Governor DeSantis Signs New Insurance Laws, Including Regulating an Insurer’s Ability to Alter Adjuster Reports and Estimates
Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed three insurance laws, including regulating an insurer’s ability to alter adjuster reports and estimates.
“CS/SB 7052 – Insurer Accountability” increases consumer protection and insurer accountability in Florida. Among other provisions, the bill notably prohibits both admitted insurers and non-admitted surplus lines insurers from altering or amending an adjuster’s report/estimate without providing a detailed explanation for any reduction of the estimate. Once the law takes effect on July 1, 2023, Insurance carriers now have to keep a list of edits or retain all versions of the report/estimate for regulatory purposes. The bill also increases penalties for liability insurers who do not follow proper claims handling practices on behalf of their policyholders.
Furthermore, the bill also introduces the following requirements/provisions/prohibitions:
- Requires property insurance mitigation discounts to be updated at least every 5 years;
- Requires insurers to provide consumer-friendly information on their website describing hurricane mitigation discounts available to policyholders;
- Prohibits authorized insurers from cancelling a property insurance policy during any pending claim until the earlier of when the property has been repaired or 1 year after the insurer issues the final claim payment;
- This requirement does not apply to surplus lines carriers;
- Clarifies that once a roof deductible is applied, no other deductible under the policy may be applied to any loss caused by the same covered peril;
- Prohibits officers and directors of impaired or insolvent insurers from receiving a bonus;
- Increases the maximum administrative fines that may be levied by the Office of Insurance Regulation upon insurance companies by 250% generally, and by 500% for violations involving a state of emergency such as a hurricane; and
- Tolls the time period for an individual deployed to a combat zone to file a property insurance claim for the duration of the deployment.
“CS/CS/CS/HB 799 – Property Insurance” expands mitigation discount programs for insurance policyholders. The bill provides that a property insurer’s residential rate filing must allow for appropriate discounts for mitigation measures that reduce the potential for windstorm losses. The bill also requires residential property insurers to provide reasonable discount, credit, or appropriate reduction in deductibles for wind uplift prevention measures as a part of their rate filings. Additionally, the bill further clarifies provisions that were previously included in Senate Bill 2A related to Citizen’s Property Insurance Corporation flood insurance coverage requirements.
Finally, “CS/HB 881 – My Safe Florida Home Program” revises provisions relating to the My Safe Florida Home Program previously introduced last year in Senate Bill 2D. The revisions expand the program’s eligibility, ensuring more Floridians can participate in the My Safe Florida Home Program.
The provisions set forth in each of the three (3) bills signed by Governor DeSantis will take effect on July 1, 2023.
Zachary Sonenblum focuses his practice on civil litigation defense, with an emphasis in the area of first party property disputes. He is also experienced at insurance defense litigation.
Tom Moody focuses his practice on civil-litigation defense, with an emphasis on first-party property disputes. He also has extensive experience successfully representing civil defendants in matters including insurer bad faith, commercial-premises liability, professional liability and malpractice, governmental-entity liability, pre-suit coverage analysis, admiralty and maritime claims, wrongful-death claims, and personal injury claims.