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Important New Laws Take Effect July 1st and Affect Everyone

After much debate, the Florida Legislature made substantial changes and additions to insurance laws during the first half of 2019.

Assignment of Benefits.  Assignment of Benefits is an area that has been in the news lately following the damage done last year by Hurricane Michael and the resulting hurricane claims. Assignment of Benefits (AOB) is an agreement that transfers the insurance claims rights or benefits of the policy to a third-party. An AOB gives the third-party authority to file a claim, make repair decisions, and collect insurance payments without the involvement of the insured/homeowner.  The new AOB law is a complex law and goes into effect July 1st, 2019.  Questions should be put to insurers, agents and attorneys. 

Omnibus Insurance Law.  Additionally, an omnibus insurance law also takes effect July 1st and provides as follows:

  • It allows insurers to provide multi-policy discounts when homeowners and auto policies are purchased through the same agent/insurer;
  • It increases the reimbursement from the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund for loss adjustment expenses from 5 percent to 10 percent of reimbursed losses beginning with contracts issued after June 1, 2019;
  • It provides that workers’ compensation insurance applicants and their agents are not required to have their sworn statements notarized.
  • It also provides several updates for the Florida Surplus Lines industry, including eliminating a prescriptive cap on surplus lines agent policy fees (currently $35) and replacing it with a requirement that the fee be “reasonable” and separately disclosed to the customer.
  • In addition, the residential dwelling replacement cost of surplus lines coverage has been decreased to $700,000 from $1 million as it relates to “diligent effort” procedures.
  • It also makes changes to civil remedy notices and the appraisal process.
Legislative Witness Insurance - Insurance in Florida Expert 2019 on Actions

Floridians should also be aware that the new text-while-driving law takes effect, also July 1st and this law includes a hands-free requirement when driving in certain areas. Distracted driving causes accidents, accidents cause points to ones license, and may raise your automobile insurance rates.

Be smart: Never Text and Drive

Attorneys with questions about these and other insurance matters can call Bill Hager directly at 561-306-5072 or email Bill at bhager@expertinsurancewitness.com.  Hager is a nationwide insurance expert witness and an insurance and reinsurance arbitrator. Visit Hager at https://www.expertinsurancewitness.com