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2011 Florida Statutes

SECTION 909
Jurisdiction of office and department service of process on Secretary of State.
F.S. 626.909
626.909 Jurisdiction of office and department; service of process on Secretary of State.
(1) The Legislature hereby declares that it is a subject of concern that the purpose of the Unauthorized Insurers Process Law as expressed in s. 626.905 may be denied by the possibility that the right of service of process provided for in that law may be restricted only to those actions, suits, or proceedings brought by insureds or beneficiaries. It therefore declares that it is the intent of s. 626.905 that it is the obligation and duty of the state to protect its residents and also proceed under this law through the office or department in the courts of this state. It further declares that it is also the intent of the Legislature to subject unauthorized insurers and persons representing or aiding such insurers to the jurisdiction of the office or department in proceedings, examinations, or hearings before it as provided for in this code.
(2) In addition to the procedure for service of process on unauthorized insurers or persons representing or aiding such insurers contained in ss. 626.906 and 626.907, the office or department shall have the right to bring any action, suit, or proceeding in the name of the state or conduct any proceeding, examination, or hearing provided for in this code against any unauthorized insurer or person representing or aiding such insurer for violation of any lawful order of the office or department or any provision of this code, specifically including but not limited to the regulation of trade practices provided for in part IX of this chapter, if the insurer or person representing or aiding such insurer transacts insurance in this state as defined in ss. 624.10 and 626.906 and the insurer does not transact such business under a subsisting certificate of authority as required by s. 624.401. In the event the transaction of business is done by mail, the venue of the act is at the point where the matter transmitted by mail is delivered and takes effect.
(3) In addition to the right of action, suit, or proceeding authorized by subsection (2), the office or department shall have the right to bring a civil action in the name of the state, as parens patriae on behalf of any insured, beneficiary of any insured, claimant or dependent, or any other person or class of persons injured as a result of the transaction of any insurance business as defined in s. 626.906 by any unauthorized insurer, as defined in s. 624.09 who is also an ineligible insurer as set forth in ss. 626.917 and 626.918, or any person who represents or aids any unauthorized insurer, in violation of s. 626.901, to recover actual damages on behalf of individuals who were residents at the time the transaction occurred and the cost of such suit, including a reasonable attorney’s fee. The court shall exclude from the amount of monetary relief awarded in such action any amount of monetary relief which duplicates amounts which have been awarded for the same injury.
(4) Transaction of business in this state, as so defined, by any unauthorized insurer or person representing or aiding such insurer shall be deemed consent by the insurer or person representing or aiding such insurer to the jurisdiction of the office or department in proceedings, examinations, and hearings before it as provided for in this code and shall constitute an irrevocable appointment by the insurer or person representing or aiding such insurer of the Secretary of State and his or her successor or successors in office as its true and lawful attorney upon whom may be served all lawful process in any action, suit, or proceeding in any court by the office or department or by the state and upon whom may be served all notices and orders of the office or department arising out of any such transaction of business; and such transaction of business shall constitute the agreement of the insurer or person representing or aiding such insurer that any such process against it or any such notice or order which is so served shall be of the same legal force and validity as if served personally within this state on the insurer or person representing or aiding such insurer. Service of process shall be in accordance with and in the same manner as now provided for service of process upon nonresidents under the provision of s. 48.161, and service of process shall also be valid if made as provided in s. 626.907(2).
(5) No plaintiff shall be entitled to a judgment by default or a decree pro confesso under this section until the expiration of 30 days after date of the filing of the affidavit of compliance.
(6) Nothing in this section shall limit or abridge the right to serve any process, notice, orders, or demand upon the insurer or person representing or aiding such insurer in any other manner now or hereafter permitted by law.
(7) Nothing in this section shall apply as to surplus lines insurance when written pursuant to the Surplus Lines Law, ss. 626.913-626.937, or as to transactions as to which a certificate of authority is not required of the insurer, as stated in s. 624.402.
History.s. 1, ch. 67-118; ss. 13, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 295, 318, 807, ch. 82-243; s. 25, ch. 87-226; ss. 158, 206, 207, ch. 90-363; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 298, ch. 97-102; s. 51, ch. 2001-63; s. 1012, ch. 2003-261.