Florida Surplus Lines Service Office
The Florida Surplus Lines Service Office (FSLSO) is a not-for-profit entity created by statute and regulated by the Florida Department of Financial Services and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.
FSLSO is overseen by a nine-member Board of Governors, responsible for one of the largest surplus lines markets in the U.S. as measured by the billions in premium written annually by the industry in Florida.
In 2023, FSLSO was voted one of the Best Companies to Work for in Florida by Florida Trend.
Prior to the creation of the FSLSO, surplus lines business was monitored and regulated by the Florida Department of Insurance (now the Department of Financial Services). Back then, surplus lines agents were required to send a paper copy of all policies and endorsements to the Florida Department of Insurance, and on a quarterly basis, agents mailed a production ledger, sworn affidavit, and tax payment to the Department that corresponded with the policies written throughout the quarter.
Trying to navigate the complex nuances of the surplus lines marketplace while keeping up with regulatory and paper filing requirements proved cumbersome for agents. As a result, the Florida surplus lines community began advocating for a stamping office to act as a conduit for information and assistance between the Department of Insurance and the Florida surplus lines marketplace. This initiative was led by the determination and effort of FSLSO's founder and Chairman Emeritus, William "Dana" Roehrig.
This new office would monitor the surplus lines marketplace and facilitate compliance, but otherwise remain independent, with regulation remaining the responsibility of the state; bridging the gap between the regulatory needs of the Department of Insurance and the business needs of the Florida surplus lines industry.
After many years of advocating and negotiating by Mr. Roehrig and key members of the Florida Surplus Lines Association, a bill finally passed the legislature in the spring of 1997, officially creating the FSLSO under Florida Statute 626.921. The legislation, known as the Dana Roehrig Act, was signed into law in late 1997, and the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office was born.
Following the enactment of the new law, the first nine-member FSLSO Board of Governors was appointed. Gary Pullen, who had previously overseen Consumer Affairs and the surplus lines market for the Florida Department of Insurance, was appointed Executive Director of FSLSO. Gary, the Board, and a small staff of four worked tirelessly over the next several months to open the country's first paperless stamping office.
Passing the Baton
FSLSO operated for the first 25 years with Gary Pullen at the helm. Leading an organization from inception through 25 years requires vision, forethought, and patience. That kind of commitment is rare in today’s job climate, and Gary Pullen is the embodiment of such a commitment.
In 2023, when FSLSO hit the 25-year mark, he decided it was time to move to the next phase in his life. Gary Pullen retired in August 2023, passing the baton to a new leader, Mark Shealy. Mark worked with Gary in 1998 and served as CFO when the office opened its doors. After some very successful business ventures and leadership roles, Mark rejoined FSLSO in 2022 as CFO once again. It seemed a natural fit for him to assume the Executive Director role upon Gary’s departure.
Gary Pullen's leadership laid a solid foundation of success and longevity, making the transition nearly seamless. Extensive planning and preparation went into ensuring FSLSO's future as an innovative and service-oriented organization.
"I am pleased to lead an organization with such a bright future. Equipped with a high-quality management team and knowledgeable staff base, the possibilities for future objectives are vast."
In its quest to facilitate compliance, the FSLSO's responsibilities include monitoring the activities and compliance standards of licensed surplus lines agents conducting business in Florida, as well as eligible surplus lines insurers. The FSLSO also processes submissions from independently procured coverage filers (IPC), a service previously processed by the Department of Financial Services (DFS). To further facilitate compliance, the FSLSO created the Compliance Review and Premium Reconciliation programs.
Through the Premium Reconciliation program, the FSLSO compares data submitted by surplus lines agents and IPC filers with the data submitted by surplus lines insurers to ensure that all taxes and revenues have been submitted under Florida Statutes. The Compliance Review program was created to verify agent compliance with the Florida surplus lines law, which includes a basic review of agent placement and filing practices and provides educational assistance to agents and staff.
Known as a leader in innovative solutions, the FSLSO is a visionary among stamping offices in the U.S. It pioneered the use of technology to eliminate costs with printing, mailing, storing, and inputting thousands of policies within the state. Its proprietary filing system is known as the Surplus Lines Automation Suite (SLAS) and has been adopted by 11 states across the nation to process more than one-third of U.S. surplus lines premium annually.
In 2023, FSLSO celebrated its 25th year of service to the surplus lines community. The Service Office's success has hinged on putting customers at the forefront of everything the FSLSO does. The FSLSO is committed to continuing that service by facilitating compliance and using leading-edge technology in the next 25 years.
Florida Surplus Lines Service Office is a nonprofit association created by the 1997 Florida Legislature to:
- Protect consumers seeking insurance in the state of Florida,
- Permit surplus lines insurance to be placed with approved surplus lines insurers,
- Establish a self-regulating organization that will promote and allow access to surplus lines insurance in Florida,
- Increase the number and types of insurance products available to consumers in Florida,
- Provide a source of advice and counsel to consumers, surplus lines agents, insurers, and government agencies relating to the operation of the surplus lines insurance market, and
- Protect the revenues of the state of Florida.
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