Statement by Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty on Gov. Crist Signing Annuities Bill into Law
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – “I am very pleased that Gov. Crist has signed this important legislation, SB 2082, creating a law that will enhance protections for senior Floridians who are considering the purchase of annuities.
“Annuity sales have become a big business in Florida, and seniors in particular often have fallen victim to unethical sales practices. This new law will give Florida the enforcement power it needs to better protect our vulnerable senior population.
“Thanks to the leadership of Sen. Bennett and Rep. Ford, Florida now will be a national leader in the effort to protect seniors when they purchase costly and complex annuity products.”
The new law, named the "John and Patricia Seibel Act,” increases penalties to as much as $250,000, up from $100,000, for specified willful unfair or deceptive life insurance and annuity sales practices.
The law also requires an insurer or insurance agent to have an objectively reasonable basis for believing that an annuity recommendation to a senior consumer is suitable.
In addition, the law makes it a first-degree misdemeanor for the deceptive practices known as "twisting" and "churning" – making misleading representations in an attempt to induce a consumer to cash in funds from a current investment or insurance product in order to purchase another product; and, willfully submitting a false signature now is a third-degree felony.