Senate Committees to Study Property and Casualty Insurance Issues
Each year, the legislature asks its committees to review significant issues and prepare reports in anticipation of the the next legislative session. This year is no different, and the Senate recently released its list of interim projects. Projects of the Banking & Insurance Committee can be seen in the attached document.
Project 2012-11 will be a review of Florida’s medical malpractice insurance market. The project will analyze the effectiveness of the 2003 medical malpractice reforms that were designed at that time to respond to problems with the affordability and availability of coverage in some practice areas. The 2003 reforms led to a “presumed factor” rate reduction based on anticipated loss savings. The report will evaluate whether the reforms have reduced medical malpractice losses and associated costs and determine whether the full value of the reforms has been passed on to physicians in the form of lower premiums. The report will also investigate whether medical malpractice premiums and the litigation environment in Florida are continuing to create barriers to access to care and placing the state at a disadvantage when attempting to attract highly competent medical providers.
Another project, 2012-226, will address Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. The objective is to examine Citizens’ assets available to meet potential obligations. This will include analysis of Citizens’ ability to absorb claims without issuing bonds and the effects of a 50-year and 100-year event.
Project 2012-203 will study Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage in Florida. The summary observes that Florida has experienced an increase in motor vehicle related insurance fraud cases and costs associated with PIP coverage. The objective of the issue brief is to outline issues related to motor vehicle insurance fraud and rising costs in the PIP system. The project will analyze the motor vehicle insurance market according to specified criteria including, but not limited to, affordability; availability; and the provision of benefits.
The committee also will review certain exemptions from the public records laws that are contained in various insurance provisions. One review will pertain to Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability insurance policies. The exemption for personal identifying information held by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will be reviewed using the standards provided in s. 119.15, F.S., the Open Government Sunset Review Act, to determine if they meet those standards and to determine if a recommendation should be made to save the exemption from repeal. The review will focus on the exemption and application of the exemption by the department.
Likewise, the committee will conduct an open government sunset review of Section 624.23, F.S., Consumer Complaints and Inquiries Received by the Department of Financial Services. The purpose is to review s. 624.23, F.S., to determine if it meets the standards established in the Open Government Sunset Review Act and to recommend whether the exemption should be saved from repeal, revised, or allowed to sunset.
A similar review will pertain to Section 717.117(8), F.S., Unclaimed or Abandoned Property. The exemption of property identifiers with relations to unclaimed or abandoned property held by the Department of Financial Services will be reviewed using the standards provided in s. 119.15, F.S., the Open Government Sunset Review Act, to determine if they meet those standards and to determine if a recommendation should be made to save the exemption from repeal. The review will focus on the exemption and application of the exemption by the department.
In addition, the legislative committees monitor recently enacted legislation each year to assess whether it is meeting its objectives. The Banking & Insurance Committee will monitor the property insurance reforms passed in SB 408 during 2011. Committee staff will evaluate the provisions imposed by the Legislature through the passage of CS/CS/CS/SB 408 to determine the effects on the property insurance marketplace and the regulation of property insurance.
Finally, committee staff will evaluate the regulatory and marketplace impact of the expansion of the types of commercial lines insurance that are subject to the filing and review exemptions specified in CS/CS/CS/HB 99.
The insurance industry also will be interested in an interim project to be conducted by the Judiciary Committee relating to the bad faith law. After proposed bad faith reforms were heavily debated in 2011 but did not pass, the committee again will evaluate the status of bad faith laws and bad faith litigation in Florida.
The reports on most projects are due either September 1 or October 1. However, the committees sometimes find that additional time is necessary to properly evaluate the complex issues.