(1) As used in this section, the term: (a) “Policy” means the bodily injury and property damage liability, personal injury protection, medical payments, comprehensive, collision, and uninsured motorist coverage portions of a policy of motor vehicle insurance delivered or issued for delivery in this state:
1. Insuring a natural person as named insured or one or more related individuals resident of the same household; and
2. Insuring only a motor vehicle of the private passenger type or station wagon type which is not used as a public or livery conveyance for passengers or rented to others; or insuring any other four-wheel motor vehicle having a load capacity of 1,500 pounds or less which is not used in the occupation, profession, or business of the insured other than farming; other than any policy issued under an automobile insurance assigned risk plan; insuring more than four automobiles; or covering garage, automobile sales agency, repair shop, service station, or public parking place operation hazards.
The term “policy” does not include a binder as defined in s. 627.420 unless the duration of the binder period exceeds 60 days.
(b) “Renewal” or “to renew” means the issuance and delivery by an insurer of a policy superseding at the end of the policy period a policy previously issued and delivered by the same insurer, or the issuance and delivery of a certificate or notice extending the term of a policy beyond its policy period or term. Any policy with a policy period or term of less than 6 months or any policy with no fixed expiration date shall for the purpose of this section be considered as if written for successive policy periods or terms of 6 months.
(c) “Nonpayment of premium” means failure of the named insured to discharge when due any of her or his obligations in connection with the payment of premiums on a policy or any installment of such premium, whether the premium is payable directly to the insurer or its agent or indirectly under any premium finance plan or extension of credit, or failure to maintain membership in an organization if such membership is a condition precedent to insurance coverage. “Nonpayment of premium” also means the failure of a financial institution to honor an insurance applicant’s check after delivery to a licensed agent for payment of a premium, even if the agent has previously delivered or transferred the premium to the insurer; further, if the dishonored check represents the initial premium payment, the contract shall be void ab initio unless the nonpayment is cured within the earlier of 5 days after actual notice by certified mail is received by the applicant or 15 days after notice is sent to the applicant by certified mail or registered mail, and if the contract is void, any premium received by the insurer from a third party shall be refunded to that party in full. If a dishonored check is made payable to the insurer, the insurer may cancel the policy in accordance with paragraph (3)(a).
(2) No notice of cancellation of a policy shall be effective unless it is based on one or more of the following grounds:
(a) Nonpayment of premium.
(b) Material misrepresentation or fraud.
(c) The driver’s license or motor vehicle registration of the named insured or of any other operator who either resides in the same household or customarily operates an automobile insured under the policy has been under suspension or revocation during the policy period or the 180 days immediately preceding its effective date or, if the policy is a renewal, during its policy period. This subsection shall not apply to any policy which has been in effect less than 60 days at the time notice of cancellation is mailed or delivered by the insurer unless it is a renewal policy. Nothing in this subsection shall apply to nonrenewal.
(3)(a) No notice of cancellation of a policy to which this section applies shall be effective unless mailed or delivered by the insurer to the first-named insured and to the first-named insured’s insurance agent at least 45 days prior to the effective date of cancellation, except that, when cancellation is for nonpayment of premium, at least 10 days’ notice of cancellation accompanied by the reason therefor shall be given. No notice of cancellation of a policy to which this section applies shall be effective unless the reason or reasons for cancellation accompany the notice of cancellation.
(b) Nothing in this subsection shall apply to nonrenewal.
(c) Nothing in this subsection shall apply in cases in which the premium has been financed and the premium finance company has complied with the notice provisions of s. 627.848. (4)(a) No insurer shall fail to renew a policy unless it mails or delivers to the first-named insured, at the address shown in the policy, and to the first-named insured’s insurance agent at her or his business address, at least 45 days’ advance notice of its intention not to renew; and the reasons for refusal to renew must accompany such notice. This subsection does not apply:
1. If the insurer has manifested its willingness to renew; or
2. In case of nonpayment of premium.
Notwithstanding the failure of an insurer to comply with this subsection, the policy shall terminate on the effective date of any other automobile liability insurance policy procured by the insured with respect to any automobile designated in both policies. Unless a written explanation for refusal to renew accompanies the notice of intention not to renew, the policy shall remain in full force and effect.
(b) Renewal of a policy shall not constitute a waiver or estoppel with respect to grounds for cancellation which existed before the effective date of such renewal.
(c) No insurer shall fail to renew a policy for reasons based entirely on the sex, occupation, marital status, residence, military service, or age of the insured, or on the principal place of garaging the insured vehicle in this state, or based on any combination of such factors. No insurer shall fail to renew a policy for reasons based on the race, color, creed, or national origin of the insured or for any reason which is arbitrary or capricious.
(d) Instead of canceling or nonrenewing a policy, an insurer may, upon expiration of the policy term, transfer a policy to another insurer under the same ownership or management as the transferring insurer, by giving the first-named insured at least 45 days’ advance notice of its intent to transfer the policy and of the premium and the specific reasons for any increase in the premium.
(5) United States postal proof of mailing or certified or registered mailing of notice of cancellation, of intention not to renew, or of reasons for cancellation, or of the intention of the insurer to issue a policy by an insurer under the same ownership or management, to the first-named insured at the address shown in the policy shall be sufficient proof of notice.
(6) When a policy is canceled, other than for nonpayment of premium, or in the event of failure to renew a policy to which subsection (4) applies, the insurer shall notify the first-named insured of her or his possible eligibility for insurance through the Automobile Joint Underwriting Association. Such notice shall accompany or be included in the notice of cancellation or the notice of intent not to renew and shall state that such notice of availability of the Automobile Joint Underwriting Association is given pursuant to this section.
(7) Except in the case of cancellation for nonpayment of premium or nonrenewal of the policy, the notice of cancellation as provided by this section must contain the following words which are to be prominently displayed: “You are permitted by law to appeal this cancellation. An appeal must be filed no later than 20 days before the effective date of cancellation set forth in this notice. Forms for such appeal and the regulations pertaining thereto may be obtained from the office. The office does not have the authority to extend the effective date of cancellation; therefore you should obtain replacement coverage prior to the effective date of cancellation.”
(8)(a) Within 2 working days after receipt of a timely appeal of the notice of cancellation, the office shall initiate a proceeding. If informal procedures fail to resolve the appeal, the office shall, upon request of the insured, call a hearing upon 10 days’ notice to the parties to be held by a disinterested employee of the office. Proceedings pursuant to this subsection are not subject to the provisions of chapter 120.
(b) Each insurer subject to this section shall maintain on file with the office the name and address of the person authorized to receive notices pursuant to this section on behalf of the insurer.
(c) The office shall, at the conclusion of the proceeding or hearing or not later than 2 working days thereafter, issue its written findings to the parties; and, if it finds for the named insured, it shall either order the insurer to rescind its notice of cancellation or, if the date cancellation is to be effective has elapsed, order the policy reinstated from the date of cancellation, and such coverage shall be continuous to, and shall operate prospectively from, the date of cancellation. However, no policy shall be reinstated while the named insured is in arrears in payment of premium on such policy. If the office finds for the insurer, its written findings shall so state.
(d) Reinstatement of a policy under this subsection shall not operate in any way to extend the expiration, termination, or anniversary date provided in the policy. Upon such reinstatement, costs and attorney’s fees may be assessed by the office and paid to the named insured by an insurer who has wrongfully canceled a policy, as determined by the proceeding or hearing provided for in paragraph (c).
(9) The office shall deposit all fees provided for in this section into the Insurance Regulatory Trust Fund.
(10) No cause of action in the nature of defamation, invasion of privacy, or negligence shall arise against any person for disclosing personal or privileged information in accordance with this section, nor shall such a cause of action arise against any person for furnishing personal or privileged information to an insurance institution, agent, or insurance-support organization; however, this section shall provide no immunity for disclosing or furnishing false information through gross negligence or with malice or willful intent to injure any person.
(11) There shall be no liability on the part of, and no cause of any action of any nature shall arise against, any insurer or its authorized representatives, agents, or employees of any firm, person, or corporation furnishing to the insurer or insured information as to reasons for cancellation or refusal to renew, for any statement made by any of them in any written notice of cancellation or refusal to renew, for the providing of information pertaining thereto, or for statements made or evidence submitted at any hearing conducted in connection therewith; provided that this subsection shall provide no immunity for disclosing or furnishing false information through gross negligence or with malice or willful intent to injure any person.
(12) No later than 10 business days after termination of a policy subject to this section, the insurer must send written or electronic notice of the termination to all holders of liens on the subject vehicle which lienholders are known to the insurer. Electronic notice is valid only by prior agreement between the insurer and the lienholder.