Florida Senate - 2018                                    SB 1652
       By Senator Lee
       20-01641B-18                                          20181652__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to property insurance; creating s.
    3         627.70191, F.S.; providing applicability; prohibiting
    4         property insurers who fail to make inspections within
    5         a specified timeframe from denying or limiting
    6         payments for certain hurricane-related claims under
    7         certain circumstances; specifying requirements
    8         property insurers must meet before they may require
    9         policyholders to submit proof of loss, under certain
   10         circumstances; amending s. 627.7073, F.S.; requiring
   11         real property owners and lessors to disclose certain
   12         sinkhole reports and certifications in lease or lease
   13         purchase agreements with tenants or tenant-buyers of
   14         the real properties; providing applicability; amending
   15         s. 627.7142, F.S.; revising circumstances under which
   16         personal lines residential property insurers must
   17         provide policyholders with the Homeowner Claims Bill
   18         of Rights; requiring such insurers to include a
   19         specified addendum under certain circumstances;
   20         specifying the rights, responsibilities, and notices
   21         the addendum must contain; revising construction;
   22         providing an effective date.
   24  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   26         Section 1. Section 627.70191, Florida Statutes, is created
   27  to read:
   28         627.70191 Insurer restrictions relating to certain
   29  hurricanes.—
   30         (1) This section applies to a claim for a loss that occurs
   31  during a hurricane as defined in s. 627.4025(2) for which the
   32  Governor declares a state of emergency by executive order or
   33  proclamation under s. 252.36 which identifies the state of
   34  emergency as being due to a catastrophic disaster.
   35         (2) If an insurer does not inspect the policyholder’s
   36  premises within 45 days after the insurer receives notice of the
   37  claim in accordance with the terms of the policy, the insurer
   38  may not deny any covered claim or limit any payment based on
   39  repairs made or ordered by the policyholder to protect the
   40  property from further damage or to otherwise mitigate the loss.
   41         (3) An insurer may not require a policyholder to submit
   42  proof of loss unless the insurer:
   43         (a) Provides the policyholder with written notice of the
   44  requirement along with a form for specifying proof of loss; and
   45         (b) Allows the policyholder at least 60 days after
   46  receiving the notice and form to complete and return the form to
   47  the insurer.
   48         Section 2. Paragraph (d) is added to subsection (2) of
   49  section 627.7073, Florida Statutes, to read:
   50         627.7073 Sinkhole reports.—
   51         (2) An insurer that has paid a claim for a sinkhole loss
   52  shall file a copy of the report and certification, prepared
   53  pursuant to subsection (1), including the legal description of
   54  the real property and the name of the property owner, the
   55  neutral evaluator’s report, if any, which indicates that
   56  sinkhole activity caused the damage claimed, a copy of the
   57  certification indicating that stabilization has been completed,
   58  if applicable, and the amount of the payment, with the county
   59  clerk of court, who shall record the report and certification.
   60  The insurer shall bear the cost of filing and recording one or
   61  more reports and certifications. There shall be no cause of
   62  action or liability against an insurer for compliance with this
   63  section.
   64         (d) An owner or lessor of real property upon which a
   65  sinkhole claim has been made by the owner or lessor and paid by
   66  the insurer shall disclose the sinkhole report and certification
   67  in the lease or lease-purchase agreement with the tenant or
   68  tenant-buyer of the real property. This paragraph does not apply
   69  to a nonresidential tenancy under part I of chapter 83 or a
   70  transient occupancy as defined in s. 83.43.
   71         Section 3. Section 627.7142, Florida Statutes, is amended
   72  to read:
   73         627.7142 Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights.—An insurer
   74  issuing a personal lines residential property insurance policy
   75  in this state must provide a Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights to
   76  a policyholder within 14 days after receiving an initial
   77  communication with respect to a claim, unless the claim follows
   78  an event that is the subject of a declaration of a state of
   79  emergency by the Governor. If the claim is for a loss that
   80  occurred during a hurricane as defined in s. 627.4025(2) for
   81  which the Governor declared a state of emergency by executive
   82  order or proclamation under s. 252.36 which identified the state
   83  of emergency as being due to a catastrophic disaster, the
   84  Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights must also include the addendum
   85  specified in subsection (2). The purpose of the bill of rights
   86  is to summarize, in simple, nontechnical terms, existing Florida
   87  law regarding the rights of a personal lines residential
   88  property insurance policyholder who files a claim of loss. The
   89  Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights is specific to the claims
   90  process and does not represent all of a policyholder’s rights
   91  under Florida law regarding the insurance policy. The Homeowner
   92  Claims Bill of Rights or the addendum specified in subsection
   93  (2) does not create a civil cause of action by any individual
   94  policyholder or class of policyholders against an insurer or
   95  insurers. The failure of an insurer to properly deliver the
   96  Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights or the addendum specified in
   97  subsection (2) is subject to administrative enforcement by the
   98  office but is not admissible as evidence in a civil action
   99  against an insurer. The Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights or the
  100  addendum specified in subsection (2) does not enlarge, modify,
  101  or contravene statutory requirements, including, but not limited
  102  to, ss. 626.854, 626.9541, 627.70131, 627.7015, and 627.7074,
  103  and does not prohibit an insurer from exercising its right to
  104  repair damaged property in compliance with the terms of an
  105  applicable policy or ss. 627.7011(5)(e) and 627.702(7).
  106         (1) The Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights must state:
  108                          HOMEOWNER CLAIMS                         
  109                           BILL OF RIGHTS                          
  110         This Bill of Rights is specific to the claims process
  111         and does not represent all of your rights under
  112         Florida law regarding your policy. There are also
  113         exceptions to the stated timelines when conditions are
  114         beyond your insurance company’s control. This document
  115         does not create a civil cause of action by an
  116         individual policyholder, or a class of policyholders,
  117         against an insurer or insurers and does not prohibit
  118         an insurer from exercising its right to repair damaged
  119         property in compliance with the terms of an applicable
  120         policy.
  122         YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO:
  123         1. Receive from your insurance company an
  124         acknowledgment of your reported claim within 14 days
  125         after the time you communicated the claim.
  126         2. Upon written request, receive from your
  127         insurance company within 30 days after you have
  128         submitted a complete proof-of-loss statement to your
  129         insurance company, confirmation that your claim is
  130         covered in full, partially covered, or denied, or
  131         receive a written statement that your claim is being
  132         investigated.
  133         3. Within 90 days, subject to any dual interest
  134         noted in the policy, receive full settlement payment
  135         for your claim or payment of the undisputed portion of
  136         your claim, or your insurance company’s denial of your
  137         claim.
  138         4. Free mediation of your disputed claim by the
  139         Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of
  140         Consumer Services, under most circumstances and
  141         subject to certain restrictions.
  142         5. Neutral evaluation of your disputed claim, if
  143         your claim is for damage caused by a sinkhole and is
  144         covered by your policy.
  145         6. Contact the Florida Department of Financial
  146         Services, Division of Consumer Services’ toll-free
  147         helpline for assistance with any insurance claim or
  148         questions pertaining to the handling of your claim.
  149         You can reach the Helpline by phone at...(toll-free
  150         phone number)..., or you can seek assistance online at
  151         the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division
  152         of Consumer Services’ website at...(website
  153         address)....
  155         YOU ARE ADVISED TO:
  156         1. Contact your insurance company before entering
  157         into any contract for repairs to confirm any managed
  158         repair policy provisions or optional preferred
  159         vendors.
  160         2. Make and document emergency repairs that are
  161         necessary to prevent further damage. Keep the damaged
  162         property, if feasible, keep all receipts, and take
  163         photographs of damage before and after any repairs.
  164         3. Carefully read any contract that requires you
  165         to pay out-of-pocket expenses or a fee that is based
  166         on a percentage of the insurance proceeds that you
  167         will receive for repairing or replacing your property.
  168         4. Confirm that the contractor you choose is
  169         licensed to do business in Florida. You can verify a
  170         contractor’s license and check to see if there are any
  171         complaints against him or her by calling the Florida
  172         Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
  173         You should also ask the contractor for references from
  174         previous work.
  175         5. Require all contractors to provide proof of
  176         insurance before beginning repairs.
  177         6. Take precautions if the damage requires you to
  178         leave your home, including securing your property and
  179         turning off your gas, water, and electricity, and
  180         contacting your insurance company and provide a phone
  181         number where you can be reached.
  183         (2) The Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights addendum must
  184  state:
  185                          HOMEOWNER CLAIMS                         
  186                       BILL OF RIGHTS ADDENDUM                     
  190         EMERGENCIES
  191         1.If your dwelling or property was damaged as a
  192         result of the hurricane or disaster, your insurance
  193         company may not cancel or nonrenew your policy for a
  194         period of 90 days after your dwelling or property has
  195         been repaired. However, this does not apply in cases
  196         of nonpayment of premium or material misstatement or
  197         fraud related to the claim, if your insurance company
  198         determines that you have unreasonably caused a delay
  199         in repair to your dwelling, or if the insurance
  200         company has already paid the limit of your policy.
  201         2. If a cancellation or nonrenewal of your policy
  202         takes effect during a hurricane, the effective date of
  203         the cancellation or nonrenewal is extended until 72
  204         hours following the termination of the last hurricane
  205         watch or hurricane warning issued for any part of
  206         Florida by the National Hurricane Center of the
  207         National Weather Service. Your insurance company may
  208         collect a premium for this extended period. This
  209         extension does not apply to certain replacement
  210         coverages.
  211         3. You must make any claim, supplemental claim,
  212         or reopened claim under this policy for loss or damage
  213         caused by windstorm or hurricane under the policy
  214         within 3 years after the hurricane first made landfall
  215         or the windstorm caused the covered damage.
  216         4. Within 45 days after your insurance company
  217         receives notice of your claim for damage caused by a
  218         hurricane or other natural disaster, your insurance
  219         company must inspect your premises. If your insurance
  220         company fails to do so, it may not deny any covered
  221         claim or limit any payment based on repairs you make
  222         or order to protect your property from further damage
  223         or to mitigate the loss.
  224         5. Your insurance company may not require you to
  225         submit proof of loss for your claim for damage caused
  226         by a hurricane or other natural disaster unless the
  227         insurance company provides you with a written notice
  228         of the requirement along with a proof-of-loss form,
  229         and allows you at least 60 days after receiving the
  230         notice and form to complete and return the form to the
  231         insurance company.
  232         6. In the event of a catastrophe or emergency,
  233         the Florida Department of Financial Services is
  234         authorized to issue emergency licenses to adjusters
  235         who meet certain qualifications. Your claims, losses,
  236         or damages may be adjusted by such catastrophe or
  237         emergency adjusters.
  238         7. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has
  239         issued an emergency order that may contain
  240         standardized requirements applying to your insurance
  241         company as a result of the hurricane or natural
  242         disaster. You may obtain a copy of the order by
  243         contacting the office at ...(toll-free telephone
  244         number)... or accessing ...(website address)....
  245         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.