Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mid-session report - week 5, 2012

The middle of week 5 marked the mid-point of Florida’s 2012 legislative session. Of the 30 or so insurance measures I have been following, 11 inched forward last week.

There are now four weeks left to go, with the session scheduled to end on March 9, 2012. Below is a combined week 5 update and mid-term report on a select dozen insurance matters four of the more controversial issues still kicking around, four bills that seem poised for passage (eventually), and four that appear dead for the session.

More controversial than most. Of the many pieces of insurance-related legislation pending, these four are hotly contested, yet show signs of life:
  • PIP reform. The king of insurance battles this session, PIP had no hearing during week 5, and none is scheduled for week 6 as of the writing of this post. A bill will likely pass, but no telling in what form. An earlier report is at PIP bill clears first Florida Senate hurdle in 2012.
  • Workers compensation - physician drug prescription, repackaged drugsHB 511, regulating the dispensing of drugs by physicians for purposes of workers compensation insurance, was approved by a second House committee during week 5, with one more House committee of reference to go. The Senate companion, SB 668, is not doing as well; its last committee approval was over three weeks ago, and it still has two more committee references.
  • Medical malpractice reform. SB 1506 was approved by its first Senate committee last week, while its companion (HB 385) has been approved by two House subcommittees and is scheduled for a third in week 6.
  • Expert witness reform. This one belongs under the way-too-early-to-tell category. The House version (HB 243) was approved by its second and final referenced committee over a month ago, but has been retained by the Judiciary committee and not released for consideration by the full House. SB 378 has made even less progress, having been approved by only one Senate committee, and that was a month ago.
Seem poised for possible passage. It's way to early to get comfortable, but these measures have moved rapidly and seem more likely to pass than others:
  • Citizens - regular assessments. HB 1127, which would decrease Citizens' regular assessments, was approved by its final House committee and is ready to be considered by the full House. There was no Senate action during week 5 on SB 1346. An earlier report is at Week 4 ("Citizens assessments").
  • Citizens depopulation - surplus lines. The full House approved HB 245, a somewhat controversial (but minor) measure that would enable surplus lines (non-regulated) insurers to remove policies from Citizens Property Insurance Corp. in bulk (a "takeout"). The Senate version (SB 578) is awaiting a vote by the Budget committee. An earlier report is at Week 4 ("Citizens depopulation").
  • Captive insurance. Since mid-January, a measure that would modernize Florida’s captive insurance laws has been ready for consideration by the full House (HB 379) and has had one last Senate committee stop (SB 610). An earlier report is at Week 1 ("Captive Insurers").
  • Title insurance and agents. A bill pertaining to forms and rates, agent licensing and responsibility, attorney escrow funds, and other regulatory matters was approved by its final House committee during week 5 and is ready for consideration by the full House (HB 643). The Senate companion bill (SB 1404) was approved by its second committee during week 5 and has one more committee referenced.  An earlier report is at Week 3 ("Title Insurance and Agents").
Appear dead for the session. Subject to the caveat that anything is possible, these matters are dead or show no visible signs of life:
  • Bad faith reform. This measure would subject third-party bad faith to the requirements of the statutory civil remedy provision.  The House bill died an early death in its first committee hearing during week 3.  An earlier report is at Bad faith reform defeated.
  • Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. No committee has voted on a proposal to "rightsize" the FHCF. An earlier report is at Week 2 ("Cat Fund").
  • Excess Profits, Workers Compensation. With backing from the business community, a measure that would eliminate the requirement that workers compensation insurers refund so-called "excess profits," HB 4169, was passed by its last House committee and is ready for consideration by the full House. Big problem is, that there is no companion bill filed in the Senate.
  • Title Insurance ClaimsSB 826, which would require title insurers to pay full policy limits within 90 days, was approved by its second Senate committee during week 5. However, HB 961the House version, has yet to be scheduled for hearing.
For the current status of these and other insurance bills, go to the 2012 Key Insurance Bills tab.

This summary was prepared by Perry Cone and posted at

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