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2011 Florida Statutes

SECTION 4615
Specialty insurers acquisition of controlling stock, ownership interest, assets, or control merger or consolidation.
F.S. 628.4615
628.4615 Specialty insurers; acquisition of controlling stock, ownership interest, assets, or control; merger or consolidation.
(1) For the purposes of this section, the term “specialty insurer” means any person holding a license or certificate of authority as:
(a) A motor vehicle service agreement company authorized to issue motor vehicle service agreements as those terms are defined in s. 634.011;
(b) A home warranty association authorized to issue “home warranties” as those terms are defined in s. 634.301;
(c) A service warranty association authorized to issue “service warranties” as those terms are defined in s. 634.401(13) and (14);
(d) A prepaid limited health service organization authorized to issue prepaid limited health service contracts, as those terms are defined in chapter 636;
(e) An authorized health maintenance organization operating pursuant to s. 641.21;
(f) An authorized prepaid health clinic operating pursuant to s. 641.405;
(g) A legal expense insurance corporation authorized to engage in a legal expense insurance business pursuant to s. 642.021;
(h) A provider that is licensed to operate a facility that undertakes to provide continuing care as those terms are defined in s. 651.011;
(i) A multiple-employer welfare arrangement operating pursuant to ss. 624.436-624.446;
(j) A premium finance company authorized to finance insurance premiums pursuant to s. 627.828; or
(k) A corporation authorized to accept donor annuity agreements pursuant to s. 627.481.
(2) A person may not, individually or in conjunction with any affiliated person of such person, directly or indirectly, conclude a tender offer or exchange offer for, enter into any agreement to exchange securities for, or otherwise finally acquire, 10 percent or more of the outstanding voting securities of a specialty insurer which is a stock corporation or of a controlling company of a specialty insurer which is a stock corporation; or conclude an acquisition of, or otherwise finally acquire, 10 percent or more of the ownership interest of a specialty insurer which is not a stock corporation or of a controlling company of a specialty insurer which is not a stock corporation, unless:
(a) The person or affiliated person has filed with the office and sent by registered mail to the principal office of the specialty insurer and controlling company a letter of notification regarding the transaction or proposed transaction no later than 5 days after any form of tender offer or exchange offer is proposed, or no later than 5 days after the acquisition of the securities or ownership interest if no tender offer or exchange offer is involved. The notification must be provided on forms prescribed by the commission containing information determined necessary to understand the transaction and identify all purchasers and owners involved;
(b) The person or affiliated person has filed with the office an application signed under oath and prepared on forms prescribed by the commission which contains the information specified in subsection (4). The application must be completed and filed within 30 days after any form of tender offer or exchange offer is proposed, or after the acquisition of the securities if no tender offer or exchange offer is involved; and
(c) The office has approved the tender offer or exchange offer, or acquisition if no tender offer or exchange offer is involved.
(3) This section does not apply to any acquisition of voting securities or ownership interest of a specialty insurer or of a controlling company by any person who, on July 9, 1986, is the owner of a majority of such voting securities or ownership interest or who, on or after July 9, 1986, becomes the owner of a majority of such voting securities or ownership interest with the approval of the office under this section. The person or affiliated person filing the required notice in paragraph (2)(a) may request the office to waive the requirements of paragraph (2)(b) if there is no change in the ultimate controlling shareholder or ownership percentages of the ultimate controlling shareholders and no unaffiliated parties acquire any direct or indirect interest in the specialty insurer. The office may waive the filing if it determines that in fact there is no change in the ultimate controlling shareholder or ownership percentages of the ultimate controlling shareholders and no unaffiliated parties will acquire any direct or indirect interest in the specialty insurer.
(4) The application to be filed with the office and furnished to the specialty insurer and controlling company shall contain the following information and any additional information as the office deems necessary to determine the character, experience, ability, and other qualifications of the person or affiliated person of such person for the protection of the insureds of the insurer and of the public:
(a)1. The identity of, and the background information specified in subsection (5) on, each natural person by whom, or on whose behalf, the acquisition is to be made; and,
2. If the acquisition is to be made by, or on behalf of, a person other than a natural person and as to any person who controls, either directly or indirectly, such other person, the identity of, and the background information specified in subsection (5) on:
a. Each director, officer, or trustee, if a corporation, or
b. Each partner, owner, manager, or joint venturer, or other person performing duties similar to those of persons in the aforementioned positions, if not a corporation,

for the person.

(b) The source and amount of the funds or other consideration used, or to be used, in making the acquisition.
(c) Any plans or proposals which such persons may have made to liquidate the specialty insurer, to sell any of its assets or merge or consolidate it with any person, or to make any other major change in its business or corporate structure or management; and any plans or proposals which such persons may have made to liquidate any controlling company of the specialty insurer, to sell any of its assets or merge or consolidate it with any person, or to make any other major change in its business or corporate structure or management.
(d) The nature and the extent of the controlling interest which the person or affiliated person of such person proposes to acquire, the terms of the proposed acquisition, and the manner in which the controlling interest is to be acquired of a specialty insurer or controlling company which is not a stock corporation.
(e) The number of shares or other securities which the person or affiliated person of such person proposes to acquire, the terms of the proposed acquisition, and the manner in which the securities are to be acquired.
(f) Information as to any contract, arrangement, or understanding with any party with respect to any of the securities of the specialty insurer or controlling company, including, but not limited to, information relating to the transfer of any of the securities, option arrangements, puts or calls, or the giving or withholding of proxies, which information names the party with whom the contract, arrangement, or understanding has been entered into and gives the details thereof.
(5)(a) The information as to the background and identity of each natural person, which information is required to be furnished pursuant to paragraph (4)(a), shall include:
1. The natural person’s occupations, positions of employment, and offices held during the past 10 years.
2. The principal business and address of any business, corporation, or organization in which each such office of the natural person was held, or in which each such occupation or position of employment was carried on.
3. Whether the natural person was, at any time during such 10-year period, convicted of any crime other than a traffic violation.
4. Whether the natural person has been, during such 10-year period, the subject of any proceeding for the revocation of any license and, if so, the nature of the proceeding and the disposition of the proceeding.
5. Whether, during the 10-year period, the natural person has been the subject of any proceeding under the federal 1Bankruptcy Act; or whether, during the 10-year period, any person or other business or organization in which the natural person was a director, officer, trustee, partner, owner, manager, or other official has been subject to any such proceeding, either during the time in which the natural person was a director, officer, or trustee, if a corporation, or a partner, owner, manager, joint venturer, or other official, if not a corporation, or within 12 months thereafter.
6. Whether, during the 10-year period, the natural person has been enjoined, either temporarily or permanently, by a court of competent jurisdiction from violating any federal or state law regulating the business of insurance, securities, or banking, or from carrying out any particular practice or practices in the course of the business of insurance, securities, or banking, together with details as to any such event.
7. Fingerprints of each person referred to in subsection (4).
(b) Any person filing the statement required by this section shall give all required information that is within the knowledge of:
1. The directors, officers, or trustees, if a corporation, or
2. The partners, owners, managers, or joint venturers, or others performing functions similar to those of a director, officer, or trustee, if not a corporation,

of the person making the filing and of any person controlling either directly or indirectly such person. If any material change occurs in the facts set forth in the application filed with the office pursuant to this section, an amendment setting forth such changes shall be filed immediately with the office, and a copy of the amendment shall be sent by registered mail to the principal office of the specialty insurer and to the principal office of the controlling company.

(6)(a) The acquisition application shall be reviewed in accordance with chapter 120. The office may on its own initiate, or, if requested to do so in writing by a substantially affected person, shall conduct, a proceeding to consider the appropriateness of the proposed filing. Time periods for purposes of chapter 120 shall be tolled during the pendency of the proceeding. Any written request for a proceeding must be filed with the office within 10 days of the date notice of the filing is given. During the pendency of the proceeding or review period by the office, any person or affiliated person complying with the filing requirements of this section may proceed and take all steps necessary to conclude the acquisition so long as the acquisition becoming final is conditioned upon obtaining office approval. The office shall, however, at any time it finds an immediate danger to the public health, safety, and welfare of the insureds exists, immediately order, pursuant to s. 120.569(2)(n), the proposed acquisition disapproved and any further steps to conclude the acquisition ceased.
(b) During the pendency of the office’s review of any acquisition subject to the provisions of this section, the acquiring person shall not make any material change in the operation of the specialty insurer or controlling company unless the office has specifically approved the change nor shall the acquiring person make any material change in the management of the specialty insurer unless advance written notice of the change in management is furnished to the office. A material change in the operation of the specialty insurer is a transaction which disposes of or obligates 5 percent or more of the capital and surplus of the specialty insurer. A material change in the management of the specialty insurer is any change in management involving officers or directors of the specialty insurer or any person of the specialty insurer or controlling company having authority to dispose of or obligate 5 percent or more of the specialty insurer’s capital or surplus. The office shall approve a material change in operations if it finds the applicable provisions of subsection (8) have been met. The office may disapprove a material change in management if it finds that the applicable provisions of subsection (8) have not been met and in such case the specialty insurer shall promptly change management as acceptable to the office.
(c) If a request for a proceeding is filed, the proceeding shall be conducted within 60 days after the date the written request for a proceeding is received by the office. A recommended order shall be issued within 20 days of the date of the close of the proceedings. A final order shall be issued within 20 days of the date of the recommended order or, if exceptions to the recommended order are filed, within 20 days of the date the exceptions are filed.
(7) The office may disapprove any acquisition subject to the provisions of this section by any person or any affiliated person of such person who:
(a) Willfully violates this section;
(b) In violation of an order of the office issued pursuant to subsection (11), fails to divest himself or herself of any stock or ownership interest obtained in violation of this section or fails to divest himself or herself of any direct or indirect control of such stock or ownership interest, within 25 days after such order; or
(c) In violation of an order issued by the office pursuant to subsection (11), acquires an additional stock or ownership interest in a specialty insurer or controlling company or direct or indirect control of such stock or ownership interest, without complying with this section.
(8) The person or persons filing the application required by subsection (2) shall have the burden of proof. The office shall approve any such acquisition if it finds, on the basis of the record made during any proceeding or on the basis of the filed application if no proceeding is conducted, that:
(a) Upon completion of the acquisition, the specialty insurer will be able to satisfy the requirements for the issuance of a license or certificate to write the line of insurance for which it is presently licensed or certificated.
(b) The financial condition of the acquiring person or persons will not jeopardize the financial stability of the specialty insurer or prejudice the interests of its insureds or the public.
(c) Any plan or proposal which the acquiring person has, or acquiring persons have, made:
1. To liquidate the specialty insurer, sell its assets, or merge or consolidate it with any person, or to make any other major change in its business or corporate structure or management, or
2. To liquidate any controlling company, sell its assets, or merge or consolidate it with any person, or to make any major change in its business or corporate structure or management which would have an effect upon the specialty insurer,

is fair and free of prejudice to the insureds of the specialty insurer or to the public.

(d) The competence, experience, and integrity of those persons who will control directly or indirectly the operation of the specialty insurer indicate that the acquisition is in the best interest of the insureds of the insurer and in the public interest.
(e) The natural persons for whom background information is required to be furnished pursuant to this section have such backgrounds as to indicate that it is in the best interests of the insureds of the specialty insurer and in the public interest to permit such persons to exercise control over the specialty insurer.
(f) The directors and officers, if such specialty insurer or controlling company is a stock corporation, or the trustees, partners, owners, managers, or joint venturers or other persons performing duties similar to those of persons in the aforementioned positions, if such specialty insurer or controlling company is not a stock corporation, to be employed after the acquisition have sufficient insurance experience and ability to assure reasonable promise of successful operation.
(g) The management of the specialty insurer after the acquisition will be competent and trustworthy, and will possess sufficient managerial experience so as to make the proposed operation of the specialty insurer not hazardous to the insurance-buying public.
(h) The management of the specialty insurer after the acquisition shall not include any person who has directly or indirectly through ownership, control, reinsurance transactions, or other insurance or business relations unlawfully manipulated the assets, accounts, finances, or books of any insurer or otherwise acted in bad faith with respect thereto.
(i) The acquisition is not likely to be hazardous or prejudicial to the insureds of the insurer or to the public.
(j) The effect of the acquisition would not substantially lessen competition in the line of insurance for which the specialty insurer is licensed or certified in this state or would not tend to create a monopoly therein.
(9) No vote by the stockholder of record, or by any other person, of any security acquired in contravention of the provisions of this section is valid. Any acquisition contrary to the provisions of this section is void. Upon the petition of the specialty insurer or the controlling company, the circuit court for the county in which the principal office of the specialty insurer is located may, without limiting the generality of its authority, order the issuance or entry of an injunction or other order to enforce the provisions of this section. There shall be a private right of action in favor of the specialty insurer or controlling company to enforce the provisions of this section. No demand upon the office that it perform its functions shall be required as a prerequisite to any suit by the specialty insurer or controlling company against any other person, and in no case shall the office be deemed a necessary party to any action by the specialty insurer or controlling company to enforce the provisions of this section. Any person who makes or proposes an acquisition requiring the filing of an application pursuant to this section, or who files such an application, shall be deemed to have thereby designated the Chief Financial Officer, or his or her assistant or deputy or another person in charge of his or her office, as such person’s agent for service of process under this section and shall thereby be deemed to have submitted himself or herself to the administrative jurisdiction of the office and to the jurisdiction of the circuit court.
(10) Any approval by the office under this section does not constitute a recommendation by the office of the tender offer or exchange offer, or acquisition, if no tender offer or exchange offer is involved. It is unlawful for a person to represent that the office’s approval constitutes a recommendation. A person who violates the provisions of this subsection commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. The statute-of-limitations period for the prosecution of an offense committed under this subsection is 5 years.
(11) If the office determines that any person or any affiliated person of such person has acquired 10 percent or more of the outstanding voting securities of a specialty insurer or controlling company which is a stock corporation, or 10 percent or more of the ownership interest of a specialty insurer or controlling company which is not a stock corporation, without complying with the provisions of this section, the office may order that the person and any affiliated person of such person cease acquisition of the specialty insurer or controlling company and, if appropriate, divest itself of any stock or ownership interest acquired in violation of this section.
(12)(a) The office shall, if necessary to protect the public interest, suspend or revoke the certificate of authority of any specialty insurer or controlling company acquired in violation of this section.
(b) If any specialty insurer is subject to suspension or revocation pursuant to paragraph (a), the specialty insurer shall be deemed to be in such condition, or to be using or to have been subject to such methods or practices in the conduct of its business, as to render its further transaction of insurance presently or prospectively hazardous to its insureds, creditors, or stockholders or to the public.
(13)(a) For the purpose of this section, the term “acquisition” includes:
1. A tender offer or exchange offer for securities, assets, or other ownership interest;
2. An agreement to exchange securities for other securities, assets, or other ownership interest;
3. A merger of a person or affiliated person into a specialty insurer or a merger of any person with a specialty insurer;
4. A consolidation; or
5. Any other form of change of control

whereby any person or affiliated person acquires or attempts to acquire, directly or indirectly, 10 percent or more of the ownership interest or assets of a specialty insurer or of a controlling company. However, in the case of a health maintenance organization organized as a for-profit corporation, the provisions of s. 628.451 shall govern with respect to any merger or consolidation, and, in the case of a health maintenance organization organized as a not-for-profit corporation, the provisions of s. 628.471 shall govern with respect to any merger or consolidation.

(b) For the purpose of this section, the term “affiliated person” of another person includes:
1. The spouse of such other natural person;
2. The parents of such other natural person and their lineal descendants and the parents of such other natural person’s spouse and their lineal descendants;
3. Any person who directly or indirectly owns or controls, or holds with power to vote, 10 percent or more of the outstanding voting securities of such other person;
4. Any person who directly or indirectly owns 10 percent or more of the outstanding voting securities which are directly or indirectly owned or controlled, or held with power to vote, by such other person;
5. Any person or group of persons who directly or indirectly control, are controlled by, or are under common control with such other person;
6. Any director, officer, trustee, partner, owner, manager, joint venturer, or employee, or other person performing duties similar to those of persons in the aforementioned positions, of such other person;
7. If such other person is an investment company, any investment adviser of such company or any member of an advisory board of such company;
8. If such other person is an unincorporated investment company not having a board of directors, the depositor of such company; or
9. Any person who has entered into an agreement, written or unwritten, to act in concert with such other person in acquiring, or limiting the disposition of, securities of a specialty insurer or controlling company which is a stock corporation or in acquiring, or limiting the disposition of, an ownership interest of a specialty insurer or controlling company which is not a stock corporation.
(c) For the purposes of this section, the term “controlling company” means any corporation, trust, or association owning, directly or indirectly, 25 percent or more of the voting securities of one or more specialty insurance companies which are stock corporations, or 25 percent or more of the ownership interest of one or more specialty insurance companies which are not stock corporations.
(d) For the purpose of this section, the term “natural person” means an individual.
(e) For the purpose of this section, the term “person” includes a natural person, corporation, association, trust, general partnership, limited partnership, joint venture, firm, proprietorship, or any other entity which may hold a license or certificate as a specialty insurer.
(14) The commission may adopt, amend, or repeal rules that are necessary to implement the provisions of this section, pursuant to chapter 120.
History.ss. 2, 17, ch. 86-250; s. 4, ch. 87-50; s. 50, ch. 89-360; s. 4, ch. 90-248; ss. 73, 187, 188, ch. 91-108; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 116, ch. 93-399; s. 28, ch. 96-400; s. 275, ch. 96-410; s. 1741, ch. 97-102; s. 39, ch. 99-3; s. 25, ch. 2001-281; s. 1284, ch. 2003-261; s. 2, ch. 2007-138; s. 155, ch. 2008-4; s. 1, ch. 2008-178; s. 9, ch. 2010-175; s. 18, ch. 2010-202.
1Note.Replaced by the 1978 Bankruptcy Code.