Florida Senate Introduces Bill on Claims Handling
While many are focusing on the impact of the Tort Reform bill, the Florida Senate filed a bill that would drastically affect how you and your carrier handle claims. While this bill will likely undergo numerous amendments before being passed, our firm believes that it is important that you are aware of it. SB 7052 – Insurer Accountability – is the Senate response to recent allegations of insurer misconduct in claims handling, as well as an answer to critics who assert that the Legislature just bailed the insurance industry out. The bill provides:
- Claim handling requirements. Violations of these requirements are enforceable under the insurance code. In other words, the industry will face a slew of other litigation on its claim handling.
- Creates deadlines to acknowledge claims and communications.
- Requires carrier to provide insured, upon question “all communications related to the insurer’s handling of the claim which are not privileged as to the insured.”
- In the handling of a third-party claim, must communicate with the insured the insurer’s evaluation of the claim.
- Must make reasonable attempts to preserve evidence for liability claims, which could create a duty to preserve all vehicles if liability is not admitted.
- Claim Manual Submissions
- Market Conduct examinations
- Referrals to Statewide Prosecutor
- Reporting requirements to Elected Policymakers
At the first Senate committee meeting on the bill, a well-known plaintiff’s lawyer stated that it was “a great first step” to reining in the Tort Reform Bill.
Please contact your lobbyist or state trade organizations concerning this bill.
If you have any questions about this update, please contact our attorneys.