DFS Addresses Access to Records as Topic of the Month
In its Insurance Insights newsletter, the Florida Department of Financial Services has summarized its access to licensees’ records as its compliance topic of the month. DFS notes that its right to conduct investigations and attain access to the accounts, records, documents, and transactions pertaining to or affecting the insurance affairs of any licensee is addressed in section 624.317, Florida Statutes. Section 624.318 then provides that every person being investigated, and its officers, attorneys, employees, agents, and representatives, must make freely available to DFS (or to the Office of Insurance Regulation as applicable) the accounts, records, documents, files, information, assets, and matters in their possession or control. If records relating to the insurance transactions are maintained by an agent on premises owned or operated by a third party, the agent and the third party must provide DFS with access to those records as well.
DFS reminds licensees that any individual who willfully obstructs or denies DFS or its investigators access to business records is guilty of a misdemeanor under section 624.15, Florida Statutes.
If DFS and its investigators are not able to gain access to records in an amicable manner, DFS may obtain a subpoena that is enforceable in circuit court. Refusing to honor a court order can result in contempt of court and other charges being filed against the licensee.