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Florida Insurance Regulator Eases Policy Form Certification Requirement

On December 3, Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty issued an “Order Exempting Specified Forms From the Requirements of Section 627.410, Florida Statutes” allowing property insurance companies to make changes to their policies without a stringent review from state regulators. The Order is effective now through June 24, 2013.

The Order found that legislative changes requiring more filings from insurers had taxed the resources of the Office of Insurance Regulation (“OIR”) to review the filing. This triggered OIR’s statutory authority to excuse companies from obtaining OIR approval prior to use of new forms. Under OIR’s executive order companies can now use revised forms 30 days after an informational filing with OIR, provided the companies certify compliance with applicable Florida statute law.  

This would remove a major hurdle to the adoption of policy forms under the expedited file and use system established by the OIR in an administrative order issued last spring. Specifically, the problem has been a requirement that the carrier certify under sworn oath that the proposed form complies with Florida statutes, administrative law and all case law, including recent district appeals court decisions. The Order removes this requirement that insurance executives must certify that their filing abides by current case law.

Governor Rick Scott is pleased with the new Order stating, “The self-certification process will no longer require the ‘certificate of compliance’ with certain case law, a commonsense reform to an unneeded bureaucratic requirement. This simple change creates a meaningful “use and file” system in Florida. It will help companies cut costs and create savings that can be passed on to Florida families.”

Not everybody is happy. Consumer advocate, Sean Shaw, stated that “It’s a dangerous day in Florida when the Office of Insurance Regulation turns into the office of blind trust because they lack resources to independently verify form filings from insurance companies.”

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