Draconian Property Insurance Bill Filed

Article by Stephen Sarasohn







Senate Bill 408 proposes new Florida insurance laws that harm all policyholders. Florida businesses and homeowners will receive fewer benefits, and insurers will be encouraged to delay, deny and defend claims if this bill becomes law. It takes away a lot of financial peace of mind that insurance currently provides. Florida Senate Bill 408 is lengthy and covers many topics. Here is a summary of some key provisions:PUBLIC ADJUSTERS:amending s. 626.854, F.S.;· providing limitations on the amount of compensation that may be received by a public adjuster for a reopened or supplemental claim; (20% of the reopened or supplemental claim payment) p. 13· providing statements that may be considered deceptive or misleading if made in any public adjuster’s advertisement or solicitation;· providing a definition for the term “written advertisement”;· requiring that a disclaimer be included in any public adjuster’s written advertisement;· providing requirements for such disclaimer;· requiring certain persons who act on behalf of an insurer to provide notice to the insurer, claimant, public adjuster, or legal representative for an onsite inspection of the insured property;· authorizing the insured or claimant to deny access to the property if notice is not provided;· requiring the public adjuster to ensure prompt notice of certain property loss claims; p.19 (& give a copy of PA contract to ins. co. including % of PA compensation)· providing that an insurer be allowed to interview the insured directly about the loss claim;· prohibiting the insurer from obstructing or preventing the public adjuster from communicating with the insured;· requiring that the insurer communicate with the public adjuster in an effort to reach an agreement as to the scope of the covered loss under the insurance policy;· prohibiting a public adjuster from restricting or preventing persons acting on behalf of the insured from having reasonable access to the insured or the insured’s property;· prohibiting a public adjuster from restricting or preventing the insured’s adjuster from having reasonable access to or inspecting the insured’s property;· authorizing the insured’s adjuster to be present for the inspection; prohibiting a licensed contractor or subcontractor from adjusting a claim on behalf of an insured if such contractor or subcontractor is not a licensed public adjuster;· providing an exception;amending s. 626.8651, F.S.; requiring that a public adjuster apprentice complete a minimum number of hours of continuing education to qualify for licensure;amending s. 626.8796, F.S.; providing requirements for a public adjuster contract; (Must include percentage of compensation)SUPPLEMENTAL CLAIM:creating s. 626.70132, F.S.;· requiring that notice of a claim, supplemental claim, or reopened claim be given to the insurer within a specified period after a windstorm or hurricane occurs; (3 year)· providing a definition for the terms “supplemental claim” or “reopened claim”; providing applicability;amending s. 627.351, F.S.; providing that members of the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation Board of Governors are not prohibited from practicing in a certain profession if not prohibited by law or ordinance;CHANGE IN POLICY: (p. 83)creating s. 627.43141, F.S.;· providing definitions; requiring the delivery of a “Notice of Change in Policy Terms” under certain circumstances;· specifying requirements for such notice; (must be sent with renewal) specifying actions constituting proof of notice; (placing it in the U.S. mail is proof of notice) authorizing policy renewals to contain a change in policy terms;· providing that receipt of payment by an insurer is deemed acceptance of new policy terms by an insured;ACTUAL CASH VALUE: (p.87)amending s. 627.7011, F.S.;· requiring that an insurer pay the actual cash value of an insured loss for a dwelling, less any applicable deductible, under certain circumstances;· requiring that a policyholder enter into a contract for the performance of building and structural repairs;· requiring that an insurer pay certain remaining amounts; (as repairs are made)· restricting insurers and contractors from requiring advance payments for certain repairs and expenses;· authorizing an insured to make a claim for replacement costs within a certain period after the insurer pays actual cash value to make a claim for replacement costs; (1 year)· requiring an insurer to pay the replacement costs if a total loss occurs;· allowing an insurer to limit its initial payment for losses to personal property; (ACV or 50% of RCV, whichever is greater, and pay holdback with receipt of purchase)SINKHOLE: (p. 91)amending s. 627.70131, F.S.;· specifying application of certain time periods to initial or supplemental property insurance claim notices and payments; (90 days)· providing legislative findings with respect

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