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1.     RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY INSURANCE/CONTINGENCY RISK MULTIPLIER SB 76/HB 305 SB 76 by Senator Boyd passed off the full Senate floor this April 7th. 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 eliminates the attorney fee multiplier unless it is a rare and exceptional case.  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. Additionally, the bill allows an insurer to offer a state value sublimit on roof coverage. 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. Other provisions in the bill include:·        Allowing an insurer to require mediation as a 1st party claimant or a 3rd party assignee.·        Creating a “Texas” style 1st party attorney fee reform.·        Requiring the consolidation of multiple residential actions involving the same property.·        Modifying the AOB law to conform with the new “Texas” attorney fee model.·        Requesting the Florida Supreme Court to require plaintiff and defense lawyers to disclose their attorneys fees. The House version of this bill, HB 305 by Representative Rommel, passed its second of three committees, the House Civil Justice and Property Rights committee this week. The bill makes several changes including the following: ·        Residential Property Insurance Claims for Roof Damage – The bill establishes that a contractor or unlicensed person acting on behalf of the contractor may not solicit or incentivize the filing of a roof damage insurance claim by a residential property owner or interpret policy provisions. It also establishes that a public adjuster, a public adjuster apprentice, or unlicensed persons acting on their behalf may not incentivize the filing of a roof damage insurance claim by a residential property insurance owner.·        Clarifies that OIR has the authority to examine MGAs, including affiliates of insurers, as it examines insurers, even if the MGA represents a single domestic insurer. It requires that each insurer paying an affiliate produce information about fees paid to the affiliate upon request by OIR. It also requires that all MGAs execute contracts with the insurers they do business with even if they are affiliates of the insurers.·        Establishes that each insurer or insurer group doing business in Florida shall file specific data regarding litigation of personal and commercial residential property insurance claims on a quarterly basis.·        The bill makes several changes to the operations of, and requirements for, Citizens, the state-run property insurer: 

  • Revising the eligibility for residential property owners to obtain coverage from Citizens so that they are not eligible for Citizens’ coverage if they can obtain coverage from private insurers that is less than 20 percent greater than the premium for comparable coverage from Citizens 
  • Establishing that if Citizens does not buy reinsurance to cover its projected 100-year probable maximum loss, it must still include the cost of such reinsurance in its rate calculations.
  • Establishing that no employees of Citizens may receive salaries in excess of 150 percent of the salary received by the head of OIR, with certain exceptions.

·        The bill changes the notice of claim deadlines in the Insurance Code so that notice of any property insurance claim must be provided to a property insurer within two years of the date of loss.·        The bill creates new statutory requirements for residential or commercial property suits that are not brought by an assignee, including a ten-day presuit notice and demand, after a determination of coverage, before bringing suit against an insurer. An insurer served with this notice must respond in writing within ten days by either making a settlement offer or requiring participation in an appraisal or alternative dispute resolution proceeding as provided for in the policy. HB 305 passed the Commerce Committee on April 23rd and heads to the House floor next. The bill was weakened by committee amendments and needs work to match up to the Senate bill.  

4.     CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE SB 1574SB 1574 by Senator Brandes passed its third and final committee on April 19th with amendments and will be up next on the Senate floor. The revised 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;·        Removes all new business, 2nd homes, and any homes with dwelling values over 700,000 from the Citizens (glide path) premium cap. It has been a long-held belief by agent groups 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. These groups are lobbying Citizens to not take any action to reduce agent commissions. There is no House companion for this bill. AUTO1.     PIP REPEAL SB 54/HB 719 SB 54 by Senator Burgess was taken up by the Senate on April 14th and passed the full Senate with amendments and now goes over to the House. The House has placed the bill on the special order calendar for April 23rd.  They have filed two amendments on the bill, the first ensures no additional liability for agents who sell motor vehicle insurance. The second excludes individuals failure to comply does not invalidate property executed exclusions.  Before being sent to the house, the Senate had amendments that added $5,000 in mandatory Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage to the bill. The biggest change was adoption an amendment to the amendment by Senator Famer which changed the damages part of the bad faith reform to change “claimant” to “the party bringing the bad faith claim” removed the enforcement provision of the bad faith reform, and removed the limitation on multiple remedies provision from the bad faith reform. The amended bill is now closer to the House position and makes the following changes to the prior version of the bill:·        Removes the reduced limits of 15/30 for low income or full time students.·        Removes the auto glass/windshield part of the bill. Specifically, the prohibition on auto repair shops from coercing, paying for deductibles or offering rebates/gift cards for referrals or to induce windshield claims is removed by the amendment. The $200 glass deductible is also removed. This is the House position. Changes the bad faith part of the bill (the House version does not include bad faith reform). Important changes to this part of the bill include:·        Removes an insurer’s “fiduciary” duty to its insured to handle claims in good faith and replaces it with a “duty.”·        Changes duty of good faith.·        Adds some best practices. Triggers best practices on the insurer’s receipt of actual notice of the incident or loss. Puts the burden on the party bringing the bad faith claim to prove the insurer had actual notice and when the notice was received.·        Removes the EUO. Adds a duty to cooperate. Adds a disclosure of assets.·        Removes the condition precedent that a claimant must serve a demand for settlement before filing a third party action for bad faith failure to settle.·        Reduces the safe harbor from 60 days to 45 days. Conditions safe harbor on insurer compliance with the best practices set out in the bill. The amended bill also makes other changes including:

  • Adds mandatory MedPay coverage of $5,000 with a mandatory offer of $10,000. An auto policy is deemed to have MedPay coverage of $10,000 unless the insurer obtains a written refusal of the coverage. The House does not have mandatory MedPay.
  • Adds a weakened “no-pay, no play” provision which requires a $10,000 setoff of noneconomic damages for injuries caused by an uninsured driver except when at fault driver is driving under the influence, acted intentionally, recklessly, or with gross negligence, fled from the accident scene, or acting if furtherance of a felony. This is not in the House bill.
  • Retains named driver exclusion.

  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 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. HB 719 by Representative Grall passed its final committee on April 19th and will likely be substituted for the Senate bill on April 23rd where the bill is on Special Order in the House. The bill is similar to the Senate version but does not contain the same bad faith reform provisions.  Several amendments are pending. 2.     NAMED DRIVER EXCLUSION SB 420/HB 273 SB 420 by Senator Hooper passed the full Senate on April 21st and now awaits a hearing in the House. The bill authorizes private passenger motor vehicle policyholders to exclude identified individuals from the following coverages under their policy:·        Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage applicable to the identified individual’s injuries, lost wages, and death benefits;·        Property damage liability coverage;·        Bodily injury liability coverage, when required by law;·        Uninsured motorist coverage for any damages sustained by the excluded individual; and·        Any coverage the policyholder is not required by law to purchase. However, a private passenger motor vehicle policy may not exclude coverage when:·        The identified excluded individual is injured while not operating a motor vehicle;·        The exclusion is unfairly discriminatory under the Florida Insurance Code; or·        The exclusion is inconsistent with the underwriting rules filed by the insurer. The exclusion of an identified named driver is invalid unless the named policyholder consents in writing to the exclusion of a named driver and the excluded named drivers are listed on the policy’s declarations page or policy endorsement. An individual excluded by name in an insurance policy would not be covered for damages that occur while operating a motor vehicle that is insured under the policy. An excluded driver must separately comply with financial responsibility laws. The House version of the bill, HB 273 by Representative Plakon, passed all its three committees and has been placed on the House calendar. Note this language is also included in SB 54 regarding PIP. 3.     PEER-TO-PEER CAR SHARING SB 708/HB 785 SB 708 by Senator Brandes has yet to be heard in its first committee, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee. The bill does the following:·        Creates definitions for peer-to-peer car sharing;·        Creates insurance coverage requirements for peer-to-peer;·        Names the liabilities and insurance exclusions;·        Provides a notification process for implications of a lien being on the vehicle; and·        Lists the required recordkeeping for a peer-to-peer program. HB 785 by Representative Busatta Cabrera has yet to be heard in its first of two committees and will be up first in House Tourism, Infrastructure and Energy. These bills are unlikely to pass but see SB 566/HB 365 regarding peer-to-peer provisions contained in those bills. 4.     MOTOR VEHICLE RENTALS SB 566/HB 365 SB 566 by Senator Perry passed the Senate floor on April 22nd. The bill seeks to specify the applicable sales tax rate on motor vehicle leases and rentals by motor vehicle companies and peer-to-peer car sharing programs. The bill also specifies the applicable rental surcharge on these same leases, rentals and car sharing programs. Additionally, the bill names the insurance requirements for peer-to-peer car sharing programs. Providing an exemption from vicarious liability for peer-to-peer and shared vehicle owners. The House version HB 365 by Representative Caruso has also passed all three of its committees and has been placed on the House calendar. The House could decide to take up the Senate bill next week.