• Florida Senate General Government Appropriations Subcommittee Adopts Flood Insurance, Workers' Compensation Bills
  • February 11, 2014
  • Law Firm: Colodny Fass P.A. - Fort Lauderdale Office
  • Senator Galvano presented Senate Bill 444 relating to Workers' Compensation to the Subcommittee.  The bill revises powers of the Florida Department of Financial Services addressing compliance with and enforcement of workers' compensation coverage requirements.  The bill also is designed to assist businesses getting back to work after stop-work orders are issued.

    Senator Bradley filed an amendment to the bill that adjusts the formula for assessments from the Special Disability Trust Fund ("SDTF").  The amendment changes the formula from a three-year look back to one that is based on anticipated payouts from the SDTF.  The amendment was adopted and the bill was recorded favorably as a committee substitute.

    Senator Brandes presented Senate Bill 542 relating to flood insurance to the Subcommittee.  The bill addresses the drastic rate increase in flood insurance rates from the National Flood Insurance Program.  The bill also establishes private market insurance alternatives in Florida and gives consumers a choice on carriers and coverage.  In addition, SB 542 establishes minimum standards for flood insurance coverage in Florida and puts the consumer in charge of their flood insurance.

    Senator Simpson filed a courtesy amendment that removes the additional members to the Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology; prohibits the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation from extending review periods for flood insurance forms; allows insurers to enter the market place quickly and simply by modifying coverage amounts; exempts consent to rate policies; adds additional disclosure requirements; prohibits Citizens Property Insurance Corporation from writing flood insurance; and exempts flood insurance policies from coverage by the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.

    Senator Latvala asked for more specification on the rate changes.  Senator Brandes explained that there are three options formulating rates:  the first is the standard way, the second is consent to rate, and the third is individual risk rating.  Senator Latvala expressed his concern that the amendment filed made substantial changes to the bill that should be properly analyzed by Senate Banking and Insurance Committee Staff.  Senator Latvala wanted to ensure the Subcommittee fully understood the impact this amendment would have on the bill.

    Senator Simpson filed two amendments to the amendment.  The first limits the bill to only residential flood insurance coverage and excludes commercial.  The amendment to the amendment was adopted.  The second removes limitation language on the declarations page and clearly states the limitations in the policy.  Senator Latvala suggested the amendment needed to be further examined and understood by the Subcommittee before adopting.  After further discussion, Senator Brandes withdrew the amendment to the amendment.

    There was a late filed amendment to the bill that allows the OIR to examine the rates and determine if the rate is excessive, inadequate or discriminatory.  The late filed amendment to the amendment was adopted.

    In debate on the amendment, Subcommittee members agreed with Senator Latvala that the bill in its amended form should be properly analyzed by the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee and Staff.  Senator Brandes assured the Subcommittee he will request the bill to be reassigned back to the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.  The amendment was adopted by the subcommittee and the bill was adopted as amended as recorded favorably as a committee substitute.