CS/HB 633 Bill Text

CS/HB 633 Analyses: Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee (Post-Meeting) 3/4/2014

SB 1210

Once again this session, there is a package (HB 633, SB 1210) of revisions to agent and agency licensing from the Department of Financial Services, including deregulation of certain branch agencies.

It was approved March 4 by the House Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and is now before the House  Regulatory Affairs Committee. The Senate bill has been referred to the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee, but not yet heard. Some similar provisions are in the House Non-controversial Omnibus Insurance Package (CS/HB 565).

Here are the major pro visions as described in a March 4 staff analysis by the  House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government:

SUMMARY ANALYSIS

House Bill 633 amends the insurance agency licensure law. Among other changes, the bill:

Eliminates the insurance agency licensing requirement for agencies owned and operated by a single licensed agent under certain conditions.
•    Allows third parties to sign agency applications.
•    Specifies circumstances under which branch agencies do not have to be licensed.
•    Repeals provision allowing insurance agencies to obtain a registration in lieu of a license; converts all agency registrations to licenses; eliminates the three-year expiration period for agency licenses.
•    Repeals current law governing branch agencies, creates s. 626.0428(4), F.S., to define agent in charge and specifies responsibilities.
•    Provides for agency licenses to automatically expire if the agency does not designate a new agent in charge with the Department of Financial Services (DFS) within 90 days after the agent in charge on record has left the agency.
•    Creates a new type of insurance agent, an unaffiliated insurance agent, and specifies the scope of the license.
•    Requires DFS to immediately suspend the license or appointment of licensees charged with crimes that would preclude them from applying for licensure from DFS.
•    Bars applicants for licensure with sealed or expunged criminal history records from denying or failing to acknowledge arrests covered by these records.
•    Exempts members of the United States Armed Forces, their spouses, and veterans who have retired within 24 months from the application filing fee for specified licenses.
•    Requires agents who recommend the surrender of an annuity or life insurance policy to provide financial information to the consumer.
•    Amends eligibility requirements for mediators under alternative dispute resolution programs administered by DFS; requires DFS to deny an application to be a mediator or neutral evaluator (sinkhole claims) or revoke or suspend a mediator or neutral evaluator in certain circumstances.
•    Authorizes DFS to investigate improper conduct of mediators, neutral evaluators, and navigators. In all cases, permits DFS to share investigative information with any regulatory agency.
•    Amends requirements for licensure as a nonresident surplus lines agent.
•    Bars issuance of any new limited customer representative license after September 30, 2014.
•    Authorizes additional methods for service of process in certain administrative actions.
•    Deletes requirement that applicants who take a licensure examination in Spanish must pay all associated costs.