On February 7, 2011, the Florida Senate and Banking Insurance Committee passed S.B. 178 (the “Bill”) by a vote of 8-2. The Bill would amend Florida’s current rate filing laws to allow for the “use and file” of rates for commercial motor vehicle insurance covering fleets of less than 20 vehicles, fiduciary liability, general liability, nonresidential property, nonresidential multiperil and excess property insurance. The change to commercial motor vehicle insurance would be an extension of the current exemption for fleets of 20 or more vehicles.

Under a “use and file” system, insurers would be permitted to change rates provided that they notify the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (“FOIR”) within 30 days after the effective date of the change. Currently, any changes in rates for the coverages listed above require prior approval from the FOIR, which typically takes 60 to 90 days. If a rate change is denied under the “use and file” system, the insurer is required to refund the excess amounts charged to the insured.

The Bill would also make changes to insurers’ record keeping requirements for these coverages. Insurers would only be required to maintain the actuarial data related to rate changes for 2 years instead of the underwriting files and statistics for premiums, losses, expenses and exposures.

S.B. 178 must still be passed by a vote from the entire Florida Senate, and companion legislation, H. 0099, is currently being reviewed by the Florida House of Representatives Insurance and Banking Subcommittee.

Click here to view the text of S.B. 178.