State Challenges Ruling on Life Insurance Law

May 25, 2018

Florida’s government is challenging a Leon County circuit judge’s ruling that part of a 2016 law imposing new requirements on life insurers is unconstitutional. Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis and the Florida Department of Financial Services have filed a notice in the First District Court of Appeal that they will fight the ruling by Circuit Judge Terry Lewis. The case stems from a 2016 law that placed new requirements on insurers to try to determine if policyholders had died and to contact beneficiaries. The law was intended to spur insurers to pay benefits or to turn over unclaimed money to the state. Judge Lewis ruled that requiring insurers to apply the changes retroactively to policies dating back as far as 1992 violated the companies’ constitutional due-process rights, and he subsequently issued an injunction against applying the changes retroactively. Attorneys for the state contend that applying the changes to old policies is constitutional because it did not violate “vested rights.”