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1.     CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE SB 1574 SB 1574 by Senator Brandes passed its first of three committees, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, on March 16th and will be up next in Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government. The bill makes several changes to the statutes governing Citizens including:·        Requiring reasonable agent commission for policies placed in Citizens not to exceed the average of commissions paid in the preceding year by the 20 admitted insurers writing the greatest market share of property insurance in Florida. Given the recent Citizens Property Insurance Board discussion regarding the concept of removing all agent commissions to advance depopulation goals, Senator Brandes developed this language in response.·        Providing that eligible surplus lines insurers may participate in depopulation, take-out, or keep-out programs; and·        Authorizing information from underwriting files and confidential claims files to be released by Citizens to entities considering writing or underwriting risks insured by Citizens.·        Revising the method for determining the amounts of potential surcharges to be levied against policyholders;As much as NAIFA appreciates Senator Brandes’ efforts in this regard, it has been a long held belief by NAIFA that commission levels should not be inserted into the statute in any context for various reasons, including the fact that what goes up can also go down. NAIFA is working hard to lobby Citizens to not take any action to reduce agent commissions.There is no House companion for this bill.

2.    PIP REPEAL SB 54/HB 719 SB 54 by Senator Burgess passed its third and final committee stop in week 2 and will be on the floor next. The bill repeals the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law, which requires every owner and registrant of a motor vehicle in this state to maintain Personal Injury Protection coverage. Beginning January 1, 2022, the bill enacts financial responsibility requirements for liability for motor vehicle ownership or operation, as follows:·        For bodily injury (BI) or death of one person in any one crash, $25,000, and, subject to that limit for one person, $50,000 for BI or death of two or more people in any one crash.·        The bill sets a lower financial responsibility requirement of $15,000 for BI or death of one person, and $30,000 for BI or death of two or more persons, for persons having a household income of 200 percent or less of the federal poverty guidelines and for full time students attending a secondary or post-secondary school.·        The existing $10,000 financial responsibility requirement for property damage (PD) is retained. The bill increases required coverage amounts for garage liability and commercial motor vehicle insurance. It increases the cash deposit amount required for a certificate of self-insurance establishing financial responsibility for owners and operators of motor vehicles that are not for hire vehicles. The bill requires insurers to offer MedPay with limits of $5,000 or $10,000 to cover medical expenses of the insured. Insurers may also offer other policy limits that exceed $5,000. Insurers must offer a zero-deductible option for MedPay, and may also offer deductibles of up to $500. Insurers must reserve $5,000 of MedPay benefits for 30 days to pay physicians or dentists who provide emergency services and care or who provide hospital inpatient care.

The repeal of the No-Fault Law eliminates the limitations on recovering pain and suffering damages from PIP insureds, which currently require bodily injury that causes death or significant and permanent injury. Under the bill, the legal liability of an uninsured motorist insurer includes damages in tort for pain, suffering, disability or physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish, inconvenience, and the loss of past and future capacity for the enjoyment of life. The bill creates a new framework to govern all third-party claims against motor vehicle insurers for bad faith failure to settle. The bill requires the third-party claimant in a bad faith failure to settle action to show the insurer violated its duty of good faith to the insured and in bad faith failed to settle the claim. The bill requires motor vehicle insurers to follow claims handling best practices standards based on long-established good faith duties related to claim handling, claim investigation, defense of the insured, and settlement negotiations. The bill establishes that it is a condition precedent to bringing a third-party action for bad faith failure to settle that the claimant serve a detailed demand for settlement within the insured’s policy limits. The third-party bad faith claimant may condition the demand for settlement on taking a 2-hour examination under oath (EUO) of the insured, limited to discovering possible sources of recovery. The claimant may withdraw the demand for settlement after the EUO. If the insured refuses to submit to the EUO, the insurer may tender policy limits without obtaining a release of the insured, and if the insurer does so, it no longer has a duty to defend the insured, and may not be held liable if there is an excess judgment against the insured. The bill provides a safe harbor to the insurer in a third-party bad faith failure to settle action providing that an insurer is not liable for bad faith if it tenders (offers to pay)

policy limits in exchange for a release of its insured from further liability within 60 days after receiving a demand for settlement from a single claimant. Where there are multiple claimants, the insurer is not liable for bad faith if it initiates an interpleader action within 60 days after receiving the competing demands. The bill requires the trier of fact, when determining if an insurer in bad faith failed to settle, to consider certain actions of the insurer such as compliance with best practices along with certain actions of the insured and claimant. The bill also prohibits punitive damages in a third-party bad faith failure to settle action. The bill provides that if a motor vehicle insurer fails to timely provide information related to liability insurance coverage, the claimant may file an action to enforce the section, and is entitled to an award of reasonable attorney fees and costs to be paid by the insurer. The bill authorizes the exclusion of a specifically named individual from specified insurance coverages under a private passenger motor vehicle policy, with the written consent of the policyholder. The bill also allows an insurer that offers comprehensive coverage to offer a separate windshield deductible of up to $200, provided the insured is given an actuarially sound discount for electing the deductible and provided that a no deductible option is offered. The bill also prohibits auto repair shops from coercing consumers, paying referral fees, or giving rebates or gifts related to a windshield claim.

HB 719 by Representative Grall passed its first of three committee stops in week 2 and will be up next in House Insurance and Banking. The bill is similar to the Senate version but does not contain the same bad faith reform provisions, does not allow for the lower limits based on income level, and does not include the Senate provisions relating to windshield deductible. PROPERTY 1.     RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY INSURANCE/CONTINGENCY RISK MULTIPLIER SB 76/HB 305 SB 76 by Senator Boyd passed its second of three committee in Senate Judiciary last week and was up this week in Senate Rules. The bill had several amendments filed for it, including a strike-all from Senator Boyd. The amendments were heard in the committee including Boyd’s strike-all, but ultimately the bill was postponed due to the committee running out of time.  The bill revises the statutes that govern property insurance policies including attorney fees, roof coverage provisions, notice periods for bringing claims, alternative dispute resolution, lawsuits involving property insurance policies, consolidation of legal actions, and assignment agreements. Additionally, the bill establishes a third-degree felony for knowingly aiding or abetting an unlicensed person who transacts or engages in insurance activities without a license.  The bill makes changes to attorney fees by amending Florida Statutes to create a strong presumption that the lodestar fee is a sufficient and reasonable award of attorney fees in a claim arising under a property insurance policy. This presumption is rebuttable only in rare and exceptional circumstances by evidence that competent counsel could not be retained in a reasonable manner. 

The bill amends the roof coverage provisions through the use of a roof surface reimbursement schedule to limit coverage in a personal lines residential property insurance policy. The roof surface reimbursement schedule must provide for full replacement coverage for any roof surfaces type less than 10 years old. For roofs 10 years old or older the reimbursement schedule is as follows:·        70 percent for a metal roof type;·        40 percent for a concrete tile and clay tile roof type;·        40 percent for a wood shake and wood shingle roof type;·        25 percent for all other roof types. The bill also amends current law to require that a claim, supplemental claim, or reopened claim under a property insurance policy must be provided to the insurer within 2 years of the date of loss. The House version of this bill, HB 305 by Representative Rommel, has yet to be heard in its first of three committees, the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee. An amendment striking key provisions of the bill was adopted, then the bill was postponed. 2.     COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS/SUBROGATION SB 630/HB 867 SB 630 revises the regulation and governance of condominium, cooperative, and homeowners’ associations. The bill authorizes condominium, cooperative, and homeowners’ associations to extinguish discriminatory restrictions in recorded title transactions. The bill changes include prohibiting a unit owner’s insurance policy from including rights of subrogation against the association if the association’s policy does not provide subrogation rights against the unit owner. Fannie Mae mortgage lending guidelines require that the insurance policy for a condominium project waive the right of subrogation against unit owners. The bill also creates a prohibition for certain uses of escrow funds

including insurance costs. The bill passed its second of three in Senate Community Affairs Committee this week and will be up next in Senate Rules. HB 867 by Representative Shoaf has yet to be heard in its first of three committee stop