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Arguments Heard in Lawsuit Challenging Florida Counter-Signature Law

Oral arguments were held Friday in Tallahassee, Florida on a lawsuit filed by The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers challenging Florida's law that precludes...
February 3, 2003

Oral arguments were held Friday in Tallahassee, Florida on a lawsuit filed by The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers challenging Florida's law that precludes out-of-state insurance brokers from conducting business in the state without the counter-signature of a Florida resident agent. The Florida statute requires that a non-resident insurance broker - even if he or she is licensed in the state - be "accompanied" by a resident agent to solicit, negotiate or effect an insurance contract. The non-resident broker then must pay the Florida agent half of the commission he or she earns on the completed deal. In addition, under the state's "surplus lines" law, non-resident insurance brokers are barred from originating an entire category of insurance coverage.

"This is a vestige of protectionism that simply will not go away on its own," said Ken A. Crerar, president of The Council. "Are the Florida agents so out-of-step with the industry that they cannot compete on their own and need help from their out-of-state colleagues?" The Council's lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Florida's counter-signature law was filed on June 11, 2002, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

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