Florida Senate - 2016 COMMITTEE AMENDMENT Bill No. CS for SB 596 Ì444578TÎ444578 LEGISLATIVE ACTION Senate . House . . . . . ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— The Committee on Judiciary (Ring) recommended the following: 1 Senate Amendment (with title amendment) 2 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
14calendar 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 insurer’s claim file and dated. 32 (5)(a) Within 45 90days 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 90days 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 14days 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: 81 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. 95 96 YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO: 97 1. Receive from your insurance company an 98 acknowledgment of your reported claim within 7 14days 99 after the time you communicated the claim. 100 2. Upon written request, receive from your 101 insurance company within 15 30days 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 90days, 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).... 128 129 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. 156 157 ================= 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.