by Tim Meenan, NAIFA-Florida Lobbyist

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer.

The high points include:

1) Eliminating the one-way attorney fee. Florida will join 39 other states which do not maintain a one-way fee, paid to plaintiffs’ lawyers if they win by even one dollar. This means that the best method for those that litigate against their insurance companies will be to make an offer of settlement of a specific amount early in the litigation process. If the litigation produces a judgement greater than 25% of what is offered by the plaintiffs’ attorney, then attorney’s fees are awarded and due from the insurer. Many agree that this one-way attorney fee has caused many crises here in Florida, including mold, sinkholes, AOB and now roofs.

2) Statute of Limitations. The bill reduces the statute of limitations to 1 year after the damage, or 18 months for a supplemental claim. Again, years after a storm, insurers receive thousands of claims just prior to the statute of limitations, and this should quell that.

3) Reinsurance. Another program offering the industry $2 billion of reinsurance coverage just below the $9 billion industry retention of the CAT Fund will be offered, with $1 billion coming from general revenue and another $1 billion coming from insurer premiums. There is still some thought that this coverage may not be offered low enough in the reinsurance stack to stop more carriers from running into a reinsurance availability crises in June. 

4) Optional binding mandatory arbitration. Allow insurers the ability to sell a mandatory binding arbitration provision. Must provide a premium discount to the consumer, and consumer has option to elect, cannot be forced onto every policy.

5) Citizens. 

A.      A policyholder is ineligible for coverage if they get a takeout offer within 20% of the Citizens rate, same with new policies. 

B.      Require new policyholders after April 1, 2023, within a flood zone to get flood coverage. Phase in all Citizens policyholders so that after January 1, 2027 every Citizens policy has flood coverage. 

C.      Second homes may pay up to 50% more than the Citizens rate and cannot receive any rate reductions awarded to Citizens over time.

D.      Eliminate localized rate reductions in Citizens. 

E.       Combine the three Citizens accounts to streamline the assessment process after storms.

6) Flood. Require a statement on front page of policy that “Flood coverage is not included.”

7) Insurers. Reduce time frames, such as requiring all claims to be paid before 60 days, rather than 90, reduce from 14 days down to 7 the amount of time required to respond to claims inquiries, and other time frames.

8) OIR. Grants OIR more market conduct and other regulatory powers.

9) Agents. Allow the Insurance Commissioner to extend the 30-day coverage period by FIGA after a storm to 45 days to give agents time to move policyholders affected by an insurance company 

Click here for a Summary prepared by the House Staff.