Florida Senate - 2017                                    SB 1218
       By Senator Farmer
       34-00621B-17                                          20171218__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to property repair; amending s.
    3         468.8411, F.S.; defining the terms “professional water
    4         damage restorer” and “water damage restoration”;
    5         amending s. 468.8414, F.S.; requiring the Department
    6         of Business and Professional Regulation to license
    7         applicants who are qualified to practice water damage
    8         restoration; specifying qualifications for licensure;
    9         providing applicability to professional water damage
   10         restorers of certain prohibitions and penalties;
   11         amending s. 627.422, F.S.; prohibiting personal lines
   12         residential or commercial residential property
   13         insurance policies from prohibiting the post-loss
   14         assignment of benefits; providing that an assignment
   15         agreement is not valid unless it meets specified
   16         requirements; providing requirements and limitations
   17         for assignees of post-loss benefits; requiring
   18         insurers that have a preferred vendor or similar
   19         program to consider certain certified persons to be
   20         preferred vendors; requiring insurers to provide
   21         specified contact information on their websites and in
   22         policies; requiring assignees to deliver an executed
   23         assignment agreement to insurers within a specified
   24         timeframe; requiring insurers to make any initial
   25         inspections of the covered property within a specified
   26         time after receiving such agreement; requiring
   27         insureds or assignees to provide a certain
   28         prelitigation notice to insurers by a specified
   29         timeframe; amending s. 627.7011, F.S.; prohibiting
   30         specified acts of insurers relating to homeowners’
   31         insurance policies under certain circumstances;
   32         providing an effective date.
   34  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   36         Section 1. Subsections (7) and (8) are added to section
   37  468.8411, Florida Statutes, to read:
   38         468.8411 Definitions.—As used in this part, the term:
   39         (7) “Professional water damage restorer” means any person
   40  who performs water damage restoration.
   41         (8) “Water damage restoration” means water removal,
   42  demolition, dehumidification, or other treatment related to
   43  water damage or water-contaminated matter greater than 10 square
   44  feet.
   45         Section 2. Subsection (1) of section 468.8414, Florida
   46  Statutes, is amended, present subsection (4) of that section is
   47  redesignated as subsection (6), and a new subsection (4) and
   48  subsection (5) are added to that section, to read:
   49         468.8414 Licensure.—
   50         (1) The department shall license any applicant who the
   51  department certifies is qualified to practice mold assessment,
   52  or mold remediation, or water damage restoration.
   53         (4) The department shall certify for licensure as a
   54  professional water damage restorer an applicant who:
   55         (a) Is of good moral character;
   56         (b) Has the insurance coverage required under s. 468.8421;
   57  and
   58         (c) Satisfies the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and
   59  Restoration Certification S500 standards.
   60         (5) The prohibitions and penalties described in s. 468.8419
   61  apply to a professional water damage restorer.
   62         Section 3. Section 627.422, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   63  read:
   64         627.422 Assignment of policies or post-loss benefits.—A
   65  policy or its post-loss benefits may be assignable, or not
   66  assignable, as provided by the its terms of the policy and the
   67  requirements of this section.
   68         (1) LIFE OR HEALTH INSURANCE POLICIES.—Subject to its terms
   69  relating to assignability, any life or health insurance policy
   70  under the terms of which the beneficiary may be changed upon the
   71  sole request of the policyowner may be assigned either by pledge
   72  or transfer of title, by an assignment executed by the
   73  policyowner alone and delivered to the insurer, whether or not
   74  the pledgee or assignee is the insurer. Any such assignment
   75  shall entitle the insurer to deal with the assignee as the owner
   76  or pledgee of the policy in accordance with the terms of the
   77  assignment, until the insurer has received at its home office
   78  written notice of termination of the assignment or pledge or
   79  written notice by or on behalf of some other person claiming
   80  some interest in the policy in conflict with the assignment.
   82  POLICIES.—A personal lines residential property insurance policy
   83  or a commercial residential property insurance policy may not
   84  prohibit the post-loss assignment of benefits.
   85         (a) An agreement to assign post-loss benefits under this
   86  subsection is not valid unless the agreement:
   87         1. Is in writing between the policyholder and assignee and
   88  is delivered to the insurer as provided in paragraph (c);
   89         2. Is limited to claims for work performed by the assignee
   90  for damage to dwellings or structures covered under the policy;
   91         3. Allows the policyholder to unilaterally rescind the
   92  assignment of post-loss benefits to a vendor if work has not yet
   93  begun or if the assignee fails to meet the standards required
   94  for such work; provided, however, that the policyholder or
   95  insurer may be responsible for payment for work performed; and
   96         4. Contains an accurate and up-to-date statement of the
   97  scope of work to be performed.
   98         (b) An assignee of post-loss benefits under this
   99  subsection:
  100         1. Must provide the policyholder with accurate and up-to
  101  date revised statements of the scope of work to be performed as
  102  supplemental or additional repairs are required;
  103         2. Must guarantee to the policyholder that the work
  104  performed conforms to current and accepted industry standards,
  105  including, but not limited to, the standards under this part;
  106         3. May not charge the policyholder more than the applicable
  107  deductible contained in the policy unless the policyholder opts
  108  for additional work at the policyholder’s own expense;
  109         4. May not charge the policyholder directly, except for
  110  additional work not covered under the policy;
  111         5. May not pay referral fees totaling more than $750 in
  112  connection with the assignment; and
  113         6.For water-damage claims:
  114         a. Must be licensed in good standing under part XVI of
  115  chapter 468 or chapter 489 to perform any work requiring such a
  116  license.
  117         b. Must be certified in good standing with the Institute of
  118  Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification to perform any
  119  work covered under the appropriate certification.
  120         c. Must verify that any vendor it contracts with to perform
  121  work meets the applicable license and certification requirements
  122  in sub-subparagraphs a. and b.
  124  For purposes of sub-subparagraphs b. and c., if an insurer has a
  125  preferred vendor or similar program, the insurer must consider a
  126  person certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and
  127  Restoration Certification to be a preferred vendor.
  128         (c) An insurer shall provide on its website and in the
  129  policy its contact information for receiving the agreement that
  130  meets the requirements of paragraph (a) and which must include
  131  at least a dedicated facsimile number. After executing the
  132  assignment agreement, the assignee must deliver the agreement to
  133  the insurer within the later of:
  134         1.If a state of emergency was declared under s. 252.36 for
  135  a hurricane or other natural disaster and the property covered
  136  under the policy was damaged as a result of the hurricane or
  137  natural disaster, 7 days after the state of emergency is
  138  terminated; or
  139         2.Seven business days after execution of the agreement.
  140         (d) Notwithstanding s. 627.70131, upon receiving the
  141  agreement in paragraph (a), the insurer must make any initial
  142  inspections of the covered property within the later of:
  143         1.If a state of emergency was declared under s. 252.36 for
  144  a hurricane or other natural disaster and the property covered
  145  under the policy was damaged as a result of the hurricane or
  146  natural disaster, 7 days after the state of emergency is
  147  terminated; or
  148         2.Seven business days after receiving the agreement.
  149         (e) No later than 7 days before an insured or assignee
  150  initiates litigation against an insurer relating to a denied or
  151  limited claim, the insured or assignee must provide the insurer
  152  with notice of intent to initiate such litigation.
  153         Section 4. Paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of section
  154  627.7011, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  155         627.7011 Homeowners’ policies; offer of replacement cost
  156  coverage and law and ordinance coverage.—
  157         (3) In the event of a loss for which a dwelling or personal
  158  property is insured on the basis of replacement costs:
  159         (a) For a dwelling:,
  160         1. The insurer must initially pay at least the actual cash
  161  value of the insured loss, less any applicable deductible. The
  162  insurer shall pay any remaining amounts necessary to perform
  163  such repairs as work is performed and expenses are incurred. If
  164  a total loss of a dwelling occurs, the insurer shall pay the
  165  replacement cost coverage without reservation or holdback of any
  166  depreciation in value, pursuant to s. 627.702.
  167         2. The insurer may not require that a particular vendor
  168  make repairs to such dwelling.
  169         3. The insurer may not, unless expressly requested by the
  170  insured, recommend or suggest a particular vendor for repairs to
  171  be made to such dwelling.
  172         Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.