Florida Senate - 2017                       CS for CS for SB 454
       By the Committees on Appropriations; and Banking and Insurance;
       and Senator Brandes
       576-03479-17                                           2017454c2
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the regulation of insurance
    3         companies; amending s. 177.041, F.S.; providing that a
    4         specified property information report, rather than a
    5         specified certification by an abstractor or a title
    6         company, may be submitted as part of certain
    7         information required in relation to the plat or replat
    8         of a subdivision; amending ss. 177.091 and 197.502,
    9         F.S.; conforming provisions to changes made by the
   10         act; amending s. 215.555, F.S.; deleting a future
   11         repeal of an exemption of medical malpractice
   12         insurance premiums from certain emergency assessments
   13         by the State Board of Administration relating to the
   14         Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund; amending s.
   15         624.407, F.S.; specifying the minimum surplus as to
   16         policyholders for insurers that only transact in
   17         specified forms of residential property insurance;
   18         amending s. 624.424, F.S.; revising a requirement for
   19         audit committees established by the boards of
   20         directors of insurers, relating to relationships that
   21         would interfere with the exercise of independent
   22         judgment of committee members; amending s. 625.012,
   23         F.S.; revising the allowable assets of insurers
   24         relating to specified levied assessments; amending s.
   25         627.062, F.S.; revising requirements for certain rate
   26         filings by medical malpractice insurers; amending s.
   27         627.0645, F.S.; adding certain medical malpractice
   28         insurance to casualty insurance excluded from an
   29         annual base rate filing requirement for rating
   30         organizations; amending s. 627.4035, F.S.; revising
   31         the methods of paying premiums for insurance
   32         contracts; authorizing an insurer to impose a
   33         specified insufficient funds fee if certain premium
   34         payment methods are returned, are declined, or cannot
   35         be processed; providing an exception; amending s.
   36         627.421, F.S.; providing that an electronically
   37         delivered document in an insurance policy meets
   38         formatting requirements for printed documents under
   39         certain conditions; amending s. 627.7295, F.S.;
   40         conforming provisions to changes made by the act;
   41         amending s. 627.7843, F.S.; replacing provisions
   42         relating to ownership and encumbrance reports with
   43         provisions relating to property information reports;
   44         defining the term “property information report”;
   45         prohibiting property information reports from setting
   46         forth or implying certain assurances; providing
   47         construction; specifying a limitation on the
   48         contractual liability of issuers of property
   49         information reports; requiring a specified disclosure
   50         in property information reports; providing
   51         applicability; providing an effective date.
   53  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   55         Section 1. Subsection (2) of section 177.041, Florida
   56  Statutes, is amended to read:
   57         177.041 Boundary survey and title certification required.
   58  Every plat or replat of a subdivision submitted to the approving
   59  agency of the local governing body must be accompanied by:
   60         (2) A title opinion of an attorney at law licensed in
   61  Florida or a property information report certification by an
   62  abstractor or a title company showing that record title to the
   63  land as described and shown on the plat is in the name of the
   64  person, persons, corporation, or entity executing the
   65  dedication. The title opinion or property information report
   66  must certification shall also show all mortgages not satisfied
   67  or released of record nor otherwise terminated by law.
   68         Section 2. Subsection (16) of section 177.091, Florida
   69  Statutes, is amended to read:
   70         177.091 Plats made for recording.—Every plat of a
   71  subdivision offered for recording shall conform to the
   72  following:
   73         (16) Location and width of proposed easements and existing
   74  easements identified in the title opinion or property
   75  information report certification required by s. 177.041(2) must
   76  shall be shown on the plat or in the notes or legend, and their
   77  intended use shall be clearly stated. Where easements are not
   78  coincident with property lines, they must be labeled with
   79  bearings and distances and tied to the principal lot, tract, or
   80  right-of-way.
   81         Section 3. Paragraph (a) of subsection (5) of section
   82  197.502, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   83         197.502 Application for obtaining tax deed by holder of tax
   84  sale certificate; fees.—
   85         (5)(a) The tax collector may contract with a title company
   86  or an abstract company to provide the minimum information
   87  required in subsection (4), consistent with rules adopted by the
   88  department. If additional information is required, the tax
   89  collector must make a written request to the title or abstract
   90  company stating the additional requirements. The tax collector
   91  may select any title or abstract company, regardless of its
   92  location, as long as the fee is reasonable, the minimum
   93  information is submitted, and the title or abstract company is
   94  authorized to do business in this state. The tax collector may
   95  advertise and accept bids for the title or abstract company if
   96  he or she considers it appropriate to do so.
   97         1. The property information ownership and encumbrance
   98  report must include the letterhead of the person, firm, or
   99  company that makes the search, and the signature of the
  100  individual who makes the search or of an officer of the firm.
  101  The tax collector is not liable for payment to the firm unless
  102  these requirements are met. The report may be submitted to the
  103  tax collector in an electronic format.
  104         2. The tax collector may not accept or pay for any title
  105  search or abstract if financial responsibility is not assumed
  106  for the search. However, reasonable restrictions as to the
  107  liability or responsibility of the title or abstract company are
  108  acceptable. Notwithstanding s. 627.7843(3), the tax collector
  109  may contract for higher maximum liability limits.
  110         3. In order to establish uniform prices for property
  111  information ownership and encumbrance reports within the county,
  112  the tax collector must ensure that the contract for property
  113  information ownership and encumbrance reports include all
  114  requests for title searches or abstracts for a given period of
  115  time.
  116         Section 4. Paragraph (b) of subsection (6) of section
  117  215.555, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  118         215.555 Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.—
  119         (6) REVENUE BONDS.—
  120         (b) Emergency assessments.—
  121         1. If the board determines that the amount of revenue
  122  produced under subsection (5) is insufficient to fund the
  123  obligations, costs, and expenses of the fund and the
  124  corporation, including repayment of revenue bonds and that
  125  portion of the debt service coverage not met by reimbursement
  126  premiums, the board shall direct the Office of Insurance
  127  Regulation to levy, by order, an emergency assessment on direct
  128  premiums for all property and casualty lines of business in this
  129  state, including property and casualty business of surplus lines
  130  insurers regulated under part VIII of chapter 626, but not
  131  including any workers’ compensation premiums or medical
  132  malpractice premiums. As used in this subsection, the term
  133  “property and casualty business” includes all lines of business
  134  identified on Form 2, Exhibit of Premiums and Losses, in the
  135  annual statement required of authorized insurers by s. 624.424
  136  and any rule adopted under this section, except for those lines
  137  identified as accident and health insurance and except for
  138  policies written under the National Flood Insurance Program. The
  139  assessment shall be specified as a percentage of direct written
  140  premium and is subject to annual adjustments by the board in
  141  order to meet debt obligations. The same percentage applies to
  142  all policies in lines of business subject to the assessment
  143  issued or renewed during the 12-month period beginning on the
  144  effective date of the assessment.
  145         2. A premium is not subject to an annual assessment under
  146  this paragraph in excess of 6 percent of premium with respect to
  147  obligations arising out of losses attributable to any one
  148  contract year, and a premium is not subject to an aggregate
  149  annual assessment under this paragraph in excess of 10 percent
  150  of premium. An annual assessment under this paragraph continues
  151  as long as the revenue bonds issued with respect to which the
  152  assessment was imposed are outstanding, including any bonds the
  153  proceeds of which were used to refund the revenue bonds, unless
  154  adequate provision has been made for the payment of the bonds
  155  under the documents authorizing issuance of the bonds.
  156         3. Emergency assessments shall be collected from
  157  policyholders. Emergency assessments shall be remitted by
  158  insurers as a percentage of direct written premium for the
  159  preceding calendar quarter as specified in the order from the
  160  Office of Insurance Regulation. The office shall verify the
  161  accurate and timely collection and remittance of emergency
  162  assessments and shall report the information to the board in a
  163  form and at a time specified by the board. Each insurer
  164  collecting assessments shall provide the information with
  165  respect to premiums and collections as may be required by the
  166  office to enable the office to monitor and verify compliance
  167  with this paragraph.
  168         4. With respect to assessments of surplus lines premiums,
  169  each surplus lines agent shall collect the assessment at the
  170  same time as the agent collects the surplus lines tax required
  171  by s. 626.932, and the surplus lines agent shall remit the
  172  assessment to the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office created
  173  by s. 626.921 at the same time as the agent remits the surplus
  174  lines tax to the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office. The
  175  emergency assessment on each insured procuring coverage and
  176  filing under s. 626.938 shall be remitted by the insured to the
  177  Florida Surplus Lines Service Office at the time the insured
  178  pays the surplus lines tax to the Florida Surplus Lines Service
  179  Office. The Florida Surplus Lines Service Office shall remit the
  180  collected assessments to the fund or corporation as provided in
  181  the order levied by the Office of Insurance Regulation. The
  182  Florida Surplus Lines Service Office shall verify the proper
  183  application of such emergency assessments and shall assist the
  184  board in ensuring the accurate and timely collection and
  185  remittance of assessments as required by the board. The Florida
  186  Surplus Lines Service Office shall annually calculate the
  187  aggregate written premium on property and casualty business,
  188  other than workers’ compensation and medical malpractice,
  189  procured through surplus lines agents and insureds procuring
  190  coverage and filing under s. 626.938 and shall report the
  191  information to the board in a form and at a time specified by
  192  the board.
  193         5. Any assessment authority not used for a particular
  194  contract year may be used for a subsequent contract year. If,
  195  for a subsequent contract year, the board determines that the
  196  amount of revenue produced under subsection (5) is insufficient
  197  to fund the obligations, costs, and expenses of the fund and the
  198  corporation, including repayment of revenue bonds and that
  199  portion of the debt service coverage not met by reimbursement
  200  premiums, the board shall direct the Office of Insurance
  201  Regulation to levy an emergency assessment up to an amount not
  202  exceeding the amount of unused assessment authority from a
  203  previous contract year or years, plus an additional 4 percent
  204  provided that the assessments in the aggregate do not exceed the
  205  limits specified in subparagraph 2.
  206         6. The assessments otherwise payable to the corporation
  207  under this paragraph shall be paid to the fund unless the Office
  208  of Insurance Regulation and the Florida Surplus Lines Service
  209  Office received a notice from the corporation and the fund,
  210  which shall be conclusive and upon which they may rely without
  211  further inquiry, that the corporation has issued bonds and the
  212  fund has no agreements in effect with local governments under
  213  paragraph (c). On or after the date of the notice and until the
  214  date the corporation has no bonds outstanding, the fund shall
  215  have no right, title, or interest in or to the assessments,
  216  except as provided in the fund’s agreement with the corporation.
  217         7. Emergency assessments are not premium and are not
  218  subject to the premium tax, to the surplus lines tax, to any
  219  fees, or to any commissions. An insurer is liable for all
  220  assessments that it collects and must treat the failure of an
  221  insured to pay an assessment as a failure to pay the premium. An
  222  insurer is not liable for uncollectible assessments.
  223         8. If an insurer is required to return an unearned premium,
  224  it shall also return any collected assessment attributable to
  225  the unearned premium. A credit adjustment to the collected
  226  assessment may be made by the insurer with regard to future
  227  remittances that are payable to the fund or corporation, but the
  228  insurer is not entitled to a refund.
  229         9. If a surplus lines insured or an insured who has
  230  procured coverage and filed under s. 626.938 is entitled to the
  231  return of an unearned premium, the Florida Surplus Lines Service
  232  Office shall provide a credit or refund to the agent or such
  233  insured for the collected assessment attributable to the
  234  unearned premium before remitting the emergency assessment
  235  collected to the fund or corporation.
  236         10. The exemption of medical malpractice insurance premiums
  237  from emergency assessments under this paragraph is repealed May
  238  31, 2019, and medical malpractice insurance premiums shall be
  239  subject to emergency assessments attributable to loss events
  240  occurring in the contract years commencing on June 1, 2019.
  241         Section 5. Subsection (1) of section 624.407, Florida
  242  Statutes, is amended to read:
  243         624.407 Surplus required; new insurers.—
  244         (1) To receive authority to transact any one kind or
  245  combinations of kinds of insurance, as defined in part V of this
  246  chapter, an insurer applying for its original certificate of
  247  authority in this state shall possess surplus as to
  248  policyholders at least the greater of:
  249         (a) For a property and casualty insurer, $5 million, or
  250  $2.5 million for any other insurer;
  251         (b) For life insurers, 4 percent of the insurer’s total
  252  liabilities;
  253         (c) For life and health insurers, 4 percent of the
  254  insurer’s total liabilities, plus 6 percent of the insurer’s
  255  liabilities relative to health insurance;
  256         (d) For all insurers other than life insurers and life and
  257  health insurers, 10 percent of the insurer’s total liabilities;
  258         (e) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) or paragraph (d), for a
  259  domestic insurer that transacts residential property insurance
  260  and is:
  261         1. Not a wholly owned subsidiary of an insurer domiciled in
  262  any other state, $15 million.
  263         2. A wholly owned subsidiary of an insurer domiciled in any
  264  other state, $50 million; or
  265         (f) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a), (d), and (e), for a
  266  domestic insurer that only transacts limited sinkhole coverage
  267  insurance for personal lines residential property pursuant to s.
  268  627.7151, $7.5 million; or
  269         (g) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a), (b), and (e), for an
  270  insurer that only transacts residential property insurance in
  271  the form of renter’s insurance, tenant’s coverage, cooperative
  272  unit owner insurance, or any combination thereof, $10 million.
  273         Section 6. Paragraph (c) of subsection (8) of section
  274  624.424, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  275         624.424 Annual statement and other information.—
  276         (8)
  277         (c) The board of directors of an insurer shall hire the
  278  certified public accountant that prepares the audit required by
  279  this subsection and the board shall establish an audit committee
  280  of three or more directors of the insurer or an affiliated
  281  company. The audit committee shall be responsible for discussing
  282  audit findings and interacting with the certified public
  283  accountant with regard to her or his findings. The audit
  284  committee shall be comprised solely of members who are free from
  285  any relationship that, in the opinion of its board of directors,
  286  would interfere with the exercise of independent judgment as a
  287  committee member. The audit committee shall report to the board
  288  any findings of adverse financial conditions or significant
  289  deficiencies in internal controls that have been noted by the
  290  accountant. The insurer may request the office to waive this
  291  requirement of the audit committee membership based upon unusual
  292  hardship to the insurer.
  293         Section 7. Subsection (15) of section 625.012, Florida
  294  Statutes, is amended to read:
  295         625.012 “Assets” defined.—In any determination of the
  296  financial condition of an insurer, there shall be allowed as
  297  “assets” only such assets as are owned by the insurer and which
  298  consist of:
  299         (15)(a) Assessments levied pursuant to s. 631.57(3)(a) and
  300  (e) or s. 631.914 which that are paid before policy surcharges
  301  are collected and result in a receivable for policy surcharges
  302  to be collected in the future. This amount, to the extent it is
  303  likely that it will be realized, meets the definition of an
  304  admissible asset as specified in the National Association of
  305  Insurance Commissioners’ Statement of Statutory Accounting
  306  Principles No. 4. The asset shall be established and recorded
  307  separately from the liability regardless of whether it is based
  308  on a retrospective or prospective premium-based assessment. If
  309  an insurer is unable to fully recoup the amount of the
  310  assessment because of a reduction in writings or withdrawal from
  311  the market, the amount recorded as an asset shall be reduced to
  312  the amount reasonably expected to be recouped.
  313         (b) Assessments levied as monthly installments pursuant to
  314  s. 631.57(3)(e)3. or s. 631.914 which that are paid after policy
  315  surcharges are collected so that the recognition of assets is
  316  based on actual premium written offset by the obligation to the
  317  Florida Insurance Guaranty Association or the Florida Workers’
  318  Compensation Insurance Guaranty Association, Incorporated.
  319         Section 8. Paragraph (e) of subsection (7) of section
  320  627.062, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  321         627.062 Rate standards.—
  322         (7) The provisions of this subsection apply only to rates
  323  for medical malpractice insurance and control to the extent of
  324  any conflict with other provisions of this section.
  325         (e) For medical malpractice rates subject to paragraph
  326  (2)(a), the medical malpractice insurer shall make an annual
  327  base a rate filing in accordance with s. 627.0645 under this
  328  section, sworn to by at least two executive officers of the
  329  insurer, at least once each calendar year.
  330         Section 9. Subsection (1) of section 627.0645, Florida
  331  Statutes, is amended to read:
  332         627.0645 Annual filings.—
  333         (1) Each rating organization filing rates for, and each
  334  insurer writing, any line of property or casualty insurance to
  335  which this part applies, except:
  336         (a) Workers’ compensation and employer’s liability
  337  insurance;
  338         (b) Insurance as defined in ss. 624.604 and 624.605,
  339  limited to coverage of commercial risks other than commercial
  340  residential multiperil and medical malpractice insurance that is
  341  subject to s. 627.062(2)(a) and (f); or
  342         (c) Travel insurance, if issued as a master group policy
  343  with a situs in another state where each certificateholder pays
  344  less than $30 in premium for each covered trip and where the
  345  insurer has written less than $1 million in annual written
  346  premiums in the travel insurance product in this state during
  347  the most recent calendar year,
  349  shall make an annual base rate filing for each such line with
  350  the office no later than 12 months after its previous base rate
  351  filing, demonstrating that its rates are not inadequate.
  352         Section 10. Section 627.4035, Florida Statutes, is amended
  353  to read:
  354         627.4035 Cash Payment of premiums; claims.—
  355         (1)(a) The premiums for insurance contracts issued in this
  356  state or covering risk located in this state must shall be paid
  357  in cash consisting of coins, currency, checks, electronic
  358  checks, drafts, or money orders or by using a debit card, credit
  359  card, automatic electronic funds transfer, or payroll deduction
  360  plan. By July 1, 2007, Insurers issuing personal lines
  361  residential and commercial property policies shall provide a
  362  premium payment plan option to their policyholders which allows
  363  for a minimum of quarterly and semiannual payment of premiums.
  364  Insurers may, but are not required to, offer monthly payment
  365  plans. Insurers issuing such policies must submit their premium
  366  payment plan option to the office for approval before use.
  367         (b) If, due to insufficient funds, a payment of premium
  368  under this subsection by debit card, credit card, electronic
  369  funds transfer, or electronic check is returned, is declined, or
  370  cannot be processed, the insurer may impose an insufficient
  371  funds fee of up to $15 per occurrence pursuant to the policy
  372  terms. However, the insurer may not charge the policyholder an
  373  insufficient funds fee if the failure in payment resulted from
  374  fraud or misuse on the policyholder’s account from which the
  375  payment was made and such fraud or misuse was not attributed to
  376  the policyholder.
  377         (2) Subsection (1) is not applicable to:
  378         (a) Reinsurance agreements;
  379         (b) Pension plans;
  380         (c) Premium loans, whether or not subject to an automatic
  381  provision;
  382         (d) Dividends, whether to purchase additional paid-up
  383  insurance or to shorten the dividend payment period;
  384         (e) Salary deduction plans;
  385         (f) Preauthorized check plans;
  386         (g) Waivers of premiums on disability;
  387         (h) Nonforfeiture provisions affording benefits under
  388  supplementary contracts; or
  389         (i) Such other methods of paying for life insurance as may
  390  be permitted by the commission pursuant to rule or regulation.
  391         (3) All payments of claims made in this state under any
  392  contract of insurance shall be paid:
  393         (a) In cash consisting of coins, currency, checks, drafts,
  394  or money orders and, if by check or draft, shall be in such form
  395  as will comply with the standards for cash items adopted by the
  396  Federal Reserve System to facilitate the sorting, routing, and
  397  mechanized processing of such items; or
  398         (b) If authorized in writing by the recipient or the
  399  recipient’s representative, by debit card or any other form of
  400  electronic transfer. Any fees or costs to be charged against the
  401  recipient must be disclosed in writing to the recipient or the
  402  recipient’s representative at the time of written authorization.
  403  However, the written authorization requirement may be waived by
  404  the recipient or the recipient’s representative if the insurer
  405  verifies the identity of the insured or the insured’s recipient
  406  and does not charge a fee for the transaction. If the funds are
  407  misdirected, the insurer remains liable for the payment of the
  408  claim.
  409         Section 11. Subsection (5) is added to section 627.421,
  410  Florida Statutes, to read:
  411         627.421 Delivery of policy.—
  412         (5)An electronically delivered document satisfies any
  413  font, size, color, spacing, or other formatting requirement for
  414  printed documents if the format in the electronically delivered
  415  document has reasonably similar proportions or emphasis of the
  416  characters relative to the rest of the electronic document or is
  417  otherwise displayed in a reasonably conspicuous manner.
  418         Section 12. Subsection (9) of section 627.7295, Florida
  419  Statutes, is amended to read:
  420         627.7295 Motor vehicle insurance contracts.—
  421         (9)(a) In addition to the methods provided in s.
  422  627.4035(1), premium for motor vehicle insurance contracts
  423  issued in this state or covering risk located in this state may
  424  be paid in cash in the form of a draft or drafts.
  425         (b) If, due to insufficient funds, payment of premium under
  426  this subsection by debit card, credit card, electronic funds
  427  transfer, or electronic check is returned, is declined, or
  428  cannot be processed, the insurer may impose an insufficient
  429  funds fee of up to $15 per occurrence pursuant to the policy
  430  terms.
  431         Section 13. Section 627.7843, Florida Statutes, is amended
  432  to read:
  433         627.7843 Property information reports Ownership and
  434  encumbrance reports.—
  435         (1) As used in this section, the term “property information
  436  report” means any report that contains the limitations of this
  437  section and discloses documents or information appearing in the
  438  Official Records as described in s. 28.222, in the records of a
  439  county tax collector pertaining to ad valorem real property
  440  taxes and special assessments imposed by a governmental
  441  authority against real property, in the Secretary of State
  442  filing office, or in another governmental filing office
  443  pertaining to real or personal property. A property information
  444  report may be issued by any person, including a Florida-licensed
  445  title insurer, title agent, or title agency “ownership and
  446  encumbrance report” means a report that discloses certain
  447  defined documents imparting constructive notice and appearing in
  448  the official records relating to specified real property.
  449         (2) A property information An ownership and encumbrance
  450  report may not directly or indirectly set forth or imply any
  451  opinion, warranty, guarantee, insurance, or other similar
  452  assurance and does not constitute title insurance as defined in
  453  s. 624.608 as to the status of title to real property.
  454         (3) The contractual liability of the issuer of a property
  455  information report is limited to the person or persons expressly
  456  identified by name in the property information report as the
  457  recipient or recipients of the property information report and
  458  may not exceed the amount paid for the property information
  459  report. Only contractual remedies are available for an error or
  460  omission that arises from a property information report. A
  461  property information report must contain the following language:
  463  “This report is not title insurance. Pursuant to s. 627.7843,
  464  Florida Statutes, the maximum liability of the issuer of this
  465  property information report for errors or omissions in this
  466  property information report is limited to the amount paid for
  467  this property information report, and is further limited to the
  468  person(s) expressly identified by name in the property
  469  information report as the recipient(s) of the property
  470  information report.” Any ownership and encumbrance report or
  471  similar report that is relied on or intended to be relied on by
  472  a consumer must be on forms approved by the office, and must
  473  provide for a maximum liability for incorrect information of not
  474  more than $1,000.
  475         (4) This section is not applicable to an opinion of title
  476  issued by an attorney.
  477         Section 14. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.