The Florida Senate must have taken a page from Insurance Company Declares War on Public Adjusters, as a recently filed Senate Bill SB 1714 prevents Citizens policyholders from hiring public adjusters. Since Citizens claims it is already immune from damages it causes while breaching good faith claims duties, policyholders would certainly lose if this bill becomes law. It would be easier for Citizens to reduce its claims costs by taking advantage of its policyholders after losses are suffered.
Julie Patel provided the highlights of the proposed legislation in Hefty Rate Hikes Proposed for Citizens Insurance Policyholders:
Allow policyholders’ premiums to rise by up to 25 percent, not including rates for sinkhole coverage or for private catastrophe backup coverage.
Prohibit policies for customers who find coverage from a private insurer that charges up to 25 percent more.
Require Citizens to drop policies covering homes that cost $500,000 or more to replace by 2016. The deadline would be a few years earlier for homes that cost $750,000 or more to rebuild.
Bar Citizens policyholders from hiring public insurance adjusters to represent them in claims disputes.
Require Citizens to consider outsourcing more of its work, similar to state-backed insurers in other states. The insurer would hire a consultant to make recommendations on the costs and benefits of outsourcing, have its board submit a plan to the Cabinet for approval, and start implementing the plan by 2013.
Some public adjusters may think this legislation will never have a chance of passing. I suggest they read Vote held by Sawgrass Mutual: Policyholders elect to bar themselves from using public insurance adjusters, but were they informed? and get in touch with the hardworking and dedicated leadership of the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters to see what they can do to better inform their legislators.