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Insurance to emerge as key topic during 2017 legislative session

Thu Mar 16th, 2017 on     Insurance Law,    

It may seem hard to believe, but tomorrow marks the start of the 2017 legislative session, meaning lawmakers in both chambers — the Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives — will be convening in Tallahassee for what promises to be an entertaining two months.

While they will be addressing such traditional issues as education, health care and, of course, the budget, they will also be tackling some other topics that don’t often receive the attention they perhaps deserve or that are entirely novel, including medical marijuana, gambling and, of course, insurance.

As we previously discussed on our blog, two insurance concerns that state lawmakers are likely to consider this session are the potential repeal of personal injury protection and abuse of assignments of benefits agreements. Indeed, both Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier and state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corporation have identified this latter concern as their top priority.

It’s worth noting, however, that there will be other important insurance-related items on the legislative agenda in the coming 60 days, including the following:

  • Senate Bill 262: Under existing law, HMOs are exempt from liability for the patient treatment decisions made by the physicians with whom they contract. SB 262 would change this by enabling patients to file a lawsuit against an HMO for bad faith coverage rejections of treatment decisions made by their physician.
  • Senate Bill 420: Under existing law, insurance companies are able to offer their own policies as a cost-effective alternative to federal coverage without waiting for a review by the Office of Insurance Regulation until 2019. SB 420 would extend this ability to proceed without review to 2025.
  • House Bill 221: There are currently no regulations governing transportation network companies like Lyft and Uber in the Sunshine State. HB 221 would change this by introducing just such a system of regulations, including a requirement that these TNCs insure every car.
  • House Bill 469: Under existing law, plaintiffs are only able to recover prejudgment interest when provided for by contract or for economic claims. HB 469 would change this by allowing plaintiffs to recover prejudgment interest on non-economic claims like pain and suffering at a set rate of 4.9 percent (adjusted for inflation) from the date the loss is sustained.

Stay tuned for updates on these and other important insurance-related legislation …

If you have questions or concerns regarding any insurance law matter, consider contacting an experienced legal professional to learn more about your options.

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