The Florida Current’s 2013 Session Summary: Insurance

May 8, 2013

The following article was published in The Florida Current on May 8, 2013:

2013 Session Summary:  Insurance

A good session for the insurance industry was set up when committee memberships were announced, as pro-industry members made up most of the House and Senate insurance panels.

But a bright start to efforts to bring big changes to Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund and the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association and to place firm caps on repackaged drugs to reduce workers’ compensation costs gave way to compromise deals and stall tactics that watered down or blocked comprehensive changes. Instead of the robust reforms envisioned by the pro-industry panels, incremental changes to the state’s insurance entities and a modest cap on repackaged drug costs will make their way to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk.

Lawmakers also grappled with new insurance issues that popped up during session.

After the personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance changes last year, legislators thought they were done with the issue this year, hoping to watch the market respond to the new law. A circuit court judge, though, imposed an injunction against the law, stripping it of many of its cost-saving measures. That led some senators to look at moving to a mandatory bodily injury insurance system and doing away with the no-fault PIP system.

The insurance industry also came out in force against a Senate plan to eliminate a 26-year-old tax break worth $220 million a year. The House eventually blocked the measure, phasing in a reduction in vehicle registration fees that the elimination of the tax break was supposed to offset.Brought to you by Contribution Link – a data consulting company providing strategic services to corporations, campaigns, lobbyists and other advocacy organizations. Our one-of-a-kind software system, coupled with leading-edge professional expertise, is revolutionizing the way political data is gathered and used. For candidate, committee and district info, try our new app for the iPad, available now in the iTunes store. Contribution Link – Get your Stats Straight.

Insurance Policy Notes for the 2013 Session

Policy Note: Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
The state-run insurer has become the subject of heated debate in the Legislature as inland lawmakers move to uncap rate hikes and shrink its risk, and coastal lawmakers protect the rate cap and decry Citizens’ internal scandals. Read more …

Policy Note: Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund
Backed by reinsurers, lawmakers concerned about a potential shortfall in the state’s reinsurance fund looked to reduce the Cat Fund’s coverage. Smaller insurance companies prefer to leave the $17 billion in coverage in place and reduce the deductible. Read more …

Policy Note: Florida Insurance Guaranty Association
Large property insurance companies battled with small Florida domestic companies over assessment payments to FIGA, a fund that pays out claims for customers of insurers that go bankrupt. Read more …
Policy Note: Workers’ Comp Insurance/Drug Repackaging
The perennial fight over capping repackaged drug costs in an effort to lower workers comp rates pitted business groups against a software company and the Florida Medical Association. Read more…