Since the Florida Legislature is currently in session, we are being inundated with insurance industry talking points in the media. The most consistent talking point, and the one that frustrates me the most, is that we need to eradicate “fraud” because it is costing consumers money.
In October of last year I wrote a blog on the Florida Legislature’s efforts to alter the laws regarding Assignment of Benefits.Since that time, there have been some changes to the bills (House Bill 1097 and Senate Bill 596) as originally drafted. In particular, Senate Bill 596 underwent some significant changes just this week. The new bill can be viewed in its entirety here.
Most times, Policyholders and Consumers don’t get intimately familiar with their insurance policies and the provisions until a claim destroys or damages their home or business.
House Bill 79 addresses a provision called appraisal, the alternative dispute resolution process that is in some policies.
We are at the start of Florida’s Legislative Session for 2016. As usual, policyholders have much to be wary of when the Legislature meets. Besides losing Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, (click here for a great editorial on his tenure), the industry is pursuing its usual wish list. Despite years of Florida’s Legislature passing pro-industry legislation—with no hurricanes—we continue to have the highest property insurance rates in the country. Consumers continue to be told that pro-industry legislation will lead to lower rates and a better market. Unfortunately, Florida’s consumers are paying more for policies that offer less coverage. Notwithstanding that fact, here is a partial list of one group’s legislative priorities for the upcoming session:
Initially introduced in January 2014, Assembly Bill No. 231 made its way before New Jersey lawmakers during a committee hearing on December 10, 2015. The bill, "establishes a private cause of action for insureds or their assignees regarding unfair practices in the settlement or attempted settlement of insurance claims arising out of a declared disaster."
Florida lawmakers are being asked to license property insurance umpire and appraisers. While it is uncertain whether House Bill 79 will pass and become the law of the State of Florida, the insurance and banking committee voted 10 to 3 to let the bill continue on to the next committee stop.
Readers of this blog know my position on the ability of Tallahassee to “fix” what they perceive as a “problem” with regard to property insurance. Once Tallahassee gets involved in an issue, it usually gets resolved in a way that hurts policyholders. SB 596 is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Regardless of how you feel about the Assignment of Benefits issue, SB 596 (proposed by Senator Hukill) makes some very serious changes to the laws governing AOBs. The entire bill is attached but the highlights are below.
On November 9, 2015 at 11am, CAPIA renews its fight against Senate Bill 488 after the bill turned into a two year bill earlier this year. CAPIA will hold an informative membership general meeting to discuss the bill and reach out to all public adjusters to invite and encourage input into the needs of the consumer from 11am to 2pm at Maggiano’s Little Italy, located at South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, California 92626.
Texas Senate Bill 1060 was passed by the legislature and recently signed into law by the Governor. The changes contained in this law are effective September 1, 2015. For a full copy of the bill click here.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know that the Florida Legislature passed no meaningful laws regarding assignment of benefits (AOBs) during this past Session. Although AOBs were a hot topic in Tallahassee, insurers could not agree on how to deal with this issue.