Florida Senate - 2012                          SENATOR AMENDMENT
       Bill No. CS for CS for SB 704
                                Barcode 810350                          
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                 Floor: WD/2R          .                                
             03/01/2012 12:01 PM       .                                

       Senator Bennett moved the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Between lines 1177 and 1178
    4  insert:
    5         Section 14. Section 627.711, Florida Statutes, is amended
    6  to read:
    7         627.711 Notice of premium discounts for hurricane loss
    8  mitigation; uniform mitigation verification inspection form.—
    9         (1) Using a form prescribed by the Office of Insurance
   10  Regulation, the insurer shall clearly notify the applicant or
   11  policyholder of any personal lines residential property
   12  insurance policy, at the time of the issuance of the policy and
   13  at each renewal, of the availability and the range of each
   14  premium discount, credit, other rate differential, or reduction
   15  in deductibles, and combinations of discounts, credits, rate
   16  differentials, or reductions in deductibles, for properties on
   17  which fixtures or construction techniques demonstrated to reduce
   18  the amount of loss in a windstorm can be or have been installed
   19  or implemented. The prescribed form shall describe generally
   20  what actions the policyholders may be able to take to reduce
   21  their windstorm premium. The prescribed form and a list of such
   22  ranges approved by the office for each insurer licensed in the
   23  state and providing such discounts, credits, other rate
   24  differentials, or reductions in deductibles for properties
   25  described in this subsection shall be available for electronic
   26  viewing and download from the Department of Financial Services’
   27  or the Office of Insurance Regulation’s Internet website. The
   28  Financial Services Commission may adopt rules to implement this
   29  subsection.
   30         (2)(a) The Financial Services Commission shall develop by
   31  rule a uniform mitigation verification inspection form that
   32  shall be used by all insurers when submitted by policyholders
   33  for the purpose of factoring discounts for wind insurance. In
   34  developing the form, the commission shall seek input from
   35  insurance, construction, home inspection, and building code
   36  representatives. Further, the commission shall provide guidance
   37  as to the length of time the inspection results are valid.
   38         (a) An insurer shall accept as valid a uniform mitigation
   39  verification form signed by the following authorized mitigation
   40  inspectors:
   41         1. A home inspector licensed under s. 468.8314 who has
   42  completed at least 3 hours of hurricane mitigation training
   43  approved by the Construction Industry Licensing Board which
   44  includes hurricane mitigation techniques and compliance with the
   45  uniform mitigation verification form and completion of a
   46  proficiency exam;
   47         2. A building code inspector certified under s. 468.607;
   48         3. A general, building, or residential contractor licensed
   49  under s. 489.111;
   50         4. A professional engineer licensed under s. 471.015;
   51         5. A professional architect licensed under s. 481.213; or
   52         6. Any other individual or entity recognized by the insurer
   53  as possessing the necessary qualifications to properly complete
   54  a uniform mitigation verification form.
   55         (b) An insurer may, but is not required to, accept a form
   56  from any other person possessing qualifications and experience
   57  acceptable to the insurer.
   58         (3) A person who is authorized to sign a mitigation
   59  verification form must inspect the structures referenced by the
   60  form personally, not through employees or other persons, and
   61  must certify or attest to personal inspection of the structures
   62  referenced by the form. However, licensees under s. 468.8314, s.
   63  468.607, s. 471.015, or s. 489.111, or s. 481.213 may authorize
   64  a direct employee, who is not an independent contractor, and who
   65  possesses the requisite skill, knowledge, and experience, to
   66  conduct a mitigation verification inspection. Insurers shall
   67  have the right to request and obtain information from the
   68  authorized mitigation inspector under s. 468.8314, s. 468.607,
   69  s. 471.015, or s. 489.111, or s. 481.213, regarding any
   70  authorized employee’s qualifications before prior to accepting a
   71  mitigation verification form performed by an employee who that
   72  is not licensed under s. 468.8314, s. 468.607, s. 471.015, or s.
   73  489.111, or s. 481.213.
   74         (4) An authorized mitigation inspector that signs a uniform
   75  mitigation form, and a direct employee authorized to conduct
   76  mitigation verification inspections under paragraph (3), may not
   77  commit misconduct in performing hurricane mitigation inspections
   78  or in completing a uniform mitigation form that causes financial
   79  harm to a customer or their insurer; or that jeopardizes a
   80  customer’s health and safety. Misconduct occurs if when an
   81  authorized mitigation inspector signs a uniform mitigation
   82  verification form that:
   83         (a) Falsely indicates that he or she personally inspected
   84  the structures referenced by the form;
   85         (b) Falsely indicates the existence of a feature that which
   86  entitles an insured to a mitigation discount that which the
   87  inspector knows does not exist or did not personally inspect;
   88         (c) Contains erroneous information due to the gross
   89  negligence of the inspector; or
   90         (d) Contains a pattern of demonstrably false information
   91  regarding the existence of mitigation features that could give
   92  an insured a false evaluation of the ability of the structure to
   93  withstand major damage from a hurricane endangering the safety
   94  of the insured’s life and property.
   95         (5) The licensing board of an authorized mitigation
   96  inspector that violates subsection (4) may commence disciplinary
   97  proceedings and impose administrative fines and other sanctions
   98  authorized under the authorized mitigation inspector’s licensing
   99  act. Authorized mitigation inspectors licensed under s.
  100  468.8314, s. 468.607, s. 471.015, or s. 489.111, or s. 481.213
  101  are shall be directly liable for the acts of employees who that
  102  violate subsection (4) as if the authorized mitigation inspector
  103  personally performed the inspection.
  104         (6) An insurer, person, or other entity that obtains
  105  evidence of fraud or evidence that an authorized mitigation
  106  inspector or an employee authorized to conduct mitigation
  107  verification inspections under paragraph (3) has made false
  108  statements in the completion of a mitigation inspection form
  109  shall file a report with the Division of Insurance Fraud, along
  110  with all of the evidence in its possession which that supports
  111  the allegation of fraud or falsity. An insurer, person, or other
  112  entity making the report is shall be immune from liability, in
  113  accordance with s. 626.989(4), for any statements made in the
  114  report, during the investigation, or in connection with the
  115  report. The Division of Insurance Fraud shall issue an
  116  investigative report if it finds that probable cause exists to
  117  believe that the authorized mitigation inspector, or an employee
  118  authorized to conduct mitigation verification inspections under
  119  paragraph (3), made intentionally false or fraudulent statements
  120  in the inspection form. Upon conclusion of the investigation and
  121  a finding of probable cause that a violation has occurred, the
  122  Division of Insurance Fraud shall send a copy of the
  123  investigative report to the office and a copy to the agency
  124  responsible for the professional licensure of the authorized
  125  mitigation inspector, whether or not a prosecutor takes action
  126  based upon the report.
  127         (7) An individual or entity who knowingly provides or
  128  utters a false or fraudulent mitigation verification form with
  129  the intent to obtain or receive a discount on an insurance
  130  premium to which the individual or entity is not entitled
  131  commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as
  132  provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
  133         (8) At its expense, the insurer may require that a uniform
  134  mitigation verification form provided by a policyholder, a
  135  policyholder’s agent, or an authorized mitigation inspector or
  136  inspection company be independently verified by an inspector, an
  137  inspection company, or an independent third-party quality
  138  assurance provider that which possesses a quality assurance
  139  program before accepting the uniform mitigation verification
  140  form as valid.
  142  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  143         And the title is amended as follows:
  144         Delete line 72
  145  and insert:
  146         meeting the 2007 building code; amending s. 627.711,
  147         F.S.; authorizing home inspectors, architects, and
  148         building code inspectors to allow direct employees to
  149         conduct home inspections; including home inspector
  150         representatives among those providing input to the
  151         Financial Services Commission regarding factoring
  152         discounts for wind insurance; amending s. 633.0215,