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Florida Legislature Passes Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights

August 14, 2014

By Jorge Santeiro, Jr.
Co-Chair, Property Litigation Practice Group

On April 30, 2014, the Florida Legislature unanimously approved Senate Bill 708. The bill was approved by Governor Scott on June 13, 2014, and took effect July 1, 2014. See Chapter 2014-86, laws of Florida.

The new law requires a one-page "Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights" to be provided to any policyholder that files a claim and will reference current Florida law regarding claims handling 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 provides information on the next steps to take in the process.

The law is also intended to eliminate post-claim underwriting. After the effective date, insurers will have 90 days to complete the underwriting process and will be precluded from denying a claim or canceling a policy based on an insured’s credit information after their policy has been in force for 90 days or longer.

The law also requires that mitigation, repair and restoration work paid for by insurance proceeds be performed by an individual or company possessing a valid certification or license. It also contains language to help ensure appraisal umpire impartiality and provides the Department of Financial Services the ability to remove and discipline mediators who engage in inappropriate behavior.

The chapter law can be found at:
http://laws.flrules.org/2014/86. (Source: Press Release, Florida Department of Financial Services).

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