HB 97-Relating to Florida Catastrophe Fund (fund)
On Tuesday, January 23rd, HB 97 by Representative David Santiago (R-Deltona) was heard before the House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee and passed by a vote of 9 yeas to 4 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, spoke in opposition to this bill.
This bill revises the reimbursements the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe (CAT) Fund must make to insurers and decreases the cash build-up factor. Several members of the committee expressed concerns about the bill, particularly with regards to hurricane seasons containing multiple disastrous storms and the risk of assessments on all Florida insurance policyholders.
HB 97 will go on to the House Appropriations Committee for its next hearing.
AIF opposes this legislation as it risks depleting the cash build-up of the fund, making it more likely that Floridians and business owners could see another “hurricane tax” in the future.
SB 1168-Relating to Insurance
On Tuesday, January 23rd, SB 1168 by Senator Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) was heard before the Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance and passed by a vote of 7 yeas to 3 nays.
This bill provides that certain attorney fees and costs paid by property insurers may not be included in the property insurer’s rate base and may not be used to justify a rate increase or rate change. The bill also provides that personal lines residential and commercial residential property insurance policies may not restrict the assignment of post-loss benefits, and further provides that an agreement to assign post-loss benefits of a residential homeowner’s property insurance is not valid unless specified conditions are met, etc.
An amendment offered by Senator Doug Broxson (R-Pensacola) had the intent of fixing the biggest issue regarding assignment of benefits and reinforced that the one-way attorney fee statute was meant for policyholder. AIF and much of the business community spoke in support of this amendment, however it ultimately failed.
SB 1168 will go on to its next committee stop in the Senate Committee on Judiciary to be heard.
AIF opposes legislation that does not adequately protect consumers against the abuses of one-way attorney fees, which is the only way to truly fix the assignment of benefits problem.