Omnibus Bill (HB 165) Signed Into Law
In the 2015 session, House Bill 165 became the vehicle that carried a variety of changes to the Florida Insurance Code. The bill passed both chambers of the legislature and now has been signed into law. Key provisions of the bill take effect July 1. Among its provisions, the new law:
- Eliminates the requirement for insurers to certify rate filings for the types of commercial filings that have become exempt from the rating law. The legislature in recent years has eliminated the filing and approval requirements for many types of commercial property and casualty insurance. However, a separate statute relating to the certification of filings remained unchanged and therefore out-of-step with the rating law. The legislature fixed this in HB 165.
- Allows an insurer to use a hurricane loss projection model for up to 120 days following expiration of the model’s acceptability. Under prior law, when the Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology determines a newer version of a model to be acceptable, insurer had only 60 days in which to begin using the new model. The longer 120-day period will create a smoother transition period for insurers.
- Clarifies that the annual rate filing requirement at section 627.0645 does not apply to commercial property and casualty insurance except for commercial residential insurance. This is designed to be consistent with the reduced filing requirements for commercial property and casualty insurance under Florida’s rating law (section 627.062).
- Provides a uniform 120-day period for residential property insurance cancellations and nonrenewals under section 627.4133. Prior law contained a complicated combination of notice periods including 100 days’ notice for most policies but 120 days’ notice for policies in effect for five years and a requirement to send notices by June 1 for any effective date between June 1 and November 30.
- Rewords provisions relating to the cancellation or nonrenewal of residential property insurance policies after the first 90 days of the policy period. The revised provision clarifies that an insurer may cancel a policy based upon an insured’s failure to comply, within 90 days after effectuation of coverage, with underwriting requirements established by the insurer before the date of effectuation of coverage.
- Clarifies that a policyholder’s opportunity to request neutral evaluation of sinkhole claims does not apply if sinkhole coverage is not available under the policy or if the claim is filed outside of the statutorily-established window for filing sinkhole claims.
- Specifies that the Medicare fee schedule used in connection with PIP policies is effective from March 1 of a given year through the end of the following February.
- Adds leased vehicles to the exemption from pre-insurance inspections applicable to private passenger auto policies; and
- Eliminates the prohibition under prior law against an insurer’s advertising the existence of the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, provided that any reference to FIGA must explain the coverage limits that apply to the type of insurance for which FIGA is mentioned.