Report Card Rule Raises Public Policy Issues
The Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate held its most recent hearing last week on the insurer report card rule. Most insurers commenting on the rules believe that a “report card” can provide valuable information to insurance consumers as they consider their residential insurance options. However, the industry believes that the rule in its current form is more likely to raise questions in consumers’ minds than to resolve them, and unfortunately is likely to suggest that some insurers are not performing adequately when in fact they are meeting regulatory guidelines.
One concern is that the statute authorizing the report card rule requires the Insurance Consumer Advocate to consider the timeliness of insurers’ claims handling as one of the factors underlying the grades. After the report card requirement was adopted, however, the Florida legislature passed another law requiring insurers to pay the undisputed portions of property insurance claims within 90 days. Insurers therefore suggest that a report card should not try to distinguish among insurers’ timeliness when all insurers must meet a stringent statutory standard for timeliness. Compounding this issue, insurers believe that the Schedule P data considered in evaluating timeliness is not suited for this purpose and therefore is likely to lead to errors when trying to evaluate insurers.
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation expressed concern about whether the report card should even apply to it, and if so whether the report card adeqautely reflects Citizens’ role as a market of last resort with different procedures and underwriting requirements than are found in the admitted market.
The Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate will continue to receive comments on the current version of the rule through September 24. At that time the Consumer Advocate will decide whether additional changes to the rule are warranted or whether the rulemaking process should continue toward final adoption of the report card.