2015 Florida Statutes
632.611 Organization.—A domestic society organized on or after June 24, 1986, shall be formed as follows:
(1) Seven or more citizens of the United States, a majority of whom are citizens of this state, who desire to form a fraternal benefit society, shall make, sign, and acknowledge before some officer competent to take acknowledgment of deeds, articles of incorporation, in which shall be stated:
(a) The proposed corporate name of the society, which shall not so closely resemble the name of any society or insurance company as to be misleading or confusing;
(b) The purposes for which it is being formed and the mode in which its corporate powers are to be exercised. Such purposes shall not include more liberal powers than are granted by this chapter; and
(c) The names and residences of the incorporators and the names, residences, and official titles of all the officers, trustees, directors, or other persons who are to have and exercise the general control of the management of the affairs and funds of the society for the first year or until the ensuing election at which all such officers shall be elected by the supreme governing body, which election shall be held not later than 1 year from the date of the issuance of the permanent certificate of authority.
(2) Such articles of incorporation; duly certified copies of the society’s bylaws and rules; copies of all proposed forms of certificates, applications therefor, and circulars to be issued by the society; and a bond, conditioned upon the return to the applicants of the advanced payments if the organization is not completed within 1 year, shall be filed with the office, which may require such further information as it deems necessary. The bond with sureties approved by the office shall be in such amount, not less than $300,000 nor more than $1.5 million, as required by the office. All documents filed are to be in the English language. If the purposes of the society conform to the requirements of this chapter and all provisions of the law have been complied with, the office shall so certify, retain, and file the articles of incorporation and shall furnish the incorporators a preliminary certificate authorizing the society to solicit members as hereinafter provided.
(3) No preliminary certificate granted under the provisions of this section shall be valid after 1 year from its date or after such further period, not exceeding 1 year, as may be authorized by the office upon cause shown. The articles of incorporation and all other proceedings thereunder shall become null and void in 1 year from the date of the preliminary certificate, or at the expiration of the extended period, unless the society shall have completed its organization and received a certificate of authority to do business as hereinafter provided.
(4) Upon receipt of a preliminary certificate of authority from the office, the society may solicit members for the purpose of completing its organization, shall collect from each applicant the amount of not less than one regular monthly premium in accordance with its table of rates, and shall issue to each such applicant a receipt for the amount so collected. No society shall incur any liability other than for the return of such advance premium, nor issue any certificate, nor pay, allow, or offer or promise to pay or allow, any benefit, to any person until:
(a) Actual bona fide applications for benefits have been secured on not less than 500 applicants, and any necessary evidence of insurability has been furnished to and approved by the society;
(b) At least 10 subordinate lodges have been established into which the 500 applicants have been admitted;
(c) There has been submitted to the office, under oath of the president or secretary, or corresponding officer of the society, a list of such applicants, giving their names, addresses, date each was admitted, name and number of the subordinate lodge of which each applicant is a member, amount of benefits to be granted and the premiums therefor; and
(d) It shall have been shown to the office, by sworn statement of the treasurer or corresponding officer of such society, that at least 500 applicants have each paid in cash at least one regular monthly premium as herein provided, which premiums in the aggregate shall amount to at least $150,000. Such advance premiums shall be held in trust during the period of organization and if the society has not qualified for a certificate of authority within 1 year, as herein provided, such premiums shall be returned to said applicants.
(5) The office may make such examination and require such further information as it deems advisable. Upon presentation of satisfactory evidence that the society has complied with all the provisions of law, the office shall issue to the society a certificate of authority to that effect and to the effect that the society is authorized to transact business pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. The certificate of authority shall be prima facie evidence of the existence of the society at the date of such certificate. The office shall cause a record of such certificate of authority to be made. A certified copy of such record may be given in evidence with like effect as the original certificate of authority.
(6) Any incorporated society authorized to transact business in this state on June 24, 1986, shall not be required to reincorporate.
History.—ss. 4, 6, ch. 86-140; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 1377, ch. 2003-261.