Property insurance bills on surplus lines, Citizens, regulations head to House floor
Hurricane Ian caused widespread damage in southwest Florida in late September.

APTOPIX Tropical Weather Florida
1 bill extends the required time for insurers to cover a home damaged by a hurricane.

Three bills dealing with property insurance are headed to the House floor after passing through the House Commerce Committee.

The bills are designed to allow unregulated companies to take over policies from state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp., extend the time for insurers to continue covering a home after a hurricane has damaged it, and increase reporting requirements by insurers to state regulators.

With HB 1503, out-of-state insurers known as surplus lines carriers, which aren’t regulated by the state, would be able to take over Citizens policies that are secondary homes for the owners, subject to approval by the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). The surplus lines companies must have a rating of “A” or better by A.M. Best and a risk program managed by a Florida surplus lines broker.

Surplus lines companies typically cover more expensive homes in riskier coastal areas. Their rates aren’t approved by OIR and homeowners can’t sue them in Florida in a dispute over a claim.

The Senate version of that bill (SB 1716) has one more committee stop in that chamber before making it to the floor.

In HB 1149 lawmakers are looking to extend the requirement for insurers to cover a home that is damaged by a hurricane. Currently, insurers can’t cancel or non-renew a covered home that is damaged for 90 days after a storm. The bill requires carriers to continue coverage until repairs are completed or until one year after the next renewal date following the damage. There are exceptions, however, for nonpayment of premiums or filing a fraudulent claim.

The Senate version of the bill (SB 1104) would extend coverage for 90 days after repairs are completed. It has one more committee stop before heading to the floor.

Insurers would also be required to submit more reports to OIR under HB 1611. Instead of quarterly reports, monthly reports would be required. The bill also gives the Financial Services Commission authority to draft forms for insurers to provide notice when they plan to cancel or non-renew 10,000 or more residential policies within a 12-month period.

Surplus lines carriers would also be restricted in their ability to cancel policies after hurricane damage under the bill. And Citizens would no longer be able to charge 50% more than their normal rate to homeowners who came to the state-run company from an insurer that went insolvent. The Senate version of the bill (SB 1622) has a final stop before making it to the floor.

Gray Rohrer


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