Dear Colleagues and Friends,
With two hurricanes hitting the state this year, the Legislature convened Special Session 2022A this week. The special session proclamation focused on specific issues – property insurance, hurricane relief and a toll relief program. The proposed bills have now been passed by the Legislature and await action by Governor DeSantis. Below are summaries and links of the bills passed.
The Legislature will return to Tallahassee for interim committee weeks beginning the week of January 3, 2023. I will provide weekly updates during committee weeks to keep you informed about the key bills and committee meetings that may have an impact on your business interests or priorities.
If you would like more information, please contact me.
SB 2A – Property Insurance
- Eliminates one-way attorney fees in suits arising under residential or commercial property insurance.
- Eliminates assignment of benefits for residential and commercial property insurance policies after January 1, 2023.
- Provides that bad faith litigation for failure to settle a property insurance claim may not be filed until after the insured has established through adverse adjudication by a court that the insurer breached the insurance contract and a final judgment or decree has been rendered against the insurer.
- Creates the Florida Optional Reinsurance Assistance Program (FORA) that provides optional hurricane reinsurance that property insurers can purchase at near market rates. The FORA program is funded with $1 billion in general revenue for the 2023 year, and is supplemented by the premium insurers pay for coverage.
- Reduces the deadline for policyholders to report a claim under the policy from 2 years to 1 year for a new or reopened claim, and from 3 years to 18 months for a supplemental claim.
- Amends the prompt pay statute to encourage property insurers to settle claims in a timely manner by reducing time for insurers to pay or deny, review a claim, begin an investigation and sending any adjuster’s report estimating a loss to the policyholder.
- Provides conditions whereby a property insurer may include mandatory binding arbitration in its policies.
- Amends the mandatory flood insurance notice by requiring it to be part of the declarations page and makes revisions to the content of notice to encourage purchase of flood insurance.
- Authorizes the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) to subject any authorized insurer to a market conduct examination after a hurricane under certain conditions relating to property insurance claims.
- Ensures that insurers do not abuse the appraisal process under property insurance policies.
- Depopulates Citizens Property Insurance Corporation by increasing the eligibility threshold for renewal personal lines policyholders and for new commercial policies among other changes.
- Authorizes the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) to extend the 30-day coverage period for policies of insolvent insurers by an additional 15 days if the OIR reasonably believes that market conditions are such that the policies cannot be placed with an authorized insurer within the 30-day period.
SB 4A – Disaster Relief
- Extends the due dates for property taxes levied in 2022 for property owners whose property was destroyed or rendered uninhabitable by Hurricane Ian or Hurricane Nicole.
- Provides a partial property tax refund for residential property owners whose real property was destroyed or rendered uninhabitable for at least 30 days by Hurricane Ian or Hurricane Nicole.
- Establishes the “Florida Emergency Management Assistance Foundation,” a direct-support organization of the Division of Emergency Management (DEM) which will provide assistance, funding, and support to DEM in its disaster response, recovery, and relief efforts for natural emergencies.
- Appropriates over $750 million to several state agencies for various grant programs to assist with hurricane recovery for areas impacted by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.
SB 6A – Toll Relief
- Directs the Florida Turnpike Enterprise to establish a toll relief program effective January 1, 2023, through December 31, 2023, for all Florida toll facilities.
- A qualifying Sun Pass account that records 35 or more transactions per transponder per calendar month is eligible for an account credit equal to 50 percent of the amount paid in that calendar month for the qualifying transactions per transponder.