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.

Senate Bill 408 is lengthy and covers many topics. Here is a summary of some key provisions:



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)




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;




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;




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 to 2005 statutory changes relating to sinkhole insurance coverage and statutory changes in this act;


amending s. 627.706, F.S.;

·        authorizing an insurer to limit coverage for catastrophic ground cover collapse to the principal building (so no outlying buildings, sheds, etc.) and to have discretion to provide additional coverage;

·        allowing the deductible to include costs relating to an investigation of whether sinkhole activity is present;

·        revising definitions; (“covered building” – seems to exclude driveways, pools, etc.)

·        defining the term “structural damage”; p.94 (1. foundation movement outside of acceptable variance of applicable building code; 2. damage which “prevents the primary structural members or primary structural systems from supporting the loads and forces they were designed to support”)

·        placing a 2-year statute of repose on claims for sinkhole coverage; (from the time insured “knew or reasonably should have known about sinkhole loss”)


amending s. 627.707, F.S.;

·        revising provisions relating to the investigation of sinkholes by insurers;

·        deleting a requirement that the insurer provide a policyholder with a statement regarding testing for sinkhole activity;

·        providing a time limitation for demanding sinkhole testing by a policyholder (60 days from denial of claim) and entering into a contract for repairs (within 90 days);

·        requiring all repairs to be completed within a certain time; (within 12 months)

·        providing exceptions to the time to complete repairs; (mutual agreement between policyholder and insurance company or the claim is in litigation, appraisal or neutral evaluation)

·        providing a criminal penalty on a policyholder for accepting rebates from persons performing repairs;


amending s. 627.7073, F.S.;

·        revising provisions relating to inspection reports;

·        providing that the presumption that the report is correct shifts the burden of proof;

·        requiring the policyholder to file certain reports as a precondition to accepting payment;

·        requiring a seller of real property to provide a buyer with a copy of any inspection reports and certifications;


amending s. 627.7074, F.S.;

·        revising provisions relating to neutral evaluation;

·        requiring evaluation in order to make certain determinations;

·        requiring that the neutral evaluator be allowed access to structures being evaluated;

·        providing grounds for disqualifying an evaluator;

·        allowing the Department of Financial Services to appoint an evaluator if the parties cannot come to agreement;

·        revising the timeframes for scheduling a neutral evaluation conference; authorizing an evaluator to enlist another evaluator or other professionals;

·        providing a time certain for issuing a report;

·        providing that certain information is confidential; p. 110 (oral, written statements or non-verbal conduct, other than “expressly required to be admitted by this subsection, are confidential” and can be disclosed only to the parties – i.e., can’t be admitted in court)

·        revising provisions relating to compliance with the evaluator’s recommendations;

·        providing that the evaluator is an agent of the department for the purposes of immunity from suit;

·        requiring the department to adopt rules;

Changes regarding insurance law seem much more frequent than they were a decade ago. The financially endowed insurance corporations have professional lobbyists that are peddling their economic desires on a full time basis to our elected officials and insurance regulators. These same insurance corporations often are behind the propaganda to vote against judges who don’t rule for the insurance industry’s agenda or position in cases. Florida Senate Bill 408 is substantially law that only helps insurance companies and does little for policyholders. It does not take a genius to figure out who first drafted the proposed bill.

Many of Florida’s elected leaders were financially supported by this very strong insurance lobby. As a result, many of the changes proposed in the legislation may become law. In a very perverse and counterintuitive way of thinking, this law will probably result in more business for me because insurers have more reasons not to timely pay property insurance claims.

Here’s hoping that future insurance law changes will eventually help policyholders rather than increase insurance company executives’ salaries and woe to those suffering catastrophe. Since we are speaking of changes, one singer personifies how much change can happen over a period of time and the music may help those reading through this bill: