Early this week, another property insurance bill, SB 846, was filed in the Florida State Senate. Before you jump out the window, or turn off your computer in disgust, I have some GOOD news — SB 846 is actually good public policy.

We rarely see legislation that puts common sense above insurance interests. Senate Bill 846 is an exception to that rule.

Here is what the bill does:

  • Senate Bill 486 requires insurance companies to disclose to their insureds benefits, time limits and other provisions of a policy that the company may apply to that particular claim. By having everything in the open, consumers will better understand how to deal with their claim.
  • Senate Bill 846 also requires insurance companies to provide claim related documents to the insured within a set amount of time. Again, the bill keeps the consumer informed, and helps to limit the delay that too often accompanies the claim process. The insurance industry requires policyholders to reply in a timely fashion and insurers should be held to at least the same standard.
  • This bill requires the insurance company to inform the insured about any statute of limitations period that may apply to their claim. If the insured has an attorney, the company does not have to meet this requirement.
  • If the insurance company assigns a 3rd adjuster to your claim, this bill requires the insurance company to provide a status report to the insured. Again, the bill keeps the consumer informed.
  • Finally, this bill extends the ALE expenses that are provided in a state of emergency to 24 months. ALE expenses are those costs which are incurred when you have to live somewhere else because your home is damaged. This bill gives policyholders a bit more time in the event of a hurricane – when policyholders should be trying to piece together their lives, not having to worry about arbitrary time constraints.

There’s nothing drastic about Senate Bill 846. This bill shouldn’t make any waves – it should be passed quickly. Unfortunately, history shows us that this will almost certainly not be the case. The insurance industry will most likely throw its considerable weight against these simple, straightforward consumer protections.

We must remember that even though most of what we hear out of Tallahassee is bad news, there are still a number of legislators and civic leaders who consistently fight for the 8 million policyholders across our state. I will give you one guess as to the State Senator that filed this bill… If passed, Senate Bill 846 would be a boon to all of Florida’s policyholders. We have to keep up the pressure, and make sure this good bill gets a fair shake in committee and on the Senate floor. I urge all of you to call, write, or email your State Senator, and let them know that you support SB 846.