Senate 1884: Relating to Insurance

Bill No. SB 1884  -- Senator Bill Posey

Proposed Committee Substitute by the Committee on Banking and Insurance 

COMMITTEE ON: Banking and Insurance
ITEM: SB 1884
ACTION: Favorable/Committee Substitute
DATE: March 13, 2007
TIME: 9:15 a.m. -- 12:00 noon
PLACE: Room 412 Knott Building

1 A bill to be entitled

2 An act relating to insurance regulation;

3 amending s. 627.0613, F.S.; clarifying and 

4 revising the authority of the consumer advocate

5 within the Office of Insurance Regulation of

6 the Department of Financial Services; requiring

7 that the consumer advocate have access to

8 certain hurricane loss-projection models;

9 requiring the office to address recommendations

10 submitted by the consumer advocate with respect

11 to rate filings; requiring the consumer

12 advocate to conduct certain investigations;

13 authorizing the consumer advocate to subpoena

14 witnesses and records; requiring the consumer

15 advocate to seek review of certain agency

16 action under ch. 120, F.S.; requiring the

17 consumer advocate to research and analyze

18 insurance issues and disseminate information;

19 providing an effective date. 


21 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 


23 Section 1. Section 627.0613, Florida Statutes, as 

24 amended by section 17 of chapter 2007-1, Laws of Florida, is

25 amended to read:

26 627.0613 Consumer advocate.--The Chief Financial

27 Officer must appoint a consumer advocate who must represent

28 the general public of the state before the department and the

29 office. The consumer advocate must report directly to the

30 Chief Financial Officer, but is not otherwise under the

31 authority of the department or of any employee of the 

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1 department. The consumer advocate has such powers as are 

2 necessary to carry out the duties of the office of consumer 

3 advocate, including, but not limited to, the powers to: 

4 (1) Recommend to the department or office, by 

5 petition, the commencement of any proceeding or action; appear 

6 in any proceeding or action before the department or office 

7 and in appellate actions regarding those proceedings; and 

8 intervene as a party,or appear in any proceeding before the 

9 Division of Administrative Hearings or arbitration panel 

10 specified in s. 627.062(6) relating to subject matter under 

11 the jurisdiction of the department or office. 

12 (2) Have access to and use of all files, records, and 

13 data of the department or office, including any public model 

14 for hurricane loss projections developed pursuant to s. 

15 627.06281

16 (3) Examine rate and form filings submitted to the 

17 office, hire consultants as necessary to aid in the review 

18 process, and recommend to the department or office any 

19 position deemed by the consumer advocate to be in the public 

20 interest. In approving a rate or form filing, the office shall 

21 specifically address each recommendation submitted by the 

22 consumer advocate. 

23 (4) Prepare an annual report card for each authorized 

24 property insurer, on a form and using a letter-grade scale 

25 developed by the commission by rule, which grades each insurer 

26 based on the following factors: 

27 (a) The number and nature of consumer complaints 

28 received by the department against the insurer. 

29 (b) The disposition of all complaints received by the 

30 department. 

31 (c) The average length of time for payment of claims 


1 by the insurer. 

2 (d) Any other factors the commission identifies as 

3 assisting policyholders in making informed choices about 

4 homeowner's insurance. 

5 (5) Prepare an annual budget for presentation to the 

6 Legislature by the department, which budget must be adequate 

7 to carry out the duties of the office of consumer advocate. 

8 (6) Conduct investigations of insurance schemes, 

9 patterns or practices relating to unfair trade practices, 

10 unfair claims-handling practices, deceptive or misleading 

11 sales practices, or coercion or intimidation of insurance 

12 consumers. In carrying out investigations, the consumer 

13 advocate shall have the powers set forth in s. 624.321. If the 

14 consumer advocate believes further regulatory action should be 

15 taken, he or she shall refer the investigation to the office 

16 or department. If the office or department determines that no 

17 regulatory action is warranted, the office or department shall 

18 inform the consumer advocate, in writing, of the basis for its 

19 decision. An insurer that fails to comply with a subpoena is 

20 subject to disciplinary action under s. 624.418(2) in the same 

21 manner as if it had violated an order of the office or 

22 department or failed to submit its books and records for 

23 examination. 

24 (7) Seek review, pursuant to chapter 120, of any 

25 proposed agency action and any determination, finding, or 

26 order of the office, department, or commission in any 

27 proceeding in which the consumer advocate has participated as 

28 a party. 

29 (8) Research and analyze insurance issues from the 

30 perspective of consumers and prepare and disseminate such 

31 information as the consumer advocate considers appropriate to 


1 inform or assist consumers, the department, the office, and 

2 the commission. 

3 Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a 

4 law. 

CODING: Words stricken are deleted; words underlined are additions