20.121 Department of Financial Services.—There is created a Department of Financial Services.
(1) DEPARTMENT HEAD.—The head of the Department of Financial Services is the Chief Financial Officer who may also be known as the Treasurer.
(2) DIVISIONS.—The Department of Financial Services shall consist of the following divisions:
(a) The Division of Accounting and Auditing, which shall include the following bureau and office:
1. The Bureau of Unclaimed Property.
2. The Office of Fiscal Integrity which shall function as a criminal justice agency for purposes of ss. 943.045-943.08 and shall have a separate budget. The office may conduct investigations within or outside this state as the bureau deems necessary to aid in the enforcement of this section. If during an investigation the office has reason to believe that any criminal law of this state has or may have been violated, the office shall refer any records tending to show such violation to state or federal law enforcement or prosecutorial agencies and shall provide investigative assistance to those agencies as required.
(b) The Division of State Fire Marshal.
(c) The Division of Risk Management.
(d) The Division of Treasury, which shall include a Bureau of Deferred Compensation responsible for administering the Government Employees Deferred Compensation Plan established under s. 112.215 for state employees.
(e) The Division of Insurance Fraud.
(f) The Division of Rehabilitation and Liquidation.
(g) The Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services.
(h) The Division of Consumer Services.
1. The Division of Consumer Services shall perform the following functions concerning products or services regulated by the department or by the Office of Insurance Regulation:
a. Receive inquiries and complaints from consumers.
b. Prepare and disseminate such information as the department deems appropriate to inform or assist consumers.
c. Provide direct assistance and advocacy for consumers who request such assistance or advocacy.
d. With respect to apparent or potential violations of law or applicable rules by a person or entity licensed by the department or office, report apparent or potential violations to the office or the appropriate division of the department, which may take such further action as it deems appropriate.
e. Designate an employee of the division as primary contact for consumers on issues relating to sinkholes.
2. Any person licensed or issued a certificate of authority by the department or by the Office of Insurance Regulation shall respond, in writing, to the Division of Consumer Services within 20 days after receipt of a written request for information from the division concerning a consumer complaint. The response must address the issues and allegations raised in the complaint. The division may impose an administrative penalty for failure to comply with this subparagraph of up to $2,500 per violation upon any entity licensed by the department or the office and $250 for the first violation, $500 for the second violation, and up to $1,000 per violation thereafter upon any individual licensed by the department or the office.
3. The department may adopt rules to administer this paragraph.
4. The powers, duties, and responsibilities expressed or granted in this paragraph do not limit the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the Department of Financial Services, the Financial Services Commission, the Office of Insurance Regulation, or the Office of Financial Regulation set forth elsewhere in the Florida Statutes.
(i) The Division of Workers’ Compensation.
(j) The Division of Administration.
(k) The Division of Legal Services.
(l) The Division of Information Systems.
(m) The Office of Insurance Consumer Advocate.
(n) The Division of Funeral, Cemetery, and Consumer Services.
(o) The Division of Public Assistance Fraud.
(3) FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMISSION.—Effective January 7, 2003, there is created within the Department of Financial Services the Financial Services Commission, composed of the Governor, the Attorney General, the Chief Financial Officer, and the Commissioner of Agriculture, which shall for purposes of this section be referred to as the commission. Commission members shall serve as agency head of the Financial Services Commission. The commission shall be a separate budget entity and shall be exempt from the provisions of s. 20.052. Commission action shall be by majority vote consisting of at least three affirmative votes. The commission shall not be subject to control, supervision, or direction by the Department of Financial Services in any manner, including purchasing, transactions involving real or personal property, personnel, or budgetary matters.
(a) Structure.—The major structural unit of the commission is the office. Each office shall be headed by a director. The following offices are established:
1. The Office of Insurance Regulation, which shall be responsible for all activities concerning insurers and other risk bearing entities, including licensing, rates, policy forms, market conduct, claims, issuance of certificates of authority, solvency, viatical settlements, premium financing, and administrative supervision, as provided under the insurance code or chapter 636. The head of the Office of Insurance Regulation is the Director of the Office of Insurance Regulation, who may also be known as the Commissioner of Insurance Regulation.
2. The Office of Financial Regulation, which shall be responsible for all activities of the Financial Services Commission relating to the regulation of banks, credit unions, other financial institutions, finance companies, and the securities industry. The head of the office is the Director of the Office of Financial Regulation, who may also be known as the Commissioner of Financial Regulation. The Office of Financial Regulation shall include a Bureau of Financial Investigations, which shall function as a criminal justice agency for purposes of ss. 943.045-943.08 and shall have a separate budget. The bureau may conduct investigations within or outside this state as the bureau deems necessary to aid in the enforcement of this section. If, during an investigation, the office has reason to believe that any criminal law of this state has or may have been violated, the office shall refer any records tending to show such violation to state or federal law enforcement or prosecutorial agencies and shall provide investigative assistance to those agencies as required.
(b) Organization.—The commission shall establish by rule any additional organizational structure of the offices. It is the intent of the Legislature to provide the commission with the flexibility to organize the offices in any manner they determine appropriate to promote both efficiency and accountability.
(c) Powers.—Commission members shall serve as the agency head for purposes of rulemaking under ss. 120.536-120.565 by the commission and all subunits of the commission. Each director is agency head for purposes of final agency action under chapter 120 for all areas within the regulatory authority delegated to the director’s office.
(d) Appointment and qualifications of directors.—The commission shall appoint or remove each director by a majority vote consisting of at least three affirmative votes, with both the Governor and the Chief Financial Officer on the prevailing side. The minimum qualifications of the directors are as follows:
1. Prior to appointment as director, the Director of the Office of Insurance Regulation must have had, within the previous 10 years, at least 5 years of responsible private sector experience working full time in areas within the scope of the subject matter jurisdiction of the Office of Insurance Regulation or at least 5 years of experience as a senior examiner or other senior employee of a state or federal agency having regulatory responsibility over insurers or insurance agencies.
2. Prior to appointment as director, the Director of the Office of Financial Regulation must have had, within the previous 10 years, at least 5 years of responsible private sector experience working full time in areas within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Office of Financial Regulation or at least 5 years of experience as a senior examiner or other senior employee of a state or federal agency having regulatory responsibility over financial institutions, finance companies, or securities companies.
(e) Administrative support.—The offices shall have a sufficient number of attorneys, examiners, investigators, other professional personnel to carry out their responsibilities and administrative personnel as determined annually in the appropriations process. The Department of Financial Services shall provide administrative and information systems support to the offices.
(f) Records retention schedules.—The commission and the offices may destroy general correspondence files and also any other records that they deem no longer necessary to preserve in accordance with retention schedules and destruction notices established under rules of the Division of Library and Information Services, records and information management program, of the Department of State. Such schedules and notices relating to financial records of the commission and offices shall be subject to the approval of the Auditor General.
(g) Records storage.—The commission and offices may photograph, microphotograph, or reproduce on film such documents and records as they may select, in such manner that each page will be exposed in exact conformity with the original. After reproduction and filing, original documents and records may be destroyed in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (f).
(4) BOARD OF FUNERAL, CEMETERY, AND CONSUMER SERVICES.—The Board of Funeral, Cemetery, and Consumer Services is created within the Division of Funeral, Cemetery, and Consumer Services of the Department of Financial Services.
(5) TRANSITIONAL RULES.—Effective January 7, 2003, the rules of the Department of Banking and Finance and of the Department of Insurance that were in effect on January 6, 2003, shall become rules of the Department of Financial Services or the Financial Services Commission as is appropriate to the corresponding regulatory or constitutional function and shall remain in effect until specifically amended or repealed in the manner provided by law.
(6) STRATEGIC MARKETS RESEARCH AND ASSESSMENT UNIT.—The Strategic Markets Research and Assessment Unit is established within the Department of Financial Services. The Chief Financial Officer or his or her designee shall report on September 1, 2008, and quarterly thereafter, to the Cabinet, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the status of the state’s financial services markets. At a minimum, the report must include a summary of issues, trends, and threats that broadly impact the condition of the financial services industries, along with the effect of such conditions on financial institutions, the securities industries, other financial entities, and the credit market. The Chief Financial Officer shall also provide findings and recommendations regarding regulatory and policy changes to the Cabinet, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
History.—ss. 2, 4, ch. 2002-404; s. 69, ch. 2003-261; s. 134, ch. 2004-301; s. 1, ch. 2004-370; ss. 6, 147, ch. 2004-390; s. 2, ch. 2008-132; s. 7, ch. 2010-144; s. 3, ch. 2011-59; s. 1, ch. 2014-123.