Section 624.404, Florida Statutes 2001
624.404 General eligibility of insurers for certificate of authority.--To qualify for and hold authority to transact insurance in this state, an insurer must be otherwise in compliance with this code and with its charter powers and must be an incorporated stock insurer, an incorporated mutual insurer, or a reciprocal insurer, of the same general type as may be formed as a domestic insurer under this code; except that:
(1) No insurer shall be authorized to transact insurance in this state which does not maintain reserves as required by part I of chapter 625 applicable to the kind or kinds of insurance transacted by such insurer, wherever transacted in the United States, or which transacts insurance in the United States on the assessment premium plan, stipulated premium plan, cooperative plan, or any similar plan.
(2) No foreign or alien insurer or exchange shall be authorized to transact insurance in this state unless it is otherwise qualified therefor under this code and has operated satisfactorily for at least 3 years in its state or country of domicile; however, the department may waive the 3-year requirement if the foreign or alien insurer or exchange:
(a) Has operated successfully and has capital and surplus of $5 million;
(b) Is the wholly owned subsidiary of an insurer which is an authorized insurer in this state;
(c) Is the successor in interest through merger or consolidation of an authorized insurer; or
(d) Provides a product or service not readily available to the consumers of this state.
(3)(a) The department shall not grant or continue authority to transact insurance in this state as to any insurer the management, officers, or directors of which are found by it to be incompetent or untrustworthy; or so lacking in insurance company managerial experience as to make the proposed operation hazardous to the insurance-buying public; or so lacking in insurance experience, ability, and standing as to jeopardize the reasonable promise of successful operation; or which it has good reason to believe are affiliated directly or indirectly through ownership, control, reinsurance transactions, or other insurance or business relations, with any person or persons whose business operations are or have been marked, to the detriment of policyholders or stockholders or investors or creditors or of the public, by manipulation of assets, accounts, or reinsurance or by bad faith.
(b) The department shall not grant or continue authority to transact insurance in this state as to any insurer if any person, including any subscriber, stockholder, or incorporator, who exercises or has the ability to exercise effective control of the insurer, or who influences or has the ability to influence the transaction of the business of the insurer, does not possess the financial standing and business experience for the successful operation of the insurer.
(c) The department may deny, suspend, or revoke the authority to transact insurance in this state of any insurer if any person, including any subscriber, stockholder, or incorporator, who exercises or has the ability to exercise effective control of the insurer, or who influences or has the ability to influence the transaction of the business of the insurer, has been found guilty of, or has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to, any felony or crime punishable by imprisonment of 1 year or more under the law of the United States or any state thereof or under the law of any other country which involves moral turpitude, without regard to whether a judgment of conviction has been entered by the court having jurisdiction in such case. However, in the case of an insurer operating under a subsisting certificate of authority, the insurer shall remove any such person immediately upon discovery of the conditions set forth in this paragraph when applicable to such person or upon the order of the department, and the failure to so act by said insurer shall be grounds for revocation or suspension of the insurer's certificate of authority.
(d) The department may deny, suspend, or revoke the authority of an insurer to transact insurance in this state if any person, including any subscriber, stockholder, or incorporator, who exercises or has the ability to exercise effective control of the insurer, or who influences or has the ability to influence the transaction of the business of the insurer, which person the department has good reason to believe is now or was in the past affiliated directly or indirectly, through ownership interest of 10 percent or more, control, or reinsurance transactions, with any business, corporation, or other entity that has been found guilty of or has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any felony or crime punishable by imprisonment for 1 year or more under the laws of the United States, any state, or any other country, regardless of adjudication. However, in the case of an insurer operating under a subsisting certificate of authority, the insurer shall immediately remove such person or immediately notify the department of such person upon discovery of the conditions set forth in this paragraph, either when applicable to such person or upon order of the department; the failure to remove such person, provide such notice, or comply with such order constitutes grounds for suspension or revocation of the insurer's certificate of authority.
(4)(a) No authorized insurer shall act as a fronting company for any unauthorized insurer which is not an approved reinsurer.
(b) A "fronting company" is an authorized insurer which by reinsurance or otherwise generally transfers more than 50 percent to one unauthorized insurer which is not an approved reinsurer, or more than 75 percent to two or more unauthorized insurers which are not approved reinsurers, of the entire risk of loss on all of the insurance written by it in this state, or on one or more lines of insurance, on all of the business produced through one or more agents or agencies, or on all of the business from a designated geographical territory, without obtaining the prior approval of the department.
(c) The department may, in its discretion, approve a transfer of risk in excess of the limits in paragraph (b) upon presentation of evidence, satisfactory to the department, that the transfer would be in the best interests of the financial condition of the insurer and in the best interests of the policyholders.
(5) No insurer shall be authorized to transact insurance in this state which, during the 3 years immediately preceding its application for a certificate of authority, has violated any of the insurance laws of this state and after being informed of such violation has failed to correct the same; except that, if all other requirements are met, the department may nevertheless issue a certificate of authority to such an insurer upon the filing by the insurer of a sworn statement of all such insurance so written in violation of law, and upon payment to the department of a sum of money as additional filing fee equivalent to all premium taxes and other state taxes and fees as would have been payable by the insurer if such insurance had been lawfully written by an authorized insurer under the laws of this state. This fee, when collected, shall be deposited to the credit of the Insurance Commissioner's Regulatory Trust Fund.
(6) Nothing in this code shall be deemed to prohibit the granting and continuance of a certificate of authority to a domestic title insurer organized as a business trust, if the declaration of trust of such insurer was filed in the office of the Secretary of State prior to January 1, 1959, and if the insurer otherwise meets the applicable requirements of this code. Such an insurer may hereinafter in this code be referred to as a "business trust insurer."
(7) For the purpose of satisfying the requirements of ss. 624.407 and 624.408, the investment portfolio of an insurer applying for an initial certificate of authority to do business in this state shall value its bonds and stocks in accordance with the provisions of the latest edition of the publication "Valuations of Securities" by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 1990, and subsequent amendments thereto, if the valuation methodology remains substantially unchanged.
History.--s. 48, ch. 59-205; s. 3, ch. 65-269; ss. 13, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 74-44; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 15, ch. 77-468; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 40, 64, 809(1st), ch. 82-243; s. 3, ch. 83-288; s. 1, ch. 84-65; s. 1, ch. 86-140; s. 4, ch. 88-166; s. 24, ch. 89-360; ss. 14, 187, 188, ch. 91-108; s. 4, ch. 91-429.