Florida Insurance Legislative Committees Advance Various Bills–March 11, 2014
Mar 11, 2014
Following is a summary of actions taken by insurance-related Florida legislative committees today, March 11, 2014:
Florida House of Representatives’ Insurance and Banking Subcommittee
As part of the Florida House of Representatives’ Insurance and Banking Subcommittee (“Subcommittee”) agenda today, State Representative Albritton presented HB 785 relating to Workers’ Compensation. The bill permits employers to retrospectively negotiate rated premium with insurers under specified conditions. The bill was recorded favorably by the Subcommittee.
State Representative Hood was originally scheduled to present HB 1007 relating to Workers’ Compensation, but requested that the bill be temporarily postponed.
HB 7045 relating to Open Government Sunset Review/Florida Insurance Guaranty Association was presented to the Subcommittee by State Representative Cummings. The bill removes a scheduled repeal of a public records exemption for specific Florida Insurance Guaranty Association records. The bill was recorded favorably by the Subcommittee.
Representative Hood presented a Proposed Committee Substitute for HB 743 relating to Property Insurance. A product of the Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate’s Working Group, the bill contains the Homeowners Bill of Rights and excludes the assignment of benefits language.
State Representative Broxson filed an amendment that removes a requirement that the Bill of Rights should be sent to a policyholder within 14 days after filing a claim and clarifies that it does not modify or contravene any current statutory requirements. The amendment was adopted.
State Representative Tobia filed an amendment to HB 743 that included the assignment of benefits language. The Florida Chamber of Commerce testified in support of the amendment. After debate and testimony the Subcommittee adopted the amendment.
State Representative Rader filed an amendment that requires the Bill of Rights to be distributed annually with an insurance policy. Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Steve Burgess testified in opposition of the amendment, but the amendment was adopted nevertheless. The Subcommittee passed the Proposed Committee Substitute as amended.
To view the meeting packet, click here.
Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance
The Florida Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance Committee (“Committee”) also met today.
As part of the agenda, Senator Brandes presented SB 542 relating to Flood Insurance. Senator Brandes filed a strike-all amendment to the bill, which he said strengthens the opportunity for a robust, competitive market, offers flexibility to policyholders, requires participating companies to submit a plan of operation to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, provides for policy disclaimers and requires that participating companies must offer comparable coverage to the National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”) coverage. The amendment was adopted and the bill was recorded favorably as a committee substitute.
Senator Brandes presented two other bills that correlate with SB 542. The first bill he discussed was SB 1262 relating to Public Records and Meetings/Insurance Flood Loss Model. There was no testimony or debate and the bill was recorded favorably.
Senator Brandes presented the second bill relating to SB 542–SB 1058, a Memorial Bill relating to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The bill urges Congress to delay the implementation of NFIP reform until certain conditions have been met. It also would eliminate requirements that would increase the cost of insurance through the NFIP. There was no testimony or debate and the bill was recorded favorably.
SB 7062 relating to Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (“Citizens”) was presented. The bill requires Citizens to cease offering new commercial residential policies, as well as multi-peril coverage. It also revises limitation on public adjuster charges for claims during emergencies and requires Citizens to summit annual estimates to the Florida Legislature and the Financial Services Commission.
In the previous Committee meeting, Senators temporarily postponed SB 7062 to allow proper time to discuss the bill and amendments. In response to Senator Negron’s concerns, Senator Hays withdrew an amendment relating to Citizens Board of Governors (“Board”) and bid protests. Instead, Senator Hays filed a new amendment that allows Citizens’ Board to forward all bid protests straight to Florida Division of Administrative Hearings. Senator Hays filed another amendment that addresses rating of surplus lines insurance companies and their ability to provide coverage for commercial residential policies. Both of the amendments were adopted
Vice Chair Clemens filed an amendment that removed language that addresses unregulated surplus lines insurance. Chairman Simmons asked the Committee to oppose the amendment because it simply provides policyholders with another option. It does not require them to obtain coverage from the carrier and also requires the insured to sign the offer to be insured by the surplus lines carrier. The Committee expressed its concerns about the amendment and Vice Chair Clemens withdrew it. Chairman Simmons made a commitment to remove the language if it continues to be a problem throughout its other committees of reference or once it gets to the Senate floor. The bill was recorded favorably as a committee substitute.
SB 870 relating to Insurance was presented to the Committee. The bill states that the validity of a policy or contract is not affected by the absence of a countersignature. The bill was reported favorably by the Committee.
Senator Simpson presented SB 952 relating to Workers’ Compensation to the Committee. The bill permits employers to negotiate retrospectively rated premium with insurers under certain conditions. There was no debate or testimony on the bill and it was recorded favorably by the Committee.
Chairman Simmons presented SB 1308 relating to Insurer Solvency to the Committee. The bill clarifies that attorney-client or work-product privileges are not waived because of production of documents. The bill requires an annual actuarial opinion summary statement, revises the Standard Valuation Law and the Standard Nonforfeiture Law, includes additional definitions in the Florida Insurance Code and includes supervision language of international insurance groups. The bill was reported favorably as a committee substitute.
Chairman Simmons also presented SB 1300 relating to Public Records/Office of Insurance Regulation to the Committee. The bill creates public records exemption requirements for proprietary business information that is submitted to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation and requires future legislative repeal and review. A strike-all amendment was adopted to the bill and it was reported favorably as committee substitute.
To view the meeting packet, click here.
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