A new year brings new protections for annuities consumers in Florida, says the Tampa Bay Business Journal. With a massive senior citizen population, the state has been targeted by unscrupulous agents and other individuals that recommended innapropriate financial products to seniors, such as reverse mortgages and certain annuities. Many people lost their entire retirement fund as a result. Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink’s office has pushed through this legislation to protect more individuals from being misled.
The amendments to Florida Statute 627.4554, which went into effect on January 1, include these provisions:
- A consumer who changes their mind about buying an annuity or life insurance product can cancel and recieve an unconditional refund within 14 days of recieving the policy (formerly 10 days)
- The intentional submission of fraudulent signatures (on applications, contracts, or other policy-related documents) is now a third-degree felony.
- An agent who misrepresents or misuses their qualifications to make them seem more qualified than they actually are is considered in violation of unfair trade practices. Also, agents cannot invent fake financial certifications to imply greater expertise.
- Agents with a Florida license must take a class about the suitability of life insurance and annuity transactions (three hours minimum)