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Insurance group praises House for surplus lines vote

“We’re grateful to see lawmakers prioritizing updates that will increase efficiency and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens.”

The Florida Surplus Lines Association (FSLA) lauded the House for voting in favor of a bill to modernize Florida’s surplus lines insurance market.

HB 387 cleared the full House Wednesday with a 112-1 vote. The bill, sponsored by Lakeland GOP Rep. Colleen Burton, contains a number of provisions favored by surplus lines insurers.

It gets rid of some paperwork requirements made obsolete by technology, allow more competition in the flood insurance market and lift a $35 cap on fees insurance agents may charge on surplus lines policies, instead calling for the surcharge to be “reasonable.”

Florida is currently one of six states to cap fees on surplus lines policies.

“Surplus lines insurance is a safety valve for some of the most exciting and economically beneficial businesses in our state, yet it has been operating under 1980s-style regulations,” said FSLA President Erin O’Leary of Jacksonville-based Shelly, Middlebrooks & O’Leary.

“We’re grateful to see lawmakers prioritizing updates that will increase efficiency and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens.”

Surplus lines insurance policies cover specialty, niche and high-capacity risks that would otherwise be uninsurable by companies authorized by the Office of Insurance Regulation.

These “unauthorized” insurers can step in and issue such policies, however, so long as they are made eligible by OIR.

HB 387 now heads to the Senate. A similar bill filed in the upper chamber (SB 538) has cleared one of it’s three committee stops.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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