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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) is highlighting the leadership efforts made in 2021 to protect Floridians.
“Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ leadership, the steps taken this year highlight Florida’s commitment to protecting insurance consumers,” said Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier. “In one of the most complex markets in the world, Florida has continued to pursue insurance regulatory efforts and reforms that remain focused on consumer protection and provide meaningful long-term stability to our markets.”
The following items highlight the actions taken in 2021.
The Florida property insurance market is one of the most complex in the world and has faced significant challenges over the past several years. During the 2021 Legislative Session, OIR’s goal was to provide the Florida Legislature, Governor and Cabinet with relevant data to address cost drivers in the market and serve as a helpful resource to provide proactive solutions.
Effective July 1, 2021, Senate Bill 76 helped provide critical insurance reform. Coupled with the passage of HB 7065 in 2019, Senate Bill 76 takes important steps to address the unique challenges facing the Florida property insurance market, address cost drivers within the market, and help stabilize rates for consumers. While these reforms will take time to take effect, OIR continues to closely monitor the market and look for additional regulatory and legislative tools to promote stability and ensure consumers are protected.
Consumers seeking to evaluate their coverage are encouraged to talk with their agent to find coverage that best suits their needs. Sample rates by county are available through the CHOICES rate comparison tool. As always, OIR’s goal is to ensure that insurance products are affordable, reliable, and available for Floridians.
Commissioner Altmaier served as President of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
Florida continues to serve as a nationwide model for the private flood insurance market.
In the 2021 Regular Session, Florida passed Senate Bill 728, Credit for Reinsurance.
Passed in 2020, House Bill 747 provides important protections for consumers accessing critical lifesaving air ambulance services.
Following the passage of the bill in 2020, a lawsuit was filed against the OIR to prohibit the law's enforcement. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2021. The successful dismissal of this lawsuit will ensure consumers are protected from extraordinary out-of-pocket expenses at a time when they need help most.
OIR’s emphasis continues to be on competition and consumer choice within the health insurance market.
Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier issued a Final Order granting approval to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) for a statewide overall workers’ compensation insurance rate decrease of 4.9%. The rate decrease applies to both new and renewal workers’ compensation insurance policies effective in Florida as of January 1, 2022.
Safer workplaces, innovative techniques, and improved risk management practices have resulted in the continued decline in workers compensation claims, ultimately benefitting Florida businesses.
Following the unimaginable collapse of Champlain Towers in Surfside, FL, OIR worked closely with Department of Financial Services (DFS), and the Insurance Consumer Advocate to assist consumers.
OIR will continue to work with DFS and the Insurance Consumer Advocate to ensure that insurers are adjusting and closing claims in an expeditious manner and monitor for long range impacts to this market.
In 2021, DFS requested that OIR conduct a market conduct operational audit to analyze claims handling practices of the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association (NICA), the association designed provide compensation for qualifying families. The audit was conducted in close consultation with Florida's Insurance Consumer Advocate to determine if NICA complied with its statutory mandate to finance the reimbursement of actual expenses incurred by participant family members for medically necessary and reasonable care.
The Board accepted all audit findings and indicated the report would serve as a valuable resource moving forward. Additionally, the Insurance Consumer Advocate agreed with the findings and recommendations within OIR’s audit, which are consistent with her recommendations to the Board.
OIR will continue to work with the NICA Board of Directors and staff to ensure the protection of participating families.