SENATOR DON GAETZ REPORTS: HOMEOWNER CLAIMS BILL OF RIGHTS
June 18, 2014
I wanted to draw your attention to a piece of legislation championed by our Chief Financial Officer, former Senate President Jeff Atwater, which creates a ‘Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights,’ describing some of the rights held by insurance policyholders. This good legislation was recently signed in to law by Governor Scott.
I have included some information provided by CFO Atwater’s office below for your reference.
CFO Jeff Atwater Applauds Florida House and Senate for Passing
Legislation Creating a Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights
that Provides Greater Consumer Protections
TALLAHASSEE – Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater applauded the Florida House and Senate for passing legislation that creates a Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights. CFO Atwater made advocating for the bill a priority because it provides important consumer protections and greater transparency to the insurance claim-filing process. The bill also addresses additional aspects of the homeowner claims process such as eliminating unscrupulous post-claim underwriting practices that deny claims for unsuspecting consumers.
“The Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights is a much-needed resource for homeowners that will notify them of their rights and responsibilities when filing an insurance claim and give them the confidence that they will be treated fairly during a stressful situation,” said CFO Atwater. “I appreciate our House and Senate sponsors, Representatives Hood and Moraitis and Senator Bean, and House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz for leading the passage of this legislation and enhancing consumer protections for Floridians.”
The Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights will be required to be provided to any policyholder who files a claim and will reference current Florida law regarding claims handling in order to provide the policyholder with information of their rights in the claims process. The bill of rights will also inform policyholders of what they should expect and provide advice on the next steps they should take in the process.
Senate Bill 708, which passed unanimously in both chambers of the legislature, also eliminates post-claim underwriting. Insurers will be required to complete the underwriting process in 90 days and will be prohibited from denying a claim and/or canceling a policy based on the insured’s credit information after their policy has been in force for 90 days or longer. The bill also creates safeguards for Florida homeowners by helping ensure appraisal umpire impartiality and providing the Department of Financial Services the ability to remove and discipline mediators who engage in inappropriate behavior.
CONTACT: Katie Betta, (850) 487-5229