Section 626.112, Florida Statutes 2003
626.112 License and appointment required; agents, customer representatives, adjusters, insurance agencies, service representatives, managing general agents.--
(1)(a) No person may be, act as, or advertise or hold himself or herself out to be an insurance agent or customer representative unless he or she is currently licensed by the department and appointed by one or more insurers. No person may be, act as, or advertise or hold himself or herself out to be an insurance adjuster unless he or she is currently licensed by the office and appointed by one or more insurers.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (6) or in applicable department rules, and in addition to other conduct described in this chapter with respect to particular types of agents, a license as an insurance agent, service representative, customer representative, or limited customer representative is required in order to engage in the solicitation of insurance. For purposes of this requirement, as applicable to any of the license types described in this section, the solicitation of insurance is the attempt to persuade any person to purchase an insurance product by:
1. Describing the benefits or terms of insurance coverage, including premiums or rates of return;
2. Distributing an invitation to contract to prospective purchasers;
3. Making general or specific recommendations as to insurance products;
4. Completing orders or applications for insurance products; or
5. Comparing insurance products, advising as to insurance matters, or interpreting policies or coverages.
However, an employee leasing company licensed pursuant to chapter 468 which is seeking to enter into a contract with an employer that identifies products and services offered to employees may deliver proposals for the purchase of employee leasing services to prospective clients of the employee leasing company setting forth the terms and conditions of doing business; classify employees as permitted by s. 468.529; collect information from prospective clients and other sources as necessary to perform due diligence on the prospective client and to prepare a proposal for services; provide and receive enrollment forms, plans, and other documents; and discuss or explain in general terms the conditions, limitations, options, or exclusions of insurance benefit plans available to the client or employees of the employee leasing company were the client to contract with the employee leasing company. Any advertising materials or other documents describing specific insurance coverages must identify and be from a licensed insurer or its licensed agent or a licensed and appointed agent employed by the employee leasing company. The employee leasing company may not advise or inform the prospective business client or individual employees of specific coverage provisions, exclusions, or limitations of particular plans. As to clients for which the employee leasing company is providing services pursuant to s. 468.525(4), the employee leasing company may engage in activities permitted by ss. 626.7315, 626.7845, and 626.8305, subject to the restrictions specified in those sections. If a prospective client requests more specific information concerning the insurance provided by the employee leasing company, the employee leasing company must refer the prospective business client to the insurer or
its licensed agent or to a licensed and appointed agent employed by the employee leasing company.
(2) No agent or customer representative shall solicit or otherwise transact as agent or customer representative, or represent or hold himself or herself out to be an agent or customer representative as to, any kind or kinds of insurance as to which he or she is not then licensed and appointed.
(3) No person shall act as an adjuster as to any class of business for which he or she is not then licensed and appointed.
(4) No person shall be, act as, or represent or hold himself or herself out to be a service representative unless he or she then holds a currently effective service representative license and appointment. This subsection does not apply as to similar representatives or employees of casualty insurers whose duties are restricted to health insurance.
(5) No person shall be, act as, or represent or hold himself or herself out to be a managing general agent unless he or she then holds a currently effective managing general agent license and appointment.
(6) An individual employed by a life or health insurer as an officer or other salaried representative may solicit and effect contracts of life insurance or annuities or of health insurance, without being licensed as an agent, when and only when he or she is accompanied by and solicits for and on the behalf of a licensed and appointed agent.
(7)(a) No individual, firm, partnership, corporation, association, or any other entity shall act in its own name or under a trade name, directly or indirectly, as an insurance agency, when required to be licensed by this subsection, unless it complies with s. 626.172 with respect to possessing an insurance agency license for each place of business at which it engages in any activity which may be performed only by a licensed insurance agent.
(b) An insurance agency shall, as a condition precedent to continuing business, obtain an insurance agency license if the department finds that, with respect to any majority owner, partner, manager, director, officer, or other person who manages or controls the agency, any person has, subsequent to the effective date of this act:
1. Been found guilty of, or has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to, a felony in this state or any other state relating to the business of insurance or to an insurance agency, without regard to whether a judgment of conviction has been entered by the court having jurisdiction of the cases.
2. Employed any individual in a managerial capacity or in a capacity dealing with the public who is under an order of revocation or suspension issued by the department. An insurance agency may request, on forms prescribed by the department, verification of any person's license status. If a request is mailed within 5 working days after an employee is hired, and the employee's license is currently suspended or revoked, the agency shall not be required to obtain a license, if the unlicensed person's employment is immediately terminated.
3. Operated the agency or permitted the agency to be operated in violation of s. 626.747.
4. With such frequency as to have made the operation of the agency hazardous to the insurance-buying public or other persons:
a. Solicited or handled controlled business. This subparagraph shall not prohibit the licensing of any lending or financing institution or creditor, with respect to insurance only, under credit life or disability insurance policies of borrowers from the institutions, which policies are subject to part IX of chapter 627.
b. Misappropriated, converted, or unlawfully withheld moneys belonging to insurers, insureds, beneficiaries, or others and received in the conduct of business under the license.
c. Unlawfully rebated, attempted to unlawfully rebate, or unlawfully divided or offered to divide commissions with another.
d. Misrepresented any insurance policy or annuity contract, or used deception with regard to any policy or contract, done either in person or by any form of dissemination of information or advertising.
e. Violated any provision of this code or any other law applicable to the business of insurance in the course of dealing under the license.
f. Violated any lawful order or rule of the department.
g. Failed or refused, upon demand, to pay over to any insurer he or she represents or has represented any money coming into his or her hands belonging to the insurer.
h. Violated the provision against twisting as defined in s. 626.9541(1)(l).
i. In the conduct of business, engaged in unfair methods of competition or in unfair or deceptive acts or practices, as prohibited under part IX of this chapter.
j. Willfully overinsured any property insurance risk.
k. Engaged in fraudulent or dishonest practices in the conduct of business arising out of activities related to insurance or the insurance agency.
l. Demonstrated lack of fitness or trustworthiness to engage in the business of insurance arising out of activities related to insurance or the insurance agency.
m. Authorized or knowingly allowed individuals to transact insurance who were not then licensed as required by this code.
5. Knowingly employed any person who within the preceding 3 years has had his or her relationship with an agency terminated in accordance with paragraph (d).
6. Willfully circumvented the requirements or prohibitions of this code.
(c) An agency required to be licensed in accordance with paragraph (b) shall remain so licensed for a period of 3 years from the date of licensure unless the license is suspended or revoked in accordance with law. The department may revoke or suspend the agency authority to do business for activities occurring during the time the agency is licensed, regardless of whether the licensing period has terminated.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, no insurance agency shall be required to apply for an agency license if such agency can prove to the department that:
1. The agency is severing its relationship with each majority owner, partner, manager, director, officer, or other person who managed or controlled such agency and who violated any of the provisions of paragraph (b).
2. No such majority owner, partner, manager, director, officer, or other person who managed such agency is to be affiliated with such agency in any capacity for a period of 3 years from the date of such severance.
(8) No insurance agent, insurance agency, or other person licensed under the Insurance Code may pay any fee or other consideration to an unlicensed person other than an insurance agency for the referral of prospective purchasers to an insurance agent which is in any way dependent upon whether the referral results in the purchase of an insurance product.
History.--s. 190, ch. 59-205; ss. 13, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 3, ch. 81-282; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 154, 217, 807, 810, ch. 82-243; s. 16, ch. 87-226; s. 56, ch. 89-360; ss. 13, 206, 207, ch. 90-363; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 211, ch. 97-102; s. 8, ch. 98-199; s. 45, ch. 2001-63; s. 3, ch. 2001-142; ss. 8, 48, ch. 2002-206; s. 78, ch. 2003-1; s. 910, ch. 2003-261; s. 22, ch. 2003-267; s. 15, ch. 2003-281.