By Insurance Journal Staff Reports 

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Senate Bill 2A, enacted into law in December, gave Florida property insurers some major relief on litigation costs. But it also required a number of consumer-friendly actions from carriers and sets new timetables on claims, starting this week, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation said in a bulletin.

Among other changes, the law:

  • Reduces the time for insurers to acknowledge a claim or respond to communication from 14 days to seven days;
  • Reduces the time for insurers to begin an investigation, if reasonably necessary, from 14 days to seven days after the proof-of-loss statement is received;
  • Reduces the time for insurers to conduct a physical inspection from 45 days to 30 days and applies this provision to hurricane claims;
  • Requires insurers to provide to policyholders a copy of any adjuster’s report estimating the loss, within seven days after it is created; and
  • Reduces the time for insurers to pay or deny a claim, or a portion of the claim, from 90 days to 60 days, unless the delay is caused by factors beyond the control of the insurer.

OIR may extend the deadlines for up to 30 additional days during states of emergency, or after a reported breach of security or other information technology issue, the bulletin explains.

The law also encourages insurers to utilize electronic means when possible to speed up claims handling. These may include the use of digital photographs, video recordings of damage, video conferencing between adjusters and policyholders, and videos made by drones.

SB 2A also reduced the claims-filing deadline for policyholders, from two years to one, after the date of the loss. Supplemental claims must be reported within 18 months of a loss, down from three years.

The law stipulates other requirements from the insurer on maintaining records and other issues. The full OIR memo can be seen here.