Florida Senate Insurance Committee Approves Citizens Property Insurance, Flood Coverage, Windstorm Mitigation Discount Bills, Among Others
Mar 10, 2015
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (“Citizens”), flood coverage and windstorm mitigation discounts were among the topics touched upon by a number of insurance-related bills taken up by the Florida Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance (“Committee”) during its meeting today, March 10, 2015.
To access complete meeting materials, including audio and video, click here.
As part of today’s Committee agenda, Senator Jack Latvala presented his bill, SB 836, which revises the way insurers pay and recoup Florida Insurance Guaranty Association assessments. Two technical amendments were adopted to the bill, which also received public support from the Florida Realtors before being passed as amended.
Senator Jeff Brandes presented SB 1094, which would require local governments to include development and redevelopment principles, strategies and engineering solutions to reduce flood risks and losses within coastal areas in their comprehensive coastal management plans. It also would mandate the completion of elevation certificates and their submission to the appropriate local property appraiser.
Further, SB 1094 also revises the requirements for customized flood insurance, defining it instead as coverage for the peril of flood that differs from standard or preferred coverage by:
- Being in an agreed-upon amount between the insurer and policyholder.
- Including a deductible as authorized in s. 627.701, F.S.
- Being adjusted in accordance with s. 627.7011(3), F.S., or adjusted only on the basis of the actual cash value of the property.
- Covering only the principal building.
- Including or excluding coverage for additional living expenses.
- Excluding coverage for personal property or contents.
Further, SB 1094 would remove the prohibition that a supplemental flood insurance policy can be used for excess coverage over any other insurance policy covering the peril of flood.
Under the provisions of the bill, all licensed insurance agents would be required to provide a quote for flood insurance when a residential structure is located within a Special Flood Hazard Area. It would also allow an insurer to request from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (“OIR”) a certification acknowledging that the insurer provides a flood policy, contract, or endorsement that equals or exceeds coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program.
In addition to two technical revisions, the following amendments were adopted to SB 1094:
- Barcode 591894, which requires completed elevation certificates to be filed with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, rather than the local property appraiser.
- Barcode 657366, which changes the name of the customized flood insurance policy to the flexible flood insurance policy.
- Barcode 611562, which authorizes the OIR to require an insurer to provide a credit to insureds when the agency finds a flood insurance rate is excessive or unfairly discriminatory.
The Committee passed SB 1094 favorably as amended.
Next on the insurance-related agenda was SB 1130 relating to Windstorm Premium Discounts by Senator David Simmons, which prohibits insurers from issuing windstorm-related premium discounts to policyholders if a Uniform Mitigation Inspection Verification Form was completed more than five years before the end of the policy period. One amendment was adopted to the bill specifying that its provisions do not apply to policies that are removed from Citizens through assumption or take out.
SB 1130 was approved as amended. Its companion, HB 507, was approved by the Florida House of Representatives Insurance and Banking Subcommittee last week.
Also sponsored by Senator Simmons, SB 1060 was passed with a technical amendment. The bill exempts the uniform schedules of maximum reimbursement allowances for workers’ compensation insurance treatment and care approved by the Three Member Panel from rule ratification by the Florida Legislature.
SB 916, a bill relating to Commercial Insurer Rate Filing Procedures, was presented by its sponsor, Senator Bill Montford. His proposal clarifies that certifications would be required only for residential property insurance rate filings. It also excludes commercial multi-peril insurance from the required annual base rate filing. One technical amendment was adopted to the bill, after which it was approved by the Committee as amended.
In a presentation on SB 842, Committee Chair Lizbeth Benacquisto explained that her proposal would remove a prohibition against Citizens coverage for any major structure that is substantially improved on or after July 1, 2015 and located seaward of the Coastal Construction Control Line or within the Coastal Barrier Resources System. Additionally, under the provisions of the bill, a similarly located major structure that was built before July 1, 2015 and subsequently remodeled or repaired to a size less than 125 percent of its original square footage would be eligible for Citizens coverage.
Senator Benacquisto offered an amendment that corrects a drafting error in SB 842 and clarifies that the threshold on existing structures is 25 percent of the total square footage of the finished area. After approving the revision, the Committee passed the bill as amended.
SB 830 relating to Regulation of Corporation Not-For-Profit Self-Insurance funds by Senator Simmons and SB 404 relating to Improvements to Real Property Damaged by Sinkhole Activity by Senator Wilton Simpson were temporarily deferred.
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