Sunday, February 26, 2012

Week 7, 2012 report - House continues to take lead

With two weeks left to go, if nothing else, give the House credit for making substantial progress on insurance legislation  even if the final outcome remains in doubt. During week 7 of Florida’s 2012 legislative session, an additional seven bills were passed by the full House and four more were approved by their last House committee.

This brings the total to fourteen measures that have passed the House. Only one of these bills, however, has been approved by final Senate committee action, and none has come to a vote on the Senate floor. A few are scheduled for Senate committee hearings during week 8.

Below is a summary of week 7 action:

The following measures passed the full House during week 7, some of which are scheduled for Senate committee hearings during week 8:
  • Warranty Associations - HB 1011 would provide criteria to effectuate refunds through the issuing salesperson or agent, authorize (rather than require) regulatory examination of warranty associations, and authorize donations to the Department of Financial Services to pursue unauthorized warranty associations. Its Senate companion SB 1262 is scheduled for a Budget Subcommittee hearing in week 8. 
  • Alien Insurers - HB 409 would add circumstances under which alien insurers (non-U.S. insurers) are exempt from certificate-of-authority requirements. Its Senate counterpart SB 1844 is scheduled for a Budget Subcommittee hearing in week 8. 
  • Expert Testimony - HB 243 would change the rule for admissibility of scientific expert witness testimony to the Daubert standard (from current Frye standard), thereby bringing Florida more in line with the tougher expert testimony requirements in federal courts. See Wikipedia (Daubert standard). The Senate version SB 378 is scheduled for a Budget Subcommittee hearing in week 8. 
  • Captive insurance - HB 379 would modernize Florida's laws for setting up captive insurers in the state. A captive insurer is an insurance company that primarily insures a business entity that owns or is affiliated with the captive. Captive reform was also added to the "Omnibus" bill during its final House committee hearing. See "Omnibus - Miscellaneous Insurance Matters" below, and Omnibus insurance bill matures in week 7, 2012.
  • Annuities - HB 1065 would bring Florida's law governing the sale of annuities more in line with NAIC model guidelines. The Office of Insurance Regulation and the Insurance Consumer Advocate have noted their support for the measure. 
These bills were approved in their final House committee during week 7 and are ready for action on the House floor:
  • Insurance Agents and Adjusters - The measure proposed by Florida's Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater, for streamlined regulation of agents and adjusters was approved in both its final House committee (HB 725) and final Senate committee (SB 938).
  • Omnibus - Miscellaneous Insurance Matters - HB 1101 would make numerous miscellaneous revisions to the Insurance Code related to sinkholes, Citizens, and other property insurance matters; salvage, PIP interest and taxicab liability, and cancellation of motor vehicle insurance; agency and adjuster requirements, travel insurance, commercial surplus lines disclosure, and reinsurance summary reports, as well as modernize captive laws. For details, see Omnibus insurance bill matures in week 7, 2012. Counterpart SB 1620 is scheduled for a Senate Budget Subcommitee hearing in week 8.
This summary was prepared by Perry Cone and posted at

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