Sunday, May 1, 2011

Final week: 2011 Florida Legislature

Finally . . .the final week of the 2011 Florida Legislature has arrived.  Here's what's still in play and seems likely to pass (in some form or another):

1.  Big Property/Sinkhole Package.  The Senate approved S 408 last week.  This week, expect the House to take up H 803 (or S 408), amend it, and send it back to the Senate for final approval on Thursday or Friday (the last day of Session). 

In all likelihood, the final Big Property Package will contain elements of reform from all pending property bills, including (i) sinkhole insurance; (ii) Citizens; (iii) rates; (iv) public adjusters; (v) RCV (replacement cost value); (vi) claim-filing deadline for hurricane claims; (vii) a shorter period for notices of nonrenewal and cancellation; and (viii) repeal of the report card for residential property insurers. 

While many provisions in the Senate and House versions are the same or substantially similar, there are some major differences that will need to be negotiated, including: (i) whether private insurers will be required to offer sinkhole coverage; (ii) the extent to which procedural changes to the sinkhole provisions will be retroactive to existing policies or claims; (iii) whether the claims-filing deadline for new/reopened hurricane claims will be 3 or 4 years from the date of loss; (iv) whether RCV reforms will apply to both the dwelling and contents (or just the dwelling); and (v) the extent of Citizens and rate reform.

2.  Hodge-podge insurance changes.  That's not what it's called, but it's what these bills are becoming.  The legislature is likely to pass either S 1252 or H 1087, which may include the following:
  • PIP anti-fraud reform (a smattering of the less controversial provisions); seemingly dead for the Session is substantial legal reform of PIP (personal injury protection auto insurance).
  • A change to the required recipient of notices of nonrenewal and cancellation to the “first named insured” (from the “named insured”) for most P&C lines.
3.  Hotly debated last week, Medical Malpractice reform (increased protection for doctors and hospitals in malpractice suits) will likely pass either in the form of S 1590 or H 479.

4.  Commercial Rate Deregulation.  The Legislature will likely expand the commercial lines products for which rate pre-approval is not required, in the form of either SB 178 or HB 99.

5.  Insurer Insolvency, in the form of S 1568 or H 1007, which may include: (i) a provision allowing insurers to renegotiate the terms of surplus notes issued through the Insurance Capital Build-Up Incentive Program; and (ii) some changes to reinsurance requirements.

This summary was prepared by Perry Cone and posted at

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