Florida’s Reform Law Brings New Deadlines for Insurers and Insureds Beginning This Week
Senate Bill 2A, signed into law in December, provided significant relief to Florida property insurers in terms of litigation expenses. Nevertheless, it also requires a number of consumer-friendly activities from carriers and establishes new claim schedules beginning this week, according to a notice issued by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.
Among other modifications, the law:
Reduces from 14 to 7 days the time it takes for insurers to acknowledge a claim or respond to a communication;
Reduces the period from 14 to 7 days after receiving the proof-of-loss statement for insurers to commence an investigation, if deemed reasonable;
Reduces the physical examination period for insurers from 45 to 30 days and applies this change to hurricane claims;
imposes a seven-day deadline for insurers to deliver to policyholders a copy of any adjuster’s report estimating the damage;
Reduces the period of time that insurers have to pay or reject a claim, or a portion of a claim, from 90 to 60 days, unless another factor is to blame for the delay.
According to the notice, OIR may extend the deadlines for up to 30 more days during times of emergency or following a reported security breach or other computer-related problem.
The law also encourages insurers to handle claims as quickly as possible by using electronic methods whenever possible. Among these include the utilization of digital photos, video recordings of the damage, video conferences between adjusters and policyholders, and drone-produced movies.
The policyholders‘ window for making claims was similarly shortened by SB 2A, from two to one year from the date of the loss. Instead of three years, supplemental claims must now be reported within 18 months following a loss.
The statute imposes additional responsibilities on the insurance, such as record keeping and other difficulties. You may view the complete OIR memo here.