Insurance Laws that became effective on July 1, 2015

Of the 130 news laws that took effect on July 1, several of them impact insurance:

Flood Insurance: SB 1094 intended to provide flexible insurance options for flood coverage.

Drones: SB 766 prohibits the use of aerial drones to capture images that could infringe on the privacy of property owners or occupants. The law allows people to initiate a civil action against a person, state agency or political subdivision that violates the prohibitions. However, the prohibition doesn’t include agencies countering the risk of terrorist attacks, police who obtain search warrants that authorize the use of drones, property appraisers making tax assessments, and utilities maintaining their facilities.

Citizens:  HB 715 removes a restriction that prevents newly-constructed or substantially-improved structures seaward of the coastal construction control line or within the Coastal Barrier Resources System from qualifying for coverage from the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.

Automobile Insurance:  HB 4011 repeals a law which limited to four the number of vehicles that can be covered on a family insurance policy.

Annuities: HB 1133 clarifies that insurers have no responsibility for providing the information to the owner of the policy being surrendered. Agents may provide the information in any form that works.  As a result of the bill’s passage, the Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) has withdrawn the proposed rule implementing the 2014 law changes.  The revisions to section 627.4553 are as follows:

  • Deletes confusing language regarding situations where no agent is involved;
  • Adds a definition of “surrender” to clarify application of the statute;
  • Eliminates the requirement that DFS promulgate a form;
  • Allows the use of “estimated” amount of surrender charges, rather than actual amount;
  • Allows the use of the term “possibility” of tax consequences, rather than state the amount of tax consequences;
  • Allows the use of a “description” of the performance guarantees, rather than the value of the guarantees; and
  • Requires the agent to maintain a copy of the information provided to the owner and the date information was provided.