House Insurance Deregulation Bill Amended on Second Reading; Senate Version Expected to Be Heard on April 21
Apr 20, 2010
The Florida House took up HB 447 on second reading today, April 19, 2010.
State Representative Bill Proctor, the original sponsor, explained HB 447, noting that its primary purpose is to give homeowners a choice in purchasing property insurance.
State Representative Rick Kriseman asked series of questions on the definition of a “valid complaint” as provided by the bill in relation to Florida’s Annual Insurer Report Card. Representative Kriseman urged House Members to include reference to “probable cause” in the definition of a “complaint.”
Additional concerns were raised by Representative Kriseman on the potential for double digit rate increases authorized by HB 447, along with the loss of mitigation credits to consumers and the payment of claims on the dwelling and contents.
Although HB 447 was temporarily postponed during a House recess, it was taken up again during the afternoon Session to complete the bill’s second reading. Amendments were debated and acted upon as follows:
- Amendment 455231 by State Representative Bryan Nelson, which clarifies the definition of valid consumer complaints, was adopted.
- Also sponsored by Representative Nelson, Amendment 983881 was adopted, which clarifies that when the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation makes a formal or informal request to an insurer for additional information subsequent to a rate filing, the insurer is permitted to supplement the rate filing without rendering its certification false.
- Amendment 744401 by State Representative Alan Hays, which would have mandated that Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (“Citizens”), raise its rates by 10 percent per year until they are “financially sound,” was withdrawn.
- Amendment 175073 by Representative Nelson relating to changing the name of Citizens’ “High-Risk Account” to “Coastal Account,” was replaced by Substitute Amendment 195987 because of a technical oversight that excluded the specific statute, s. 627.351(6), F.S. in Amendment 175073. In response to a query from State Representative Evan Jenne, Representative Nelson explained that the name change is expected to facilitate raising additional capital in the bond markets.
- Amendment 789141, which changes HB 447’s language in lines 1953-1954 relating to claims payment to “actual cash value of incurred loss, less any deductible,” was late-filed by Representative Proctor, but not considered.
Ater being amended, HB 447 was rolled to third reading by the House. SB 2044, the companion to HB 447, is expected to be heard by the Senate tomorrow, April 21.
Action also was taken today on the following bills:
- HB 159 relating to Guaranty Associations passed House on third reading and was sent to the Senate. Its companion, SB 2232, is on the Senate Special Order Calendar for consideration tomorrow. If passed, the bills would change state laws relating to the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (“FIGA”), the Florida Workers’ Compensation Insurance Guaranty Association and the Florida Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association. HB 159 and SB 2232 implement several policies adopted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association Model Act. They also revise FIGA’s structure by consolidating its auto liability and auto physical damage accounts into one account. Further, the bills remove the requirement that an insurer must submit a rate filing to pass through an assessment to the policyholders. Instead, companies would be allowed to apply a recoupment factor to the premium of the policies subject to the FIGA assessment.
- SB 876, also known as the “Consumer Choice” bill, was considered today by the Senate Policy and Steering Committee on Ways and Means. The bill, which would deregulate residential property insurance rates in Florida, would also create a 10 percent statewide average cap on rate increases and a per-policy cap of 20 percent on a statewide average rate increase.
- HB 225 relating to Controlled Substances was temporarily passed in the House on Second Reading, but was placed on the Special Order Calendar for House consideration tomorrow, April 21. Among other provisions, HB 225 revises requirements for the registration of pain-management clinics, as well as requires the Florida Department of Health to refuse to register pain-management clinics under certain circumstances.
On Wednesday, April 21 the Senate is scheduled to consider the following bills:
- SB 2046 relating to Employee Leasing Companies deletes the requirement that an employee leasing company must obtain approval of the Florida Board of Employee Leasing Companies before changing the name or location of a company. It also specifies that the regulatory requirements applicable to employee leasing companies do not affect the eligibility of such companies, their clients or leased employees for any local or state tax credit, economic incentive or other benefit.
- SB 2264 relating to Property Insurance Claims provides that certain statements may be considered deceptive or misleading if made in any public adjuster’s advertisement or solicitation. It also requires a disclaimer to be included in any public adjuster’s written advertisement. Under the provisions of SB 2264, certain persons who act on behalf of an insurer are required to provide notice to the insurer, claimant, public adjuster or legal representative for an on-site inspection of the insured property.
- SB 886 relating to the Open Government Sunset Review of the Insurance Claims Data Exchange extends a public records exemption for certain records obtained by the Florida Department of Revenue under the insurance claim data exchange system.
Colodny Fass will provide further information on the status of these bills and others as it becomes available.
Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Colodny Fass.
To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.