Information from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation 1/11/2006
Dec 20, 2006
CEASE & DESIST ORDER ISSUED TO
EMPLOYEE BENEFIT MANAGERS, INC. OF AMERICA
Tallahassee – Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty issued a Cease and Desist Order to Employee Benefit Managers, Inc. of America (EBM) ordering it to cease operating as a Multiple-Employer Welfare Arrangement (MEWA) without a Florida certificate of authority. EBM, an Indiana-based corporation, is not authorized to transact insurance business in Florida, nor is it a registered corporation with the Florida Secretary of State.
“Florida consumers should always verify and ensure that the company they are doing business has proper authorization to operate in Florida,” McCarty said. “Assurance of consumer protections and solvency standards can only be provided within authorized entities.”
Sec. 624.437, Florida Statutes, defines a MEWA as “an employee welfare benefit plan or any other arrangement which is established or maintained for the purpose of offering or providing health insurance benefits or any other benefits described in s. 624.33, other than life insurance benefits, to the employees of two or more employers, or to their beneficiaries.” MEWAs provide a form of self-insurance to employers.
However, the statute also says “no person shall operate, maintain, or, after October 1, 1983, establish a Multiple-Employer Welfare Arrangement unless such arrangement has a valid certificate of authority issued by the Office.” EBM was operating without the proper certification to conduct business in Florida as a MEWA.
Prior to any transaction, consumers should call the Department of Financial Services consumer helpline at 1-800-342-2762, or visit www.fldfs.com to be sure a company is authorized to do business in Florida.