SB 714 – Relating to Insurance
On Monday, April 8, SB 714 by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-Saint Petersburg) was heard in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee and was reported favorably with 7 yeas and 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.
This bill amends several insurance-related statutes, specifically:
- Requires the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (FHCF) to reimburse a covered insurer’s loss adjustment expenses at 10 percent of the insurer’s loss reimbursement, instead of 5 percent as under current law;
- Authorizes insurers to transfer title of totaled motor vehicles or mobile homes to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles electronically as well as through regular mail;
- Provides that workers compensation insurance applicants and their agents are no longer required to have their sworn statements notarized;
- Allows an insurer to offer and give insureds goods or services of any value for the purposes of loss control or loss mitigation related to covered risks. Currently it is an unfair insurance trade practice to provide items or services to an insured valued at more than $100 per year;
- Allows a property, casualty, or surety insurer to offer a premium discount for a policy if another policy has been purchased from a different insurer that:
- Has a joint marketing arrangement with the insurer offering the discount;
- Issued the policy pursuant to the Citizens clearinghouse program if the same agent is servicing both policies; or
- Has its policy serviced by the same agent who is servicing the discounted policy.
- • Requires a premium discount offered by a property, casualty, or surety insurer to be actuarially sound.
SB 714 will now move to the Senate Rules Committee.
AIF supports legislative efforts to reduce insurance rates to maintain Florida’s business friendly climate.
HB 1113 – Relating to Health Insurance Savings Program
On Thursday, April 11, HB 1113 by Representative Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) was read a third time on the House floor and passed with a vote of 114 yeas and 0 nays.
This bill creates the Patient Savings Act, which allows health insurers to create a voluntary shared savings incentive program to encourage insured individuals to shop for high quality, lower cost health care services. The bill directs health insurers who choose to offer the program to develop a website outlining the range of shoppable health care services available to insureds. This website must provide insureds with an inventory of participating health care providers and an accounting of the shared savings incentives available for each shoppable service. When an insured obtains a shoppable health care service for less than the average price for the service, the bill requires the savings to be shared by the health insurer and the insured. An insured is entitled to a financial incentive that is no less than 25 percent of the savings that accrue to the insurer as a result of the insured’s participation.
HB 1113 is now in Senate messages.
AIF supports legislation that provides high quality healthcare at a lower cost to Floridians and businesses that operate in our state.
HB 7065 – Relating to Insurance Assignment Agreements
On Thursday, April 11, HB 7065, sponsored by the House Civil Justice Subcommittee, was read a third time on the House floor and passed with a vote of 96 yeas and 20 nays.
Unfortunately, auto glass was removed from legislation on the House floor.
The abuse of the one-way attorney fee statute in relation to “assignment of benefits” (AOB) has created a relatively new form of litigation over auto glass repairs and property damage. These legal abuses are perpetrated by a handful of lawyers and vendors who work together to strip benefits away from policyholders and use these to force higher settlements from insurers, and even go so far as to sue in the name of the policyholder, often without the policyholder’s consent. This bill helps prevent future abuse of AOBs by:
- Limiting an assignee’s ability to recover certain costs from the insured;
- Requiring the assignee to give the insurer notice of the assignee’s intent to file a lawsuit;
- Requiring the insurer to respond to the assignee’s notice;
- Setting the formula that will determine which party, if any, receives an award of attorney fees should litigation related to an assignment agreement result in a judgment; and
- Allowing an insurer to offer a policy prohibiting assignment.
HB 7065 is now in Senate messages.
AIF supports reforms to the AOB process to protect consumers against these abuses that drive up insurance costs.