Florida Insurance Legislative Bill Action: April 21, 2010

Apr 21, 2010


Following is a summary of actions on two major insurance-related bills by the Florida Legislature today, April 21, 2010:


CS2/SB 2264 relating to Property Insurance Claims by the Senate Committees on Judiciary; Banking and Insurance and Senator Mike Bennett

CS2/SB 2264, which makes significant changes to the regulation of public adjusters in Florida, was amended and rolled to third reading by the Florida Senate today, April 21, 2010.

Senator Mike Bennett, the bill’s original sponsor, noted that SB 2264 represents a collective negotiation effort by all interested parties. 

A provision in the bill that limits public adjuster payments to 20 percent on re-opened claims prompted limited debate among Senators. 

Of note, CS2/SB 2264 sets forth a time window of three years in which a claim for damage caused by a windstorm or hurricane may be filed.

To view the most recent legislative summary of SB 2264, click here.


CS2/1ST Eng. HB 447 relating  to Property Insurance by the House General Government Policy Council; Insurance, Business and Financial Affairs Policy  Council and State Representative Bill Proctor

After being amended yesterday on second reading, HB 447, also known as the”Consumer Choice” bill, was heard by the Florida House of Representatives today, but temporarily postponed on third reading.   Subsequently additional amendments were filed to the bill.  A summary of each one follows:

  • Amendment 466201, which was late-filed by State Representative Joe Gibbons, would add a provision in § 627.062, F.S. stating that an insurer or rating organization may not use credit scoring when establishing and using rates, rating schedules and rating manuals.
  • Amendment 474951 filed by State Representative Rick Kriseman, would amend the rate deregulation portion of HB 447 to mandate that the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (“OIR”) review all rates-at least annually-to determine whether any rate charged by an insurer is excessive.
  • Amendment 517803 also filed by Representative Kriseman, provides that any additional information added to a pending filing that has not yet been disapproved by the OIR must include a new certification. Such additional information may not be considered a “new filing,” but rather must relate to a pending filing.
  • Amendment 672333 filed by HB 447’s original sponsor, Representative Proctor, would amend § 627.7011, F.S. to provide that the insurer shall initially pay the actual cash value (“ACV”) of the insured loss, less any applicable deductible and deletes “ACV of the loss and shall pay the ACV of the insured loss, less any applicable deductible.”
  • Amendment 710597, filed by Representative Kriseman would amend § 627.7011, F.S. to provide that, in order to receive payment from an insurer, a policyholder must subsequently enter into a contract for building and structural repairs. The insurer then would pay any remaining amounts for expenses incurred to perform such repairs as the work is performed. Payment by the insurer would be made within 15 days after the insurer’s receipt of a contractor’s invoice for work performed or expenses incurred. With the exception of incidental expenses to mitigate further damage, the insurer or any contractor or subcontractor may not require the policyholder to advance payment for such repairs or expenses. Under the provisions of Amendment 710597, the insurer also may waive the requirement for a contract. When an insurer pays a claim by applying the actual cash value provisions of this section, and when the insured has paid premiums based on replacement cost coverage, the insurer would then pay the insured a premium refund representing the difference between actual cash value premium and replacement cost value premium. If a total loss has occurred, Amendment 710597 also provides that the insurer must pay the replacement cost for a dwelling without reservation or holdback of any depreciation in value.
  • Amendment 839113, also filed by Representative Kriseman, would amend § 627.7011 by providing that if a loss occurs to personal property that is insured on the basis of replacement cost value, the insurer may limit its initial payment to a lump sum in an amount no less than 50 percent of the total replacement cost value of all personal property to be replaced, less any applicable deductible, and must pay the remaining 50 percent of the total replacement cost value in a lump sum within 10 days after a policyholder provides the insurer with receipts showing that the initial payment was used to purchase replacement property. The insurer may not require an insured to advance payment for the purchase of replacement property. The insurer also may not refuse to pay a policyholder if replacement property purchased is not identical to the destroyed property. If a total loss occurs, Amendment 839113 provides that the insurer must pay the replacement cost for content coverage without reservation or holdback of any depreciation in value and the insured would not be required to submit receipts or an inventory of the contents.

Media coverage of today’s action on HB 447 is reprinted below. 


Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Colodny Fass.




THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE April 21, 2010…A skeptical governor and a rapidly shifting political landscape appears to be the death knell for a measure allowing property insurers to raise rates without regulatory approval, the Senate sponsor said Wednesday.

Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, the sponsor of SB 876, said he’s throwing in the towel on the measure in the face of opposition from Gov. Charlie Crist, who vetoed a similar measure last year, and Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, who has opposed the idea and with whom Bennett has feuded for some time.

The measure would allow insurance companies to raise individual rates up to 20 percent a year without Office of Insurance Regulation approval. Statewide increases would be capped at 10 percent. The companion House measure, HB 447, was scheduled for a floor vote Wednesday but it was postponed.

Sen. JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, a supporter of the measure, said the votes aren’t there to override a veto and prolonged debate would be a waste of time.

“It doesn’t make any sense to spend time debating something the governor has come to a committee hearing to oppose,” Alexander said.  

Bennett’s measure is among a handful of industry-backed property insurance bills traveling through the Legislature. Another Senate bill, SB 2044, may still see the light of day. The measure does not contain the rate provision but does allow insurers to withhold a portion of claims payment until repairs are undertaken or replacements are purchased.  It also reduced the time policyholders have to file claims after a storm.

“If any insurance bills come out of the session this year I think that will be it.” Bennett said. “I just don’t see it happening otherwise.”

Political considerations may also play into the decision. With Crist considering dropping his party affiliation while he’s running for Senate, Republican leaders, who have already seen the governor veto party-backed legislation, may not want to give Crist more ammunition in any upcoming campaign.

“Why would you vote for an insurance increase when they know the governor will veto it?  All along he’s been saying “make my day,” said Rep. Ron Saunders, R-Key West. “They’ve already helped him enough,” said Saunders in reference to two recently vetoed bills on teacher tenure and leadership funds. “They don’t want to help him anymore.”


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