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September 18, 2018
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The Florida Statutes

The 2018 Florida Statutes

Title XXXVII
INSURANCE
Chapter 627
INSURANCE RATES AND CONTRACTS
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F.S. 627.3518
627.3518 Citizens Property Insurance Corporation policyholder eligibility clearinghouse program.The purpose of this section is to provide a framework for the corporation to implement a clearinghouse program by January 1, 2014.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Corporation” means Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.
(b) “Exclusive agent” means any licensed insurance agent that has, by contract, agreed to act exclusively for one company or group of affiliated insurance companies and is disallowed by the provisions of that contract to directly write for any other unaffiliated insurer absent express consent from the company or group of affiliated insurance companies.
(c) “Independent agent” means any licensed insurance agent not described in paragraph (b).
(d) “Program” means the clearinghouse created under this section.
(2) In order to confirm eligibility with the corporation and to enhance access of new applicants for coverage and existing policyholders of the corporation to offers of coverage from authorized insurers, the corporation shall establish a program for personal residential risks in order to facilitate the diversion of ineligible applicants and existing policyholders from the corporation into the voluntary insurance market. The corporation shall also develop appropriate procedures for facilitating the diversion of ineligible applicants and existing policyholders for commercial residential coverage into the private insurance market and shall report such procedures to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by January 1, 2014.
(3) The corporation board shall establish the clearinghouse program as an organizational unit within the corporation. The program shall have all the rights and responsibilities in carrying out its duties as a licensed general lines agent, but may not be required to employ or engage a licensed general lines agent or to maintain an insurance agency license to carry out its activities in the solicitation and placement of insurance coverage. In establishing the program, the corporation may:
(a) Require all new applications, and all policies due for renewal, to be submitted for coverage to the program in order to facilitate obtaining an offer of coverage from an authorized insurer before binding or renewing coverage by the corporation.
(b) Employ or otherwise contract with individuals or other entities for appropriate administrative or professional services to effectuate the plan within the corporation in accordance with the applicable purchasing requirements under s. 627.351.
(c) Enter into contracts with any authorized insurer to participate in the program and accept an appointment by such insurer.
(d) Provide funds to operate the program. Insurers and agents participating in the program are not required to pay a fee to offset or partially offset the cost of the program or use the program for renewal of policies initially written through the clearinghouse.
(e) Develop an enhanced application that includes information to assist private insurers in determining whether to make an offer of coverage through the program.
(f) For personal lines residential risks, require, before approving all new applications for coverage by the corporation, that every application be subject to a period of 2 business days when any insurer participating in the program may select the application for coverage. The insurer may issue a binder on any policy selected for coverage for a period of at least 30 days but not more than 60 days.
(4) Any authorized insurer may participate in the program; however, participation is not mandatory for any insurer. Insurers making offers of coverage to new applicants or renewal policyholders through the program:
(a) May not be required to individually appoint any agent whose customer is underwritten and bound through the program. Notwithstanding s. 626.112, insurers are not required to appoint any agent on a policy underwritten through the program for as long as that policy remains with the insurer. Insurers may, at their election, appoint any agent whose customer is initially underwritten and bound through the program. In the event an insurer accepts a policy from an agent who is not appointed pursuant to this paragraph, and thereafter elects to accept a policy from such agent, the provisions of s. 626.112 requiring appointment apply to the agent.
(b) Must enter into a limited agency agreement with each agent that is not appointed in accordance with paragraph (a) and whose customer is underwritten and bound through the program.
(c) Must enter into its standard agency agreement with each agent whose customer is underwritten and bound through the program when that agent has been appointed by the insurer pursuant to s. 626.112.
(d) Must comply with s. 627.4133(2).
(e) May participate through their single-designated managing general agent or broker; however, the provisions of paragraph (6)(a) regarding ownership, control, and use of the expirations continue to apply.
(f) Must pay to the producing agent a commission equal to that paid by the corporation or the usual and customary commission paid by the insurer for that line of business, whichever is greater.
(5) Notwithstanding s. 627.3517, any applicant for new coverage from the corporation is not eligible for coverage from the corporation if provided an offer of coverage from an authorized insurer through the program at a premium that is at or below the eligibility threshold established in s. 627.351(6)(c)5.a. Whenever an offer of coverage for a personal lines risk is received for a policyholder of the corporation at renewal from an authorized insurer through the program, if the offer is equal to or less than the corporation’s renewal premium for comparable coverage, the risk is not eligible for coverage with the corporation. In the event an offer of coverage for a new applicant is received from an authorized insurer through the program, and the premium offered exceeds the eligibility threshold contained in s. 627.351(6)(c)5.a., the applicant or insured may elect to accept such coverage, or may elect to accept or continue coverage with the corporation. In the event an offer of coverage for a personal lines risk is received from an authorized insurer at renewal through the program, and the premium offered is more than the corporation’s renewal premium for comparable coverage, the insured may elect to accept such coverage, or may elect to accept or continue coverage with the corporation. Section 627.351(6)(c)5.a.(I) does not apply to an offer of coverage from an authorized insurer obtained through the program. An applicant for coverage from the corporation who was declared ineligible for coverage at renewal by the corporation in the previous 36 months due to an offer of coverage pursuant to this subsection shall be considered a renewal under this section if the corporation determines that the authorized insurer making the offer of coverage pursuant to this subsection continues to insure the applicant and increased the rate on the policy in excess of the increase allowed for the corporation under s. 627.351(6)(n)6.
(6) Independent insurance agents submitting new applications for coverage or that are the agent of record on a renewal policy submitted to the program:
(a) Are granted and must maintain ownership and the exclusive use of expirations, records, or other written or electronic information directly related to such applications or renewals written through the corporation or through an insurer participating in the program, notwithstanding s. 627.351(6)(c)5.a.(I)(B) and (II)(B). Such ownership is granted for as long as the insured remains with the agency or until sold or surrendered in writing by the agent. Contracts with the corporation or required by the corporation must not amend, modify, interfere with, or limit such rights of ownership. Such expirations, records, or other written or electronic information may be used to review an application, issue a policy, or for any other purpose necessary for placing such business through the program.
(b) May not be required to be appointed by any insurer participating in the program for policies written solely through the program, notwithstanding the provisions of s. 626.112.
(c) May accept an appointment from any insurer participating in the program.
(d) May enter into either a standard or limited agency agreement with the insurer, at the insurer’s option.

Applicants ineligible for coverage in accordance with subsection (5) remain ineligible if their independent agent is unwilling or unable to enter into a standard or limited agency agreement with an insurer participating in the program.

(7) Exclusive agents submitting new applications for coverage or that are the agent of record on a renewal policy submitted to the program:
(a) Must maintain ownership and the exclusive use of expirations, records, or other written or electronic information directly related to such applications or renewals written through the corporation or through an insurer participating in the program, notwithstanding s. 627.351(6)(c)5.a.(I)(B) and (II)(B). Contracts with the corporation or required by the corporation must not amend, modify, interfere with, or limit such rights of ownership. Such expirations, records, or other written or electronic information may be used to review an application, issue a policy, or for any other purpose necessary for placing such business through the program.
(b) May not be required to be appointed by any insurer participating in the program for policies written solely through the program, notwithstanding the provisions of s. 626.112.
(c) Must only facilitate the placement of an offer of coverage from an insurer whose limited servicing agreement is approved by that exclusive agent’s exclusive insurer.
(d) May enter into a limited servicing agreement with the insurer making an offer of coverage, and only after the exclusive agent’s insurer has approved the limited servicing agreement terms. The exclusive agent’s insurer must approve a limited service agreement for the program for any insurer for which it has approved a service agreement for other purposes.

Applicants ineligible for coverage in accordance with subsection (5) remain ineligible if their exclusive agent is unwilling or unable to enter into a standard or limited agency agreement with an insurer making an offer of coverage to that applicant.

(8) Submission of an application for coverage by the corporation to the program does not constitute the binding of coverage by the corporation, and failure of the program to obtain an offer of coverage by an insurer may not be considered acceptance of coverage of the risk by the corporation.
(9) The 45-day notice of nonrenewal requirement set forth in s. 627.4133(2)(b)5. applies when a policy is nonrenewed by the corporation because the risk has received an offer of coverage pursuant to this section which renders the risk ineligible for coverage by the corporation.
(10) The program may not include commercial nonresidential policies.
(11) Proprietary business information provided to the corporation’s clearinghouse by insurers with respect to identifying and selecting risks for an offer of coverage is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
(a) As used in this subsection, the term “proprietary business information” means information, regardless of form or characteristics, which is owned or controlled by an insurer and:
1. Is identified by the insurer as proprietary business information and is intended to be and is treated by the insurer as private in that the disclosure of the information would cause harm to the insurer, an individual, or the company’s business operations and has not been disclosed unless disclosed pursuant to a statutory requirement, an order of a court or administrative body, or a private agreement that provides that the information will not be released to the public;
2. Is not otherwise readily ascertainable or publicly available by proper means by other persons from another source in the same configuration as provided to the clearinghouse; and
3. Includes:
a. Trade secrets, as defined in s. 688.002.
b. Information relating to competitive interests, the disclosure of which would impair the competitive business of the provider of the information.

Proprietary business information may be found in underwriting criteria or instructions which are used to identify and select risks through the program for an offer of coverage and are shared with the clearinghouse to facilitate the shopping of risks with the insurer.

(b) The clearinghouse may disclose confidential and exempt proprietary business information:
1. If the insurer to which it pertains gives prior written consent;
2. Pursuant to a court order; or
3. To another state agency in this or another state or to a federal agency if the recipient agrees in writing to maintain the confidential and exempt status of the document, material, or other information and has verified in writing its legal authority to maintain such confidentiality.
History.s. 10, ch. 2013-60; s. 1, ch. 2013-61; s. 150, ch. 2014-17; s. 1, ch. 2014-86; s. 4, ch. 2015-135; s. 1, ch. 2018-121.