Florida Senate - 2016                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. CS for SB 596
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              

       The Committee on Judiciary (Ring) recommended the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete lines 85 - 88
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 2. Section 627.70133, Florida Statutes, applies to
    6  post-loss assignments or transfers of rights, benefits, or
    7  policy provisions not related to liability coverage which are
    8  executed after the effective date of this act.
    9         Section 3. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) and paragraph
   10  (a) of subsection (5) of section 627.70131, Florida Statutes,
   11  are amended to read:
   12         627.70131 Insurer’s duty to acknowledge communications
   13  regarding claims; investigation.—
   14         (1)(a) Upon an insurer’s receiving a communication with
   15  respect to a claim, the insurer shall, within 7 14 calendar
   16  days, review and acknowledge receipt of such communication
   17  unless payment is made within that period of time or unless the
   18  failure to acknowledge is caused by factors beyond the control
   19  of the insurer which reasonably prevent such acknowledgment. If
   20  the acknowledgment is not in writing, a notification indicating
   21  acknowledgment shall be made in the insurer’s claim file and
   22  dated. A communication made to or by an agent of an insurer with
   23  respect to a claim shall constitute communication to or by the
   24  insurer. If a residential property insurer receives a
   25  communication in writing from a third party identified in s.
   26  627.422 with respect to the claim requesting that the insurer
   27  acknowledge the existence of a policy of insurance on the
   28  property, the insurer must respond to the communication within 7
   29  days after the request. If the insurer’s acknowledgment is not
   30  in writing, a notification indicating acknowledgment must be
   31  made in the insurers claim file and dated.
   32         (5)(a) Within 45 90 days after an insurer receives notice
   33  of an initial, reopened, or supplemental property insurance
   34  claim from a policyholder, the insurer shall pay or deny such
   35  claim or a portion of the claim unless the failure to pay is
   36  caused by factors beyond the control of the insurer which
   37  reasonably prevent such payment. Any payment of an initial or
   38  supplemental claim or portion of such claim made 45 90 days
   39  after the insurer receives notice of the claim, or made more
   40  than 15 days after there are no longer factors beyond the
   41  control of the insurer which reasonably prevented such payment,
   42  whichever is later, bears interest at the rate set forth in s.
   43  55.03. Interest begins to accrue from the date the insurer
   44  receives notice of the claim. The provisions of this subsection
   45  may not be waived, voided, or nullified by the terms of the
   46  insurance policy. If there is a right to prejudgment interest,
   47  the insured shall select whether to receive prejudgment interest
   48  or interest under this subsection. Interest is payable when the
   49  claim or portion of the claim is paid. Failure to comply with
   50  this subsection constitutes a violation of this code. However,
   51  failure to comply with this subsection does not form the sole
   52  basis for a private cause of action.
   53         Section 4. Section 627.7142, Florida Statutes, is amended
   54  to read:
   55         627.7142 Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights.—An insurer
   56  issuing a personal lines residential property insurance policy
   57  in this state must provide a Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights to
   58  a policyholder within 7 14 days after receiving an initial
   59  communication with respect to a claim, unless the claim follows
   60  an event that is the subject of a declaration of a state of
   61  emergency by the Governor. The purpose of the bill of rights is
   62  to summarize, in simple, nontechnical terms, existing Florida
   63  law regarding the rights of a personal lines residential
   64  property insurance policyholder who files a claim of loss. The
   65  Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights is specific to the claims
   66  process and does not represent all of a policyholder’s rights
   67  under Florida law regarding the insurance policy. The Homeowner
   68  Claims Bill of Rights does not create a civil cause of action by
   69  any individual policyholder or class of policyholders against an
   70  insurer or insurers. The failure of an insurer to properly
   71  deliver the Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights is subject to
   72  administrative enforcement by the office but is not admissible
   73  as evidence in a civil action against an insurer. The Homeowner
   74  Claims Bill of Rights does not enlarge, modify, or contravene
   75  statutory requirements, including, but not limited to, ss.
   76  626.854, 626.9541, 627.70131, 627.7015, and 627.7074, and does
   77  not prohibit an insurer from exercising its right to repair
   78  damaged property in compliance with the terms of an applicable
   79  policy or ss. 627.7011(5)(e) and 627.702(7). The Homeowner
   80  Claims Bill of Rights must state:
   82                          HOMEOWNER CLAIMS                         
   83                           BILL OF RIGHTS                          
   84         This Bill of Rights is specific to the claims process
   85         and does not represent all of your rights under
   86         Florida law regarding your policy. There are also
   87         exceptions to the stated timelines when conditions are
   88         beyond your insurance company’s control. This document
   89         does not create a civil cause of action by an
   90         individual policyholder, or a class of policyholders,
   91         against an insurer or insurers and does not prohibit
   92         an insurer from exercising its right to repair damaged
   93         property in compliance with the terms of an applicable
   94         policy.
   96         YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO:
   97         1. Receive from your insurance company an
   98         acknowledgment of your reported claim within 7 14 days
   99         after the time you communicated the claim.
  100         2. Upon written request, receive from your
  101         insurance company within 15 30 days after you have
  102         submitted a complete proof-of-loss statement to your
  103         insurance company, confirmation that your claim is
  104         covered in full, partially covered, or denied, or
  105         receive a written statement that your claim is being
  106         investigated.
  107         3. Within 45 90 days, subject to any dual
  108         interest noted in the policy, receive full settlement
  109         payment for your claim or payment of the undisputed
  110         portion of your claim, or your insurance company’s
  111         denial of your claim.
  112         4. Free mediation of your disputed claim by the
  113         Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of
  114         Consumer Services, under most circumstances and
  115         subject to certain restrictions.
  116         5. Neutral evaluation of your disputed claim, if
  117         your claim is for damage caused by a sinkhole and is
  118         covered by your policy.
  119         6. Contact the Florida Department of Financial
  120         Services, Division of Consumer Services’ toll-free
  121         helpline for assistance with any insurance claim or
  122         questions pertaining to the handling of your claim.
  123         You can reach the Helpline by phone at...(toll-free
  124         phone number)..., or you can seek assistance online at
  125         the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division
  126         of Consumer Services’ website at...(website
  127         address)....
  129         YOU ARE ADVISED TO:
  130         1. Contact your insurance company before entering
  131         into any contract for repairs to confirm any managed
  132         repair policy provisions or optional preferred
  133         vendors.
  134         2. Make and document emergency repairs that are
  135         necessary to prevent further damage. Keep the damaged
  136         property, if feasible, keep all receipts, and take
  137         photographs of damage before and after any repairs.
  138         3. Carefully read any contract that requires you
  139         to pay out-of-pocket expenses or a fee that is based
  140         on a percentage of the insurance proceeds that you
  141         will receive for repairing or replacing your property.
  142         4. Confirm that the contractor you choose is
  143         licensed to do business in Florida. You can verify a
  144         contractor’s license and check to see if there are any
  145         complaints against him or her by calling the Florida
  146         Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
  147         You should also ask the contractor for references from
  148         previous work.
  149         5. Require all contractors to provide proof of
  150         insurance before beginning repairs.
  151         6. Take precautions if the damage requires you to
  152         leave your home, including securing your property and
  153         turning off your gas, water, and electricity, and
  154         contacting your insurance company and provide a phone
  155         number where you can be reached.
  157  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  158  And the title is amended as follows:
  159         Delete line 11
  160  and insert:
  161         applicability; amending s. 627.70131, F.S.; revising
  162         the timeframe under which an insurer is required to
  163         review and acknowledge a received communication with
  164         respect to a claim; requiring a residential property
  165         insurer to respond to a specified communication within
  166         a specified timeframe; requiring a dated notification
  167         indicating acknowledgment to made in the insurer’s
  168         claim file under certain circumstances; revising the
  169         timeframe under which an insurer must pay or deny a
  170         certain claim, except under certain circumstances,
  171         before interest accrues on the payment; amending s.
  172         627.7142, F.S.; revising the timeframe under which a
  173         certain insurer must provide a Homeowner Claims Bill
  174         of Rights to a policyholder after receiving a
  175         specified communication; revising timeframes contained
  176         in the Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights under which a
  177         policyowner is entitled to receive a certain
  178         acknowledgement, confirmation, and settlement payment;
  179         providing an effective date.