The Florida legislature passed two bills on April 30, 2021 that will make major changes to the Florida auto and property insurance markets. The Governor is expected to sign both bills.
Setting aside issues that affect underwriting and pricing, from a claims standpoint those changes include:
1. In order to obtain attorneys’ fees the insureds’ attorneys will have to prove the judgment they recover exceeds the pre-suit offer made by the insurer.
2. Reducing the deadline for submitting a first party claim to from three (3) years to two (2) years from the date of loss except for supplemental claims which will have an additional year.
3. Requiring plaintiffs to file a pre-suit demand at least ten (10) days before filing suit. The demand must include detailed estimates for damages. The insurer must be allowed to make a coverage determination before suit. The insurer may require mediation or other alternative dispute resolution before suit is filed.
4. There are also limitations that prohibit roofers from soliciting claims, offering anything of value in return for performing a roof inspection, or offering to adjust the claim on the insured’s behalf. It also requires detailed costs estimates for any repair.
Item 3 will expand the strategic options for handling first party property claims pre-suit. The response to a 10-day pre-suit demand may indicate any unresolved coverage issues and insist upon their resolution before suit is filed. Options for filing declaratory judgment to resolve coverage issues within the 10-day notice period should be considered. The insurer may insist upon mediation or arbitration of damage or other issues before suit is filed.
Nothing appears to have changed the appraisal process in Florida and so that troubling area may need to be addressed in future legislative sessions.
Contact us if you have any questions.
Robert Darroch (941) 806-2980.