Lobbyist Tim Meenan
The 2019 regular Florida Legislative Session kicked off on Tuesday, March 5th. Many of the bills that we are tracking are relate to subjects that failed to pass last session such as Assignment of Benefits reform and PIP repeal.
Floor time in week 3 was mostly spent on the issue of the authorization for Smoking of Medical Marijuana. Before session started, Governor DeSantis gave the legislature a deadline of March 15 to eliminate the ban on smoking. The Senate passed its legislation first and then the House passed the Senate version. It is expected that the Governor will sign the bill in hopes that lawsuits against the smoking ban will be dropped. At least the one-time consuming issue is off the table. Meanwhile, committees continued vetting bill and amendments.
Another development is that both chambers unveiled their respective budget proposals last week.
Below is a summary of the legislation of interest that we are tracking in the 2019 session:
2019 NAIFA-Florida-Session Dispatch
By Timothy J. Meenan, NAIFA-Florida Lobbyist
Session Dispatch - Week 3
LIFE AND ANNUITY ONLY
1. PROTECTION FOR VULNERABLE INVESTORS HB143/SB
HB143 by Representative Donalds advanced through its first of three committee stops this week and will be up next in House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee on March 26th. The bill would allow a securities dealer to place a 15-day delay on suspicious transactions, clarifies that nothing in the subsection prevents the dealer from terminating a hold after contact with the specified adult and requires a dealer to notify the Office, on a quarterly basis, of every delay and related outcome. In addition, the bill would have allowed a dealer, investment adviser, or an associated person to place a temporary hold on a transaction regarding the account of a specified adult (65 or older, or meets requirements) or an account for which a specified adult is a beneficiary, or beneficial owner if the dealer, investment adviser, or associated person believes in good faith that exploitation of the specified adult has occurred.
SB1466 by Senator Gibson will be heard in first of three committee stops Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs on Monday March 25th.
2. SECONDARY LIFE NOTICE SB714/HB301
HB301 by Representative Santiago passed its second of three stops in the House this week, the Civil Justice Subcommittee, and will be up next in the Commerce Committee. HB301 is an omnibus insurance bill that makes a number of changes regarding various lines of insurance, including
Secondary Notice Prior to Life Insurance Policy Lapse, which requires a life insurer to notify the agent of the lapsing policy or provide a copy of the notice of lapse to the agent servicing the policy, in addition to the insured and their designee 21 days prior to the effective date of lapse. The bill contains an exemption for insurers that have a system for agents to check the secondary addressee.
SB714 by Brandes passed its first of three committee stops this week and will be up next in Senate Judiciary.
LIFE & HEALTH
HB673 expands the assessment base of the FLAHIGA to include HMOs, life insurers, and annuity insurers in order to fund long-term care insurer impairments and insolvencies. Currently, only health insurers are assessed. Any assessments related to a long-term care insurer would be allocated 50 percent to accident and health insurers and HMOs and the remaining 50 percent to life and annuity member insurers. The bill also caps a FLAHIGA member's or HMO's assessment relating to long-term care insurer impairments and insolvencies at 0.5 percent of the sum of its premiums written in Florida for the preceding calendar year. HB673 by Rep. Fischer was referred to the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee; Government Operations and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee; and Commerce Committees. The Insurance and Banking Subcommittee heard HB673 on March 7 and incorporated five technical
. A sixth
to exempt small, domestic HMOs was offered and
withdrawn after intense debate. The bill will be up in its second of three committee stops on Monday March 25th the House Ways and Means Committee.
SB626 by Sen. Brandes was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government; and Appropriations Committees. The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee approved SB626 with
on March 4.
The amended Senate version exempts any nonprofit HMO from the long-term care insurance assessment if it operates only in Florida and has statutory capital and surplus of less than $200 million as of December 31 of the year preceding the year in which the assessment is made. The House bill does not contain this exemption. The bill passed its second of three committee stops this week and will be up next in Senate Appropriations.
2. GENETIC TESTING/LONG-TERM CARE AND DISABILITY
removes the exemption for life, disability and long-term care carriers from the prohibition on use of genetic information in the issuance of insurance policies. Provides that life insurers & long-term care insurers may not require or solicit genetic information, use genetic test results in the absence of a diagnosis of a condition related to genetic information, or consider a person's decisions or actions relating to genetic information, or consider a person' decisions or actions relating to genetic testing in any manner for any insurance purpose. SB258 by Senator Bean was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Health Policy; and Rules Committees and passed the Banking and Insurance on March 11. The bill will be up next in Senate Health Policy. HB879 by Rep. Williamson passed the Health Market Reform Subcommittee and will be up next in the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee on March 26th.
SB614 provides that the state prospectively opts out of all uniform standards adopted by the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission involving annuity and disability income insurance products; revising the compact standards adopted by this state. SB614 was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Judiciary; and Rules Committees. HB627 was referred to the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee; Civil Justice Subcommittee; and Commerce Committees. Neither bill has been heard in committee.
1. PBM/PRIOR AUTHORIZATION/STEP THERAPY/DRUG REBATES/FORMULARIES HB 271/SB 906
HBB271 by Rep. Santiago imposes limitations and requirements for pharmacy audits, including advance notice and recoupment of claims, and requires OIR to establish an appeals process to findings in audit reports.
Requires annual reporting by PBMs to OIR of contractual relationships with health plans, as well as administrative fees and rebates received and passed on to plans. Data that would disclose specific plan or drug price data shall be confidential and proprietary. The bill defines pharmacy services administration organizations (PSAOs) and requires them to register with OIR and pay up to $500 registration fee every 2 years. Requires plans and PBMs to establish a secure, interactive online electronic prior authorization (PA) process for accepting electronic PA forms. The process must allow PA documentation to be uploaded if such documentation is required by the insurer or PBM to adjudicate the PA request. Requires insurers to publish online and provide to an insured in writing a procedure for an insured and health care provider to request a step therapy policy exemption. Requires insurers to authorize or deny a policy exemption request or respond to an appeal of the health insurer's authorization or denial of a request within 72-hours for non-urgent care and 24-hours in an urgent care situation. Requires plans and PBMs to publish up-to-date drug formularies online. Also requires "fail first" policy. For rebates, plan issuers are required to strive to make available to subscribers at the point of sale an amount greater than 50 percent of the rebates. Requires an annual report to OIR whether it made more than 50 percent of the rebates available to the subscribers during the prior benefit year. HB271 was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Appropriations Committee; Health and Human Services Committees. SB906 by Wright was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Judiciary; and Rules Committees. Neither bill has been heard in committee.
Step Therapy: SB650 (Mayfield - R
) Requires insurers to publish online and provide to an insured in writing a procedure for an insured and health care provider to request a step therapy policy exemption. Requires insurers to authorize or deny a policy exemption request or respond to an appeal of the health insurer's authorization or denial of a request within 72-hours for non-urgent care and 24-hours in an urgent care situation. Specifies conditions where a health insurer shall grant a protocol exception. Prohibits a health insurer or PBM from implementing any new PA requirements unless;
- The changes have been available on a publicly accessible Internet website for at least 60 days before the implementation of the changes.
Policyholders and health care providers who are affected by new or updated requirements/restrictions are provided with a written notice of the changes at least 60 days before the changes are implemented. Such notice may be delivered electronically or by other means as agreed to by the insured or the health care provider.
PA forms may not require information that is not necessary for medical necessity or coverage determinations regarding the requested medical procedure, course of treatment, or prescription drug. SB650 was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Judiciary; and Rules Committees.
(Massullo - R) provides that if prescription drug coverage for the treatment of a medical condition is restricted by an insurer by a step therapy protocol, the insurer shall provide the insured and the prescribing provider access to a clear and convenient process to request a step therapy exception determination which must be made easily accessible on the health insurer's website. The health insurer must provide a prescription drug for treatment of the medical condition at least until the step therapy exception determination is made. Step therapy overrides are to be granted expeditiously if:
- The drug is contraindicated or will likely cause an adverse reaction or physical or mental harm to the insured;
- The drug is expected to be ineffective, based on the insured's medical history and the clinical evidence of the known characteristics of the prescription drug regimen;
- The insured has tried the required prescription drug under his or her current health insurance plan or another prescription drug that is in the same pharmacologic class or has the same mechanism of action, and such prescription drug lacked efficacy or effectiveness or adversely affected the insured; or
- The insured is stable on a prescription drug selected by his or her health care provider for the medical condition under consideration.
Under the bill as originally drafted, the consequences would have been that health insurers could have been forced to cover expensive brand name drugs and other procedures when cheaper options were available.
HB559 passed its first of three committees last week the Health Market Reform Subcommittee. An amendment was adopted limiting the scope of the bill to electronic prior authorization and continuity of care. Without the adoption of the amendment, business groups, health plans, and health agents would have opposed the bill. Thanks to the strong advocacy efforts of NAIFA agents during their Day on the Hill, this bill was narrowed down to an acceptable scope. The bill's two remaining committee stops are the House Appropriations Committee and Health and Human Services Committees.
SB1180 limits removing drugs from formularies to the time of coverage renewal, unless removed for clinical safety, discontinuance of manufacture, or reclassification to a more restrictive drug tier. This does not apply to grandfathered plans or Medicaid managed care plans. SB1180 by Mayfield passed its first committee this week the Senate Banking and Insurance committee and will be up next in Senate Health Policy and the Rules Committee after that. An amendment was adopted that only made minor changes to the bill. HB1363 by Williamson was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Insurance and Banking Subcommittee; and Health and Human Services Committees. It will be heard in the Health Market Reform Subcommittee on March 26th.
SB1526 by Harrell prohibits insurers and HMOs from denying coverage for a covered service on the basis of the service being provided through telehealth if the same service would be covered if provided through an in-person encounter. Carriers not required to reimburse a telehealth provider for originating site fees or costs for the provision of telehealth services. The coverage may not be subject to greater cost-sharing than in-person services. Coverage may be limited to in-network providers. SB1526 will be up first in its committee of reference the Health Policy committee on March 25th. Its two other committees of reference are House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services and Appropriations Committees. See also SB7078, a health care omnibus bill.
4. TELEHEALTH HB23 and HB947
by Yarborough establishes standards of practice for telehealth providers. Beginning in 2020, any insurer or HMO that covers services provided by telehealth shall be allowed a premium tax credit equal to 0.001 percent of total insurance premiums received on accident and health insurance policies or plans delivered or issued in this state in the previous calendar year that provide medical, major medical, or similar comprehensive coverage. HB23 was referred to Health Quality Subcommittee; Ways and Means Committee; Health and Human Services Committee. The bill passed its second of three committee stops this week the House Ways & Means Committee and will be up next in Health & Human Services.
by Ausley establishes standards of practice for telehealth. "Telehealth" means the mode of providing health care services and public health services by a telehealth provider, within the scope of his/her practice, through synchronous and asynchronous information and telecommunications technologies where the practitioner is located at a site other than the site where the recipient, whether a patient or another licensed practitioner, is located. HB947 was referred to Health Quality Subcommittee; Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee; Health and Human Services Committee but has not been heard.
S1422 by Gruters was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Commerce and Tourism; and Rules Committees. The Senate bill passed its first committee this week the Senate Banking and Insurance committee and will be up on Monday March 25th in Senate Commerce and Tourism.
by Gregory amends the Florida Nonprofit Multiple-Employer Welfare Act to allow employers of disparate trades or industries to establish association health plans and provides that an association may be established for the purpose of providing health benefits, so long as it serves at least one other professional purpose. The bill allows short-term health insurance to be provided by an issuer for a period of up to 12 months, with the opportunity for renewal up to a total coverage period of 36 months. It also specifies that short-term health insurance is not subject to the state prohibition on preexisting condition provisions in individual health insurance contracts. HB 997 was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Insurance and Banking Subcommittee; and Health and Human Services Committees. The bill passed its first subcommittee with amendments back on March 7. One
was adopted to require insurers and HMOs to include at least one service or coverage under each of the 10 essential health benefits categories required under the ACA, similar to SB418 text. Another
retains current statutes regarding trade, industry, and professional associations. The bill passed its second committee this week and will be up next in House Health & Human services.
6. ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS SB418/HB997
by Simpson requires insurers and HMOs to include at least one service or coverage under each of the 10 essential health benefits categories required under the ACA. SB 418 was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Health Policy; and Rules Committees. The bill will be up in Senate Banking and Insurance on Monday March 25th. The House Bill language was amended onto HB997 by Gregory.
7. PRE-EXISTING CONDITION EXCLUSIONS
SB322 by Simpson requires each insurer or HMO issuing major medical policies or contracts in Florida to offer at least one comprehensive major medical policy or contract that does not exclude, limit, deny, or delay coverage due to one or more preexisting medical conditions. This does not apply to an insurer issuing only limited benefit, disability income, specified disease, Medicare supplement, or hospital indemnity policies in this state. SB322 passed out of the Banking and Insurance on February 19 and the Health Policy Committee on March 4 with
. The bill passed the Rules Committee this week and will be up next on the Senate floor. There is no House Companion at this time. SB322 is a "compare" bill with HB997 but has not identical companion.
HB697 by Mercado creates Healthy Florida Program for comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage. The program will be based on individual's ability to pay and funded by broad-based revenue. The state would need to obtain waivers and other approvals relating to Medicaid, Florida's Children's Health Insurance Program, Medicare, the ACA, and any other federal programs so that any federal funds and subsidies would be paid by the federal government and deposited into the Healthy Florida Trust Fund. Provides job transition funding for individuals employed or previously employed in the fields of health insurance, health care service plans, and other third-party payments for health care. HB697 was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Appropriations Committee; and Health and Human Services Committees. SB1486 by Torres was referred to the Health Policy; Banking and Insurance; and Appropriations Committees.
HB7 by Duggan amends direct primary care agreements and primary care providers/services references in statute to instead refer to "direct health care agreements." The bill was amended in its first committee the Health Market Reform Subcommittee on March 7 to include dental providers. Then this week HB 7 passed its second and final committee stop and will be headed to the floor next. Meanwhile, SB1520 by Bean was referred to the Banking and Insurance, Health Policy, and Rules Committees. The bill passed the Senate Banking and Insurance committee this week and will be up next in Senate Health Policy. This language is also part of an Omnibus Health Bill, SB7078 by Harrell on the March 18th Health Policy agenda.
by Rodriguez prohibits a contract between a health insurer and a health care provider from limiting a provider's ability to disclose whether a patient's cost-sharing obligation under his or her health insurance exceeds the retail price for a covered service. In addition, contracts between insurers and providers must not prevent providers from communicating the availability of more affordable services to insured patients. The bill also requires that a contract between a health insurer and a health care provider prohibit the insurer from requiring an insured patient to make a payment for a health care service that exceeds the retail price of that service in the absence of health insurance.
HB 935 was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Insurance and Banking Subcommittee; and Health and Human Services Committees. The bill passed its third and final committee this week and will be up next on the House floor. The language was tweaked in committee but still needs work. SB1560 by Flores was referred to the Banking and Insurance, Health Policy, and Rules Committees and has yet to be placed on an agenda. This proposal has been identified as one of House Speaker Oliva's priorities. See also SB7078, a health care omnibus bill, which includes the price transparency language.
HB1113 by Renner authorizes health insurers to provide optional shared savings incentive programs in which insureds receive cash payment as incentive to save on certain nonemergency health care services. HB1113 was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Ways and Means Committee; and Health and Human Services Committees. The House bill passed its first of three committees this week and will be up in House Ways & Means Committee on Monday March 25th. SB524 by Diaz passed the Senate Banking and Insurance committee this week. There are two remaining committees for SB524, the bill will be up in its second of three stops the Senate Governmental Oversight on Tuesday March 26th. A similar bill with a mandatory program was defeated last year.
HB19 by Leek establishes an International/Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program under the AHCA contingent on federal approval and guidance. Provides annual reporting requirements, application and permitting requirements for participating entities. HB19 passed its second committee this week the Appropriations Committee and will be up next in the House Health & Human Service. SB 1452 by Gruters and 1528 by Bean were referred to the Health Policy; Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services; and Appropriations Committees. SB 1528 will be up in its first committee Senate Health Policy on March 25th, meanwhile SB 1452 still awaits its first committee stop. Governor DeSantis and Speaker Oliva
this initiative as a priority at a February 20 press conference.
Beginning January 1, 2020, HB831 by Mariano requires prescribers to generate and transmit all prescriptions electronically. Electronic prescribing software may display information regarding a payor's formulary if nothing is designed to preclude or make more difficult the selection of any particular pharmacy by a patient or the selection of any certain medicinal drug by a prescribing practitioner. HB831 was referred to the Health Quality Subcommittee; Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee; Health and Human Services Committees and is on the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee on March 26th. The bill was reported favorably by the Health Quality Subcommittee on March 5th. SB1192 by Bean was referred to the Referred to Health Policy; Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services; and Appropriations Committees.
SB398 by Farmer prohibits health insurance policies from requiring that treatment with an opioid analgesic drug product be attempted and have failed before authorizing the use of a nonopioid-based analgesic drug product. SB 398 was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Health Policy; and Rules Committees.
15. BENEFIT MANDATES:
- Alternative Pain Treatment HB 1073 (Plascencia/SB 1360)
HB1073 by Plascencia requires insurers to cover at least 20 visits per referral or prescription for nonpharmaceutical intervention therapy, including acupuncture by a licensed acupuncturist, osteopathic services by a licensed osteopathic physician, chiropractic services by a licensed chiropractor, occupational therapy by a licensed occupational therapist, or massage therapy by a licensed massage therapist, if referred or prescribed by a health care practitioner to treat conditions that cause chronic nonmalignant pain. Requires health care practitioners to refer or prescribe certain nonpharmaceutical intervention therapies prior to prescribing an opioid as treatment for any condition that causes chronic nonmalignant pain. HB 1073 was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Appropriations Committee; Health and Human Services Committees. SB1360 by Gruters was referred to the Health Policy; Banking and Insurance; Rules Committees.
- Enteral Formula HB 539/SB 358
HB539 by Zika revises criteria for required coverage of enteral formulas under certain health insurance policies. Requires state group insurance program to provide such coverage. HB539 was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Appropriations Committee; and Health and Human Services Committees. The bill is on the Health Market Reform Subcommittee agenda on March 26th. SB358 by Stargel passed on the Senate Banking and Insurance agenda on Monday March 18th,has two additional stops, Governmental Oversight and Accountability and Appropriations Committees.
- Pediatric Hearing Aids HB 531/SB 572
HB531 by Brannan requires coverage for children from birth through 21 years of age for hearing aids prescribed, fitted, and dispensed by a licensed audiologist. Minimum coverage is to be $3,500 per ear within a 24-month period. HB531 was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Appropriations Committee; and Health and Human Services Committees. SB572 by Baxley was on the agenda for Senate Banking and Insurance at their Monday March 18th meeting, where it passed and goes next to the Health Policy and Appropriations Committees.
- MHP HB 307/SB 360
HB307 by Silvers
removes the optional coverage for mental and nervous disorders and requires carriers to comply with federal mental health parity laws. Requires managed care plans to submit annual report to AHCA relating to parity in mental health and substance use disorder benefits. HB307 was referred to the Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Appropriations Committee; and Health and Human Services Committees. SB360 by Rouson was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services; and Appropriations Committees.
- MHP HB695/SB 700
HB695 by Mercado removes the optional coverage for mental and nervous disorders, making the coverage mandatory. Outpatient benefits may be limited to 30 hours of consultations, as opposed to the previous $1,000. SB700 by Stewart was referred to the Banking and Insurance; Health Policy; and Rules Committees.
HB1253 by Mariano expands the Attorney General's authority to request information for not only Medicaid fraud cases from the Department of Health prescription drug monitoring program, but information on all cases involving prescribed controlled substances. HB1253 was referred to the Health Quality Subcommittee; Judiciary Committee; and Health and Human Services Committees. The bill passed its first committee this week the House Health Quality Subcommittee. SB1700 by Lee was referred to the Health Policy; Judiciary; and Rules Committees.
HB133 by Watson directs DOH to establish Emergency Medical Air Transportation Act Account within Emergency Medical Services Trust Fund. Provides conditions for department to increase Florida Medicaid reimbursement payments to emergency medical air transportation services providers, along with federal matching funds, to not more than the customary fees charged by the providers for their services. HB133 was referred to the Health Quality Subcommittee; Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee; Health and Human Services Committees. S98 Stewart was referred to the Health Policy; Infrastructure and Security; Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services; and Appropriations Committees. Neither bill has been heard in committee.
HB961 by Fine creates the Health Innovation Commission within AHCA for the purpose of facilitating the implementation of innovative ideas to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve patient outcomes in the healthcare delivery system. HB961 passed its first committee stop last week, the Health Market Reform Subcommittee, and is on the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee agenda on March 26th. SB1348 by Gruters was referred to the Innovation, Industry, and Technology; Health Policy; and Appropriations Committees but has not been heard in committee.
1. AOB REFORM MOVES IN HOUSE AND SENATE SB122/HB7065
SB122, by Senator Broxson, passed its second of three committee stops last week. The bill will be up next in its final committee stop, Senate Rules. The bill removes the "one way" attorney fee for assignees of property insurance or auto glass and does not change the law relating to first party insurance claims. Instead of one-way attorney fees, the bill provides that the prevailing party in a suit has the right to attorney fees and costs.
The bill requires an assignee and any subcontractor to waive any and all claims against a consumer. However, the consumer remains responsible for the payment of any deductible amount provided for by their policy.
The bill makes an AOB on auto glass valid only if:
- A copy of the agreement is provided to the consumer within 3 business days after the agreement's execution;
- The option to rescind the agreement within 14 days of execution;
- The agreement does not impose any fee or penalty for rescinding the agreement;
- The agreement does not assign more than $500 if related to repairing the windshield under an insurance policy's comprehensive or combined additional coverage;
- The agreement does not transfer authority to adjust, negotiate, or settle a claim to a person who is not authorized to do so under the Insurance Adjusters Law;
- The agreement does not transfer a greater right to attorney fees;
- The agreement does not prevent or inhibit an insurer from communicating with the consumer; and
- The agreement relates only to work performed by the service provider.
Meanwhile, the House version of AOB reform, after passing the Civil Justice subcommittee as a proposed committee bill ("PCB") entitled CJS1, the bill has now been given House Bill number 7065 and was given two additional committee assignments starting with House Insurance & Banking. The bill passed the House Insurance and Banking subcommittee this week and will be up next in its final committee stop House Judiciary. The bill establishes requirements for the assignment of post-loss residential and commercial property insurance benefits. The bill also establishes requirements for the AOB for auto glass repair.
The bill defines an assignment agreement as a written instrument which assigns post-loss benefits under a residential or commercial property or specific coverage under a motor vehicle insurance policy to an assignee who repairs the property or motor vehicle. To be valid and enforceable, an assignment agreement must:
The bill also shifts the burden to the assignee to prove why such a failure did not limit the insurer's ability to perform under the contract. The duties are to:
- Maintain and provide requested service records for copying;
- Cooperate in the investigation of a claim; and
- Deliver the assignment agreement to the insurer as required.
The bill also transfers duties to the assignee which must be performed before filing a suit against the insurer. If required by the insurer, the assignee must participate in:
- Examinations under oath and recorded statements based on the scope of work and complexity of the claim; and
- Appraisal or other alternative dispute resolution process under the terms of the policy.
The House bill also requires an assignee to give the insurer and the insured prior written notice of at least 10 business days before filing suit on a claim. If litigation results in a judgment the award of attorney fees is based on the difference between the amount recovered and the amount offered during settlement negotiations. This is determined through the difference in the insurers pre-suit offer and the assignee's pre-suit demand as "the disputed amount.
The bill also allows insurance companies to offer policies that restrict the assignment of benefits. The restricted policy must be available at a lower cost than a similar unrestricted policy.
2. SINKHOLE AND CATASTROPHIC GROUND COVER COLLAPSE YET TO BE HEARD HB541/SB566
HB541 by Representative Zika 1668 will be heard in its first of three committees, the House Insurance & Banking committee, on March 26th. The bill amends current law to revise the definition of catastrophic ground cover collapse by extending coverage "imminent" collapses. The bill also provides circumstances under which damage to a building constitutes a specified loss. This effect of this bill would apply to all new or renewed property insurance policies issued on or after July 1, 2020.
SB 566 by Senator Hooper also has yet to be heard in its first of three committees of reference, the Senate Banking & Insurance committee.
3. HOMEOWNERS' INSURANCE POLICIES SB380/HB617
SB380 By Senator Brandes passed its second of three committees last week and will be up next in its final committee Senate Rules. The bill requires a disclosure to policyholders when an insurer issues a homeowners' policy that excludes coverage for the peril of flood, informing them of the benefits of flood insurance.
FLOOD INSURANCE: YOU MAY ALSO NEED TO CONSIDER THE PURCHASE OF FLOOD INSURANCE. YOUR HOMEOWNER'S INSURANCE POLICY DOES NOT INCLUDE COVERAGE FOR DAMAGE RESULTING FROM FLOOD EVEN IF HURRICANE WINDS AND RAIN CAUSED THE FLOOD TO OCCUR. WITHOUT SEPARATE FLOOD INSURANCE COVERAGE, YOU MAY HAVE UNCOVERED LOSSES CAUSED BY FLOOD. PLEASE DISCUSS THE NEED TO PURCHASE SEPARATE FLOOD INSURANCE COVERAGE WITH YOUR INSURANCE AGENT.
When an insurer issues a homeowners' policy that includes flood coverage, they will no longer be required to provide such disclosure to their policyholders.
HB617 by Representative Newton passed the House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee on March 7th and goes next to the Government Operations Subcommittee, where it will be heard on March 26th.
4. NONADMITTED INSURANCE MARKETS SB538/HB387
HB387 by Representative Burton passed its second and final committee in the House on Tuesday March 5th and will be heard next on the House floor on March 27th. The bill would do the following:
- Remove the $35 cap on the reasonable per-policy fee allowed to the surplus lines agent and requires that the fee be separately itemized to the insured before purchase and enumerated on the policy;
- Eliminates the required affidavit (information reported on the affidavit is otherwise available in electronic filing);
- Extends the exemption from diligent effort requirements for exporting of flood insurance risks for an additional six years until 2025 (gives the Insurance Commissioner the ability to end this exemption at any time upon declaring an adequate admitted market for flood coverage exists in Florida).
Its companion, SB538 by Brandes, unanimously passed its first of three committee stops Senate Banking and Insurance in week 2. The bill will be up next in the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government.
5. CITIZENS MONROE COUNTY RATE CAP HB1145/SB1476
HB 1145 by Representative Raschein has yet to be heard in its first of three committees the House Insurance & Banking committee. The bill provides that a single policy issued by Citizens in Monroe County shall not exceed a 5 percent rate increase annually. This provision begins on January 1, 2020 and expires January 1, 2024. This bill does not change the existing law that caps Citizens policies at a 10 percent annual increase. Both the existing law and this bill excludes sinkhole coverage for the cap.
SB1476 by Senator Flores is on the Agenda in its first committee, Banking & Insurance, on March 25th.
1. AOB GLASS REFORM - SB754/HB323
HB323 by Representative Stark passed its first of three committees on February 13th and is next up in Civil Justice Subcommittee. This bill prohibits a motor vehicle repair shop from offering a customer an incentive in the form of a rebate, gift, gift card, cash, coupon or other thing of value in exchange for making an insurance claim for motor vehicle glass replacement or repair. The bill also prohibits the solicitation of insurance claims by offering any such incentive for the replacement or repair of motor vehicle glass by an employee of a motor vehicle repair shop.
SB754 by Senator Stewart, passed its second of three committee stops in week 2 and will be up next in Senate Rules.
2. MOTOR VEHICLES INSURANCE SB1232/HB765
HB765 by Representative Santiago passed its first committee House Transportation on March 12, and will be up next in Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee. The bill adds additional requirements for reports by insurers, including requiring insurers to transmit weekly the insurer's records of all active insurance policies to enable the department to identify uninsured vehicles.
The bill creates the insurance online verification system, to be operational by July 1, 2022. The online verification system is intended to help identify uninsured motorists. The bill also creates the Motor Vehicle Insurance Online Verification Task Force to facilitate implementation of the motor vehicle insurance online verification system.
The bill also creates a named driver exclusion allowing motor vehicle policies to exclude an identified individual from certain coverages while the individual is operating a motor vehicle, if that individual is specifically excluded by name on the declarations page, or by endorsement, and if the policyholder consents in writing to the exclusion.
SB1232 by Senator Rader still has yet to be heard in its first of three committee stops.
3. RED LIGHT CAMERA REPEAL SB622/HB6003
HB6003 by Representative Sabatini has passed its first of three committee stops and will be up next in the House Appropriations Committee. The bill removes the authorization for the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, counties, and municipalities to install and maintain red light cameras effective July 1, 2022. The bill removes the authority for a county or municipality to implement red light camera programs by ordinance.
SB622 by Senator Brandes has yet to be placed on the agenda for its first committee stop, Senate Infrastructure and Security.
4. DRIVING WHILE DISTRACTED SB76/HB107
SB76 by Senator Simpson passed its second of four committee stops on Wednesday March 6th. The bill will be up next in its third stop, Senate Judiciary. The bill renames the "Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law" to the "Florida Driving While Distracted Law".
Driving while distracted includes:
- Applying beauty products;
- Interacting with pets and unsecured cargo;
- Using personal wireless communications devices; or
- Engaging in any other activity, conduct, task or actions which causes distractions.
Wireless communication device includes, but is not limited to:
- Cell phone;
- Two-way messaging device; or
- Electronic game.
The term "wireless communications device" does not include a safety, security, or convenience feature built into a motor vehicle that does not require the use of a handheld device.
The bill would make Driving while Distracted (including texting while driving), already a traffic infraction, a primary offense. Today, law enforcement is only able to issue a citation as a secondary offense, meaning they must pull you over for something else, like speeding, and only then may cite you for distracted driving.
HB107 by Representative Toledo, will be heard in its first of three committee stops the Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee, on March 26th.
5. OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLES SB310/HB659
SB310 by Senator Perry and HB 659 by Representative Hage redefines the terms "ATV" (all-terrain vehicle) and "ROV" (recreational off-highway vehicle) to increase the width and dry weight allowed for these vehicles. This change will allow manufactures to meet increasing consumer and regulatory demands for safer vehicles.
For the definition of All-terrain vehicles the bill increases the width allowed from 50 to 55 inches and the dry weight from 1,200 to 1,500 pounds.
For the definition of recreational off-highway vehicle the bill increases the width from 65 to 80 inches and the dry weight from 2,000 to 2,500 pounds.
SB310 passed its third and final committee this week Senate Rules and will be up next on the Senate floor. Meanwhile HB659 passed its second of three committee stops in week 2 and will be up next in State Affairs.
6. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES SB932/HB311
HB311 by Representative Fischer passed its second of three committee stops this week and will be up next in the House State Affairs committee. The bill will be up next in the Transportation and Tourism Appropriations subcommittee. The bill would make a number of changes including the following changes:
- Remove the requirement for a person to possess a driver license to operate a fully autonomous vehicle;
- Creates an exemption to driver licensing requirements when an autonomous vehicle is operated with the automated driving system engaged without a human operator physically present in the vehicle;
- Replaces the term "autonomous vehicle" with "automated driving system";
- Provides a definition for "On-Demand Autonomous Vehicle Network" as a passenger transportation network that uses a digital means to connect passengers to fully autonomous vehicles for hire.
- Allows an on-demand autonomous vehicle network to operate pursuant to state laws.
- Specifies that certain provisions of law do not apply to fully autonomous vehicles operating with the automated driving system engaged.
SB932 by Senator Brandes passed its first of three committees this week and will be up next in Senate subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development.
7. EXPANDED USES OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SB766/HB75
SB766 Senator Gruters passed its first of three committees in week 1 and will be up next in Senate Infrastructure and Security on March 26th. The bill amends current law to add exceptions to the current prohibition against certain uses of drones. The bill provides that state law does not prohibit the use of a drone to:
- Assist a law enforcement agency in crowd control or traffic management; and
- Facilitate a law enforcement agency's collection of evidence at a crime scene or traffic crash scene.
The bill also provides that state law does not prohibit the use of drones by a state agency or political subdivision for:
- The assessment of damage due to flood, wildfire, or natural disaster; or
- Land management.
HB75 by Representative Yarborough has been approved in all three of its referenced committee stops and will be up next on the House floor.
8. DRONES BILL SB132/HB1131
SB132 by Senator Rouson passed its first of three committees back on February 11th and will be up next in Senate Infrastructure and Security. The bill creates an additional exception to the general prohibition against law enforcement agencies using drones to gather evidence or other information. The bill provides for law enforcement agencies to use drones to prepare for or monitor safety and security at a large-scale event, defined as having more than 100 persons in attendance, if the drone use is limited to legitimate public safety purposes including but not limited to:
- Evaluating crowd size, density, or movement;
- Assessing public safety vulnerabilities or weaknesses;
- Determining appropriate staffing levels for law enforcement; or
- Identifying possible criminal activity.
HB1131 by Representative Valdes has yet to be placed on the agenda for its first of three committee stops the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.
9. PIP REPEAL SB896/HB733/SB1052
PIP repeal is back again this year with three different sponsors. Three of the bills have yet to be heard in their first committees. Meanwhile, SB1052 by Lee passed its first of three committee stops in week 2, the House Infrastructure committee and will be next up in Senate Banking and Insurance.
HB19 by Representative Grall eliminates PIP and replace it with mandatory bodily injury coverage. The new BI limits are $25,000 for death or injury to one person, and $50,000 for the death or injury to two or more people, and $10,000 in physical damage limits.
SB1790 by Perry/HB1317 by Rep. Burton deals with PIP fees schedule.
SB896 by Senator Brandes is similar to the HB733, eliminating PIP and replacing it with mandatory bodily injury coverage with new BI limits of $25,000 for death or injury to one person, $50,000 for the death or injury to two or more people, and $10,000 in physical damage limits. The bill also works to fix bad-faith actions against insurers.
SB1052 by Senator Lee repeals PIP also replaces PIP with a mandatory medical payments coverage of $5000. This coverage pays 100 percent of claims up to the limit, covers hospital, transportation, physician, chiropractic and dental services. The bill also set mandatory bodily injury and property limits. Additionally, the bill defines Garage liability insurance as combined single limit liability coverage including property damage and bodily injury liability coverage in the amount of at least $60,000. The bill was amended in the Senate Infrastructure and Security committee adding Named Driver Exclusion provisions which authorize a private passenger motor vehicle policy to exclude an identified individual from certain coverages.
10. REGISTRATION & TITLING OF VEHICLES AND VESSELS PASSES FULL HOUSE HB87/SB234
HB87 by Representative Burton has passed all three of its committees in the House and passed of the House Floor last week. The bill changes the date in which heavy trucks weighing between 5,001 to 7,999 pounds renew their registration. Currently all renewals for vehicles in this weight category must renew their vehicle registration in December. This change would make it so those renewals would now fall during the birth month of the person the vehicle is registered to. All vehicles that weigh over 8,000 pounds will continue to renew in December.
SB234 By Senator Baxley passed its second of three committees the Senate Judiciary committee in week 2 and will be up next in Senate Appropriations on March 27th.
11. TRAFFIC OFFENSES SB158/HB71
HB 71 by Representative McLain has yet to be heard in its first of three committee stops. The bill creates the Vulnerable Road User Act which makes a moving violation that causes serious bodily injury against a vulnerable road user a misdemeanor of the second degree. The bill defines a vulnerable road user as the following:
- A pedestrian;
- A person operating a bicycle, motorcycle, scooter or moped;
- A person riding an animal; or
- A person lawfully operating any of the following on a public right-of-way, crosswalk, or shoulder of the roadway:
- A farm tractor.
- A skateboard, roller skates, or in-line skates.
- A horse-drawn carriage.
- An electronic personal assistive mobility device.
- A wheelchair.
SB 158 by Senator Baxley has yet to be heard in its first committee stop Senate Infrastructure and Security.
1. BENEFITS FOR FIREFIGHTERS DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER SB426/HB857
SB426 by Flores passed its second of three committees on Tuesday March 5th and will be up next in Senate Appropriations. The bill makes firefighters who are diagnosed with certain cancers eligible to receive certain disability or death benefits. In lieu of pursuing workers' compensation coverage, a firefighter is entitled to cancer treatment, at no cost to the firefighter, and a one-time cash payout of $25,000, upon the firefighter's initial diagnosis of cancer. In order to be entitled to these benefits, a firefighter must:
- Be employed full-time as a firefighter;
- Be employed by the state, university, city, county, port authority, special district, or fire control district;
- Have been employed by his or her employer for at least 5 continuous years;
- Not have used tobacco projects for at least the preceding 5 years; and
- Have not been employed in any other position in the preceding 5 years which is proven to create a higher risk for cancer.
In addition, the employer must provide coverage within an employer-sponsored health plan or through a group health insurance trust fund. The firefighter may not be required to contribute toward any deductible, co-payment or coinsurance amount for the treatment of cancer.
For disability and death benefits, the employer must consider a firefighter permanently and totally disabled if diagnosed with one of the 21 enumerated cancers and unable to render useful and effective service as a firefighter. Moreover, the cancer or the treatment of cancer is deemed to have occurred in the line of duty, resulting in higher disability and death benefits.
The House companion, HB 857 by Representative Willhite has yet to be placed on the agenda at its first of three committee stops the Oversight, Transparency & Public Management Subcommittee.
2. JOINT UNDERWRITING ASSOCIATION SB537/HB264
HB537 by Representative Gregory passed its first of three committees on February 20th and will be up next in House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee. The bill authorizes the Florida Workers' Compensation Joint Underwriting Association, Inc. (FWCJUA) to retain unclaimed dividends or premium refunds rather than report and deliver the funds to DFS as unclaimed property, subject to the following conditions:
- Within 12 months of the failure of a dividend or premium refund to be disbursed to a former insured, FWCJUA must:
- Conduct a diligent search to locate the former insured;
- Notify the agent on the policy; and
For unclaimed dividends or premium refunds of $250 or more, make one active attempt to directly contact the former insured using the information from the diligent search.
- FWCJUA must list all unclaimed dividends and premium discounts on their web page.
- The unclaimed dividends and premium refunds of former FWCJUA insureds may be claimed at any time.
SB264 by Senator Gruters was approved this week in its first of three committee stops the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee and will be up next in Senate Finance and Tax.
HB7 by Duggan amends direct primary care agreements and primary care providers/services references in statute to instead refer to "direct health care agreements." HB7 was referred to Health Market Reform Subcommittee; Health and Human Services Committees. The bill was amended in its first committee stop the Health Market Reform Subcommittee on March 7th to include dental providers. HB7 passed its second and final committee stop this week. SB1520 by Bean was referred to the Banking and Insurance, Health Policy, and Rules Committees. The Senate bill passed its first committee this week Senate Banking and Insurance and will be up next in Senate Health Policy. This bill is also included in SB7078.
2. DENTAL SERVICES HB465/SB716
HB465 by Grant provides for a repayment program in the Department of Health for dental student loans who practice in public health programs. The bill was referred to the House
Health Quality Subcommittee; Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee; and Health & Human Services Committee
. SB716 by Hooper was referred to the Senate
Health Policy committee, Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, and Appropriations.
Both bills have passed their first committees of reference and are awaiting hearing in the second committee.
3. DENTAL THERAPY HB649/SB684
HB649 by Plasencia would expand the scope of practice for dental therapists and permit Medicaid reimbursement. The bill was referred to H
ealth Quality Subcommittee, Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, and Health & Human Services Committee. SB684 by Brandes was referred to Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services; and Appropriations. SB684 was placed on the agenda for Monday March 18th, but was temporarily postponed after heavy opposition from the Dentists, while HB649 is waiting to be heard in its first committee stop. A workshop was held on HB649 on March 19th.
1. WARRANTY ASSOCIATIONS HB925/SB1690
HB925 by Webb revises the basis for calculating the required assets in a home warranty association's premium reserve account, requiring that such reserve account be a separate auditable account and prohibits home warranties from excluding coverage solely because of the presence of rust or corrosion, except under certain circumstances. The bill also revises the basis for calculating the required assets in a service warranty association's premium reserve account. HB925 cleared its first committee last week the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee and will be up next in the Government Operations Subcommittee. SB1690 By Broxson was referred to the Banking and Insurance Committee, Commerce and Tourism Committee, and the Rules Committee. The Senate bill will be up in the Senate Banking and Insurance committee on Monday March 25th.
1. INSURANCE OMNIBUS (POLICY EXECUTION) - SB714/HB301
HB301 by Representative Santiago and SB714 by Senator Brandes make a number of changes to Florida Insurance Statutes. HB301 was has passed two of its three stops in the House and will be up next in the Commerce committee.
HB301 makes a number of changes regarding insurance including:
- Civil Remedies Against Insurers - provides for the insurer to invoke the appraisal process during the 60-day cure period following receipt of the required pre-suit notice. Additionally, if the insurer timely pays the result of the appraisal process, the insured will have no action for bad faith.
- Surplus Lines Export Eligibility - allows homeowner's property insurance for a residential dwelling with a replacement cost of $700,000 or more to be exported to a surplus lines insurer following a single coverage rejection. This would reduce the number of coverage rejections from three to one aligning the exporting provision with the coverage limitation from Citizens.
- Unfair Insurance Trade Practices - authorizes an insurer to offer and give insureds goods or services for the purposes of loss control or loss mitigation related to covered risks.
- Discounts for Purchase of Multiple Insurance Policies - expands the allowances of multiple policy discounts to include an insured's purchase of policies from insurers operating under a joint marking agreement, situations where the same agent is servicing policies for an insured where one was obtained through the Citizens clearinghouse process, and when the same agent is servicing policies the insured purchased from multiple insurers.
- Secondary Notice Prior to Life Insurance Policy Lapse - requires a life insurer to notify the agent of the lapsing policy or provide a copy of the notice of lapse to the agent servicing the policy, in addition to the insured and their designee 21 days prior to the effective date of lapse.
- Property Insurance Claim Mediation - allows an insurer to issue the required notice of right to mediate at the time the insurer decides that a loss is covered and is issuing payment or as currently provided, at the time a claim is filed.
SB714 is very similar to the House bill, with the exception that it does not include the changes relating to the Surplus Lines Export Eligibility. SB714 passed its first of three committee stops this week and will be up next in Senate Judiciary.
2. HIGH SCHOOL FINANCIAL LITERACY SB114/HB73
SB114 by Senator Hutson has passed its first of two committees but was temporarily postponed by the Rules Committee on February 20. Beginning with the fall 2019 semester, all high school students would have been required to complete a one-half credit stand-alone elective in financial literacy, which equates to one hour a day for one semester. The course will cover instruction in opening and managing a bank account, assessing a depository institutions services, balancing a checkbook, basic principles of money management, credit scores, managing debt including credit card debt, completing a loan application, implications of receiving an inheritance, basic principles of insurance policies, computing federal income taxes, local tax assessments, computing interest rates, simple contracts, contesting incorrect billing statements, types of savings and investments, state and federal laws concerning finance.
HB 73 by Representative Fetterhoff has yet to be heard in its first of three committees.
3. DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL SERVICE SB1704/HB1393
HB1393 by Representative Clemons and SB 1704 by Wright are CFO Patronis's agency bills that makes several changes to varies statutes relating to:
- the Division of Treasury;
- licensing for funeral directors;
- internship requirements for funeral directors;
- disposition of proceeds by trust companies;
- uniform reporting standards by local authorities having jurisdiction relating to the fire prevention code;
- temporary licensure of insurance agents;
- insurance adjuster examination requirements;
- ending new licensure for covering only industrial fire insurance or burglary insurance;
- grounds for discretionary action regarding insurance agency licenses;
- reducing a time requirement for issuance of a nonresident public adjuster's qualification bond; and
- unclaimed property.
HB1393 by Rep Clemons passed its first of three committees this week the House Insurance & Banking subcommittee and will be up next in Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee. The Senate bill will be up on Monday March 25th in its first committee stop, Senate Banking and Insurance.
4. TRADE SECRET SB1414/HB761
HB761 by Rep Massullo passed its second of three committee stops this week and will be up next in the House State Affairs committee. The bill repeals most public record exemptions for trade secrets in current law, all associated processes for designating trade secret, and most references to trade secrets contained in definitions for proprietary business information, including definitions in the insurance code.
The bill specifies that any contract or agreement to which an agency or an entity subject to public record laws is a party, is a public record, except that confidential or exempt information contained therein may be redacted prior to release of the contract, if the specific statutory exemption is identified. The following information related to any contract or agreement is not confidential or exempt;
- the parties to the contract or agreement;
- the amount of money paid, any payment structure or plan, expenditures, incentives, bonuses, fees, or penalties;
- the nature or type of the commodities or services purchase; and
- the applicable contract unit prices and deliverables.
SB1414 by Senator Gruters will be up in its first of three committee stops the Commerce and Tourism committee on Monday March 25th.
5. HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES HB1053
HB1053 by Brannan passed its first of three committee stops last week and will be up next in the House Oversight Committee. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles agency bill makes several changes to statues governing the agency including the following:
- Strengthening the penalties for providing fraudulent information on an application for a driver license;
- Incorporating violations for texting or using a handheld phone device while operating a commercial motor vehicle as a serious disqualifying offense;
- Establishing a definition for the term crash and substituting the term accident throughout statutes; and
- Repealing the requirement to show a driver license to obtain crash reports; allows crash reports to be obtained in bulk.
HB1053 does not have a Senate companion at this time.