(1) The department or office may, upon its own motion or upon a written complaint signed by any interested person and filed with the department or office, inquire into any alleged improper conduct of any licensed insurance agency, agent, adjuster, service representative, managing general agent, customer representative, title insurance agent, title insurance agency, continuing education course provider, instructor, school official, or monitor group under this code. The department or office may thereafter initiate an investigation of any such licensee if it has reasonable cause to believe that the licensee has violated any provision of the insurance code. During the course of its investigation, the department or office shall contact the licensee being investigated unless it determines that contacting such person could jeopardize the successful completion of the investigation or cause injury to the public.
(2) In the investigation by the department or office of the alleged misconduct, the licensee shall, whenever so required by the department or office, cause his or her books and records to be open for inspection for the purpose of such inquiries.
(3) The complaints against any licensee may be informally alleged and need not be in any such language as is necessary to charge a crime on an indictment or information.
(4) The expense for any hearings or investigations under this law, as well as the fees and mileage of witnesses, may be paid out of the appropriate fund.
(5) If the department or office, after investigation, has reason to believe that a licensee may have been found guilty of or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or a crime related to the business of insurance in this or any other state or jurisdiction, the department or office may require the licensee to file with the department or office a complete set of his or her fingerprints, which shall be accompanied by the fingerprint processing fee set forth in s. 624.501. The fingerprints shall be taken by an authorized law enforcement agency or other department-approved entity.
(6) The complaint and any information obtained pursuant to the investigation by the department or office are confidential and are exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07, unless the department or office files a formal administrative complaint, emergency order, or consent order against the licensee. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent the department or office from disclosing the complaint or such information as it deems necessary to conduct the investigation, to update the complainant as to the status and outcome of the complaint, or to share such information with any law enforcement agency.
History.—s. 239, ch. 59-205; ss. 13, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 11, ch. 71-86; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 3, ch. 81-282; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 203, 217, 807, 810, ch. 82-243; ss. 54, 206, 207, ch. 90-363; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 13, ch. 92-146; s. 372, ch. 96-406; s. 1725, ch. 97-102; s. 2, ch. 98-103; s. 27, ch. 98-199; s. 11, ch. 2001-142; s. 58, ch. 2002-206; s. 946, ch. 2003-261; s. 40, ch. 2003-267; s. 33, ch. 2003-281; s. 20, ch. 2005-257.