CEO 87-43 -- June 11, 1987
VOTING CONFLICT OF INTEREST
APPLICABILITY OF VOTING CONFLICTS LAW TO
BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF FLORIDA JOINT UNDERWRITERS ASSOCIATION
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
The members of the Board of Governors of the Florida Joint Underwriters Association are not "public officers" subject to the requirements of the voting conflicts law, Section 112.3143, Florida Statutes. Although created pursuant to Section 627.311(3), Florida Statutes, the Association is an organization of automobile insurers which does not exercise any of the sovereign power of the State and therefore is not a public agency.
Are members of the Board of Governors of the Florida Joint Underwriters Association "public officers" subject to the requirements of the voting conflicts law, Section 112.3143, Florida Statutes?
Your question is answered in the negative.
In your letter of inquiry, you advise that the Florida Joint Underwriters Association has been created in order to establish a joint underwriting plan for automobile insurance for high risk insureds. Section 627.311(3), Florida Statutes (1985), authorizes the Department of Insurance to approve a joint underwriting plan in which all insurers writing automobile insurance in this State are required to participate. The Joint Underwriting Association created by the plan is supervised by an eleven member Board of Governors. Five members of the Board are appointed by the Insurance Commissioner, and six members of the Board are appointed by the participating insurers.
The voting conflicts law is applicable to persons who are "public officers," whether at the State or local level of government. Section 112.3143(1), Florida Statutes (Supp. 1986), provides:
As used in this section, the term "public officer" includes any person elected or appointed to hold office in any agency, including any person serving on an advisory body.
For purposes of the Code of Ethics, the term "agency" is defined to mean "any . . . government entity of this state, whether executive, judicial, or legislative . . ." Section 112.312(2), Florida Statutes (1985).
In our view, the Joint Underwriters Association is not a "government entity." It is an organization of automobile insurers -- private companies -- which has been established under the requirements of law. No provision within Section 627.311(3), Florida Statutes, indicates that the Association exercises or participates in the exercise of any of the sovereign power of the State. Rather, the Association simply assists in providing automobile insurance for high risk insureds.
Accordingly, we find that members of the Board of Governors of the Florida Joint Underwriters Association are not "public officers," and therefore are not required to comply with the requirements of Section 112.3143, Florida Statutes, regarding voting conflicts.