DFS Cautions Against Unauthorized Charges
The Florida Department of Financial Services has issued guidance to agents regarding unlawful or unauthorized charges. The department advises that it has received an increasing number of inquiries from Florida agents asking if they can charge fees for services ancillary to placing insurance, such as issuing certificates of coverage. The department responds that charging these types of fees is unlawful under the Florida Insurance Code. DFS points to subsection 626.9541(1)(o), Florida Statutes, which provides that it is unlawful for any licensee to collect any sum in connection with the purchase of insurance that is not forwarded to the appropriate insurer, or part of the insurer’s rates as filed with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, or otherwise designated as lawful within the Florida Insurance Code. This law applies to all licensees, including agencies and surplus lines agents. The department advises that it will vigorously investigate all allegations of unlawful fees and take the appropriate enforcement action for overcharges to Florida consumers in insurance transactions.