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CFO Jeff Atwater Applauds Florida Senate Appropriations Committee for Passing Legislation that Creates Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights

3/13/2014

Contact: Chris Cate
(850) 413- 2842
 
TALLAHASSEE – Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today applauded the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee for passing legislation that creates a Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights that will notify consumers of their rights and responsibilities when filing an insurance claim. Senate Bill 708, which is a priority bill for CFO Atwater during the 2014 Legislative Session, also provides consumer protections for Floridians by addressing additional aspects of the homeowner claims process such as eliminating post-claim underwriting.
 
“I commend Senator Bean and Appropriations Chair Negron for leading the passage of legislation that enhances consumer protection, improves standards and lends greater transparency to the homeowner claims process,” said CFO Atwater. “The Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights is a much-needed resource for homeowners who need to know what to expect when they file a claim and the reassurance that they will be treated fairly during a stressful situation.”
 
The Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights will be required to be provided to any policyholder who files a claim and will reference current Florida law regarding claims handling in order to provide the policyholder with information of their rights in the claims process. The bill of rights will also inform policyholders of what they should expect and provide advice on the next steps they should take in the process.
 
Senate Bill 708, which passed unanimously, also eliminates post-claim underwriting. Insurers will be required to complete the underwriting process in 90 days and will be prohibited from denying a claim and/or canceling a policy based on the insured’s credit information after their policy has been in force for 90 days or longer.
 
Additionally, the legislation creates safeguards for Florida’s homeowners by requiring that mitigation, repair and restoration work paid for by insurance proceeds be performed by an individual or company possessing a valid certification or license. The bill also ensures appraisal umpire impartiality and provides the Department of Financial Services the ability to remove and discipline mediators who engage in inappropriate behavior.
 
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 Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government; reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses and providing transparency and accountability in state spending.