I just reviewed the Proposed Committee Substitute (PCS) for HB 669. The bill deals with Assignment of Benefits and certain time periods. By the time this bill gets to committee and is voted on it may pass, fail, or be further amended. Therefore, this post may be out of date by the time it gets published! However, I wanted to point out several provisions in this PCS that are noteworthy. The entire PCS is set forth here. I have highlighted some important portions of the bill and pasted them below (the underlined text is new language):
Page 2, lines 34-37: Any assignment or agreement that purports to transfer the authority to adjust, negotiate, or settle any portion of a claim to such contractor or subcontractor, or that is otherwise in derogation of this section, is void.
Page 3-4, lines 74-100: (2) A property insurance policy may prohibit the post-loss assignment of rights, benefits, causes of action, or other contractual rights under the policy, except:
(a) An insured may assign the benefit of payment not to exceed $3,000 to a person or entity providing services or materials to mitigate or repair damage directly arising from a covered loss. The assignment is limited solely to the ability to be named as a copayee for the benefit of payment for the reasonable value of services rendered and materials provided to mitigate or repair such damage. The insured may not assign the right to enforce payment of the post-loss benefits contained in the policy.
(b) For the limited purpose of compensating a public adjuster for services authorized by s. 626.854(11). The assignment is only for compensation due to the public adjuster by the insured and not for the remainder of the benefits due to the insured under the policy. Nothing in this paragraph changes the obligations, if any, of the insurer to issue the insured a check for payment in the name of the insured or mortgage holder.
(c) For payment of an attorney representing the insured, wherein the assignment contemplates only that the benefits are paid to the attorney representing the insured, and that the attorney will disperse the funds to repair the property at the direction of the insured.
(3) Any post-loss assignment of rights, benefits, causes of action, or other contractual rights in contravention of this section renders the assignment void.
Page 5, lines 116-124: If a residential property insurer receives a communication in writing from a third party identified in s. 627.422(2)(a)-(c) with respect to the claim requesting that the insurer acknowledge the existence of a policy of insurance on the property, the insurer shall respond within 7 days of the request answering the communication. If the insurer’s acknowledgment is not in writing, a notification indicating acknowledgment shall be made in the insurer’s claim file and dated.
The PCS would also alter certain time periods as set forth below:
Page 6-7, lines 147-158: Within
90 45 days after an insurer receives notice of an initial, reopened, or supplemental property insurance claim from a policyholder, the insurer shall pay or deny such claim or a portion of the claim unless the failure to pay is caused by factors beyond the control of the insurer which reasonably prevent such payment. Any payment of an initial or supplemental claim or portion of such claim made 90 45 days after the insurer receives notice of the claim, or made more than 15 days after there are no longer factors beyond the control of the insurer which reasonably prevented such payment, whichever is later, bears interest at the rate set forth in s. 157 55.03.
Page 7, lines 170-176: An insurer issuing a personal lines residential property insurance policy in this state must provide a Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights to a policyholder within 14 7 days after receiving an initial communication with respect to a claim, unless the claim follows an event that is the subject of a declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor.
Page 9, lines 208-220: YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO: 1. Receive from your insurance company an acknowledgment of your reported claim within
14 7 days after the time you communicated the claim.
2. Upon written request, received from your insurance company within
30 15 days after you have submitted a complete proof-of-loss statement to your insurance company, confirmation that your claim is covered in full, partially covered, or denied, or receive a written statement that your claim is being investigated.
90 45 days, subject to any dual interest noted in the policy, receive full settlement payment for your claim or payment of the undisputed portion of your claim, or your insurance company’s denial of your claim.