In Tallahassee, nothing is for certain until it is signed by the Governor. Sometimes, even when a bill’s passage looks like a near certainty, something happens behind the scenes to put on the brakes.

Continue Reading Bill to Allow Unregulated Surplus Lines Insurers to Cherry-Pick Citizens Property Insurance Corporation Policies Is On Hold in the Senate

Surplus insurers in Florida, a/k/a “non-admitted” insurers, have traditionally been exempted from certain regulatory schemes applicable to traditional “admitted” insurers. This was done to persuade these non-admitted carriers to continue to write insurance on risks not as attractive to the admitted carriers. As pointed out by Dick Tutwiler in his comment to my November 1, 2010, post, Eligibility Requirements for Florida Surplus Lines Insurance Carriers, two 2008 court decisions threatened the stability of the surplus lines insurance market in Florida.

Continue Reading Consistency in Florida Surplus Insurers Not Having to File their Rate Information with the Office of Insurance Regulation for Approval

In Florida, Statute 627.428 generally provides for attorney’s fees to a policyholder who prevails against his or her insurance carrier in litigation related to the claim. Florida Statute 627.428 exists, in theory, to discourage insurers from denying and forcing legitimate claims into litigation. In June of 2009, House Bill 853, regarding Surplus Lines Insurers, became law. Part of that law was 626.913(4), which stated that Chapter 627 does not apply to Florida Surplus Lines Insurers unless Chapter 627 contains provisions that specifically state it applies to Surplus Insurers.

Continue Reading Some Similarities and Distinctions Between the Florida Surplus Lines Law and Traditional Insurers Under Chapter 627

Surplus lines insurance is intended to provide coverage that cannot be easily procured in the conventional insurance marketplace. Traditional insurance companies must file their premium rates and policy forms with state regulatory agencies. The rates and forms must be approved prior to any insurance policies being offered for sale to consumers within the state. Generally speaking, surplus lines insurance is that which is not readily available through traditional means. These are generally unusual risks that require specialized insurance policies or risks that have very poor loss experience and are unattractive to conventional insurers. Surplus insurers have written hurricane coverage in Florida and compete for these risks, although generally there has been a decline in such policies since the active hurricane season of 2005. In 2005, the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office (“FSLSO”), processed about 112,000 policies written in the homeowners market compared with about 53,000 policies in 2009.

Continue Reading Eligibility Requirements for Florida Surplus Lines Insurance Carriers

Dan Luby of the Florida Insurance News forwarded a Blog, Alex Sink’s Cold War with the Insurance Commissioner, by Gary Fine regarding a possible “riff” between Alex Sink and Kevin McCarty. I find this curious because the two of them are leading consumer advocates for policyholders. I have never found Bill McCollum, Sink’s opponent for Florida Governor next year to be a supporter of policyholders. He is clearly the insurance industry’s candidate. Yet, the Blog noted:

“Interestingly enough, Attorney General Bill McCollum – and Sink’s likely rival for the governor’s office in 2010 – praised McCarty’s report, saying that Floridians should be "very pleased" with the amount of surplus lines coverage since it has helped decrease the need to have commercial coverage picked up by state-created insurers.”

Continue Reading Is Florida’s Chief Insurance Regulator, Kevin McCarty, at Odds with Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and Possible Next Governor?

The Texas legislature has its hands full this week with an omnibus biill regarding TWIA. Florida Governor Charlie Crist has to decide whether to veto various measures regarding insurance legislation. Additionally, three federal bills were just filed which may impact the landscape of how insurance is made available and sold.

Continue Reading A Big Week for Texas and Florida Politics of Insurance

I am an advocate for insurance policyholders. I am accountable to them. Our firm accomplishes the results they expect through a "can do" outlook, innovation and the timeless All-American mother of most success– hard work.

I was imagining what it would be like to make a living as an insurance industry lobbyist. Lobbyists are usually lawyers or staffers that go by a title such as a "governmental affairs assistant." Some are the directors of various insurance trade organizations. Insurance companies measure their lobbyists’ accountability in a different way.

Continue Reading A Balanced Perspective Regarding the Politics of Insurance Legislation

As I noted in a blog post last week, House Bill 853, legislation intended to exclude surplus lines insurance carriers from an entire Chapter of the Insurance Code, was poised to pass both chambers of the legislature — with only the hope that time would run out before they could agree on the wording.

Continue Reading Important Information If You Have a Florida Claim Pending With a Surplus Lines Carrier!

I wrote about surplus lines insurance companies in an earlier post, Surplus Lines Insurers, Sinkholes, and the Law of Mars. I explained how an attorney in our firm, Donna DeVaney, was able to get a favorable ruling in a sinkhole case involving a surplus lines policy due to a recent Florida Supreme Court case, Essex Ins. Co. v. Zota, 985 So. 2d 1036 (Fla. 2008).

Continue Reading Surplus Lines Bill Moving Through the Florida Legislature