Florida Senate - 2017                             CS for SB 1218
       By the Committee on Banking and Insurance; and Senator Farmer
       597-03371-17                                          20171218c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to property repair; providing a
    3         directive to the Division of Law Revision and
    4         Information to create part XVII of ch. 468, F.S.,
    5         entitled “Water Damage Restoration”; creating s.
    6         468.94, F.S.; creating within the Department of
    7         Business and Professional Regulation the water damage
    8         restoration services licensing program; providing
    9         legislative intent; creating s. 468.941, F.S.;
   10         providing exemptions from regulation under the part;
   11         creating s. 468.9411, F.S.; defining terms; creating
   12         s. 468.9412, F.S.; authorizing the department to
   13         establish specified fees; specifying requirements and
   14         limitations for such fees; creating s. 468.9413, F.S.;
   15         providing examination requirements for applicants for
   16         professional water damage restorer licensure;
   17         providing requirements for practicing as a
   18         professional water damage restorer; requiring the
   19         department to review and approve courses of study;
   20         defining the term “good moral character”; specifying
   21         conditions under which the department may refuse to
   22         certify an applicant for lack of good moral character;
   23         providing requirements for the department when
   24         refusing to certify on such grounds; authorizing the
   25         department to adopt rules; providing applicant
   26         fingerprinting and background check requirements;
   27         creating s. 468.9414, F.S.; requiring the department
   28         to license qualified applicants who meet specified
   29         requirements; authorizing the department to refuse to
   30         certify applicants under certain circumstances;
   31         creating s. 468.9415, F.S.; providing requirements for
   32         license renewals; authorizing the department to adopt
   33         rules; creating s. 468.9416, F.S.; providing
   34         requirements for continuing education; authorizing the
   35         department to prescribe by rule certain additional
   36         requirements; creating s. 468.9417, F.S.; providing
   37         procedures for placing licenses in inactive status;
   38         requiring the department to adopt rules; creating s.
   39         468.9418, F.S.; providing construction relating to
   40         certification of partnerships and corporations;
   41         creating s. 468.9419, F.S.; specifying prohibited
   42         acts; providing criminal penalties; providing
   43         applicability; creating s. 468.942, F.S.; specifying
   44         grounds for disciplinary actions; authorizing
   45         specified disciplinary actions by the department;
   46         creating s. 468.9421, F.S.; requiring professional
   47         water damage restorers to maintain specified insurance
   48         coverage; creating s. 468.9422, F.S.; requiring
   49         contracts to perform water damage restoration to be in
   50         a document or electronic record and signed or
   51         authenticated by the parties; creating s. 468.9423,
   52         F.S.; providing procedures and requirements for
   53         grandfathering specified persons for licensure;
   54         specifying persons who may not qualify for such
   55         licensure; creating s. 468.9424, F.S.; requiring the
   56         department to adopt rules; amending s. 627.062, F.S.;
   57         specifying that certain fees and costs may not be
   58         included in a property insurer’s rate base or used to
   59         justify a rate or rate change; amending s. 627.422,
   60         F.S.; prohibiting certain property insurance policies
   61         from prohibiting the post-loss assignment of benefits;
   62         providing that an assignment agreement is not valid
   63         unless it meets specified requirements; providing
   64         requirements and limitations for assignees of post
   65         loss benefits; requiring insurers to provide specified
   66         contact information on their websites and in policies;
   67         requiring assignees to deliver an executed assignment
   68         agreement to insurers within a specified timeframe;
   69         requiring insureds or assignees to provide a certain
   70         prelitigation notice and invoice to insurers within a
   71         specified timeframe; providing construction; requiring
   72         the Office of Insurance Regulation to require each
   73         insurer to report at certain intervals specified data
   74         relating to claims paid pursuant to assignment
   75         agreements; requiring insurers to report certain
   76         information to opposing counsel, and requiring the
   77         opposing counsel to verify or certify the information,
   78         before it is reported to the office; providing
   79         applicability; amending s. 627.7011, F.S.; prohibiting
   80         specified acts of insurers relating to homeowners’
   81         insurance policies under certain circumstances;
   82         providing an effective date.
   84  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   86         Section 1. The Division of Law Revision and Information is
   87  directed to create part XVII of chapter 468, Florida Statutes,
   88  consisting of ss. 468.94-468.9424, Florida Statutes, to be
   89  entitled “Water Damage Restoration.”
   90         Section 2. Section 468.94, Florida Statutes, is created to
   91  read:
   92         468.94 Water damage restoration services licensing program;
   93  legislative purpose.—
   94         (1) There is created within the department the water damage
   95  restoration services licensing program.
   96         (2) The Legislature finds it necessary in the interest of
   97  the public safety and welfare to prevent damage to real and
   98  personal property, to avert economic injury to the residents of
   99  this state, and to regulate persons and companies that hold
  100  themselves out to the public as qualified to perform water
  101  damage restoration services.
  102         Section 3. Section 468.941, Florida Statutes, is created to
  103  read:
  104         468.941 Exemptions.—The following persons are not required
  105  to comply with any provisions of this part relating to water
  106  damage restoration:
  107         (1) A residential property owner who performs water damage
  108  restoration on his or her own property;
  109         (2) A person who performs water damage restoration on
  110  property owned or leased by the person, the person’s employer,
  111  or an entity affiliated with the person’s employer through
  112  common ownership, or on property operated or managed by the
  113  person’s employer or an entity affiliated with the person’s
  114  employer through common ownership. This exemption does not apply
  115  if the person, employer, or affiliated entity engages in the
  116  business of performing water damage restoration for the public;
  117         (3) An employee of a professional water damage restorer
  118  while directly supervised by the professional water damage
  119  restorer;
  120         (4) Persons or business organizations that are acting
  121  within the scope of the respective licenses required under part
  122  XV of this chapter, chapter 471, part I or part II of chapter
  123  481, chapter 482, or chapter 489; that are acting on behalf of
  124  an insurer under part VI of chapter 626; or that are persons in
  125  the manufactured housing industry who are licensed under chapter
  126  320, except when any such persons or business organizations hold
  127  themselves out for hire to the public as a “certified water
  128  damage restorer,” “registered water damage restorer,” “licensed
  129  water damage restorer,” “water damage restorer,” “professional
  130  water damage restorer,” or any combination thereof, stating or
  131  implying licensure under this part; and
  132         (5) An authorized employee of the United States, this
  133  state, or any municipality, county, or other political
  134  subdivision, or public or private school, and who is conducting
  135  water damage restoration within the scope of that employment, as
  136  long as the employee does not hold himself or herself out for
  137  hire to the general public or otherwise engage in water damage
  138  restoration.
  139         Section 4. Section 468.9411, Florida Statutes, is created
  140  to read:
  141         468.9411 Definitions.—As used in this part, the term:
  142         (1) “Department” means the Department of Business and
  143  Professional Regulation.
  144         (2) “Professional water damage restorer” means any person
  145  who performs water damage restoration.
  146         (3) “Water damage restoration” means water removal,
  147  demolition, dehumidification, or other treatment related to
  148  water damage or water-contaminated matter larger than 10 square
  149  feet.
  150         Section 5. Section 468.9412, Florida Statutes, is created
  151  to read:
  152         468.9412 Fees.—
  153         (1) The department may establish fees to be paid for
  154  application, examination, reexamination, licensing and renewal,
  155  inactive status application and reactivation of inactive
  156  licenses, and application for providers of continuing education.
  157  The department may also establish a delinquency fee. Fees must
  158  be based on department estimates of the revenue required to
  159  administer this part. All fees must be remitted with the
  160  application, examination, reexamination, licensing and renewal,
  161  inactive status application and reactivation of inactive
  162  licenses, and application for providers of continuing education.
  163         (2) The application fee may not exceed $125 and is
  164  nonrefundable. The examination fee may not exceed $125 plus the
  165  actual per applicant cost to the department to purchase the
  166  examination, if the department chooses to purchase the
  167  examination. The examination fee must be in an amount that
  168  covers the cost of obtaining and administering the examination
  169  and must be refunded if the applicant is found ineligible to sit
  170  for the examination.
  171         (3) The fee for an initial license may not exceed $200.
  172         (4) The fee for an initial certificate of authorization may
  173  not exceed $200.
  174         (5) The fee for a biennial license renewal may not exceed
  175  $400.
  176         (6) The fee for licensure by endorsement may not exceed
  177  $200.
  178         (7) The fee for application for inactive status may not
  179  exceed $100.
  180         (8) The fee for reactivation of an inactive license may not
  181  exceed $200.
  182         (9) The fee for applications from providers of continuing
  183  education may not exceed $500.
  184         Section 6. Section 468.9413, Florida Statutes, is created
  185  to read:
  186         468.9413 Examinations.—
  187         (1) A person desiring to be licensed as a professional
  188  water damage restorer must apply to the department after
  189  satisfying the examination requirements of this part.
  190         (2) An applicant may practice in this state as a
  191  professional water damage restorer if he or she passes the
  192  required examination, is of good moral character, and has
  193  successfully completed the Water Damage Restoration Technician
  194  course and the Advanced Structural Drying course approved by the
  195  Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification
  196  or similar courses approved by the department.
  197         (3) The department shall review and approve courses of
  198  study in water damage restoration.
  199         (4)(a) As used in this section, the term “good moral
  200  character” means a personal history of honesty, fairness, and
  201  respect for the rights of others and for the laws of this state
  202  and nation.
  203         (b) The department may refuse to certify an applicant who
  204  fails to satisfy the requirement for good moral character only
  205  if:
  206         1. There is a substantial connection between the lack of
  207  good moral character of the applicant and the professional
  208  responsibilities of a licensed professional water damage
  209  restorer; and
  210         2. The finding by the department of lack of good moral
  211  character is supported by clear and convincing evidence.
  212         (c) When an applicant is found to be unqualified for a
  213  license because of a lack of good moral character, the
  214  department must furnish the applicant with a statement
  215  containing the findings of the department, a complete record of
  216  the evidence upon which the determination was based, and a
  217  notice of the rights of the applicant to a hearing and appeal.
  218         (5) The department may adopt rules pursuant to ss.
  219  120.536(1) and 120.54 to administer this section.
  220         (6) An applicant for a license shall submit, together with
  221  the application, a complete set of electronic fingerprints to
  222  the department. The department shall submit the fingerprints to
  223  the Department of Law Enforcement for state processing, and the
  224  Department of Law Enforcement shall forward them to the Federal
  225  Bureau of Investigation for national processing, to determine
  226  whether the applicant has a criminal history record. The
  227  department shall review the background check results to
  228  determine if the applicant meets licensure requirements. The
  229  applicant is responsible for the costs associated with
  230  processing the fingerprints. The authorized agencies or vendors
  231  shall collect such fees and pay the processing costs due the
  232  Department of Law Enforcement.
  233         Section 7. Section 468.9414, Florida Statutes, is created
  234  to read:
  235         468.9414 Licensure.—
  236         (1) The department shall license any applicant who the
  237  department certifies is qualified to practice professional water
  238  damage restoration.
  239         (2) The department shall certify for licensure any
  240  applicant who satisfies the requirements of s. 468.9413, who has
  241  passed the licensing examination, and who has met the education
  242  requirements of s. 468.9413. The department may refuse to
  243  certify any applicant who has violated any of the provisions of
  244  this part.
  245         (3) The department shall certify as qualified for a license
  246  by endorsement an applicant who is of good moral character, who
  247  has the insurance coverage required under s. 468.9421, and who:
  248         (a) Is qualified to take the examination as set forth in s.
  249  468.9413 and has passed a certification examination offered by a
  250  nationally recognized organization that certifies persons in the
  251  specialty of water damage restoration. The certification
  252  examination offered must be approved by the department as
  253  substantially equivalent to the requirements of this part and s.
  254  455.217; or
  255         (b) Holds a valid license to practice water damage
  256  restoration issued by another state or territory of the United
  257  States if the criteria for issuance of the license were
  258  substantially the same as the licensure criteria established by
  259  this part as determined by the department.
  260         (4) The department may not issue a license by endorsement
  261  to any applicant who is under investigation in another state for
  262  any act that would constitute a violation of this part or
  263  chapter 455 until such time as the investigation is complete and
  264  disciplinary proceedings have been terminated.
  265         Section 8. Section 468.9415, Florida Statutes, is created
  266  to read:
  267         468.9415 Renewal of license.—
  268         (1) The department shall renew a license upon receipt of
  269  the renewal application and fee and upon certification by the
  270  department that the licensee has satisfactorily completed the
  271  continuing education requirements of s. 468.9416.
  272         (2) The department shall adopt rules establishing a
  273  procedure for the biennial renewal of licenses.
  274         Section 9. Section 468.9416, Florida Statutes, is created
  275  to read:
  276         468.9416 Continuing education.—
  277         (1) The department may not renew a license until the
  278  licensee submits satisfactory proof that during the 2-year
  279  period before his or her application for renewal, the licensee
  280  completed at least 14 hours of continuing education. Criteria
  281  and course content must be approved by the department by rule.
  282         (2) The department may prescribe by rule additional
  283  continuing professional education hours, not to exceed 25
  284  percent of the total hours required, for a licensee’s failure to
  285  complete the hours required for renewal by the end of the
  286  renewal period.
  287         Section 10. Section 468.9417, Florida Statutes, is created
  288  to read:
  289         468.9417 Inactive license.—
  290         (1) A licensee may request that his or her license be
  291  placed in an inactive status by making application to the
  292  department.
  293         (2) A license that becomes inactive may be reactivated upon
  294  application to the department. The department may prescribe by
  295  rule continuing education requirements as a condition of
  296  reactivating a license. The rules may not require more than one
  297  renewal cycle of continuing education to reactivate a license.
  298         (3) The department shall adopt rules relating to licenses
  299  that have become inactive and for the renewal of inactive
  300  licenses. The department shall prescribe by rule a fee not to
  301  exceed $200 for the reactivation of an inactive license and a
  302  fee not to exceed $200 for the renewal of an inactive license.
  303         Section 11. Section 468.9418, Florida Statutes, is created
  304  to read:
  305         468.9418 Certification of partnerships and corporations.
  306  The practice of or the offer to practice water damage
  307  restoration by licensees through a corporation or partnership
  308  offering water damage restoration to the public, or by a
  309  corporation or partnership offering such services to the public
  310  through licensees under this part as agents, employees,
  311  officers, or partners, is permitted subject to the provisions of
  312  this part. This section may not be construed to allow a
  313  corporation to hold a license to practice water damage
  314  restoration. A corporation or partnership may not be relieved of
  315  responsibility for the conduct or acts of its agents, employees,
  316  officers, or partners by reason of its compliance with this
  317  section, nor may any individual practicing water damage
  318  restoration be relieved of responsibility for professional
  319  services performed by reason of his or her employment or
  320  relationship with a corporation or partnership.
  321         Section 12. Section 468.9419, Florida Statutes, is created
  322  to read:
  323         468.9419 Prohibitions; penalties.—
  324         (1) A person may not:
  325         (a) Effective January 1, 2018, perform or offer to perform
  326  any water damage restoration unless the person is licensed as a
  327  professional water damage restorer under this part.
  328         (b) Effective January 1, 2018, perform or offer to perform
  329  any water damage restoration unless the person has complied with
  330  the provisions of this part.
  331         (c) Use the name or title “certified water damage
  332  restorer,” “registered water damage restorer,” “licensed water
  333  damage restorer,” “water damage restorer,” “professional water
  334  damage restorer,” or any combination thereof unless the person
  335  has complied with the provisions of this part.
  336         (d) Remediate for a fee any property in which the
  337  professional water damage restorer or the professional water
  338  damage restorer’s company has any financial or transfer
  339  interest.
  340         (2) Any person who violates any provision of this section
  341  commits:
  342         (a) A misdemeanor of the second degree for a first
  343  violation, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
  344         (b) A misdemeanor of the first degree for a second
  345  violation, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
  346         (c) A felony of the third degree for a third or subsequent
  347  violation, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or
  348  s. 775.084.
  349         (3) This section does not apply to unlicensed activity that
  350  occurs before January 1, 2018.
  351         Section 13. Section 468.942, Florida Statutes, is created
  352  to read:
  353         468.942 Disciplinary proceedings.—
  354         (1) The following acts constitute grounds for which the
  355  disciplinary actions in subsection (2) may be taken:
  356         (a) Violation of any provision of this part or s.
  357  455.227(1).
  358         (b) Attempting to procure a license to practice water
  359  damage restoration by bribery or fraudulent misrepresentations.
  360         (c) Having a license to practice water damage restoration
  361  revoked, suspended, or otherwise acted against, including the
  362  denial of licensure, by the licensing authority of another
  363  state, territory, or country.
  364         (d) Being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea
  365  of nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in
  366  any jurisdiction that directly relates to the practice of water
  367  damage restoration or the ability to practice water damage
  368  restoration.
  369         (e) Making or filing a report or record that the licensee
  370  knows to be false, willfully failing to file a report or record
  371  required by state or federal law, willfully impeding or
  372  obstructing such filing, or inducing another person to impede or
  373  obstruct such filing. Such reports or records may include only
  374  those that are signed in the capacity of a professional water
  375  damage restorer.
  376         (f) Advertising goods or services in a manner that is
  377  fraudulent, false, deceptive, or misleading in form or content.
  378         (g) Engaging in fraud or deceit, or negligence,
  379  incompetency, or misconduct, in the practice of water damage
  380  restoration.
  381         (h) Failing to perform any statutory or legal obligation
  382  placed upon a professional water damage restorer; violating any
  383  provision of this chapter, a rule of the department, or a lawful
  384  order of the department previously entered in a disciplinary
  385  hearing; or failing to comply with a lawfully issued subpoena of
  386  the department.
  387         (i) Practicing on a revoked, suspended, inactive, or
  388  delinquent license.
  389         (j) Failing to meet any standard of practice adopted by
  390  rule of the department.
  391         (2) When the department finds any professional water damage
  392  restorer committed any of the grounds set forth in subsection
  393  (1), it may enter an order imposing one or more of the following
  394  penalties:
  395         (a) Denial of an application for licensure.
  396         (b) Revocation or suspension of a license.
  397         (c) Imposition of an administrative fine not to exceed
  398  $5,000 for each count or separate offense.
  399         (d) Issuance of a reprimand.
  400         (e) Placement of the professional water damage restorer on
  401  probation for a period of time and subject to such conditions as
  402  the department may specify.
  403         (f) Restriction of the professional water damage restorer’s
  404  authorized scope of practice.
  405         (3) In addition to any other sanction imposed under this
  406  part, in any final order that imposes sanctions, the department
  407  may assess costs related to the investigation and prosecution of
  408  the case.
  409         Section 14. Section 468.9421, Florida Statutes, is created
  410  to read:
  411         468.9421 Required insurance.—A professional water damage
  412  restorer shall maintain general liability and errors and
  413  omissions insurance coverage of at least $1 million.
  414         Section 15. Section 468.9422, Florida Statutes, is created
  415  to read:
  416         468.9422 Contracts.—A contract to perform water damage
  417  restoration must be in a document or electronic record, signed
  418  or otherwise authenticated by the parties.
  419         Section 16. Section 468.9423, Florida Statutes, is created
  420  to read:
  421         468.9423 Grandfather clause.—
  422         (1) A person who performs water damage restoration as
  423  defined in this part may qualify for licensure by the department
  424  as a professional water damage restorer if the person submits
  425  his or her application to the department by September 1, 2017,
  426  whether postmarked or delivered by that date, and if the person,
  427  at the time of application, has at least 3 years of experience
  428  as a professional water damage restorer. To establish the 3
  429  years of experience, an applicant must submit at least 40 water
  430  damage restoration invoices prepared by the applicant.
  431         (2) The department may investigate the validity of a water
  432  damage restoration invoice submitted under subsection (1) and,
  433  if the applicant submits a false assessment or invoice, may take
  434  disciplinary action against the applicant under s. 468.942(1)(e)
  435  or (g).
  436         (3) An applicant may not qualify for licensure under this
  437  section if he or she has had a professional water damage
  438  restorer license or a license in any related field revoked at
  439  any time or suspended within the previous 5 years or has been
  440  assessed a fine that exceeds $500 within the previous 5 years.
  441  For purposes of this subsection, a license in a related field
  442  includes, but is not limited to, licensure in real estate,
  443  construction, home inspection, building code administration or
  444  inspection, or indoor air quality.
  445         (4) An applicant for licensure under this section must
  446  comply with the good moral character and insurance requirements
  447  of this part. An applicant may not qualify for licensure under
  448  this section if the department finds that the applicant lacks
  449  good moral character pursuant to s. 468.9413(4) as a result of
  450  the applicant’s criminal history record.
  451         Section 17. Section 468.9424, Florida Statutes, is created
  452  to read:
  453         468.9424 Rulemaking authority.—The department shall adopt
  454  rules to administer this part.
  455         Section 18. Subsection (11) is added to section 627.062,
  456  Florida Statutes, to read:
  457         627.062 Rate standards.—
  458         (11) Attorney fees and costs paid by a property insurer
  459  pursuant to s. 627.428 may not be included in the property
  460  insurer’s rate base and may not be used to justify a rate or
  461  rate change.
  462         Section 19. Section 627.422, Florida Statutes, is amended
  463  to read:
  464         627.422 Assignment of policies or post-loss benefits.—A
  465  policy may be assignable, or not assignable, as provided by its
  466  terms.
  467         (1) LIFE OR HEALTH INSURANCE POLICIES.—Subject to its terms
  468  relating to assignability, any life or health insurance policy
  469  under the terms of which the beneficiary may be changed upon the
  470  sole request of the policyowner may be assigned either by pledge
  471  or transfer of title, by an assignment executed by the
  472  policyowner alone and delivered to the insurer, whether or not
  473  the pledgee or assignee is the insurer. Any such assignment
  474  shall entitle the insurer to deal with the assignee as the owner
  475  or pledgee of the policy in accordance with the terms of the
  476  assignment, until the insurer has received at its home office
  477  written notice of termination of the assignment or pledge or
  478  written notice by or on behalf of some other person claiming
  479  some interest in the policy in conflict with the assignment.
  481  POLICIES.—A personal lines residential property insurance
  482  policy, a commercial residential property insurance policy, or a
  483  commercial property insurance policy may not prohibit the post
  484  loss assignment of benefits. This subsection does not affect the
  485  assignment of benefits in other insurance policies.
  486         (a) An agreement to assign post-loss benefits under this
  487  subsection is not valid unless the agreement:
  488         1. Is in writing between the policyholder and assignee and
  489  is delivered to the insurer as provided in paragraph (c);
  490         2.Is limited to claims for work performed or to be
  491  performed by the assignee for damages claimed to be covered;
  492         3.Allows the policyholder to unilaterally rescind the
  493  assignment of post-loss benefits within 5 days after the
  494  execution of the assignment by an insured; provided, however,
  495  that the policyholder or insurer may be responsible for payment
  496  for work already performed during such period; and
  497         4. Contains an accurate and up-to-date statement of the
  498  scope of work to be performed.
  499         (b) An assignee of post-loss benefits under this
  500  subsection:
  501         1. Must provide the policyholder with accurate and up-to
  502  date revised statements of the scope of work to be performed as
  503  supplemental or additional repairs are required, and must
  504  provide to the policyholder and insurer a final invoice and bill
  505  for service rendered within 7 business days after the date of
  506  submission of the final invoice or bill;
  507         2. Must guarantee to the policyholder that the work
  508  performed conforms to current and accepted industry standards;
  509         3. May not charge the policyholder more than the applicable
  510  deductible contained in the policy unless the policyholder opts
  511  for additional work at the policyholder’s own expense;
  512         4.May not charge the policyholder directly, except for
  513  additional work not covered under the policy, including:
  514         a.Work performed that is rightfully denied as not covered;
  515  and
  516         b.Betterments or additional work not part of the loss.
  517         5. May not pay referral fees totaling more than $750 in
  518  connection with the assignment; and
  519         6. For water damage claims:
  520         a. Must be licensed in good standing under part XVII of
  521  chapter 468 to perform any work requiring such a license.
  522         b. Must verify that any vendor it contracts with to perform
  523  work meets the license requirements of sub-subparagraph a.
  524         (c) An insurer shall provide on its website and in the
  525  policy its contact information for receiving the agreement that
  526  meets the requirements of paragraph (a) and which must include
  527  at least a dedicated facsimile number. After executing the
  528  assignment agreement, the assignee must deliver the agreement to
  529  the insurer within the later of:
  530         1. If a state of emergency was declared under s. 252.36 for
  531  a hurricane or other natural disaster and the property covered
  532  under the policy was damaged as a result of the hurricane or
  533  natural disaster, 7 days after the state of emergency is
  534  terminated; or
  535         2. Seven business days after execution of the agreement.
  536         (d) Notwithstanding s. 627.70131, upon receiving the
  537  agreement in paragraph (a), the insurer must make any initial
  538  inspections of the covered property within the later of:
  539         1. If a state of emergency was declared under s. 252.36 for
  540  a hurricane or other natural disaster and the property covered
  541  under the policy was damaged as a result of the hurricane or
  542  natural disaster, 7 days after the state of emergency is
  543  terminated; or
  544         2. Seven business days after receiving the agreement.
  545         (e) No later than 7 days before an insured or assignee
  546  initiates litigation against an insurer relating to a denied or
  547  limited claim, the insured or assignee must provide the insurer
  548  with notice of intent to initiate such litigation. The notice of
  549  intent must include a copy of the final invoice required under
  550  subparagraph (b)1. This paragraph does not increase the time
  551  periods prescribed in s. 627.70131.
  552         (3) ANNUAL REPORT.—The office shall require each insurer to
  553  report by January 1, 2019, and each year thereafter, data on
  554  each claim paid in the prior calendar year pursuant to an
  555  assignment agreement. Such data must include, but are not
  556  limited to:
  557         (a)The number of days between the first notice of loss and
  558  the initial inspection.
  559         (b) Loss severity.
  560         (c)Allocated loss adjustment expense.
  561         (d)For litigated claims:
  562         1.Any amount paid before litigation, the amount in
  563  dispute, the amount of any proposal for settlement, and the
  564  settlement or judgment amount;
  565         2.The amount of fees paid to the claimant’s attorney; and
  566         3.The amount and structure, whether fixed, hourly, or
  567  contingency, of fees paid to the insurer’s attorney.
  569  All information the insurer reports under this paragraph must
  570  first be reported to the opposing counsel on the litigated claim
  571  for verification or certification. The opposing counsel on the
  572  litigated claim shall report to the office its agreement or
  573  disagreement with the accuracy of the figures reported.
  574         (e) For nonlitigated claims, the difference between the
  575  insurer’s initial offer and the amount paid on the claim.
  576         (f)The time from first notice of loss until the claim was
  577  closed.
  578         (g)For claims involving water damage, whether the adjuster
  579  possessed licensure consistent with the requirements in
  580  subparagraph (2)(b)6.
  581         Section 20. The amendments made by this act to s. 627.422,
  582  Florida Statutes, apply to assignment agreements entered on or
  583  after January 1, 2018.
  584         Section 21. Paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of section
  585  627.7011, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  586         627.7011 Homeowners’ policies; offer of replacement cost
  587  coverage and law and ordinance coverage.—
  588         (3) In the event of a loss for which a dwelling or personal
  589  property is insured on the basis of replacement costs:
  590         (a) For a dwelling:,
  591         1. The insurer must initially pay at least the actual cash
  592  value of the insured loss, less any applicable deductible. The
  593  insurer shall pay any remaining amounts necessary to perform
  594  such repairs as work is performed and expenses are incurred. If
  595  a total loss of a dwelling occurs, the insurer shall pay the
  596  replacement cost coverage without reservation or holdback of any
  597  depreciation in value, pursuant to s. 627.702.
  598         2. The insurer may not require that a particular vendor
  599  make repairs to such dwelling.
  600         3. The insurer may not, unless expressly requested by the
  601  insured, recommend or suggest a particular vendor for repairs to
  602  be made to such dwelling.
  603         Section 22. This act shall take effect January 1, 2018.