Florida Insurance-Related Bills Filed During the Week of February 18, 2009

Feb 20, 2009

The following bills were among insurance-related legislation filed in the Florida Legislature during the week of February 16 (click on the bill number to view complete information):


HB 1043 Relating to First-Responder Services by State Representative Nick Thompson 

Prohibits counties and municipalities from imposing taxes, charging fees, or seeking reimbursement for costs relating to certain first-responder services.  Effective Date: July 1, 2009

HB 1051 Relating to Civil Remedies Against Insurers by State Representative Carl Domino 

Authorizes a person to bring civil action against Citizens Property Insurance Corporation when such person is damaged by commission of specified acts or specified violations of state law; prohibits assessment of punitive damages against Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. Effective Date: July 1, 2009 


HB 903 by State Representative Anitere Flores Relating to Workers’ Compensation Attorney’s Fees

Requires fee, gratuity, or other consideration to be paid to an attorney representing a claimant as approved by a judge of compensation claims or court having jurisdiction in accordance with statutory guidelines; revises amount of attorney’s fees that may be paid; clarifies amounts claimant is eligible to recover from carrier or employer. Effective Date: Upon becoming law.

Notes on HB 903 From the News Service of Florida: 

Representative Flores Files Workers’ Comp Fee Cap Bill:  A measure that would repeal the requirement that lawyers fees in workers compensation cases be “reasonable,” and instead restore a legislatively-set attorney fee schedule was filed this week in the House by Rep. Anitere Flores, R-Miami. The measure (HB 903) is in response to last year’s ruling in Murray v. Mariner Health in the state Supreme Court, which invalidated a lawyer fee cap in workers comp cases. The Flores measure says in findings of fact language that it is intended to clarify that the nullified caps are important.


SB 1836 Relating to Public Records/Proprietary Confidential Business Information by the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee 

Provides that proprietary confidential business information held by an agency is confidential and exempt from public records requirements.  Authorizes a request to inspect or copy a record that contains proprietary confidential business information to be granted under certain circumstances.  Authorizes any person to petition a court for the public release of those portions of a record made confidential and exempt by the act, etc.   Effective Date:  July 1, 2009


SB 1838 Relating to Open Government Sunset Review/Agency Employees by the Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee 

Provides that social security numbers of current and former agency employees held by the employing agency are confidential and exempt.   Authorizes said employees to provide written notice to another agency to maintain the confidential and exempt status of such social security number.  Requires that an agency identify the laws governing the collection, use, and release of social security numbers and ensure that it complies with such laws, etc.  Effective Date:   July 1, 2009


SB 1882 Relating to Viatical Settlements by Senator Mike Fasano 

Requires that a viatical settlement provider’s required annual statement include certain information. Provides additional grounds pursuant to which the OIR may suspend, revoke, deny, or refuse to renew the license of a viatical settlement provider.  Requires that a viatical settlement provider provide to the viator a disclosure statement before, or concurrently with the viator’s execution of a viatical settlement contract, etc.  Effective Date:   July 1, 2009


HB 981 Relating to Annuity Contracts for Seniors by State Representative Keith Fitzgerald 

Revises the consumer protection requirement relating to the designation of life insurance policy beneficiaries; provides additional ground for taking adverse action against the license or appointment of specified persons; expands the prohibition against the Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) issuing license to specified persons for specified activities; revises the prohibition against life agents handling the placement of coverage under life insurance policies under specified circumstances; provides for limitation to natural persons of criminal penalties relating to offenses of “twisting” or “churning” and willfully submitting fraudulent signatures on application or policy-related document; provides increased criminal penalty for natural persons committing offenses of twisting or churning with respect to seniors; specifies that failure to ascertain a consumer’s age is not a defense to specified violations; authorizes use of video depositions in administrative proceedings involving seniors as victims; extends unconditional refund period for annuities purchased by seniors; provides additional life insurance solicitation disclosure requirements; revises the requirements for annuity investments by seniors; authorizes DFS to order monetary restitution as a corrective action; prohibits annuity contracts issued to seniors from containing a deferred sales charge in excess of  a specified percentage and requires a reduction in percentage to zero by a specified time.  Effective Date: July 1, 2009


SB 1820 Relating to Insurance by Senator Mike Fasano

Provides penalties for incorrectly marking information as a trade secret.  Limits the definition of “casualty insurance” by prohibiting credit property insurance coverage from being issued on an inland marine policy form; requires that every insurer approved to offer deductibles in workers’ compensation policies obtain collateral from the policyholder; requires that managing general agents render accounts to the insurer detailing certain information and remit all funds due under a contract within a specified period after collection of such funds; includes on the list of unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts the refusal to insure or continue to insure an individual or risk solely because of the fact the individual owns an animal or animals; authorizes an insurer to ask certain questions and limit or exclude portions of liability coverage pertaining to animals; repeals s. 627.0612, F.S. relating to administrative proceedings in rating determinations; amends s. 627.062, F.S.; requiring that rates be made in accordance with generally accepted actuarial techniques; requires that the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (“OIR”) issue an approval letter for certain rate filings; requires that the OIR consider certain factors when determining whether a rate is excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory; deletes conditions under which the OIR is prohibited from disapproving certain rates as excessive; revises restrictions on altering a rate after notification by the OIR that such rate may be excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory; deletes provisions specifying actions constituting violations of the insurance code; deletes a requirement that the OIR develop a proposed standard rating territory plan; requires that the chief executive officer or the chief financial officer and the chief actuary of a property insurer certify certain information which must accompany a rate filing; deletes a provision requiring that the OIR establish that rates are excessive for certain personal lines residential coverage; amends s.627.0621, F.S.; requiring that certain insurers and the OIR make certain information available on a public Web site; requires that the OIR provide the overall rate change approved for any rate filing made on or after a specified date; revises membership requirements of the Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology (“Commission”); provides for a chair of the Commission; deletes a limitation on the prohibition of modification of certain rating models; prohibits a modeler from submitting more than one model per filing with the Commission; requires that each model submitted contain certain information; exempts commercial property insurance from certain annual filing requirements; requires that an insurer make a file-and-use filing under certain circumstances; requiring that the OIR issue a notice of intent to disapprove under certain circumstances; amends s. 627.351, F.S.; requiring flood insurance for all new and renewal policies issued by Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (“Citizens”) for properties located within a specified area between the coast and the coastal construction control line; prohibits Citizens from insuring such properties constructed or permitted on or after a specified date unless such properties have obtained flood insurance; prohibits Citizens from issuing wind-only policies after a specified date;provides filing procedures for an insurer or insurer group electing to recoup an assessment that has been paid; provides for the calculation, application, and expiration of a recoupment factor; provides procedures for recoupment-removal and recoupment-continuation filings; requires that such filings include certain information; requires an insurer to refund excess recoupment; prohibits certain insurers or insurer groups from including an uncollected assessment as a component of a subsequent rate filing; prohibits an insurer or insurer group discontinuing a line, type, or subline of business from recouping amounts assessed against that line, type, or subline; prohibits such insurer or insurer group from including an uncollected assessment as a component of a subsequent rate filing for other lines, types, or sublines of business; provides a deadline for filing an initial recoupment; amends s. 627.706, F.S.; providing that insurers are not required to issue a notice of nonrenewal to exclude sinkhole coverage upon the renewal of existing policies in certain counties or territories; authorizes insurers to exclude such coverage using a notice of coverage change; requires that insurers continue to offer optional sinkhole coverage for an appropriate additional premium.  Effective Date:   July 1, 2009




Should you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact Colodny Fass.


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