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Press Release

Bill Strengthening Unauthorized Entities Law Headed To The Governor
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Contact:   Valerie Beynon, APR
               850/ 413-2515
 
Tallahassee --- House Bill 1065 and Senate Bill 1662 which strengthen Florida's laws on unauthorized insurance entities is now on its way to the Governor's desk for his signature. 
 
The bill authorizes the Office of Insurance Regulation or the Department of Financial Services to issue an immediate final order against a person or entity conducting insurance business in and from the state of Florida without a valid license. The law is amended to state that "irreparable harm" to an individual is now presumed for a violation of the statute.
 
"This bill provides the Office with the ability to protect consumers from becoming victims of unauthorized insurance entities," said Florida Insurance Regulation Commissioner Kevin McCarty. "I would like to thank Representative Priscilla Taylor and Senator Mike Fasano for their diligence in getting this bill through."
 
An unauthorized insurer is an insuring entity that is not an eligible surplus lines insurer and does not have a Certificate of Authority (license) to transact insurance business in Florida.
 
Cases of fraud and unauthorized entities operating in Florida have involved health care, property damage, workers compensation, and watercraft damage and liability claims.
 
Commissioner McCarty, urged all Florida businesses and consumers to make sure any company selling insurance products are authorized to operate in Florida: "By making a simple check, customers can be assured they are receiving the consumer protections and solvency standards required of authorized companies."
 
The Department of Financial Services advises consumers to "Verify Before You Buy." Prior to any transaction, consumers and agents are urged to call the department's consumer helpline at 1-800-342-2762 or visit www.fldfs.com to be sure an insurance company is authorized to conduct insurance business in Florida.
 
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