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Bill would update surplus lines regulations in Florida

A bill that would modify Florida insurance rules has been moved on to the governor's office for signature following its passage by state legislators. The bill includes a number of provisions related to insurance. It would increase the amount of reimbursement from the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund from 5 to 10% for loss adjustment expenses. It makes clear that workers' compensation applicants do not need to have statements notarized and expands the applicability of discounts for multiple policies in some cases.

The bill, House Bill 301, would also prohibit insured persons from making a civil remedy filing within 60 days after an appraisal, and it would lower the minimum premium amount initially due on auto insurance policies. The insurance industry has said the bill would bring Florida's surplus lines system into modernity. It would do away with a $35 cap on agent policy fees and replace the cap with a reasonableness requirement.

The president-elect of the Florida Surplus Lines Association said that HB301 represents great news for Florida businesses as well as surplus lines insurers. The FSLA lobbied for other changes that did not pass the legislature and said that Florida uses more surplus lines insurance than all but two other states. More than $2 billion in premiums are written annually for commercial property statewide. More than 1,000 agents are actively writing surplus lines policies in Florida.

People who have questions about the operation of surplus lines insurance or how to pursue disbursement for hurricane damage claims might want to speak with a lawyer. A lawyer with experience handling insurance claims cases may be able to help by examining primary insurance policies and the facts of the situation to determine if surplus lines coverage may apply. A lawyer might be able to secure payment, negotiate settlement of claims or otherwise communicate with insurers on behalf of the client.

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