On April 20, 2009, the Florida Senate Finance and Tax Committee (the “Senate Committee”) passed an amended Senate Bill 1894 (the “Senate Bill”) by a vote of 3-2. The Senate Bill approved by the Senate Committee did not include proposed amendments by Senators Jeremy Ring (D) and Charlie Justice (D) that would have subjected surplus lines insurers to claims administration requirements, deleted the retroactivity provision, and required surplus lines brokers to file a statement under oath that a diligent search was conducted. As such, the vote was split along party lines, with Senators Thad Altman (R), Michael S. Bennett (R) and Ken Pruitt (R) voting in favor of the Amended Bill, and Senators Ring and Justice voting against it. For additional background regarding the amendments proposed since the original filing of the Senate Bill, click here and here.
The Senate Bill will next be reviewed by the Senate General Government Appropriations Committee, and then the Senate Policy & Steering Committee on Ways and Means, before potentially making its way to the Senate floor for a vote.
Meanwhile, companion legislation, House Bill 853 (the “House Bill”), was also heard before the House General Government Policy Council (the “House Committee”) on April 20, 2009. The House Committee passed the House Bill by a vote of 13-2. The House Bill, which had not been amended since its introduction, now requires that surplus lines policies include disclosures that they are not subject to rate and form approval, and regarding an insureds’ liability if the policy has a deductible or co-pay.
The House Bill will now head to the House floor for a vote.