Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Consumer Services Committee Reviews Public Relations Campaigns, 2015 Legislation
Jun 16, 2015
A review of materials for two separate public relations campaigns, as well as 2015 legislation was on the agenda at Citizens Property Insurance Corporation’s (“Citizens'”) Consumer Services Committee (“Committee”) meeting this morning, June 16, 2015.
To view the complete meeting materials, click here.
Mobile Home Product Coverages Brochure
At its March 17 meeting, the Committee had requested Citizens’ Staff to develop an educational brochure outlining the coverages available for Citizens’ mobile home products, with the goal of explaining what types of coverages and applicable limits are available.
Beginning July 25, 2015, Citizens will include the brochure for one year with mobile home new and renewal policy issuance. During that time, an electronic brochure will be available for download from Citizens’ Web site in both English and Spanish.
To view the brochure, click here.
“Citizens is Ready” Campaign
A campaign designed to enhance public awareness of how Citizens prepares for catastrophe response has been named “Citizens is Ready.”
The season-long series will be divided into three segments: “Before the Event,” “During the Event” and “After the Event.” Its components will be published on social media, as well as on Citizens’ internal and external newsletters and communications channels.
The campaign, which began in late May 2015 and runs throughout the 2015 Hurricane Season, will feature messages highlighting Citizens’ emergency response programs, its mobile scalable claims-handling, emergency response team volunteers, emergency operations centers, field services vehicles and behind-the-scenes efforts. Related spotlight features will also be used to highlight individual jobs and tasks performed during Hurricane Season that help Citizens prepare.
To view the campaign logo and social media components, click here.
Citizens 2015 Legislation Review
The Committee also reviewed Citizens-related bills filed during Florida’s 2015 Regular Legislative Session. Of the 90 bills that had been tracked by Citizens’ Legislative and External Affairs team during that time, 22 of those had a direct impact on Citizens. Four of those 22 bills ultimately reached Florida Governor Rick Scott’s desk, one of which he vetoed.
The majority of legislative changes impacting Citizens’ operations can be found in the bills outlined below:
HB 715 relating to Eligibility for Coverage by Citizens Property Insurance Corporation by State Representative Holly Raschein
Effective July 1, 2015, HB 715 revises coverage eligibility with Citizens based on the boundary of Florida’s Coastal Construction Control Line and Coastal Barrier Resource System. The bill also removes the prohibition on coverage for any major structure that is substantially improved pursuant to a building permit applied for on or afterJuly 1, 2015. The prohibition on new construction of a major structure is retained.
HB 715 also revises the prohibition applicable to existing structures. A major structure that is rebuilt, repaired, restored or remodeled to increase the total square footage of finished area by more than 25 percent pursuant to a permit applied for after July 1, 2015 will now be ineligible for coverage from Citizens. A property owner who incurs a catastrophic loss would be able to rebuild and retain eligibility for Citizens coverage provided the total square footage of finished space is not increased beyond the threshold.
HB 165 relating to Property and Casualty Insurance by State Representative David Santiago
Effective July 1, 2015, HB 165 makes the following changes to Florida statutes relating to property and casualty insurance:
- Limits the requirement that the chief executive officer or chief financial officer and the chief actuary of a property insurer must certify a rate filing to full property insurance rate filings. Most commercial nonresidential property insurers are not statutorily required to make full rate filings and thus will no longer have to complete certifications.
- Current law requires the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (“OIR”) to consider projected hurricane losses using a model or method found reliable by the Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Methodology when reviewing a rate filing. HB 165 increases from 60 days to 120 days the time an insurer is not required to use the newest version of an approved hurricane model.
- Clarifies that commercial property insurance and commercial casualty insurance, other than commercial residential multi-peril insurance, is exempt from the requirement to make an annual base rate filing with the OIR.
- Establishes a uniform 120-day advance written notice of nonrenewal, cancellation, or termination for personal and commercial lines residential property insurance policies.
- Clarifies that an insurer has to notify a policyholder of the availability of neutral evaluation of a sinkhole claim only if there is coverage available under the policy and the claim was submitted within the statutory timeframe.
- Amends a provision in the Personal Injury Protection statute to resolve an ambiguity relating to the applicability of medical fee schedules.
- Creates exemptions to the pre-insurance inspection requirements for private passenger automobiles.
- Repeals a prohibition against using the existence of the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (“FIGA”) for the purpose of sales, solicitation, or inducement to purchase insurance. Such solicitations are required to explain the coverage limits of FIGA which apply to the type of insurance described in the advertisement or solicitation.
SB 7024 relating to the State Board of Administration by Senator Jeremy Ring
Effective July 1, 2015, SB 7024 directs Florida’s State Board of Administration to distribute the residual balance of the Fund B Surplus Funds Trust Fund to fund participants who were members in November 2007 on a pro-rata share of the interest earnings withheld since that date. Since Citizens was one of the largest fund participants at that time, the pro-rata share distribution methodology will have a positive impact on the exact amount Citizens receives back.
HB 1087 relating to Operations of the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation by State Representative Michael Bileca (Vetoed)
HB 1087, a bill that would have curtailed the amount of takeout offers that Citizens policyholders could receive from private insurers was vetoed by Governor Scott on June 2.
“This provision is inherently unfair to Citizens policyholders in that it limits policyholders’ private market options, which means they may miss an opportunity to move to a better property insurance alternative,” Governor Scott wrote in a transmittal letter explaining the reasons for his rejection of the bill.
The proposal would have also created a process where a policyholder returns to Citizens even though he or she is currently insured by a private market insurer.
“This perpetuates reliance on Citizens, which increases the potential for burdensome assessments,” the Governor added.
Other bills noted at today’s meeting that failed to pass during the Session included:
SB 1130 relating to Windstorm Premium Discounts by Senator David Simmons and HB 507 by State Representative Kathleen Passidomo would have required all insurers to only accept as valid the most recently approved OIR Uniform Wind Mitigation Verification Inspection Form or a previously approved form completed within five years of the effective date of the new policy when writing new policies and applying mitigation discounts.
HB 669 relating to Assignment of Post-loss Insurance Policy Benefits by State Representative John Tobia and SB 1064 by Senator Dorothy Hukill would have allowed an insurance contract to prohibit a policyholder from agreeing to a post-loss assignment of rights, causes of action, or benefits under the policy.
SB 936 relating to Citizens Property Insurance Corporation by Senator Jeff Brandes and HB 1307 by State Representative Daniel Raulerson would have expanded an exemption for Citizens from certain activities, required Citizens’ Plan of Operation to adopt a program that facilitates the removal of risks in which Citizens offers reinsurance to authorized insurers that are willing to assume its risks; and provided that, if Citizens was functioning as a reinsurer, all forms and endorsements would have had to be approved by the OIR.
Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Colodny Fass.
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