notify the department or office within the required time

25  period shall result in a fine not to exceed $250 for the first

26  offense and, for subsequent offenses, a fine of not less than

27  $500 or suspension or revocation of the license pursuant to s.

28  626.611 or s. 626.621.

29         Section 36.  Section 626.611, Florida Statutes, is

30  amended to read:

31  

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 1         626.611  Grounds for compulsory refusal, suspension, or

 2  revocation of agent's, title agency's, adjuster's, customer

 3  representative's, service representative's, or managing

 4  general agent's license or appointment.--The department or

 5  office shall deny an application for, suspend, revoke, or

 6  refuse to renew or continue the license or appointment of any

 7  applicant, agent, title agency, adjuster, customer

 8  representative, service representative, or managing general

 9  agent, and it shall suspend or revoke the eligibility to hold

10  a license or appointment of any such person, if it finds that

11  as to the applicant, licensee, or appointee any one or more of

12  the following applicable grounds exist:

13         (1)  Lack of one or more of the qualifications for the

14  license or appointment as specified in this code.

15         (2)  Material misstatement, misrepresentation, or fraud

16  in obtaining the license or appointment or in attempting to

17  obtain the license or appointment.

18         (3)  Failure to pass to the satisfaction of the

19  department or office any examination required under this code.

20         (4)  If the license or appointment is willfully used,

21  or to be used, to circumvent any of the requirements or

22  prohibitions of this code.

23         (5)  Willful misrepresentation of any insurance policy

24  or annuity contract or willful deception with regard to any

25  such policy or contract, done either in person or by any form

26  of dissemination of information or advertising.

27         (6)  If, as an adjuster, or agent licensed and

28  appointed to adjust claims under this code, he or she has

29  materially misrepresented to an insured or other interested

30  party the terms and coverage of an insurance contract with

31  intent and for the purpose of effecting settlement of claim

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 1  for loss or damage or benefit under such contract on less

 2  favorable terms than those provided in and contemplated by the

 3  contract.

 4         (7)  Demonstrated lack of fitness or trustworthiness to

 5  engage in the business of insurance.

 6         (8)  Demonstrated lack of reasonably adequate knowledge

 7  and technical competence to engage in the transactions

 8  authorized by the license or appointment.

 9         (9)  Fraudulent or dishonest practices in the conduct

10  of business under the license or appointment.

11         (10)  Misappropriation, conversion, or unlawful

12  withholding of moneys belonging to insurers or insureds or

13  beneficiaries or to others and received in conduct of business

14  under the license or appointment.

15         (11)  Unlawfully rebating, attempting to unlawfully

16  rebate, or unlawfully dividing or offering to divide his or

17  her commission with another.

18         (12)  Having obtained or attempted to obtain, or having

19  used or using, a license or appointment as agent or customer

20  representative for the purpose of soliciting or handling

21  "controlled business" as defined in s. 626.730 with respect to

22  general lines agents, s. 626.784 with respect to life agents,

23  and s. 626.830 with respect to health agents.

24         (13)  Willful failure to comply with, or willful

25  violation of, any proper order or rule of the department,

26  commission, or office or willful violation of any provision of

27  this code.

28         (14)  Having been found guilty of or having pleaded

29  guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or a crime punishable by

30  imprisonment of 1 year or more under the law of the United

31  States of America or of any state thereof or under the law of

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 1  any other country which involves moral turpitude, without

 2  regard to whether a judgment of conviction has been entered by

 3  the court having jurisdiction of such cases.

 4         (15)  Fraudulent or dishonest practice in submitting or

 5  aiding or abetting any person in the submission of an

 6  application for workers' compensation coverage under chapter

 7  440 containing false or misleading information as to employee

 8  payroll or classification for the purpose of avoiding or

 9  reducing the amount of premium due for such coverage.

10         (16)  Sale of an unregistered security that was

11  required to be registered, pursuant to chapter 517.

12         Section 37.  Section 626.621, Florida Statutes, is

13  amended to read:

14         626.621  Grounds for discretionary refusal, suspension,

15  or revocation of agent's, adjuster's, customer

16  representative's, service representative's, or managing

17  general agent's license or appointment.--The department or

18  office may, in its discretion, deny an application for,

19  suspend, revoke, or refuse to renew or continue the license or

20  appointment of any applicant, agent, adjuster, customer

21  representative, service representative, or managing general

22  agent, and it may suspend or revoke the eligibility to hold a

23  license or appointment of any such person, if it finds that as

24  to the applicant, licensee, or appointee any one or more of

25  the following applicable grounds exist under circumstances for

26  which such denial, suspension, revocation, or refusal is not

27  mandatory under s. 626.611:

28         (1)  Any cause for which issuance of the license or

29  appointment could have been refused had it then existed and

30  been known to the department or office.

31  

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 1         (2)  Violation of any provision of this code or of any

 2  other law applicable to the business of insurance in the

 3  course of dealing under the license or appointment.

 4         (3)  Violation of any lawful order or rule of the

 5  department, commission, or office.

 6         (4)  Failure or refusal, upon demand, to pay over to

 7  any insurer he or she represents or has represented any money

 8  coming into his or her hands belonging to the insurer.

 9         (5)  Violation of the provision against twisting, as

10  defined in s. 626.9541(1)(l).

11         (6)  In the conduct of business under the license or

12  appointment, engaging in unfair methods of competition or in

13  unfair or deceptive acts or practices, as prohibited under

14  part IX of this chapter, or having otherwise shown himself or

15  herself to be a source of injury or loss to the public or

16  detrimental to the public interest.

17         (7)  Willful overinsurance of any property or health

18  insurance risk.

19         (8)  Having been found guilty of or having pleaded

20  guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or a crime punishable by

21  imprisonment of 1 year or more under the law of the United

22  States of America or of any state thereof or under the law of

23  any other country, without regard to whether a judgment of

24  conviction has been entered by the court having jurisdiction

25  of such cases.

26         (9)  If a life agent, violation of the code of ethics.

27         (10)  Cheating on an examination required for licensure

28  or violating test center or examination procedures published

29  orally, in writing, or electronically at the test site by

30  authorized representatives of the examination program

31  

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 1  administrator.  Communication of test center and examination

 2  procedures must be clearly established and documented.

 3         (11)  Failure to inform the department or office in

 4  writing within 30 days after pleading guilty or nolo

 5  contendere to, or being convicted or found guilty of, any

 6  felony or a crime punishable by imprisonment of 1 year or more

 7  under the law of the United States or of any state thereof, or

 8  under the law of any other country without regard to whether a

 9  judgment of conviction has been entered by the court having

10  jurisdiction of the case.

11         (12)  Knowingly aiding, assisting, procuring, advising,

12  or abetting any person in the violation of or to violate a

13  provision of the insurance code or any order or rule of the

14  department, commission, or office.

15         Section 38.  Section 626.631, Florida Statutes, is

16  amended to read:

17         626.631  Procedure for refusal, suspension, or

18  revocation of license.--

19         (1)  If any licensee is convicted by a court of a

20  violation of this code or a felony, the licenses and

21  appointments of such person shall be immediately revoked by

22  the department or office. The licensee may subsequently

23  request a hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57, and the

24  department or office shall expedite any such requested

25  hearing. The sole issue at such hearing shall be whether the

26  revocation should be rescinded because such person was not in

27  fact convicted of a violation of this code or a felony.

28         (2)  The papers, documents, reports, or evidence of the

29  department or office relative to a hearing for revocation or

30  suspension of a license or appointment pursuant to the

31  provisions of this chapter and chapter 120 are confidential

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 1  and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) until after the

 2  same have been published at the hearing. However, such papers,

 3  documents, reports, or items of evidence are subject to

 4  discovery in a hearing for revocation or suspension of a

 5  license or appointment.

 6         Section 39.  Subsections (1) and (2) of section

 7  626.641, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

 8         626.641  Duration of suspension or revocation.--

 9         (1)  The department or office shall, in its order

10  suspending a license or appointment or in its order suspending

11  the eligibility of a person to hold or apply for such license

12  or appointment, specify the period during which the suspension

13  is to be in effect; but such period shall not exceed 2 years.

14  The license, appointment, or eligibility shall remain

15  suspended during the period so specified, subject, however, to

16  any rescission or modification of the order by the department

17  or office, or modification or reversal thereof by the court,

18  prior to expiration of the suspension period.  A license,

19  appointment, or eligibility which has been suspended shall not

20  be reinstated except upon request for such reinstatement; but

21  the department or office shall not grant such reinstatement if

22  it finds that the circumstance or circumstances for which the

23  license, appointment, or eligibility was suspended still exist

24  or are likely to recur.

25         (2)  No person or appointee under any license or

26  appointment revoked by the department or office, nor any

27  person whose eligibility to hold same has been revoked by the

28  department or office, shall have the right to apply for

29  another license or appointment under this code within 2 years

30  from the effective date of such revocation or, if judicial

31  review of such revocation is sought, within 2 years from the

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 1  date of final court order or decree affirming the revocation.

 2  The department or office shall not, however, grant a new

 3  license or appointment or reinstate eligibility to hold such

 4  license or appointment if it finds that the circumstance or

 5  circumstances for which the eligibility was revoked or for

 6  which the previous license or appointment was revoked still

 7  exist or are likely to recur; if an individual's license as

 8  agent or customer representative or eligibility to hold same

 9  has been revoked upon the ground specified in s. 626.611(12),

10  the department or office shall refuse to grant or issue any

11  new license or appointment so applied for.

12         Section 40.  Subsection (2) of section 626.661, Florida

13  Statutes, is amended to read:

14         626.661  Surrender of license.--

15         (2)  This section shall not be deemed to require the

16  surrender to the department or office of any license unless

17  such surrender has been requested by the department or office.

18         Section 41.  Subsections (1) and (3) of section

19  626.681, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

20         626.681  Administrative fine in lieu of or in addition

21  to suspension, revocation, or refusal of license, appointment,

22  or disapproval.--

23         (1)  Except as to insurance agencies, if the department

24  or office finds that one or more grounds exist for the

25  suspension, revocation, or refusal to issue, renew, or

26  continue any license or appointment issued under this chapter,

27  or disapproval of a continuing education course provider,

28  instructor, school official, or monitor groups, the department

29  or office may, in its discretion, in lieu of or in addition to

30  such suspension or revocation, or in lieu of such refusal, or

31  disapproval, and except on a second offense or when such

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 1  suspension, revocation, or refusal is mandatory, impose upon

 2  the licensee, appointee, course provider, instructor, school

 3  official, or monitor group an administrative penalty in an

 4  amount up to $500 or, if the department or office has found

 5  willful misconduct or willful violation on the part of the

 6  licensee, appointee, course provider, instructor, school

 7  official, or monitor group up to $3,500. The administrative

 8  penalty may, in the discretion of the department or office, be

 9  augmented by an amount equal to any commissions received by or

10  accruing to the credit of the licensee or appointee in

11  connection with any transaction as to which the grounds for

12  suspension, revocation, or refusal related.

13         (3)  The department or office may allow the licensee,

14  appointee, or continuing education course provider,

15  instructor, school official, or monitor group a reasonable

16  period, not to exceed 30 days, within which to pay to the

17  department or office the amount of the penalty so imposed. If

18  the licensee, appointee, course provider, instructor, school

19  official, or monitor group fails to pay the penalty in its

20  entirety to the department or office within the period so

21  allowed, the license, appointments, approval, or status of

22  that person shall stand suspended or revoked or issuance,

23  renewal, or continuation shall be refused, as the case may be,

24  upon expiration of such period.

25         Section 42.  Section 626.691, Florida Statutes, is

26  amended to read:

27         626.691  Probation.--

28         (1)  If the department or office finds that one or more

29  grounds exist for the suspension, revocation, or refusal to

30  renew or continue any license or appointment issued under this

31  part, the department or office may, in its discretion, except

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 1  when an administrative fine is not permissible under s.

 2  626.681 or when such suspension, revocation, or refusal is

 3  mandatory, in lieu of or in addition to such suspension or

 4  revocation, or in lieu of such refusal, or in connection with

 5  any administrative monetary penalty imposed under s. 626.681,

 6  place the offending licensee or appointee on probation for a

 7  period, not to exceed 2 years, as specified by the department

 8  or office in its order.

 9         (2)  As a condition to such probation or in connection

10  therewith, the department or office may specify in its order

11  reasonable terms and conditions to be fulfilled by the

12  probationer during the probation period. If during the

13  probation period the department or office has good cause to

14  believe that the probationer has violated a term or condition,

15  it shall suspend, revoke, or refuse to issue, renew, or

16  continue the license or appointment of the probationer, as

17  upon the original grounds referred to in subsection (1).

18         Section 43.  Section 626.692, Florida Statutes, is

19  amended to read:

20         626.692  Restitution.--If any ground exists for the

21  suspension, revocation, or refusal of a license or

22  appointment, the department or office may, in addition to any

23  other penalty authorized under this chapter, order the

24  licensee to pay restitution to any person who has been

25  deprived of money by the licensee's misappropriation,

26  conversion, or unlawful withholding of moneys belonging to

27  insurers, insureds, beneficiaries, or others.  In no instance

28  shall the amount of restitution required to be paid under this

29  section exceed the amount of money misappropriated, converted,

30  or unlawfully withheld. Nothing in this section limits or

31  

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 1  restricts a person's right to seek other remedies as provided

 2  for by law.

 3         Section 44.  Section 626.8582, Florida Statutes, is

 4  amended to read:

 5         626.8582  "Nonresident public adjuster" defined.--A

 6  "nonresident public adjuster" is a person who:

 7         (1)  Is not a resident of this state;

 8         (2)  Is a currently licensed public adjuster in his or

 9  her state of residence for the type or kinds of insurance for

10  which the licensee intends to adjust claims in this state or,

11  if a resident of a state that does not license public

12  adjusters, has passed the department's office's adjuster

13  examination as prescribed in s. 626.8732(1)(b); and

14         (3)  Is a self-employed public adjuster or associated

15  with or employed by a public adjusting firm or other public

16  adjuster.

17         Section 45.  Section 626.8584, Florida Statutes, is

18  amended to read:

19         626.8584  "Nonresident independent adjuster"

20  defined.--A "nonresident independent adjuster" is a person

21  who:

22         (1)  Is not a resident of this state;

23         (2)  Is a currently licensed independent adjuster in

24  his or her state of residence for the type or kinds of

25  insurance for which the licensee intends to adjust claims in

26  this state or, if a resident of a state that does not license

27  independent adjusters, has passed the department's office's

28  adjuster examination as prescribed in s. 626.8734(1)(b); and

29         (3)  Is a self-employed independent adjuster or

30  associated with or employed by an independent adjusting firm

31  or other independent adjuster.

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 1         Section 46.  Section 626.859, Florida Statutes, is

 2  amended to read:

 3         626.859  "Catastrophe" or "emergency" adjuster

 4  defined.--A "catastrophe" or "emergency" adjuster is a person

 5  who is not a licensed adjuster under this part, but who has

 6  been designated and certified to the department office by

 7  insurers as qualified to adjust claims, losses, or damages

 8  under policies or contracts of insurance issued by such

 9  insurer, and whom the department office may license, in the

10  event of a catastrophe or emergency, for the purposes and

11  under the conditions which the department office shall fix and

12  for the period of the emergency as the department office shall

13  determine, to adjust claims, losses, or damages under the

14  policies of insurance issued by the insurers.

15         Section 47.  Subsection (2) of section 626.863, Florida

16  Statutes, is amended to read:

17         626.863  Licensed independent adjusters required;

18  insurers' responsibility.--

19         (2)  Before referring any claim or loss, the insurer

20  shall ascertain from the department office whether the

21  proposed independent adjuster is currently licensed and

22  appointed as such. Having once ascertained that a particular

23  person is so licensed and appointed, the insurer may assume

24  that he or she will continue to be so licensed and appointed

25  until the insurer has knowledge, or receives information from

26  the department office, to the contrary.

27         Section 48.  Section 626.865, Florida Statutes, is

28  amended to read:

29         626.865  Public adjuster's qualifications, bond.--

30         (1)  The department office shall issue a license to an

31  applicant for a public adjuster's license upon determining

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 1  that the applicant has paid the applicable fees specified in

 2  s. 624.501 and possesses the following qualifications:

 3         (a)  Is a natural person at least 18 years of age.

 4         (b)  Is a United States citizen or legal alien who

 5  possesses work authorization from the United States

 6  Immigration and Naturalization Service and a bona fide

 7  resident of this state.

 8         (c)  Is trustworthy and has such business reputation as

 9  would reasonably assure that the applicant will conduct his or

10  her business as insurance adjuster fairly and in good faith

11  and without detriment to the public.

12         (d)  Has had sufficient experience, training, or

13  instruction concerning the adjusting of damages or losses

14  under insurance contracts, other than life and annuity

15  contracts, is sufficiently informed as to the terms and

16  effects of the provisions of those types of insurance

17  contracts, and possesses adequate knowledge of the laws of

18  this state relating to such contracts as to enable and qualify

19  him or her to engage in the business of insurance adjuster

20  fairly and without injury to the public or any member thereof

21  with whom the applicant may have business as a public

22  adjuster.

23         (e)  Has passed any required written examination.

24         (2)  At the time of application for license as a public

25  adjuster, the applicant shall file with the department office

26  a bond executed and issued by a surety insurer authorized to

27  transact such business in this state, in the amount of

28  $50,000, conditioned for the faithful performance of his or

29  her duties as a public adjuster under the license applied for.

30  The bond shall be in favor of the department office and shall

31  specifically authorize recovery by the department office of

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 1  the damages sustained in case the licensee is guilty of fraud

 2  or unfair practices in connection with his or her business as

 3  public adjuster. The aggregate liability of the surety for all

 4  such damages shall in no event exceed the amount of the bond.

 5  Such bond shall not be terminated unless at least 30 days'

 6  written notice is given to the licensee and filed with the

 7  department office.

 8         Section 49.  Section 626.866, Florida Statutes, is

 9  amended to read:

10         626.866  Independent adjuster's qualifications.--The

11  department office shall issue a license to an applicant for an

12  independent adjuster's license upon determining that the

13  applicable license fee specified in s. 624.501 has been paid

14  and that the applicant possesses the following qualifications:

15         (1)  Is a natural person at least 18 years of age.

16         (2)  Is a United States citizen or legal alien who

17  possesses work authorization from the United States

18  Immigration and Naturalization Service and a bona fide

19  resident of this state.

20         (3)  Is trustworthy and has such business reputation as

21  would reasonably assure that the applicant will conduct his or

22  her business as insurance adjuster fairly and in good faith

23  and without detriment to the public.

24         (4)  Has had sufficient experience, training, or

25  instruction concerning the adjusting of damage or loss under

26  insurance contracts, other than life and annuity contracts, is

27  sufficiently informed as to the terms and the effects of the

28  provisions of such types of contracts, and possesses adequate

29  knowledge of the insurance laws of this state relating to such

30  contracts as to enable and qualify him or her to engage in the

31  business of insurance adjuster fairly and without injury to

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 1  the public or any member thereof with whom he or she may have

 2  relations as an insurance adjuster and to adjust all claims in

 3  accordance with the policy or contract and the insurance laws

 4  of this state.

 5         (5)  Has passed any required written examination.

 6         Section 50.  Section 626.867, Florida Statutes, is

 7  amended to read:

 8         626.867  Company employee adjuster's

 9  qualifications.--The department office shall issue a license

10  to an applicant for a company employee adjuster's license upon

11  determining that the applicable license fee specified in s.

12  624.501 has been paid and that the applicant possesses the

13  following qualifications:

14         (1)  Is a natural person at least 18 years of age.

15         (2)  Is a United States citizen or legal alien who

16  possesses work authorization from the United States

17  Immigration and Naturalization Service and a bona fide

18  resident of this state.

19         (3)  Is trustworthy and has such business reputation as

20  would reasonably assure that the applicant will conduct his or

21  her business as insurance adjuster fairly and in good faith

22  and without detriment to the public.

23         (4)  Has had sufficient experience, training, or

24  instruction concerning the adjusting of damage or loss of

25  risks described in his or her application, is sufficiently

26  informed as to the terms and the effects of the provisions of

27  insurance contracts covering such risks, and possesses

28  adequate knowledge of the insurance laws of this state

29  relating to such insurance contracts as to enable and qualify

30  him or her to engage in such business as insurance adjuster

31  fairly and without injury to the public or any member thereof

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 1  with whom he or she may have relations as an insurance

 2  adjuster and to adjust all claims in accordance with the

 3  policy or contract and the insurance laws of this state.

 4         (5)  Has passed any required written examination.

 5         Section 51.  Paragraph (c) of subsection (4) of section

 6  626.869, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

 7         626.869  License, adjusters.--

 8         (4)

 9         (c)  The department Financial Services Commission shall

10  adopt rules necessary to implement and administer the

11  continuing education requirements of this subsection.

12         Section 52.  Subsections (1), (3), (5), (6), and (7) of

13  section 626.8695, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

14         626.8695  Primary adjuster.--

15         (1)  Each person operating an adjusting firm and each

16  location of a multiple location adjusting firm must designate

17  a primary adjuster for each such firm or location and must

18  file with the department office the name of such primary

19  adjuster and the address of the firm or location where he or

20  she is the primary adjuster, on a form approved by the

21  department commission. The designation of the primary adjuster

22  may be changed at the option of the adjusting firm. Any such

23  change is effective upon notification to the department

24  office. Notice of change must be sent to the department office

25  within 30 days after such change.

26         (3)  The department office may suspend or revoke the

27  license of the primary adjuster if the adjusting firm employs

28  any person who has had a license denied or any person whose

29  license is currently suspended or revoked. However, if a

30  person has been denied a license for failure to pass a

31  required examination, he or she may be employed to perform

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 1  clerical or administrative functions for which licensure is

 2  not required.

 3         (5)  The department office may suspend or revoke the

 4  license of any adjuster who is employed by a person whose

 5  license is currently suspended or revoked.

 6         (6)  An adjusting firm location may not conduct the

 7  business of insurance unless a primary adjuster is designated.

 8  Failure of the person operating the adjusting firm to

 9  designate a primary adjuster for the firm, or for each

10  location, as applicable, on a form prescribed by the

11  department commission within 30 days after inception of the

12  firm or change of primary adjuster designation, constitutes

13  grounds for requiring the adjusting firm to obtain an

14  adjusting firm license pursuant to s. 626.8696.

15         (7)  Any adjusting firm may request, on a form

16  prescribed by the department commission, verification from the

17  department office of any person's current licensure status.

18  If a request is mailed to the office within 5 working days

19  after the date an adjuster is hired, and the department office

20  subsequently notifies the adjusting firm that an employee's

21  license is currently suspended, revoked, or has been denied,

22  the license of the primary adjuster shall not be revoked or

23  suspended if the unlicensed person is immediately dismissed

24  from employment as an adjuster with the firm.

25         Section 53.  Paragraph (e) of subsection (1) and

26  subsection (5) of section 626.8696, Florida Statutes, are

27  amended to read:

28         626.8696  Application for adjusting firm license.--

29         (1)  The application for an adjusting firm license must

30  include:

31  

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 1         (e)  Any additional information that which the

 2  department requires commission may require.

 3         (5)  An adjusting firm required to be licensed pursuant

 4  to s. 626.8695 must remain so licensed for a period of 3 years

 5  from the date of licensure, unless the license is suspended or

 6  revoked. The department office may suspend or revoke the

 7  adjusting firm's authority to do business for activities

 8  occurring during the time the firm is licensed, regardless of

 9  whether the licensing period has terminated.

10         Section 54.  Subsections (1), (2), and (3) of section

11  626.8697, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

12         626.8697  Grounds for refusal, suspension, or

13  revocation of adjusting firm license.--

14         (1)  The department office shall deny, suspend, revoke,

15  or refuse to continue the license of any adjusting firm if it

16  finds, as to any adjusting firm or as to any majority owner,

17  partner, manager, director, officer, or other person who

18  manages or controls the firm, that any of the following

19  grounds exist:

20         (a)  Lack by the firm of one or more of the

21  qualifications for the license as specified in this code.

22         (b)  Material misstatement, misrepresentation, or fraud

23  in obtaining the license or in attempting to obtain the

24  license.

25         (2)  The department office may, in its discretion,

26  deny, suspend, revoke, or refuse to continue the license of

27  any adjusting firm if it finds that any of the following

28  applicable grounds exist with respect to the firm or any

29  owner, partner, manager, director, officer, or other person

30  who is otherwise involved in the operation of the firm:

31  

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 1         (a)  Any cause for which issuance of the license could

 2  have been refused had it then existed and been known to the

 3  department office.

 4         (b)  Violation of any provision of this code or of any

 5  other law applicable to the business of insurance.

 6         (c)  Violation of any order or rule of the office or

 7  commission.

 8         (d)  An owner, partner, manager, director, officer, or

 9  other person who manages or controls the firm having been

10  found guilty of or having pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to

11  a felony or a crime punishable by imprisonment of 1 year or

12  more under the laws of the United States or of any state or

13  under the laws of any other country, without regard to whether

14  adjudication was made or withheld by the court.

15         (e)  Failure to inform the department office in writing

16  within 30 days after a pleading by an owner, partner, manager,

17  director, officer, or other person managing or controlling the

18  firm of guilty or nolo contendere to, or being convicted or

19  found guilty of, any felony or a crime punishable by

20  imprisonment of 1 year or more under the laws of the United

21  States or of any state, or under the laws of any other

22  country, without regard to whether adjudication was made or

23  withheld by the court.

24         (f)  Knowingly aiding, assisting, procuring, advising,

25  or abetting any person in the violation of or to violate a

26  provision of the insurance code or any order or rule of the

27  department, office, or commission.

28         (g)  Knowingly employing any individual in a managerial

29  capacity or in a capacity dealing with the public who is under

30  an order of revocation or suspension issued by the department

31  office.

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 1         (h)  Committing any of the following acts with such a

 2  frequency as to have made the operation of the adjusting firm

 3  hazardous to the insurance-buying public or other persons:

 4         1.  Misappropriation, conversion, or unlawful or

 5  unreasonable withholding of moneys belonging to insurers or

 6  insureds or beneficiaries or claimants or to others and

 7  received in the conduct of business under the license.

 8         2.  Misrepresentation or deception with regard to the

 9  business of insurance, dissemination of information, or

10  advertising.

11         3.  Demonstrated lack of fitness or trustworthiness to

12  engage in the business of insurance adjusting arising out of

13  activities related to insurance adjusting or the adjusting

14  firm.

15         (i)  Failure to appoint a primary adjuster.

16         (3)  In lieu of discretionary refusal, suspension, or

17  revocation of an adjusting firm's license, the department

18  office may impose an administrative penalty of up to $1,000

19  for each violation or ground provided under this section, not

20  to exceed an aggregate amount of $10,000 for all violations or

21  grounds.

22         Section 55.  Section 626.8698, Florida Statutes, is

23  amended to read:

24         626.8698  Disciplinary guidelines for public

25  adjusters.--The department office may deny, suspend, or revoke

26  the license of a public adjuster, and administer a fine not to

27  exceed $5,000 per act, for any of the following:

28         (1)  Violating any provision of this chapter or a rule

29  or order of the office or commission;

30         (2)  Receiving payment or anything of value as a result

31  of an unfair or deceptive practice;

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 1         (3)  Receiving or accepting any fee, kickback, or other

 2  thing of value pursuant to any agreement or understanding,

 3  oral or otherwise; entering into a split-fee arrangement with

 4  another person who is not a public adjuster; or being

 5  otherwise paid or accepting payment for services that have not

 6  been performed;

 7         (4)  Violating s. 316.066 or s. 817.234;

 8         (5)  Soliciting or otherwise taking advantage of a

 9  person who is vulnerable, emotional, or otherwise upset as the

10  result of a trauma, accident, or other similar occurrence; or

11         (6)  Violating any ethical rule of the department

12  commission.

13         Section 56.  Subsections (2) and (3) of section

14  626.870, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

15         626.870  Application for license.--

16         (2)  The department commission shall so prepare the

17  form of the application as to elicit and require from the

18  applicant the information necessary to enable the department

19  office to determine whether the applicant possesses the

20  qualifications prerequisite to issuance of the license to the

21  applicant.

22         (3)  The department commission may, in its discretion,

23  require that the application be supplemented by the

24  certificate or affidavit of such person or persons as it deems

25  necessary for its determination of the applicant's residence,

26  business reputation, and reputation for trustworthiness. The

27  department commission shall prescribe and the office may

28  furnish the forms for such certificates and affidavits.

29         Section 57.  Section 626.871, Florida Statutes, is

30  amended to read:

31  

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 1         626.871  Reappointment after military service.--The

 2  department office may, without requiring a further written

 3  examination, issue an appointment as an adjuster to a formerly

 4  licensed and appointed adjuster of this state who held a

 5  current adjuster's appointment at the time of entering service

 6  in the Armed Forces of the United States, subject to the

 7  following conditions:

 8         (1)  The period of military service must not have been

 9  in excess of 3 years;

10         (2)  The application for the appointment must be filed

11  with the department office and the applicable fee paid, within

12  12 months following the date of honorable discharge of the

13  applicant from the military service; and

14         (3)  The new appointment will be of the same type and

15  class as that currently effective at the time the applicant

16  entered military service; but, if such type and class of

17  appointment is not being currently issued under this code, the

18  new appointment shall be of that type and class or classes

19  most closely resembling those of the former appointment.

20         Section 58.  Subsections (1) and (5) of section

21  626.872, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

22         626.872  Temporary license.--

23         (1)  The department office may, in its discretion,

24  issue a temporary license as an independent adjuster or as a

25  company employee adjuster, subject to the following

26  conditions:

27         (a)  The applicant must be an employee of an adjuster

28  currently licensed by the department office, an employee of an

29  authorized insurer, or an employee of an established adjusting

30  firm or corporation which is supervised by a currently

31  licensed independent adjuster.

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 1         (b)  The application must be accompanied by a

 2  certificate of employment and a report as to the applicant's

 3  integrity and moral character on a form prescribed by the

 4  department commission and executed by the employer.

 5         (c)  The applicant must be a natural person of at least

 6  18 years of age, must be a bona fide resident of this state,

 7  must be trustworthy, and must have such business reputation as

 8  would reasonably assure that the applicant will conduct his or

 9  her business as an adjuster fairly and in good faith and

10  without detriment to the public.

11         (d)  The applicant's employer is responsible for the

12  adjustment acts of any licensee under this section.

13         (e)  The applicable license fee specified must be paid

14  before issuance of the temporary license.

15         (f)  The temporary license shall be effective for a

16  period of 1 year, but subject to earlier termination at the

17  request of the employer, or if the licensee fails to take an

18  examination as an independent adjuster or company employee

19  adjuster within 6 months after issuance of the temporary

20  license, or if suspended or revoked by the department office.

21         (5)  The department office shall not issue a temporary

22  license as an independent adjuster or as a company employee

23  adjuster to any individual who has ever held such a license in

24  this state.

25         Section 59.  Subsection (1) of section 626.873, Florida

26  Statutes, is amended to read:

27         626.873  Nonresident company employee adjusters.--

28         (1)  The department office shall, upon application

29  therefor, issue a license to an applicant for a nonresident

30  adjuster's license upon determining that the applicant has

31  

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 1  paid the applicable license fees required under s. 624.501

 2  and:

 3         (a)  Is a currently licensed insurance adjuster in his

 4  or her home state, if such state requires a license.

 5         (b)  Is an employee of an insurer, or a wholly owned

 6  subsidiary of an insurer, admitted to do business in this

 7  state.

 8         (c)  Has filed a certificate or letter of authorization

 9  from the insurance department of his or her home state, if

10  such state requires an adjuster to be licensed, stating that

11  he or she holds a current license or authorization to adjust

12  insurance losses.  Such certificate or authorization must be

13  signed by the insurance commissioner, or his or her deputy, of

14  the adjuster's home state and must reflect whether or not the

15  adjuster has ever had his or her license or authorization in

16  the adjuster's home state suspended or revoked and, if such is

17  the case, the reason for such action.

18         Section 60.  Section 626.8732, Florida Statutes, is

19  amended to read:

20         626.8732  Nonresident public adjuster's qualifications,

21  bond.--

22         (1)  The department office shall, upon application

23  therefor, issue a license to an applicant for a nonresident

24  public adjuster's license upon determining that the applicant

25  has paid the applicable license fees required under s. 624.501

26  and:

27         (a)  Is a natural person at least 18 years of age.

28         (b)  Has passed to the satisfaction of the department

29  office a written Florida public adjuster's examination of the

30  scope prescribed in s. 626.241(6); however, the requirement

31  

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 1  for such an examination does not apply to any of the

 2  following:

 3         1.  An applicant who is licensed as a resident public

 4  adjuster in his or her state of residence, when that state

 5  requires the passing of a written examination in order to

 6  obtain the license and a reciprocal agreement with the

 7  appropriate official of that state has been entered into by

 8  the department office; or

 9         2.  An applicant who is licensed as a nonresident

10  public adjuster in a state other than his or her state of

11  residence when the state of licensure requires the passing of

12  a written examination in order to obtain the license and a

13  reciprocal agreement with the appropriate official of the

14  state of licensure has been entered into by the department

15  office.

16         (c)  Is self-employed as a public adjuster or

17  associated with or employed by a public adjusting firm or

18  other public adjuster. Applicants licensed as nonresident

19  public adjusters under this section must be appointed as such

20  in accordance with the provisions of ss. 626.112 and 626.451.

21  Appointment fees in the amount specified in s. 624.501 must be

22  paid to the department office in advance. The appointment of a

23  nonresident public adjuster shall continue in force until

24  suspended, revoked, or otherwise terminated, but subject to

25  biennial renewal or continuation by the licensee in accordance

26  with procedures prescribed in s. 626.381 for licensees in

27  general.

28         (d)  Is trustworthy and has such business reputation as

29  would reasonably assure that he or she will conduct his or her

30  business as a nonresident public adjuster fairly and in good

31  faith and without detriment to the public.

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 1         (e)  Has had sufficient experience, training, or

 2  instruction concerning the adjusting of damages or losses

 3  under insurance contracts, other than life and annuity

 4  contracts; is sufficiently informed as to the terms and

 5  effects of the provisions of those types of insurance

 6  contracts; and possesses adequate knowledge of the laws of

 7  this state relating to such contracts as to enable and qualify

 8  him or her to engage in the business of insurance adjuster

 9  fairly and without injury to the public or any member thereof

10  with whom he or she may have business as a public adjuster.

11         (2)  The applicant shall furnish the following with his

12  or her application:

13         (a)  A complete set of his or her fingerprints. The

14  applicant's fingerprints must be certified by an authorized

15  law enforcement officer. The department office may not

16  authorize an applicant to take the required examination or

17  issue a nonresident public adjuster's license to the applicant

18  until the department office has received a report from the

19  Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau

20  of Investigation relative to the existence or nonexistence of

21  a criminal history report based on the applicant's

22  fingerprints.

23         (b)  If currently licensed as a resident public

24  adjuster in the applicant's state of residence, a certificate

25  or letter of authorization from the licensing authority of the

26  applicant's state of residence, stating that the applicant

27  holds a current or comparable license to act as a public

28  adjuster. The certificate or letter of authorization must be

29  signed by the insurance commissioner or his or her deputy or

30  the appropriate licensing official and must disclose whether

31  the adjuster has ever had any license or eligibility to hold

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 1  any license declined, denied, suspended, revoked, or placed on

 2  probation or whether an administrative fine or penalty has

 3  been levied against the adjuster and, if so, the reason for

 4  the action.

 5         (c)  If the applicant's state of residence does not

 6  require licensure as a public adjuster and the applicant has

 7  been licensed as a resident insurance adjuster, agent, broker,

 8  or other insurance representative in his or her state of

 9  residence or any other state within the past 3 years, a

10  certificate or letter of authorization from the licensing

11  authority stating that the applicant holds or has held a

12  license to act as such an insurance adjuster, agent, or other

13  insurance representative. The certificate or letter of

14  authorization must be signed by the insurance commissioner or

15  his or her deputy or the appropriate licensing official and

16  must disclose whether or not the adjuster, agent, or other

17  insurance representative has ever had any license or

18  eligibility to hold any license declined, denied, suspended,

19  revoked, or placed on probation or whether an administrative

20  fine or penalty has been levied against the adjuster and, if

21  so, the reason for the action.

22         (3)  At the time of application for license as a

23  nonresident public adjuster, the applicant shall file with the

24  department office a bond executed and issued by a surety

25  insurer authorized to transact surety business in this state,

26  in the amount of $50,000, conditioned for the faithful

27  performance of his or her duties as a nonresident public

28  adjuster under the license applied for. The bond must be in

29  favor of the department office and must specifically authorize

30  recovery by the department office of the damages sustained if

31  the licensee commits fraud or unfair practices in connection

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 1  with his or her business as nonresident public adjuster. The

 2  aggregate liability of the surety for all the damages may not

 3  exceed the amount of the bond. The bond may not be terminated

 4  unless at least 30 days' written notice is given to the

 5  licensee and filed with the department office.

 6         (4)  The usual and customary records pertaining to

 7  transactions under the license of a nonresident public

 8  adjuster must be retained for at least 3 years after

 9  completion of the adjustment and must be made available in

10  this state to the department office upon request. The failure

11  of a nonresident public adjuster to properly maintain records

12  and make them available to the department office upon request

13  constitutes grounds for the immediate suspension of the

14  license issued under this section.

15         (5)  After licensure as a nonresident public adjuster,

16  as a condition of doing business in this state, the licensee

17  must annually on or before January 1, on a form prescribed by

18  the department commission, submit an affidavit certifying that

19  the licensee is familiar with and understands the insurance

20  code and rules adopted thereunder and the provisions of the

21  contracts negotiated or to be negotiated. Compliance with this

22  filing requirement is a condition precedent to the issuance,

23  continuation, reinstatement, or renewal of a nonresident

24  public adjuster's appointment.

25         Section 61.  Subsections (1), (3), and (4) of section

26  626.8734, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

27         626.8734  Nonresident independent adjuster's

28  qualifications.--

29         (1)  The department office shall, upon application

30  therefor, issue a license to an applicant for a nonresident

31  independent adjuster's license upon determining that the

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 1  applicant has paid the applicable license fees required under

 2  s. 624.501 and:

 3         (a)  Is a natural person at least 18 years of age.

 4         (b)  Has passed to the satisfaction of the department

 5  office a written Florida independent adjuster's examination of

 6  the scope prescribed in s. 626.241(6); however, the

 7  requirement for the examination does not apply to any of the

 8  following:

 9         1.  An applicant who is licensed as a resident

10  independent adjuster in his or her state of residence when

11  that state requires the passing of a written examination in

12  order to obtain the license and a reciprocal agreement with

13  the appropriate official of that state has been entered into

14  by the department office; or

15         2.  An applicant who is licensed as a nonresident

16  independent adjuster in a state other than his or her state of

17  residence when the state of licensure requires the passing of

18  a written examination in order to obtain the license and a

19  reciprocal agreement with the appropriate official of the

20  state of licensure has been entered into by the department

21  office.

22         (c)  Is self-employed or associated with or employed by

23  an independent adjusting firm or other independent adjuster.

24  Applicants licensed as nonresident independent adjusters under

25  this section must be appointed as such in accordance with the

26  provisions of ss. 626.112 and 626.451. Appointment fees in the

27  amount specified in s. 624.501 must be paid to the department

28  office in advance. The appointment of a nonresident

29  independent adjuster shall continue in force until suspended,

30  revoked, or otherwise terminated, but subject to biennial

31  

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 1  renewal or continuation by the licensee in accordance with

 2  procedures prescribed in s. 626.381 for licensees in general.

 3         (d)  Is trustworthy and has such business reputation as

 4  would reasonably assure that he or she will conduct his or her

 5  business as a nonresident independent adjuster fairly and in

 6  good faith and without detriment to the public.

 7         (e)  Has had sufficient experience, training, or

 8  instruction concerning the adjusting of damages or losses

 9  under insurance contracts, other than life and annuity

10  contracts; is sufficiently informed as to the terms and

11  effects of the provisions of those types of insurance

12  contracts; and possesses adequate knowledge of the laws of

13  this state relating to such contracts as to enable and qualify

14  him or her to engage in the business of insurance adjuster

15  fairly and without injury to the public or any member thereof

16  with whom he or she may have business as an independent

17  adjuster.

18         (3)  The usual and customary records pertaining to

19  transactions under the license of a nonresident independent

20  adjuster must be retained for at least 3 years after

21  completion of the adjustment and must be made available in

22  this state to the department office upon request. The failure

23  of a nonresident independent adjuster to properly maintain

24  records and make them available to the department office upon

25  request constitutes grounds for the immediate suspension of

26  the license issued under this section.

27         (4)  After licensure as a nonresident independent

28  adjuster, as a condition of doing business in this state, the

29  licensee must annually on or before January 1, on a form

30  prescribed by the department commission, submit an affidavit

31  certifying that the licensee is familiar with and understands

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 1  the insurance laws and administrative rules of this state and

 2  the provisions of the contracts negotiated or to be

 3  negotiated. Compliance with this filing requirement is a

 4  condition precedent to the issuance, continuation,

 5  reinstatement, or renewal of a nonresident independent

 6  adjuster's appointment.

 7         Section 62.  Subsection (4) of section 626.8736,

 8  Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

 9         626.8736  Nonresident independent or public adjusters;

10  service of process.--

11         (4)  Upon receiving the service, the Chief Financial

12  Officer shall forthwith send one of the copies of the process,

13  by registered mail with return receipt requested, to the

14  defendant nonresident independent or public adjuster at his or

15  her last address of record with the department office.

16         Section 63.  Section 626.8738, is amended to read:

17         626.8738  Penalty for violation.--In addition to any

18  other remedy imposed pursuant to this code, any person who

19  acts as a resident or nonresident public adjuster or holds

20  himself or herself out to be a public adjuster to adjust

21  claims in this state, without being licensed by the department

22  office as a public adjuster and appointed as a public

23  adjuster, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as

24  provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. Each act in

25  violation of this section constitutes a separate offense.

26         Section 64.  Section 626.874, Florida Statutes, is

27  amended to read:

28         626.874  Catastrophe or emergency adjusters.--

29         (1)  In the event of a catastrophe or emergency, the

30  department office may issue a license, for the purposes and

31  under the conditions which it shall fix and for the period of

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 1  emergency as it shall determine, to persons who are residents

 2  or nonresidents of this state, who are at least 18 years of

 3  age, who are United States citizens or legal aliens who

 4  possess work authorization from the United States Immigration

 5  and Naturalization Service, and who are not licensed adjusters

 6  under this part but who have been designated and certified to

 7  it as qualified to act as adjusters by independent resident

 8  adjusters or by an authorized insurer or by a licensed general

 9  lines agent to adjust claims, losses, or damages under

10  policies or contracts of insurance issued by such insurers.

11  The fee for the license shall be as provided in s.

12  624.501(12)(c).

13         (2)  If any person not a licensed adjuster who has been

14  permitted to adjust such losses, claims, or damages under the

15  conditions and circumstances set forth in subsection (1),

16  engages in any of the misconduct described in or contemplated

17  by ss. 626.611 and 626.621, the department office, without

18  notice and hearing, shall be authorized to issue its order

19  denying such person the privileges granted under this section;

20  and thereafter it shall be unlawful for any such person to

21  adjust any such losses, claims, or damages in this state.

22         Section 65.  Section 626.878, Florida Statutes, is

23  amended to read:

24         626.878  Rules; code of ethics.--An adjuster shall

25  subscribe to the code of ethics specified in the rules of the

26  department commission. The rules shall implement the

27  provisions of this part and specify the terms and conditions

28  of contracts, including a right to cancel, and require

29  practices necessary to ensure fair dealing, prohibit conflicts

30  of interest, and ensure preservation of the rights of the

31  claimant to participate in the adjustment of claims.

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 1         Section 66.  Section 627.7012, Florida Statutes, is

 2  transferred, renumbered as section 626.879, Florida Statutes,

 3  and amended to read:

 4         626.879627.7012  Pools of insurance adjusters.--The

 5  department commission may, by rule, establish a pool of

 6  qualified insurance adjusters. The rules must provide that, if

 7  a hurricane occurs or an emergency is declared, the department

 8  office may assign members of the pool to the affected area and

 9  that an insurer may request that a member of the pool adjust

10  claims in the assigned area. The rules may not require that an

11  insurer use those adjusters assigned by the department office.

12         Section 67.  Subsection (3) of section 626.9543,

13  Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

14         626.9543  Holocaust victims.--

15         (3)  DEFINITIONS.--For the purpose of this section:

16         (a)  "Department" means the Department of Insurance.

17         (a)(b)  "Holocaust victim" means any person who lost

18  his or her life or property as a result of discriminatory

19  laws, policies, or actions targeted against discrete groups of

20  persons between 1920 and 1945, inclusive, in Nazi Germany,

21  areas occupied by Nazi Germany, or countries allied with Nazi

22  Germany.

23         (b)(c)  "Insurance policy" means, but is not limited

24  to, life insurance, property insurance, or education policies.

25         (c)(d)  "Legal relationship" means any parent,

26  subsidiary, or affiliated company with an insurer doing

27  business in this state.

28         (d)(e)  "Proceeds" means the face or other payout value

29  of policies and annuities plus reasonable interest to date of

30  payments without diminution for wartime or immediate postwar

31  currency devaluation.

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 1         Section 68.  Paragraphs (c), (e), and (f) of subsection

 2  (9) of section 626.989, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:

 3         626.989  Investigation by department or Division of

 4  Insurance Fraud; compliance; immunity; confidential

 5  information; reports to division; division investigator's

 6  power of arrest.--

 7         (9)  In recognition of the complementary roles of

 8  investigating instances of workers' compensation fraud and

 9  enforcing compliance with the workers' compensation coverage

10  requirements under chapter 440, the Department of Financial

11  Services shall prepare and submit a joint performance report

12  to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of

13  Representatives by November 1, 2003, and then by January 1 of

14  each year. The annual report must include, but need not be

15  limited to:

16         (c)  The number of investigations undertaken by the

17  Bureau of Workers' Compensation Insurance Fraud office which

18  were not the result of a referral from an insurer or the

19  Division of Workers' Compensation.

20         (e)  The number and reasons provided by local

21  prosecutors or the statewide prosecutor for declining

22  prosecution of a case presented by the Bureau of Workers'

23  Compensation Insurance Fraud office by circuit.

24         (f)  The total number of employees assigned to the

25  Bureau of Workers' Compensation Insurance Fraud office and the

26  Division of Workers' Compensation Bureau of Compliance unit

27  delineated by location of staff assigned; and the number and

28  location of employees assigned to the Bureau of Workers'

29  Compensation Insurance Fraud office who were assigned to work

30  other types of fraud cases.

31  

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 1         Section 69.  Subsection (2) of section 627.0628,

 2  Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

 3         627.0628  Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss

 4  Projection Methodology.--

 5         (2)  COMMISSION CREATED.--

 6         (a)  There is created the Florida Commission on

 7  Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology, which is assigned to

 8  the State Board of Administration.  For the purposes of this

 9  section, the term "commission" means the Florida Commission on

10  Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology. The commission shall be

11  administratively housed within the State Board of

12  Administration, but it shall independently exercise the powers

13  and duties specified in this section.

14         (b)  The commission shall consist of the following 11

15  members:

16         1.  The insurance consumer advocate.

17         2.  The senior employee of the State Board of

18  Administration responsible for operations of the Florida

19  Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.

20         3.  The Executive Director of the Citizens Property

21  Insurance Corporation.

22         4.  The Director of the Division of Emergency

23  Management of the Department of Community Affairs.

24         5.  The actuary member of the Florida Hurricane

25  Catastrophe Fund Advisory Council.

26         6.  An employee of the office who is an actuary

27  responsible for property insurance rate filings and who is

28  appointed by the director of the office.

29         7.6.  Five Six members appointed by the Chief Financial

30  Officer, as follows:

31  

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 1         a.  An employee of the office who is an actuary

 2  responsible for property insurance rate filings.

 3         a.b.  An actuary who is employed full time by a

 4  property and casualty insurer which was responsible for at

 5  least 1 percent of the aggregate statewide direct written

 6  premium for homeowner's insurance in the calendar year

 7  preceding the member's appointment to the commission.

 8         b.c.  An expert in insurance finance who is a full time

 9  member of the faculty of the State University System and who

10  has a background in actuarial science.

11         c.d.  An expert in statistics who is a full time member

12  of the faculty of the State University System and who has a

13  background in insurance.

14         d.e.  An expert in computer system design who is a full

15  time member of the faculty of the State University System.

16         e.f.  An expert in meteorology who is a full time

17  member of the faculty of the State University System and who

18  specializes in hurricanes.

19         (c)  Members designated under subparagraphs (b)1.-5.

20  shall serve on the commission as long as they maintain the

21  respective offices designated in subparagraphs (b)1.-5. The

22  member appointed by the director of the office under

23  subparagraph (b)6. shall serve on the commission until the end

24  of the term of office of the director who appointed him or

25  her, unless removed earlier by the director for cause. Members

26  appointed by the Chief Financial Officer under subparagraph

27  (b)7. subparagraph (b)6. shall serve on the commission until

28  the end of the term of office of the Chief Financial Officer

29  who appointed them, unless earlier removed by the Chief

30  Financial Officer for cause.  Vacancies on the commission

31  

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 1  shall be filled in the same manner as the original

 2  appointment.

 3         (d)  The State Board of Administration shall annually

 4  appoint one of the members of the commission to serve as

 5  chair.

 6         (e)  Members of the commission shall serve without

 7  compensation, but shall be reimbursed for per diem and travel

 8  expenses pursuant to s. 112.061.

 9         (f)  The State Board of Administration shall, as a cost

10  of administration of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund,

11  provide for travel, expenses, and staff support for the

12  commission.

13         (g)  There shall be no liability on the part of, and no

14  cause of action of any nature shall arise against, any member

15  of the commission, any member of the State Board of

16  Administration, or any employee of the State Board of

17  Administration for any action taken in the performance of

18  their duties under this section. In addition, the commission

19  may, in writing, waive any potential cause of action for

20  negligence of a consultant, contractor, or contract employee

21  engaged to assist the commission.

22         Section 70.  Paragraph (b) of subsection (11) of

23  section 627.6699, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

24         627.6699  Employee Health Care Access Act.--

25         (11)  SMALL EMPLOYER HEALTH REINSURANCE PROGRAM.--

26         (b)1.  The program shall operate subject to the

27  supervision and control of the board.

28         2.  Effective upon this act becoming a law, the board

29  shall consist of the director of the office Chief Financial

30  Officer or his or her designee, who shall serve as the

31  chairperson, and 13 additional members who are representatives

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 1  of carriers and insurance agents and are appointed by the

 2  director of the office Chief Financial Officer and serve as

 3  follows:

 4         a.  The director of the office Chief Financial Officer

 5  shall include representatives of small employer carriers

 6  subject to assessment under this subsection.  If two or more

 7  carriers elect to be risk-assuming carriers, the membership

 8  must include at least two representatives of risk-assuming

 9  carriers; if one carrier is risk-assuming, one member must be

10  a representative of such carrier.  At least one member must be

11  a carrier who is subject to the assessments, but is not a

12  small employer carrier.  Subject to such restrictions, at

13  least five members shall be selected from individuals

14  recommended by small employer carriers pursuant to procedures

15  provided by rule of the commission. Three members shall be

16  selected from a list of health insurance carriers that issue

17  individual health insurance policies. At least two of the

18  three members selected must be reinsuring carriers. Two

19  members shall be selected from a list of insurance agents who

20  are actively engaged in the sale of health insurance.

21         b.  A member appointed under this subparagraph shall

22  serve a term of 4 years and shall continue in office until the

23  member's successor takes office, except that, in order to

24  provide for staggered terms, the director of the office Chief

25  Financial Officer shall designate two of the initial

26  appointees under this subparagraph to serve terms of 2 years

27  and shall designate three of the initial appointees under this

28  subparagraph to serve terms of 3 years.

29         3.  The director of the office Chief Financial Officer

30  may remove a member for cause.

31  

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 1         4.  Vacancies on the board shall be filled in the same

 2  manner as the original appointment for the unexpired portion

 3  of the term.

 4         5.  The director of the office Chief Financial Officer

 5  may require an entity that recommends persons for appointment

 6  to submit additional lists of recommended appointees.

 7         Section 71.  The transfer of the regulation of

 8  adjusters from the Office of Insurance Regulation to the

 9  Department of Financial Services by this act shall not affect

10  the regulation of adjusters in any administrative or judicial

11  action of the Office of Insurance Regulation arising out of or

12  involving the Office of Insurance Regulation before or pending

13  on the effective date of this act, and the Department of

14  Financial Services shall be substituted as a party in interest

15  on any such pending action.

16         Section 72.  Any license, form, or action that was

17  approved or authorized by the Financial Services Commission or

18  the Office of Insurance Regulation which was otherwise

19  lawfully in use before the effective date of this act may

20  continue to be used or be effective as originally authorized

21  or permitted, until the Department of Financial Services

22  otherwise prescribes.

23         Section 73.  Upon the effective date of this act, the

24  rules or portions thereof of the Financial Services Commission

25  which govern the regulation of insurance adjusters shall

26  become rules or portions thereof of the Department of

27  Financial Services as is appropriate to the corresponding

28  regulatory or constitutional function and shall remain in

29  effect until specifically amended or repealed in the manner

30  provided by law.

31         Section 74.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2004.

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 1            *****************************************

 2                          SENATE SUMMARY

 3    Transfers responsibility for regulation of adjusters from
      the Office of Insurance Regulation to the Department of
 4    Financial Services. Transfers various additional duties
      from the Chief Financial Officer to the Director of the
 5    Office of Insurance Regulation. Revises other duties of
      the office and the department. (See bill for details.)
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