Florida Senate - 2016                                    SB 1248
       By Senator Diaz de la Portilla
       40-01321-16                                           20161248__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to prohibited insurance practices;
    3         amending s. 626.854, F.S.; providing responsibilities
    4         and prohibiting activities of licensed contractors and
    5         subcontractors under certain conditions; creating s.
    6         626.8699, F.S.; prohibiting certain persons and
    7         entities from giving a referral fee, commission,
    8         bonus, kickback, or rebate, or engaging in any split
    9         fee arrangement, in connection with certain repair,
   10         mitigation, or restoration services; providing duties
   11         of the Department of Financial Services; providing
   12         civil penalties; providing an effective date.
   14  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   16         Section 1. Subsection (16) of section 626.854, Florida
   17  Statutes, is amended to read:
   18         626.854 “Public adjuster” defined; prohibitions.—The
   19  Legislature finds that it is necessary for the protection of the
   20  public to regulate public insurance adjusters and to prevent the
   21  unauthorized practice of law.
   22         (16) Any A licensed contractor licensed under part I of
   23  chapter 489, or a subcontractor to the contractor, or entity or
   24  person that performs emergency remediation or restoration
   25  services for an insured under an insurance policy in this state:
   26         (a) May not adjust a claim on behalf of an insured unless
   27  licensed and compliant as a public adjuster under this chapter.
   28  However, the contractor or subcontractor may discuss or explain
   29  a bid for construction or repair of covered property with the
   30  residential property owner who has suffered loss or damage
   31  covered by a property insurance policy, or the insurer of such
   32  property, if the contractor or subcontractor is doing so for the
   33  usual and customary fees applicable to the work to be performed
   34  as stated in the contract between the contractor or
   35  subcontractor and the insured.
   36         (b) May not interpret or advise the insured as to his or
   37  her coverages or obligations under an insurance policy, unless
   38  he or she is licensed and compliant as a public adjuster under
   39  this chapter.
   40         (c) Must provide the insured a detailed estimate of the
   41  services to be provided before the execution of any agreement to
   42  provide services.
   43         (d) Must provide the insured a 5-day right of rescission
   44  period in the agreement with the insured. The period shall not
   45  begin until the insurer has received a copy of the fully
   46  executed agreement. The agreement must be sent by certified
   47  mail, e-mail, or facsimile to the claim handler, if known, or,
   48  if the claim handler is not known, to the specific office
   49  handling the claim as indicated in the policy or as requested by
   50  the insurance company. If the insured rescinds the agreement
   51  during the 5-day period, the agreement is rescinded ab initio,
   52  and the contractor, subcontractor, entity, or person is entitled
   53  to reasonable compensation for any necessary emergency
   54  mitigation services performed before the agreement was
   55  rescinded.
   56         Section 2. Section 626.8699, Florida Statutes, is created
   57  to read:
   58         626.8699 Prohibited practices related to repair,
   59  mitigation, and restoration services; penalties.—
   60         (1) A person or entity may not give a referral fee,
   61  commission, bonus, kickback, or rebate, or engage in any split
   62  fee arrangement, with any person or entity for any repair,
   63  mitigation, or restoration service if the repair, mitigation, or
   64  restoration service is for an amount greater than $25 and is
   65  covered under an insurance policy in this state.
   66         (2) A penalty for a violation of subsection (1) shall be
   67  administered by the department and may include:
   68         (a) A fine no greater than $10,000 per violation.
   69         (b) A recommendation by the department to the appropriate
   70  licensing board that disciplinary action be taken.
   71         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2016.