2021 Florida Statutes (Including 2021B Session)
Powers and duties of the association.
Powers and duties of the association.
1631.57 Powers and duties of the association.—
(1) The association shall:
(a)1. Be obligated to the extent of the covered claims existing:
a. Prior to adjudication of insolvency and arising within 30 days after the determination of insolvency;
b. Before the policy expiration date if less than 30 days after the determination; or
c. Before the insured replaces the policy or causes its cancellation, if she or he does so within 30 days of the determination.
2. The obligation under subparagraph 1. includes the amount of each covered claim which is less than $300,000, except that policies providing coverage for homeowner’s insurance must provide for an additional $200,000 for the portion of a covered claim which relates only to the damage to the structure and contents.
3.a. Notwithstanding subparagraph 2., the obligation under subparagraph 1. for policies covering condominium associations or homeowners’ associations, which associations have a responsibility to provide insurance coverage on residential units within the association, includes that amount of each covered property insurance claim which is less than $200,000 multiplied by the number of condominium units or other residential units; however, as to homeowners’ associations, this sub-subparagraph applies only to claims for damage or loss to residential units and structures attached to residential units.
b. Notwithstanding sub-subparagraph a., the association has no obligation to pay covered claims that are to be paid from the proceeds of bonds issued under s. 631.695. However, the association shall assign and pledge the first available moneys from all or part of the assessments to be made under paragraph (3)(a) to or on behalf of the issuer of such bonds for the benefit of the holders of such bonds. The association shall administer any such covered claims and present valid covered claims for payment in accordance with the provisions of the assistance program in connection with which such bonds have been issued.
4. The association may not be obligated to a policyholder or claimant in an amount in excess of the obligation of the insolvent insurer under the policy from which the claim arises.
(b) Be deemed the insurer to the extent of its obligation on the covered claims, and, to such extent, shall have all rights, duties, defenses, and obligations of the insolvent insurer as if the insurer had not become insolvent. In no event shall the association be liable for any penalties or interest.
(2) The association may:
(a) Employ or retain such persons as are necessary to handle claims and perform other duties of the association;
(b) Borrow funds necessary to effect the purposes of this part in accord with the plan of operation;
(c) Sue or be sued, provided that service of process shall be made upon the person registered with the department as agent for the receipt of service of process; and
(d) Negotiate and become a party to such contracts as are necessary to carry out the purpose of this part. Additionally, the association may enter into such contracts with a municipality, a county, or a legal entity created pursuant to s. 163.01(7)(g) as are necessary in order for the municipality, county, or legal entity to issue bonds under s. 631.695. In connection with the issuance of any such bonds and the entering into of any such necessary contracts, the association may agree to such terms and conditions as the association deems necessary and proper.
(3)(a) To the extent necessary to secure funds for the respective accounts for the payment of covered claims, to pay the reasonable costs to administer such accounts, and to secure funds for the account specified in s. 631.55(2)(b) or to retire indebtedness, including, without limitation, the principal, redemption premium, if any, and interest on, and related costs of issuance of, bonds issued under s. 631.695 and the funding of reserves and other payments required under the bond resolution or trust indenture pursuant to which such bonds have been issued, the office, upon certification of the board of directors, shall levy assessments in accordance with subparagraph (f)1. or subparagraph (f)2. Assessments shall be remitted to and administered by the board of directors in the manner specified by the approved plan and paragraph (f). Every assessment shall be a uniform percentage. The assessments levied against any insurer may not exceed in any one calendar year more than 2 percent of that insurer’s direct written premiums in this state for the kinds of insurance included within such account.
(b) If sufficient funds from such assessments, together with funds previously raised, are not available in any one year in the respective account to make all the payments or reimbursements then owing to insurers, the funds available shall be prorated and the unpaid portion paid as soon as funds become available.
(c) The Legislature finds and declares that all assessments paid by an insurer or insurer group as a result of a levy by the office, including assessments levied pursuant to paragraph (a) and emergency assessments levied pursuant to paragraph (e), constitute advances of funds from the insurer to the association. An insurer may fully recoup such advances by applying the uniform assessment percentage levied by the office to all policies of the same kind or line as were considered by the office in determining the assessment liability of the insurer or insurer group as set forth in paragraph (f).
1. Assessments levied under subparagraph (f)1. are paid before policy surcharges are collected and result in a receivable for policy surcharges collected in the future. This amount, to the extent it is likely that it will be realized, meets the definition of an admissible asset as specified in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Statement of Statutory Accounting Principles No. 4. The asset shall be established and recorded separately from the liability regardless of whether it is based on a retrospective or prospective premium-based assessment. If an insurer is unable to fully recoup the amount of the assessment because of a reduction in writings or withdrawal from the market, the amount recorded as an asset shall be reduced to the amount reasonably expected to be recouped.
2. Assessments levied under subparagraph (f)2. are paid after policy surcharges are collected so that the recognition of assets is based on actual premium written offset by the obligation to the association.
(d) State funds may not be allocated or paid to the association or any of its accounts.
(e)1. In addition to assessments authorized in paragraph (a), and to the extent necessary to secure the funds for the account specified in s. 631.55(2)(b) for the direct payment of covered claims of insurers rendered insolvent by the effects of a hurricane and to pay the reasonable costs to administer such claims, or to retire indebtedness, including, without limitation, the principal, redemption premium, if any, and interest on, and related costs of issuance of, bonds issued under s. 631.695 and the funding of any reserves and other payments required under the bond resolution or trust indenture pursuant to which such bonds have been issued, the office, upon certification of the board of directors, shall levy emergency assessments upon insurers holding a certificate of authority. The emergency assessments levied against any insurer may not exceed in any one calendar year more than 4 percent of that insurer’s written premiums in this state for the kinds of insurance within the account specified in s. 631.55(2)(b).
2. Emergency assessments authorized under this paragraph shall be levied by the office upon insurers in accordance with paragraph (f), upon certification as to the need for such assessments by the board of directors. If the board participates in the issuance of bonds in accordance with s. 631.695, emergency assessments shall be levied in each year that bonds issued under s. 631.695 and secured by such emergency assessments are outstanding in amounts up to such 4 percent limit as required in order to provide for the full and timely payment of the principal of, redemption premium, if any, and interest on, and related costs of issuance of, such bonds. The emergency assessments are assigned and pledged to the municipality, county, or legal entity issuing bonds under s. 631.695 for the benefit of the holders of such bonds in order to provide for the payment of the principal of, redemption premium, if any, and interest on such bonds, the cost of issuance of such bonds, and the funding of any reserves and other payments required under the bond resolution or trust indenture pursuant to which such bonds have been issued, without further action by the association, the office, or any other party. If bonds are issued under s. 631.695 and the association determines to secure such bonds by a pledge of revenues received from the emergency assessments, such bonds, upon such pledge of revenues, shall be secured by and payable from the proceeds of such emergency assessments, and the proceeds of emergency assessments levied under this paragraph shall be remitted directly to and administered by the trustee or custodian appointed for such bonds.
3. Emergency assessments used to defease bonds issued under this part may be payable in a single payment or, at the option of the association, may be payable in quarterly installments, with the first installment being due and payable at the end of the month after an emergency assessment is levied and subsequent installments being due by the end of each succeeding month.
4. If emergency assessments are imposed, the report required by s. 631.695(7) must include an analysis of the revenues generated from the emergency assessments imposed under this paragraph.
5. If emergency assessments are imposed, the references in sub-subparagraph (1)(a)3.b. and s. 631.695(2) and (7) to assessments levied under paragraph (a) must include emergency assessments imposed under this paragraph.
6. If the board of directors participates in the issuance of bonds in accordance with s. 631.695, an annual assessment under this paragraph shall continue while the bonds issued with respect to which the assessment was imposed are outstanding, including any bonds the proceeds of which were used to refund bonds issued pursuant to s. 631.695, unless adequate provision has been made for the payment of the bonds in the documents authorizing the issuance of such bonds.
(f)1. The association, office, and insurers remitting assessments pursuant to paragraph (a) or paragraph (e) must comply with the following:
a. In the order levying an assessment, the office shall specify the actual percentage amount to be collected uniformly from all the policyholders of insurers subject to the assessment and the date on which the assessment year begins, which may not begin before 90 days after the association board certifies such an assessment.
b. Insurers shall make an initial payment to the association before the beginning of the assessment year on or before the date specified in the order of the office. Each insurer shall have at least 30 days’ written notice as to the date on which the initial assessment payment is due and payable.
c. Insurers that have written insurance in the calendar year before the year in which the assessment is certified by the board shall make an initial payment based on the direct written premium in this state for the classes protected by the account from the previous calendar year as set forth in the insurer’s annual statement, multiplied by the uniform percentage of premium specified in the order issued by the office. Insurers that have not written insurance in the previous calendar year in any of the lines under the account which are being assessed, but which are writing insurance as of, or after, the date the board certifies the assessment to the office, shall pay an amount based on a good faith estimate of the amount of direct written premium anticipated to be written in the subject lines of business for the assessment year, multiplied by the uniform percentage of premium specified in the order issued by the office.
d. Insurers shall file a reconciliation report with the association which indicates the amount of the initial payment to the association before the assessment year, whether such amount was based on direct written premium contained in a previous calendar year annual statement or a good faith projection, the amount actually collected during the assessment year, and such other information contained on a form adopted by the association and provided to the insurers in advance. If the insurer collected from policyholders more than the amount initially paid, the insurer shall pay the excess amount to the association. If the insurer collected from policyholders an amount which is less than the amount initially paid to the association, the association shall credit the insurer that amount against future assessments. Such payment reconciliation report, and any payment of excess amounts collected from policyholders, shall be completed and remitted to the association within 90 days after the end of the assessment year. The association shall send a final reconciliation report on all insurers to the office within 120 days after each assessment year.
e. Insurers remitting reconciliation reports under this paragraph to the association are subject to s. 626.9541(1)(e).
2. For assessments required under paragraph (a) or paragraph (e), the association may use a quarterly installment method instead of the method described in sub-subparagraphs 1.b. and c. or in combination thereof based on the association’s projected cash flow. If the association projects that it has cash on hand for the payment of anticipated claims in the applicable account for at least 6 months, the board may make an estimate of the assessment needed and may recommend to the office the assessment percentage that may be collected as a quarterly assessment. The office may, in the order levying the assessment on insurers, specify that the assessment is due and payable quarterly as the funds are collected from insureds throughout the assessment year, in which case the assessment shall be a uniform percentage of premium collected during the assessment year and shall be collected from all policyholders with policies in the classes protected by the account. All insurers shall collect the assessment without regard to whether the insurers reported premium in the year preceding the assessment. Insurers are not required to advance funds if the association and the office elect to use the quarterly installment option. All funds collected shall be retained by the association for the payment of current or future claims. This subparagraph does not alter the obligation of an insurer to remit assessments levied pursuant to this subsection to the association.
(g) Insurers shall treat the failure of an insured to pay a recoupment charge as a failure to pay the premium.
(h) Assessments levied under this subsection are levied upon insurers. This subsection does not create a cause of action by a policyholder with respect to the levying of, or a policyholder’s duty to pay, such assessments.
(i) Assessments levied under this subsection are not premium and are not subject to the premium tax, to any fees, or to any commissions. An insurer is liable for any emergency assessments that the insurer collects and shall treat the failure of an insured to pay an emergency assessment as a failure to pay the premium. An insurer is not liable for uncollectible emergency assessments.
(4) The office may exempt or temporarily defer any insurer from any regular or emergency assessment if the office finds that the insurer is impaired or insolvent or if an assessment would result in such insurer’s financial statement reflecting an amount of capital or surplus less than the sum of the minimum amount required by any jurisdiction in which the insurer is authorized to transact insurance.
(5) Any necessary and proper expenses incurred by an insurer in the investigation, adjustment, compromise, settlement, denial, or handling of claims assigned to it shall, upon proper verification under the rules of the association, entitle the insurer to reimbursement. Any insurer whose employee serves on the staff of the association may set off from its assessment any necessary and proper expenses incurred by the insurer resulting from said service of its employee. An insurer which ceases to engage in the business of writing property or casualty insurance policies in this state shall have no right to a refund of any assessment previously remitted.
(6) The association may extend the time limits specified in paragraph (1)(a) by up to an additional 60 days if the board determines it is necessary to facilitate the bulk assumption of obligations.
History.—s. 8, ch. 70-20; s. 1, ch. 70-439; s. 3, ch. 77-227; s. 118, ch. 79-40; s. 809(1st), ch. 82-243; s. 9, ch. 85-339; s. 5, ch. 87-350; ss. 187, 188, ch. 91-108; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 5, ch. 92-345; s. 6, ch. 93-401; s. 411, ch. 97-102; s. 19, ch. 97-262; s. 47, ch. 99-3; s. 16, ch. 2002-25; s. 1355, ch. 2003-261; s. 128, ch. 2004-5; s. 34, ch. 2006-12; s. 35, ch. 2007-1; s. 22, ch. 2007-90; s. 4, ch. 2010-49; s. 2, ch. 2015-65; s. 3, ch. 2020-54; s. 1, ch. 2020-155; s. 20, ch. 2021-104.
1Note.—Section 36, ch. 2006-12, provides that “[n]o provision of s. 631.57 or s. 631.695, Florida Statutes, shall be repealed until such time as the principal, redemption premium, if any, and interest on all bonds issued under s. 631.695, Florida Statutes, payable and secured from assessments levied under s. 631.57(3)(a), Florida Statutes, have been paid in full or adequate provision for such payment has been made in accordance with the bond resolution or trust indenture pursuant to which the bonds were issued.”