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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Chapter 633
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F.S. 633.126
633.126 Investigation of fraudulent insurance claims and crimes; immunity of insurance companies supplying information.
(1)(a) As used in this section, the term “consultant” means any individual or entity, or employee of the individual or entity, retained by an insurer to assist in the investigation of a fire, explosion, or suspected fraudulent insurance act.
(b) The State Fire Marshal or an agent appointed pursuant to s. 633.114, an agent of the Division of Investigative and Forensic Services, any law enforcement officer as defined in s. 111.065, any law enforcement officer of a federal agency, or any fire service provider official who is engaged in the investigation of a fire or explosion loss may request any insurance company or its agent, adjuster, employee, or attorney, investigating a claim under an insurance policy or contract with respect to a fire or explosion to release any information whatsoever in the possession of the insurance company or its agent, adjuster, employee, or attorney relative to a loss from that fire or explosion. The insurance company shall release the available information to and cooperate with any official authorized to request such information pursuant to this section. The information shall include, but shall not be limited to:
1. Any insurance policy relevant to a loss under investigation and any application for such a policy.
2. Any policy premium payment records.
3. The records, reports, and all material pertaining to any previous claims made by the insured with the reporting company.
4. Material relating to the investigation of the loss, including statements of a person, proof of loss, and other relevant evidence.
5. Memoranda, notes, and correspondence relating to the investigation of the loss in the possession of the insurance company or its agents, adjusters, employees, or attorneys.
(2) If an insurance company has reason to suspect that a fire or explosion loss to its insured’s real or personal property was caused by intentional means, the company shall notify the State Fire Marshal and shall furnish her or him with all material acquired by the company during its investigation. The State Fire Marshal may adopt rules to implement this subsection.
(3) In the absence of fraud, bad faith, or malice, a representative of or consultant to an insurance company or of the National Insurance Crime Bureau employed to adjust or investigate losses caused by fire or explosion is not liable for damages in a civil action for furnishing information concerning fires or explosions suspected to be other than accidental to investigators employed by other insurance companies or the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
(4) No insurance company or person who furnishes information on its behalf shall be liable for damages in a civil action or subject to criminal prosecution for any oral or written statement made or any other action taken that is necessary and required by the provisions of this section.
(5) At such time as the release of the investigative records is required by law, the official or agency in possession of such records shall provide written notice to the insurance company providing the information and to all parties, at least 10 days prior to releasing such records. Official, departmental, or agency personnel may discuss such matters with other official, departmental, or agency personnel, and any insurance company complying with this section, and may share such information, if such discussion is necessary to enable the orderly and efficient conduct of the investigation. These discussions are confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 286.011.
(6) The actions of an insurance company or of its agents, employees, adjusters, consultants, or attorneys, in complying with the statutory obligation of this section may not be construed by a court as a waiver or abandonment of any privilege or confidentiality of attorney work product, attorney-client communication, or such other privilege or immunity as is provided by law.
(7) Any official described in subsection (1) may be required to testify as to any information in her or his possession regarding an insurance loss in any civil action in which any person seeks recovery under a policy against an insurance company for an insurance loss, subject to the provisions of subsection (6).
(8) No person may intentionally refuse to release any information requested pursuant to this section.
(9) If an insurance company fails or otherwise refuses to comply with this section, the department may impose an administrative fine of not more than $2,000 per day for such failure until the department deems the insurance company to be in compliance.
(10) The Division of Investigative and Forensic Services may adopt reasonable rules as are necessary to administer this section. Such rules must meet all of the following requirements:
(a) They may not enlarge upon or extend the provisions of this section.
(b) They must identify specific factors that determine the grades of penalty.
(c) They must specify mitigating and aggravating factors for a violation of this section.
History.s. 2, ch. 78-149; s. 1, ch. 83-96; s. 3, ch. 88-222; s. 158, ch. 91-224; s. 2, ch. 93-112; s. 15, ch. 95-379; s. 392, ch. 96-406; s. 1744, ch. 97-102; s. 3, ch. 97-124; s. 13, ch. 2013-183; s. 33, ch. 2016-165; s. 4, ch. 2022-169.
Note.Former s. 633.175.