Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate’s Homeowners’ Policy and Claims Bill of Rights Working Group Discusses Assignment of Benefits, EUOs at August 2 Meeting

Aug 2, 2013


The Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate’s Homeowners’ Policy and Claims Bill of Rights Working group (“Working Group”) met via teleconference today, August 2, 2013, to continue to review draft recommendations on insurance claims handling processes and other related concerns. 

Today’s proceedings were a continuation of the Working Group’s July 30 meeting. 

Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Westcott opened the meeting, noting that the Working Group made significant progress during its last teleconference.  She said that she recognized that there are differing opinions on many of the issues being discussed.

Ms. Westcott began the discussion with the assignment of benefits issue, reminding that she is not trying to eliminate the assignment of benefits option because she does not think that could be accomplished and that it would probably not be upheld by the courts.  She said she would simply like to put some parameters around the ability of the consumer to assign benefits.

Much of the discussion on this issue centered on the right of rescission and how it impacts the assignment of benefits.  Representatives of the insurance industry pointed out that all related time periods need to be considered together and that insurance companies need to be given notification of the pending claim.

Ms. Westcott began the discussion of examinations under oath (“EUOs”) by questioning how often a consumer needs to make a recorded statement.  Insurance industry representatives pointed out that the EUO process is  fluid, and that issues may arise in an EUO that require additional recorded statements. 

Ms. Westcott gave some examples of questions in an EUO that were characterized to be far-reaching and seemed to have little impact on the claim.  She said that there should be some limitations and a structure in place.  There is a real need for protections for the consumer. 

Insurance industry members of the Working Group suggested proceeding with caution in the sense that EUOs need to have some ability to be free-flowing so insurance companies are not restricted in investigating claims.  Case law, they said, is clear about the notice requirement for EUOs and the Working Group should not suggest changes that could create ambiguity.

The next meeting of the Working Group is scheduled for Monday, August 12, and is expected to cover alternative dispute resolution and mediation.  

The Working Group will also meet Monday, August 19 from 1:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Pinellas Realtors Organization, 4590 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater, Florida.  To participate via teleconference, call (850) 413-1558 and enter conference ID:  81583.


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