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1.     Insurer Accountability – HB7065/SB 7052

By Rep. Duggan and Sen. Hutson

Last week, the House filed its version of the Insurer Accountability Act, which was introduced as a committee bill by the Commerce Committee. The House bill was placed on the Appropriations Committee agenda, where it passed on April 21 with an amendment that made it closer to the Senate version of the bill. The House bill will now head to the floor. The Senate bill passed its last committee, Fiscal Policy, on April 20. The big differences between the versions: the House version does not contain bad faith language (section 19 of the Senate Bill) or the same version of the Managing General Agent (“MGA”) language. 

Regarding insurance coverage the proposed bill:

·        Prohibits authorized and surplus lines insurers from cancelling a property insurance policy during any pending claim until after repairs are complete;

·        Requires that Citizens cover property with open claims that are being handled by FIGA (Florida Insurance Guaranty Association);

·        Prohibits the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) from waiving its review of policy forms for 3 years for any insurer that has violated the Insurance Code;

·        Provides that the prohibition on applying any other deductible under the policy if a roof deductible is applied encompasses any other loss to the property caused by the same covered peril.

·        Tolls the time period for filing a property insurance claim during an insured’s active duty military service; and

·        Clarifies legislative intent that Chapter 2022-271, Laws of Florida, passed during Special Session A in December 2023, (SB 2-A [2022] on Property Insurance) shall not be construed to impair any right under an insurance contract in effect on or before the effective date of that chapter law (December 16, 2022).

·        Clarifies that the provisions of do not impair rights under policies in effect before the act’s effective date.

Regarding rates charged for insurance, the proposed bill:

·        Requires that property insurance and motor vehicle rate filings must include, and the OIR must consider in reviewing rates, the combined effect of recent legislative reforms;

  • Appropriates $500,000 from the Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund for OIR to obtain an actuarial study to implement this requirement.

·        Requires that property insurance mitigation discounts be updated at least every 5 years and insurers to provide consumer-friendly information on their website describing hurricane mitigation discounts available to policyholders; and

·        Makes title insurance rates subject to OIR rate review.

Regarding insurer claims handling, the proposed bill:

·        Requires OIR to ensure liability insurers are complying with proper claims handling practices by following specified best practices

·        Creates a 60-day prompt-pay law for non-PIP motor vehicle insurance claims similar to the prompt pay law for residential property insurance claims;

·        Requires insurers to annually submit their claims manuals to the OIR and attest that the manual comports to usual and customary industry claims handling practices, which is a concern given there is no separate bill creating a specific public records exemption; and

·        Strengthens the Unfair Insurance Trade Practices Act by:

  • Prohibiting altering or amending an adjuster’s report without including a list of changes, who made the change, and an explanation of a change that reduces coverage; and
  • Prohibiting payment of bonuses to officers and directors while an insurer is impaired or insolvent.

Regarding regulatory oversight of insurers, the bill:

·        Increases maximum administrative fines by 250 percent generally, and 500 percent for violations stemming from a state of emergency such as a hurricane.

·        Requires insurers to more promptly respond to the Department of Financial Services (DFS) Division of Consumer Services and increases fines for noncompliance.

·        Provides additional funding for the DFS Division of Consumer Services.

  • Appropriates five positions with associated salary rate of 325,000 and the sum of $494,774 in recurring funds and $23,410 in non-recurring funds to the DFS from the Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund.

·        Specifies objective criteria to be used by OIR to:

  • Prioritize necessary financial and market conduct examinations.
  • Determine when payments to affiliates are excessive.

·        Provides conditions whereby the OIR must initiate a market conduct examination.

·        Requires insurers to report to the OIR any temporary suspension of writing new policies.

·        Applies the standard order that OIR issues to protect consumers after hurricanes to surplus lines insurers.

·        Specifies that insurance fraud referrals may be made to the statewide prosecutor for crimes that impact two or more judicial circuits.

·        Requires additional reporting from regulators regarding their enforcement actions.

2.     Condominium and Cooperative Associations – HB 1395/SB 154

By Rep. Lopez and Senator Bradley

This is a cleanup package for the Surfside bill that passed in special session last May. The House bill has passed all three of its committees of reference. The House bill passed its last committee, the Commerce Committee, and is ready to head to the floor. The Senate bill passed the Senate by 40-0 and was immediately certified on 04/12. SB 154 is now in route for the House where it will be considered.

SB 154 revises the milestone inspection requirements for condominium and cooperative buildings that are three or more stories in height to:

·        Limit the milestone inspection requirements to buildings that include a residential condominium or cooperative;

·        Provide that the milestone inspection requirements apply to buildings that in whole or in part are subject to the condominium or cooperative forms of ownership, such as mixed-use buildings;

·        Clarify that all owners of a mixed-use building in which portions of the building are subject to the condominium or cooperative form of ownership are responsible for ensuring compliance and must share the costs of the inspection;

·        Delete the 25-year milestone inspection requirements for buildings that are within three miles of the coastline;

·        Authorize the local enforcement agencies that are responsible with enforcing the milestone inspection requirements the option to set a 25-year inspection requirement if justified by local environmental conditions, including proximity to seawater;

·        Authorize the local enforcement agency to extend the inspection deadline for a building upon a petition showing good cause that the owner or owners of the building have entered a contract with an architect or engineer to perform the milestone inspection services and the milestone inspection cannot reasonably be completed before the deadline;

·        Provide that the inspection services may be provided by a team of design professionals with an architect or engineer acting as a registered design professional in responsible charge; and

·        Clarify that an association must distribute a copy of the summary of the inspection reports to unit owners within 30 days of its receipt.

Requires the Florida Building Commission to establish by rule a building safety program to implement the milestone inspection requirements within the Florida Building Code. The commission must specify the minimum requirements for the commission’s building safety program by December 31, 2024, including inspection criteria, testing protocols, standardized inspection and reporting forms that are adaptable to an electronic format, and record maintenance requirements for the local authority having jurisdiction.

Revises the requirement that all personal lines residential policies issued by the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation must include flood coverage to exempt condominium or cooperative units that are in certain flood-risk areas and above specified floors in a building.

Clarifies that both the condominium or cooperative unit owner and any person authorized by any owner as his or her representative may inspect the official records of the association.

The bill provides additional presale notice requirements in contracts for sales of a unit by a developer or nondeveloper. This provision is similar to current contract notices to unit owners obligated to furnish certain governing documents to the prospective buyer of a unit more than three days before closing for sales by a nondeveloper or 15 days before closing for sales by a developer. A contract that does not conform to these notice requirements is voidable at the option of the purchaser prior to closing.

3.     Collateral Protection Insurance on Real Property HB 793/SB 410

By Rep. Fernandez-Barquin and Sen. Garcia (I)

This is the first time this type of language has been introduced in Florida. The House and Senate bills have received three committees of reference. SB 410 has passed two committees and is now on its last committee’s agenda for April 25th. The House version has passed all of its committees and has been placed on the Calendar for its second reading.

The bill creates a new section of law dealing with real property collateral protection insurance, also known as “forced-placed” insurance. The bill seeks to promote the public welfare by regulating collateral protection insurance on real property, create a legal framework which collateral protection insurance on real property may be written in the state, help maintain the separation between mortgage lenders or servicers, and insurers or insurance agents, and minimize the possibilities of unfair competitive practices in the sale, placement, solicitation, and negotiation of collateral protection insurance.

The scope of the bill applies to insurers and insurance agents engaged in any transaction involving collateral protection insurance on real property and all collateral protection insurance written in connection with mortgaged real property, including manufactured and mobile homes.

4.     Insurance HB 505/SB 418

By Rep. Berfield and Sen. Perry

This bill has turned into the Insurance Omnibus bill for the 2023 Legislative Session. As usual for every session the House and Senate versions will move through the process picking up smaller industry specific language and turning the bill into a train. HB 505 passed its last committee, the Commerce Committee, and will be placed on the second reading calendar. SB 418 has passed the Senate with a vote of 39-0 and is now in Messages towards the House.

The Senate bill is ahead of the House version and has the following provisions:

·        Allows a residential property insurer’s rate filing to estimate projected hurricane losses by using a weighted or straight average of two or more models approved by the Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology.

·        Provides that, in lieu of themselves, the Executive Director of the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, and the Director of the Division of Emergency Management, respectively, may appoint a designee to be a member of the Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology.

·        Authorizes an insurer to file a personal lines residential property insurance rating plan that provides premium discounts, credits, and other rate differentials based on windstorm construction standards developed by an independent, not-for-profit, scientific research organization.

·        Limits the requirement that an insurer provide a policyholder who has an automatic bank withdrawal agreement with the insurer with 15 days advance written notice of any increase in policy premiums. Instead, notice will only be required for premium increases that result in an increase in the automatic withdrawal of more than $10 from the previous withdrawal amount.

·        Revises provisions regarding the delivery of a policy to a policyholder by expanding the type of policies authorized to be delivered by electronic transmission to include individual and group health insurance policies, including dental.

·        Revises the mandated deductibles that must be offered for hurricane loss when issuing a personal lines residential property insurance policy. For policies with a dwelling limit of at least $1 million, the bill no longer requires the offer of the current mandated deductibles of 2 percent, 5 percent, and ten percent of the dwelling limit. Instead, the bill provides that an insurer may offer deductibles of up to:

  • Ten percent, for a policy covering a risk with dwelling limits of at least $1 million, but less than $3 million;
  • Fifteen percent, for a policy covering a risk with dwelling limits greater than $3 million.

·        Revises the requirement that the waiver by a policyholder of windstorm coverage or contents coverage, must be in the policy holder’s own handwriting, by also allowing the waiver to be typed.

·        Eliminates the requirement that a notice be stamped on the declarations page of limited coverage automobile policies. Such policies generally cover antique motor vehicles.

5.     Hurricane Protection for Condominium Association (Mitigation Credits)

HB 395/SB 556 By Rep. Tuck and Sen. Hooper


Both House and Senate bills have received three committee references. The Senate bill has cleared its second of three committees by a vote of 7-0. The House bill has not moved and technically may be dead for the session.

Adds in the definition section of condominium a term “hurricane protection” which covers hurricane shutters, impact glass, code-compliant windows or doors and other code-compliant hurricane protection products in order to potentially earn insurance mitigation credits. 

The bill allows for condominium associations to let members vote and by a simple majority require unit owners to install hurricane protection that complies with or exceeds the applicable building code.