Florida Office of Insurance Regulation Appeals ‘Secure Door’ Final Order Invalidating Wind Mitigation Discount Forms
Nov 28, 2012
The Final Order issued by The Florida Division of Administrative Hearings in Secure Enterprises, LLC v. Office of Insurance Regulation, DOAH Case No. 12-1944RX, which held that certain forms relating to Florida wind mitigation insurance discounts are invalid is now under appellate review. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (“OIR”) filed a notice to appeal the Final Order on November 19, 2012 and is required to serve its initial brief within 70 days of filing the notice of appeal.
In the Final Order, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) determined that a portion the Wind Mitigation Discount Form (Form OIR-B1-1699) adopted by the OIR and used by insurers to determine discounts for homeowners is invalid. The ALJ also found that the Notice of Premium Discounts for Hurricane Mitigation Form (Form OIR-B1-1655) adopted by the OIR is invalid. The invalidated forms and accompanying Rule are attached for review.
Secure Enterprises, LLC, the Petitioner in the case, manufactures and distributes the Secure Door® residential garage door bracing system. The ALJ found that the Secure Door® bracing system strengthens weak garage doors if installed onto a non-glazed garage door and meets the requirements of the 2001 Florida Building Code for wind resistivity.
The ALJ determined that the portion of the Wind Mitigation Discount Form that addresses mitigation discounts for existing pre-2001 construction does not provide a discount for the installation of a garage door bracing system like the Secure Door® bracing system. The Form only recognizes enhancements that affect impact resistivity (relating to impact by wind-borne debris), not wind resistivity (relating to wind pressure). The ALJ found that doors have been known to fail mostly from wind pressure, not wind-borne debris, whereas windows fail due to impact by wind-borne debris more often than wind pressure. As a result, the ALJ ordered that the first page of the Wind Mitigation Discount Form that addresses mitigation discounts for existing pre-2001 construction is invalid.
Further, the ALJ found that the Notice of Premium Discounts for Hurricane Mitigation Form is invalid because it does not adequately notify insureds that they can obtain a discount for fixtures and construction techniques that enhance the strength of doors, windows and skylights.
Section 120.56(3)(b), Florida Statutes provides that the invalidated forms will become void once the time to appeal the Final Order has expired. Accordingly, the invalidated forms cannot be rendered as void until the appellate process is complete.
Colodny Fass& Webb will continue to monitor all developments related to this case.
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