PIA Legislative Update: Agents Have Until March to Make Recommendations to Florida’s Hurricane Task Force

September 30, 2005

Legislative changes effecting property insurance that took place this year in the Florida Legislature were discussed by Keri Rayborn, Rayborn Consultants, and Ron Villella, PIA’s government affairs director, during a “Legislative Update” sponsored by the Professional Insurance Agents of Florida in St. Petersburg.

Rayborn said agents have until March 2006 to suggest long-term solutions and changes to Florida’s Hurricane Insurance Market Task Force, because it must make recommendations and complete draft legislation by April 1, 2006.

“The value policy law provisions contained within the property bill are not retroactive and shall only apply to claims filed after the effective date of the legislation,” Rayborn said. “It was not intended to create new or additional coverage, or to require an insurer to pay for a loss caused by a peril, other than the covered peril, it pays for covered items and is clear in its intent.

“If damages are caused in part by a covered peril and in part by non-covered perils, the insurer’s liability is limited to the amount of the loss caused by the covered peril and a policy must pay except for weather conditions.”

Rayborn said that if there was a dual loss and a dispute arises, it may be necessary to have an independent adjuster look at the overall damages and determine the two amounts.

Rayborn discussed a mountain of changes, including the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund and a low interest loan program to retrofit homes to reduce an owners risk of losses caused by hurricane losses.

The Department of Financial Services and the Office of Insurance Regulation are working on a checklist of coverages for personal lines residential policies to make it clear whether certain specified risks are covered.

Three hurricane deductibles of 2 percent, 5 percent and 10 percent became available for policyholders to choose from Oct. 1. Rayborn said it’s essential for agents to inform policyholders about their rights and the new deductibles.

After a hurricane loss, Rayborn said insurers can not cancel or non-renew residential property policies until 90 days after the repairs have been made. She said some insurance companies are now requesting site visits of the dwellings to make sure the repairs have been made by their policyholders.

Students asked Rayborn detailed questions about hurricane coverage, condominium coverage, deregulation and broker compensation.

She also provided the class with detailed descriptive material on the legislation and encouraged anyone with questions to contact her directly.

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