The Florida Senate Banking and Insurance Committee has been busy lately. A bill that lawmakers hope will send Floridians away from Citizens Property Insurance Corp. made it out of committee on a 6-4 vote this week. If enacted, the proposed law would raise premiums and limit the types of coverage the state-run insurer could offer.
Lawmakers are delivering on their promise that insurance would be a major focus of this legislative session. A bill advanced in the Florida Senate recently that would dramatically change the way insurance companies institute rate hikes. The proposal would allow homeowners insurers to raise rates by a statewide average 15 percent above their current rates without prior approval of the Office of Insurance Regulation.
Proposed legislation that would substantially change existing insurance law barely made it out of the Judiciary Committee of the Florida State Senate this week. For some members of the committee, the bad faith provision of Senate Bill 1592 is especially troubling. The bill is supposed to encourage settlements "in a fair and objective manner," according to the sponsor. Opponents, however, say the bill, in effect, is killing an ant with an elephant.
When a health insurer denies a claim, health care providers typically suffer the consequences. In some cases, the policyholder may pay the bill themselves. If not, doctors and hospitals end up losing revenue they are owed for services they provided. However, recent data collected by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) suggests that a denial of a claim for health insurance is not necessarily the end of the road. The report discovered that nearly 50 percent of rejected claims are actually reversed on appeal.
A host of life insurance companies announced recently that they are expanding their e-underwriting services to more states. The insurers hope that e-underwriting will speed up the process for term-life applicants enough to motivate even more consumers to purchase the coverage. In our last post, we talked about the service in general. This post is devoted to offering consumers a few things to think about before they go down the e-underwriting road.
The Internet is making serious inroads into the life insurance business, especially when it comes to term-life policies. Florida is just one of the many states where insurers are expanding their e-underwriting processes. It's certainly faster, but consumers need to keep a few things in mind before they rush to the web.
In our last post, we were talking about the "Restoration of Legal Rights for Claimants under Holocaust-Era Insurance Policies Act of 2011" introduced by Florida's senior U.S. Senator, Bill Nelson. Holocaust survivors groups have sought this kind of relief for years. The issue, of course, is denied and delayed life insurance payments from Holocaust-era policies. The last post covered the basic provisions of the bill.
Property insurance in Florida could soon see hefty changes. Republican lawmakers have recently proposed bills that would raise Citizens Property Insurance premiums by as much as 25 percent a year and could prevent many policyholders from receiving coverage.
Florida's senior U.S. Senator introduced the "Restoration of Legal Rights for Claimants under Holocaust-Era Insurance Policies Act of 2011" last week, answering the call of survivors groups all over the country. As noted previously in our blog, Holocaust survivors, their families and the families of victims of the Holocaust have long sought payment on life insurance policies purchased during the war. They claim insurers have failed to live up to their obligations by delaying or denying claims.
Illinois National Ins. Co. v. Bolen, Case No. 5D10-2856, 2011 WL 248541 (Fla. 5th DCA, Feb. 4, 2011)
Residents near Christchurch, New Zealand were recently struck with a 6.3 magnitude earthquake, reminding the United States of their vulnerability to a natural disaster of this type.
State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Curran, Case Nos. 5D-09-1488, 5D09-2091, 2011 WL 248541 (Fla. 5th DCA Jan. 28, 2011)
In our last post, we were discussing Senate Bill 408. The Florida Legislature will convene next week, and SB 408, the insurance bill, will probably generate some heated discussions. Two provisions in particular have garnered some strong opinions from insurance companies and policyholder advocates: claims payment, discussed in our last post, and sinkhole coverage.