"Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made."
-Otto von Bismarck
Our law firm’s Knowledge Manager, Ruck DeMinico, was commenting to me that the new property insurance bill passed by the Florida House of Representatives yesterday was over a hundred pages long and that it would take a while to read through the entire document and analyze the changes from the last minute amendments. We joked that most of the Florida Representatives who voted on the bill had not yet read the entire bill either. Indeed, if they had read it, most would not understand what they were voting on because the complexity and subtlety of insurance law is not learned over several months.
While Ruck was going through the legal implications of the bill, I went to Julie Patel of the Sun Sentinel to find her Reader’s Digest report on this important bill. The title to her report, Measure to Raise Property Insurance Rates and Lower Insurers’ Costs Clears House, suggests that the bill is very favorable to the insurance companies and that Florida insurance customers will pay more for fewer benefits.
Public adjusters will also be impacted:
Rep. Bill Proctor, R-St. Augustine, said the bill boils down to "one thing:" curbing the growth of the public adjusting industry. The bill would also create new restrictions for public insurance adjusters – who are typically hired by policyholders during claims disputes with their insurers – such as caps on what they can charge and how they can advertise.
However, the language is far different than that originally of concern to public insurance adjusters when I posted Policyholders and Public Adjusting Under Attack in the Florida House of Representatives. While a number of public adjusters do not like the content of this bill, the language which I referred to as a "nuclear bomb" was removed.
As Patel noted, this legislative battle is not over:
The bill, SB 2044, initially cleared the Florida Senate and was approved Wednesday by the House with a minor change. If the Senate makes additional changes to the bill, it would have to go back to the House before it’s sent to Gov. Charlie Crist."
Stay tuned. We will have more to report on this tomorrow.