Florida Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky Highlights Efforts to Promote a Stable and Competitive Insurance Market During 2023
Dec 29, 2023
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Today, Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) Commissioner Michael Yaworsky highlighted accomplishments made in 2023 to promote a stable and competitive insurance market for Florida’s policyholders. Commissioner Yaworsky was nominated by Governor DeSantis in February to serve as Insurance Commissioner and was formally appointed by the Financial Services Commission, comprised of the Governor, Attorney General Ashley Moody, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, and Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson in March.
The accomplishments follow the passage of bold reforms championed by Governor DeSantis’ and the Florida Legislature to reduce litigation, increase consumer choice, and ensure the long-term stability of the market.
“This year, Governor DeSantis signed historic legislation to strengthen Florida’s property insurance market, safeguard consumers following disasters, and promote accountability in how prescription drugs are delivered to patients,” said Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky. “As a result, OIR remained steadfast in our mission to promote stability and competition for consumers in the most complex insurance market in the world.”
Attracting New Business to the Market
Since Florida’s historic reforms were passed, OIR has approved seven relevant company actions to increase competition in Florida’s market including the approval of six additional property & casualty insurers to enter Florida’s market and the approval of the acquisition of an existing company to grow its footprint in the state. Condo Owners Reciprocal Exchange, the most recent approval, joins Orange Insurance Exchange, Orion180 Select Insurance Company, Orion180 Insurance Company, Mainsail Insurance Company, and Tailrow Insurance Companies as newly approved property and casualty insurers.
In accordance with OIR’s mission to promote a stable and competitive insurance market for consumers, OIR is continually working to attract more insurance-related companies, jobs, and capital to the Florida insurance market. OIR continues its business development efforts to bring additional insurers to the state through external outreach, expedient application review, getting products to market more expeditiously, implementing and providing guidance on recently passed legislation, and maintaining sophisticated regulatory technology.
OIR encourages companies to learn how to become authorized to sell insurance in Florida. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and OIR strives to conclude the review process of all complete applications within 60 days of submission. More information is available on OIR’s company admissions page. A full list of new entities approved to enter the Florida insurance market is available on OIR’s website here.
Implementing Florida’s Prescription Drug Reform Act
In May, Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 1550: the Prescription Drug Reform Act instituting increased transparency and accountability in Florida’s prescription drug market, including several regulatory best practices for all pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) seeking to continue operating in Florida.
In September, the Governor and fellow members of the Financial Services Commission approved rules to implement several provisions of the Prescription Drug Reform Act (SB 1550). The rules approved increased accountability among pharmaceutical middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). As signed by the Governor earlier this year, SB 1550 institutes the most comprehensive reforms to Florida’s prescription drug market in state history.
OIR sent correspondence to all PBMs currently operating in Florida reinforcing the updated requirements of Florida Law. OIR also issued additional information to all stakeholders outlining how PBMs must report appeals from network pharmacies and pharmacists and the forms for health plans and payors to annually attest compliance with Florida law. More information about the requirements for PBMs operating in Florida can be found on OIR’s website here.
Protecting Florida Policyholders When Disaster Strikes
In May, Governor DeSantis signed three bills that strengthen consumer protections within Florida’s property insurance market and expand the state’s home hardening and hazard mitigation programs. Highlights include:
- Clarifying that once a roof deductible is applied, no other deductible under the policy may be applied to any loss caused by the same covered peril.
- Tolling the time period for an individual deployed to a combat zone or combat support posting to file a property insurance claim for the duration of the deployment.
- Requiring property insurance mitigation discounts be updated at least every five years and requiring insurers to provide consumer-friendly information on their website describing hurricane mitigation discounts available to policyholders.
- Requiring liability insurers to follow proper claims handling practices on behalf of their policyholders and increasing penalties for insurers who don’t.
- Prohibiting any altering or amending of an adjuster’s report without providing a detailed explanation for any reduction of the loss estimate.
- Prohibiting officers and directors of impaired or insolvent insurers from receiving a bonus.
- Increasing the maximum administrative fines that may be levied by the OIR on insurance companies by 250 percent, and 500 percent for violations stemming from a state of emergency such as a hurricane.
- Requiring a property insurer’s residential rate filing to allow for mitigation discounts which reduce the potential for windstorm losses , including a requirement to provide reasonable discount, credit or appropriate rate reductions in deductibles for wind uplift prevention measures.
- Clarifying provisions included in Senate Bill 2A related to Citizen’s Property Insurance Corporation flood insurance coverage requirements.
- Expands eligibility for the My Safe Florida Home Program administered within the Department of Financial Services.
In July, OIR continued to implement consumer protection legislation by issuing guidance to all authorized residential property insurers notifying them of a requirement to submit an attestation stating they had created and used claims-handling manuals that met the requirements of the Florida Insurance Code. OIR also began issuing a Insurer Compliance report detailing all actions taken to enforce insurer compliance over the quarter.
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation Takeout Approvals
This year, OIR saw greater participation and interest in the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens) Depopulation Program. In 2023, OIR approved insurers to assume 650,399 policies from Citizens, which is more than an 800 percent increase from 2022.
Takeout, or depopulation, is the program the Florida Legislature created to reduce the number of Citizens’ insured properties and exposure. The program, created by section 627.351(6)(q), F.S., allows new and existing insurance companies to assume policies currently covered by Citizens in an attempt to transfer policies back to the private insurance market.
To assume policies from Citizens, private-market insurance companies must submit documentation to OIR verifying they meet OIR standards and have the financial resources and business plan in place to properly pay claims.
Decreasing Workers’ Compensation Rates
This year, OIR announced Florida businesses will see a reduction in workers’ compensation insurance rates for the seventh consecutive year. This reduction in workers’ compensation rates will lower insurance costs for employers in 2024.
In November, Florida Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky issued a Final Order granting approval to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) for a statewide overall workers’ compensation insurance rate decrease of 15.1 percent. The rate decrease applies to new and renewal workers’ compensation insurance policies effective in Florida as of January 1, 2024.
About the OIR
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has primary responsibility for regulation, compliance, and enforcement of statutes related to the business of insurance and the monitoring of industry markets. For more information about OIR, please visit our website or follow us on Twitter @FLOIR_comm.