House Omnibus Property Insurance Bill Amended, Passed by Final Committee of Reference; HB 447 Proceeds to House Floor
Apr 14, 2010
The House Government Policy Council (“Council”) took up HB 447 relating to property insurance this morning, April 14, 2010. Eight amendments had been filed to the bill, including a strike-everything amendment by HB 447’s original sponsor, State Representative Bill Proctor.
Representative Proctor introduced and explained his strike-everything amendment, which would make several changes to Florida’s property insurance statutes. These changes include:
- Extension of the exemption of medical malpractice insurance premiums from Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund emergency assessments to 2013;
- Requirement of a minimum surplus of $12 million for certain domestic insurers;
- Provision of additional Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (“OIR”) oversight and regulations of managing general agents (“MGAs”);
- Authorization of an insurer to cancel or non-renew a policy upon a minimum 45 days notice if approved by the OIR;
- Creation of a new section of law relating to notice of “change in policy terms” by allowing an insurer to change policies without non-renewing or cancelling the policy;
- Provision for a cap on rate increases at no more than 10 percent statewide, or 20 percent for a single policy;
- Requirement for the OIR to implement a shop-and-compare Web site;
- Several changes to Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (“Citizens”), including a provision that Citizens’ surcharges are payable upon cancellation of policy;
- Provisions for insurers to make initial offers of actual cash value on structures and 50 percent replacement for personal property; and
- Repeal of Florida’s sinkhole database.
Following is a summary of actions on the seven additional amendments that were filed to HB 447:
- An amendment by State Representative Steve Precourt relating to a member withdrawal notice from associations, funds or pools authorized for the purpose of risk management or self-insurance for public entities was withdrawn.
- An amendment by State Representative Alan Hays that would require Citizens rate increases to continue until the insurer is financially sound was withdrawn following Council debate.
- An amendment by State Representative Bryan Nelson that added provisions for a Florida Insurance Guaranty Association assessment was adopted.
- A conforming amendment by Representative Nelson was adopted.
- Another amendment by Representative Nelson requiring 100 days or 45 days notice on certain Citizens policy cancellations was adopted.
- A handwritten amendment by State Representative Kevin Rader that would require Citizens Board of Governors members to have insurance experience was adopted.
- Another amendment by Representative Rader that cross references ethics laws to apply to Citizens Board members was adopted.
During the public testimony portion of the Council meeting, OIR representatives addressed three concerns with HB 447 as amended:
- The bill provides for rate increases without empowering the OIR with the authority to deny them for excessiveness.
- The MGA provision in the bill does not “go far enough.”
- The bill provides no funding for the consumer Web site requirement.
Insurer and business association representatives spoke in favor of the bill, while trial attorney representatives spoke in opposition to it.
Following Council Member debate on Representative Proctor’s strike-everything amendment, the bill passed as a committee substitute.
A copy of the strike-everything amendment is attached for review.
Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Colodny Fass.
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