• Florida Senate Insurance Committee Approves Department of Financial Services Re-Organization Bill, Help for Sinkhole-Damaged Properties
  • March 24, 2015
  • Law Firm: Colodny Fass P.A. - Fort Lauderdale Office
  • Financial assistance for sinkhole-damaged properties and a proposed re-organization of the Florida Department of Financial Services ("DFS") were among the insurance-related bills taken up by the Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance ("Committee") today, March 17, 2015.

    SB 1222, a bill sponsored by Senator Garrett Richter, would revise requirements relating to insurance agent licensing examination and education. Four technical amendments were adopted to the bill, after which the Committee passed it unanimously. Representatives of an insurance agents' association and the DFS were on hand to voice their support.

    The Committee also heard SB 404 by Senator Wilton Simpson, which authorizes local governments to enter into agreements with property owners to finance qualified improvements to their property damaged by sinkhole activity. The bill also would expand the definition of "blighted area," thus enabling Community Redevelopment Areas to enter into voluntary contracts to redevelop sinkhole-damaged properties. SB 404 was approved unanimously. To view an analysis of the bill, check http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2015/0404/Analyses/2015s0404.bi.PDF

    Also considered by the Committee was SB 1402 by Senator Tom Lee, which would change DFS' organizational structure by eliminating and re-organizing some of its divisions and bureaus. Further, the bill would afford Florida's Chief Financial Officer the flexibility to establish divisions, bureaus and offices within the DFS. The Committee approved SB 1402 by a vote of 10 to 0.

    Also sponsored by Senator Lee, SB 1190 would revise solvency requirements for health maintenance organizations ("HMOs") to require them to meet some of the same regulatory requirements as similar insurers. It would also eliminate the cap on financial examination costs for HMOs and require them to pay the full costs of these examinations, which are conducted by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. The bill was amended and passed by the Committee.

    The Committee also approved the following insurance-related bills as part of its agenda:
    • SB 1134 relating to Blanket Health Insurance by Senator Alan Hays
    • SB 1148 relating to Fire Safety Standards by Senator Kelli Stargel
    • SB 7026 relating to the State Group Insurance Plan by the Senate Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability
    • SB 1136 relating to Title Insurance by Senator Dorothy Hukill
    • SB 856 by Senator Jack Latvala relating to Vision Insurance
    Additionally, the Committee temporarily postponed SB 830 relating to Not For Profit Self-Insurance funds by Senator David Simmons for the second time.

    To access today's complete meeting materials, including audio, video and a podcast, check http://www.flsenate.gov/Committees/Show/BI/