Florida Legislature Passes ‘Homeowner Bill of Rights’ Insurance Claims Bill (SB 708)
Apr 30, 2014
With the Florida House of Representatives’ passage of CS/CS/SB 708 relating to Insurance Claims today, April 30, 2014, the bill will now go to Governor Rick Scott for action. The legislation was originally sponsored by Republican Senator Aaron Bean.
To access the bill text and analyses, click here.
Containing language known as the “Homeowner Claim Bill of Rights,” CS/CS/SB 708 would prohibit insurers from denying claims or canceling an insurance policy or contract based on available credit information if the insurance policy or contract has been in effect for more than 90 days.
Under CS/CS/SB 708, insurers would be required to provide a copy of the Bill of Rights to policyholders within 14 days of a claim. The bill does not create a new civil cause of action.
In addition, CS/CS/SB 708 would increase Florida Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) power to take disciplinary action against mediators and neutral evaluators, as well as empower the DFS to investigate mediators and neutral evaluators in a manner similar to how it investigates agents and agencies. Further, the DFS and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation would be allowed to share information with other regulatory bodies while any investigation is ongoing.
Insurance contracts often contain an appraisal provision allowing parties who agree on the existence of a covered loss to use an umpire to determine its amount. CS/CS/SB 708 would allow parties to disqualify an umpire for specified conflicts of interest, such as the umpire being related to, or having been employed by one of the parties.
With an effective date of July 1, 2014 unless otherwise expressly provided, this bill also would create new requirements for agreements between policyholders and services providers needed to mitigate damage caused by fire, water or catastrophic events.
Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Colodny Fass& Webb.
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