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The Florida Statutes

The 2016 Florida Statutes

Title XXXVII
INSURANCE
Chapter 627
INSURANCE RATES AND CONTRACTS
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F.S. 627.351
627.351 Insurance risk apportionment plans.
(1) MOTOR VEHICLE INSURANCE RISK APPORTIONMENT.Agreements may be made among casualty and surety insurers with respect to the equitable apportionment among them of insurance which may be afforded applicants who are in good faith entitled to, but are unable to, procure such insurance through ordinary methods, and such insurers may agree among themselves on the use of reasonable rate modifications for such insurance. Such agreements and rate modifications shall be subject to the approval of the office. The office shall, after consultation with the insurers licensed to write automobile liability insurance in this state, adopt a reasonable plan or plans for the equitable apportionment among such insurers of applicants for such insurance who are in good faith entitled to, but are unable to, procure such insurance through ordinary methods, and, when such plan has been adopted, all such insurers shall subscribe thereto and shall participate therein. Such plan or plans shall include rules for classification of risks and rates therefor. The plan or plans shall make available noncancelable coverage as provided in s. 627.7275(2). Any insured placed with the plan shall be notified of the fact that insurance coverage is being afforded through the plan and not through the private market, and such notification shall be given in writing within 10 days of such placement. To assure that plan rates are made adequate to pay claims and expenses, insurers shall develop a means of obtaining loss and expense experience at least annually, and the plan shall file such experience, when available, with the office in sufficient detail to make a determination of rate adequacy. Prior to the filing of such experience with the office, the plan shall poll each member insurer as to the need for an actuary who is a member of the Casualty Actuarial Society and who is not affiliated with the plan’s statistical agent to certify the plan’s rate adequacy. If a majority of those insurers responding indicate a need for such certification, the plan shall include the certification as part of its experience filing. Such experience shall be filed with the office not more than 9 months following the end of the annual statistical period under review, together with a rate filing based on said experience. The office shall initiate proceedings to disapprove the rate and so notify the plan or shall finalize its review within 60 days of receipt of the filing. Notification to the plan by the office of its preliminary findings, which include a point of entry to the plan pursuant to chapter 120, shall toll the 60-day period during any such proceedings and subsequent judicial review. The rate shall be deemed approved if the office does not issue notice to the plan of its preliminary findings within 60 days of the filing. In addition to provisions for claims and expenses, the ratemaking formula shall include a factor for projected claims trending and 5 percent for contingencies. In no instance shall the formula include a renewal discount for plan insureds. However, the plan shall reunderwrite each insured on an annual basis, based upon all applicable rating factors approved by the office. Trend factors shall not be found to be inappropriate if not in excess of trend factors normally used in the development of residual market rates by the appropriate licensed rating organization. Each application for coverage in the plan shall include, in boldfaced 12-point type immediately preceding the applicant’s signature, the following statement:

“THIS INSURANCE IS BEING AFFORDED THROUGH THE FLORIDA JOINT UNDERWRITING ASSOCIATION AND NOT THROUGH THE PRIVATE MARKET. PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT COVERAGE WITH A PRIVATE INSURER MAY BE AVAILABLE FROM ANOTHER AGENT AT A LOWER COST. AGENT AND COMPANY LISTINGS ARE AVAILABLE IN THE LOCAL YELLOW PAGES.”

The plan shall annually report to the office the number and percentage of plan insureds who are not surcharged due to their driving record.

(2) WINDSTORM INSURANCE RISK APPORTIONMENT.
(a) Agreements may be made among property insurers with respect to the equitable apportionment among them of insurance which may be afforded applicants who are in good faith entitled to, but are unable to procure, such insurance through ordinary methods; and such insurers may agree among themselves on the use of reasonable rate modifications for such insurance. Such agreements and rate modifications shall be subject to the applicable provisions of this chapter.
(b) The department shall require all insurers holding a certificate of authority to transact property insurance on a direct basis in this state, other than joint underwriting associations and other entities formed pursuant to this section, to provide windstorm coverage to applicants from areas determined to be eligible pursuant to paragraph (c) who in good faith are entitled to, but are unable to procure, such coverage through ordinary means; or it shall adopt a reasonable plan or plans for the equitable apportionment or sharing among such insurers of windstorm coverage, which may include formation of an association for this purpose. As used in this subsection, the term “property insurance” means insurance on real or personal property, as defined in s. 624.604, including insurance for fire, industrial fire, allied lines, farmowners multiperil, homeowners multiperil, commercial multiperil, and mobile homes, and including liability coverages on all such insurance, but excluding inland marine as defined in s. 624.607(3) and excluding vehicle insurance as defined in s. 624.605(1)(a) other than insurance on mobile homes used as permanent dwellings. The department shall adopt rules that provide a formula for the recovery and repayment of any deferred assessments.
1. For the purpose of this section, properties eligible for such windstorm coverage are defined as dwellings, buildings, and other structures, including mobile homes which are used as dwellings and which are tied down in compliance with mobile home tie-down requirements prescribed by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles pursuant to s. 320.8325, and the contents of all such properties. An applicant or policyholder is eligible for coverage only if an offer of coverage cannot be obtained by or for the applicant or policyholder from an admitted insurer at approved rates.
2.a.(I) All insurers required to be members of such association shall participate in its writings, expenses, and losses. Surplus of the association shall be retained for the payment of claims and shall not be distributed to the member insurers. Such participation by member insurers shall be in the proportion that the net direct premiums of each member insurer written for property insurance in this state during the preceding calendar year bear to the aggregate net direct premiums for property insurance of all member insurers, as reduced by any credits for voluntary writings, in this state during the preceding calendar year. For the purposes of this subsection, the term “net direct premiums” means direct written premiums for property insurance, reduced by premium for liability coverage and for the following if included in allied lines: rain and hail on growing crops; livestock; association direct premiums booked; National Flood Insurance Program direct premiums; and similar deductions specifically authorized by the plan of operation and approved by the department. A member’s participation shall begin on the first day of the calendar year following the year in which it is issued a certificate of authority to transact property insurance in the state and shall terminate 1 year after the end of the calendar year during which it no longer holds a certificate of authority to transact property insurance in the state. The commissioner, after review of annual statements, other reports, and any other statistics that the commissioner deems necessary, shall certify to the association the aggregate direct premiums written for property insurance in this state by all member insurers.
(II) Effective July 1, 2002, the association shall operate subject to the supervision and approval of a board of governors who are the same individuals that have been appointed by the Treasurer to serve on the board of governors of the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.
(III) The plan of operation shall provide a formula whereby a company voluntarily providing windstorm coverage in affected areas will be relieved wholly or partially from apportionment of a regular assessment pursuant to sub-sub-subparagraph d.(I) or sub-sub-subparagraph d.(II).
(IV) A company which is a member of a group of companies under common management may elect to have its credits applied on a group basis, and any company or group may elect to have its credits applied to any other company or group.
(V) There shall be no credits or relief from apportionment to a company for emergency assessments collected from its policyholders under sub-sub-subparagraph d.(III).
(VI) The plan of operation may also provide for the award of credits, for a period not to exceed 3 years, from a regular assessment pursuant to sub-sub-subparagraph d.(I) or sub-sub-subparagraph d.(II) as an incentive for taking policies out of the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association. In order to qualify for the exemption under this sub-sub-subparagraph, the take-out plan must provide that at least 40 percent of the policies removed from the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association cover risks located in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties or at least 30 percent of the policies so removed cover risks located in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties and an additional 50 percent of the policies so removed cover risks located in other coastal counties, and must also provide that no more than 15 percent of the policies so removed may exclude windstorm coverage. With the approval of the department, the association may waive these geographic criteria for a take-out plan that removes at least the lesser of 100,000 Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association policies or 15 percent of the total number of Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association policies, provided the governing board of the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association certifies that the take-out plan will materially reduce the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association’s 100-year probable maximum loss from hurricanes. With the approval of the department, the board may extend such credits for an additional year if the insurer guarantees an additional year of renewability for all policies removed from the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association, or for 2 additional years if the insurer guarantees 2 additional years of renewability for all policies removed from the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association.
b. Assessments to pay deficits in the association under this subparagraph shall be included as an appropriate factor in the making of rates as provided in s. 627.3512.
c. The Legislature finds that the potential for unlimited deficit assessments under this subparagraph may induce insurers to attempt to reduce their writings in the voluntary market, and that such actions would worsen the availability problems that the association was created to remedy. It is the intent of the Legislature that insurers remain fully responsible for paying regular assessments and collecting emergency assessments for any deficits of the association; however, it is also the intent of the Legislature to provide a means by which assessment liabilities may be amortized over a period of years.
d.(I) When the deficit incurred in a particular calendar year is 10 percent or less of the aggregate statewide direct written premium for property insurance for the prior calendar year for all member insurers, the association shall levy an assessment on member insurers in an amount equal to the deficit.
(II) When the deficit incurred in a particular calendar year exceeds 10 percent of the aggregate statewide direct written premium for property insurance for the prior calendar year for all member insurers, the association shall levy an assessment on member insurers in an amount equal to the greater of 10 percent of the deficit or 10 percent of the aggregate statewide direct written premium for property insurance for the prior calendar year for member insurers. Any remaining deficit shall be recovered through emergency assessments under sub-sub-subparagraph (III).
(III) Upon a determination by the board of directors that a deficit exceeds the amount that will be recovered through regular assessments on member insurers, pursuant to sub-sub-subparagraph (I) or sub-sub-subparagraph (II), the board shall levy, after verification by the department, emergency assessments to be collected by member insurers and by underwriting associations created pursuant to this section which write property insurance, upon issuance or renewal of property insurance policies other than National Flood Insurance policies in the year or years following levy of the regular assessments. The amount of the emergency assessment collected in a particular year shall be a uniform percentage of that year’s direct written premium for property insurance for all member insurers and underwriting associations, excluding National Flood Insurance policy premiums, as annually determined by the board and verified by the department. The department shall verify the arithmetic calculations involved in the board’s determination within 30 days after receipt of the information on which the determination was based. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, each member insurer and each underwriting association created pursuant to this section shall collect emergency assessments from its policyholders without such obligation being affected by any credit, limitation, exemption, or deferment. The emergency assessments so collected shall be transferred directly to the association on a periodic basis as determined by the association. The aggregate amount of emergency assessments levied under this sub-sub-subparagraph in any calendar year may not exceed the greater of 10 percent of the amount needed to cover the original deficit, plus interest, fees, commissions, required reserves, and other costs associated with financing of the original deficit, or 10 percent of the aggregate statewide direct written premium for property insurance written by member insurers and underwriting associations for the prior year, plus interest, fees, commissions, required reserves, and other costs associated with financing the original deficit. The board may pledge the proceeds of the emergency assessments under this sub-sub-subparagraph as the source of revenue for bonds, to retire any other debt incurred as a result of the deficit or events giving rise to the deficit, or in any other way that the board determines will efficiently recover the deficit. The emergency assessments under this sub-sub-subparagraph shall continue as long as any bonds issued or other indebtedness incurred with respect to a deficit for which the assessment was imposed remain outstanding, unless adequate provision has been made for the payment of such bonds or other indebtedness pursuant to the document governing such bonds or other indebtedness. Emergency assessments collected under this sub-sub-subparagraph are not part of an insurer’s rates, are not premium, and are not subject to premium tax, fees, or commissions; however, failure to pay the emergency assessment shall be treated as failure to pay premium.
(IV) Each member insurer’s share of the total regular assessments under sub-sub-subparagraph (I) or sub-sub-subparagraph (II) shall be in the proportion that the insurer’s net direct premium for property insurance in this state, for the year preceding the assessment bears to the aggregate statewide net direct premium for property insurance of all member insurers, as reduced by any credits for voluntary writings for that year.
(V) If regular deficit assessments are made under sub-sub-subparagraph (I) or sub-sub-subparagraph (II), or by the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association under sub-subparagraph (6)(b)3.a., the association shall levy upon the association’s policyholders, as part of its next rate filing, or by a separate rate filing solely for this purpose, a market equalization surcharge in a percentage equal to the total amount of such regular assessments divided by the aggregate statewide direct written premium for property insurance for member insurers for the prior calendar year. Market equalization surcharges under this sub-sub-subparagraph are not considered premium and are not subject to commissions, fees, or premium taxes; however, failure to pay a market equalization surcharge shall be treated as failure to pay premium.
e. The governing body of any unit of local government, any residents of which are insured under the plan, may issue bonds as defined in s. 125.013 or s. 166.101 to fund an assistance program, in conjunction with the association, for the purpose of defraying deficits of the association. In order to avoid needless and indiscriminate proliferation, duplication, and fragmentation of such assistance programs, any unit of local government, any residents of which are insured by the association, may provide for the payment of losses, regardless of whether or not the losses occurred within or outside of the territorial jurisdiction of the local government. Revenue bonds may not be issued until validated pursuant to chapter 75, unless a state of emergency is declared by executive order or proclamation of the Governor pursuant to s. 252.36 making such findings as are necessary to determine that it is in the best interests of, and necessary for, the protection of the public health, safety, and general welfare of residents of this state and the protection and preservation of the economic stability of insurers operating in this state, and declaring it an essential public purpose to permit certain municipalities or counties to issue bonds as will provide relief to claimants and policyholders of the association and insurers responsible for apportionment of plan losses. Any such unit of local government may enter into such contracts with the association and with any other entity created pursuant to this subsection as are necessary to carry out this paragraph. Any bonds issued under this sub-subparagraph shall be payable from and secured by moneys received by the association from assessments under this subparagraph, and assigned and pledged to or on behalf of the unit of local government for the benefit of the holders of such bonds. The funds, credit, property, and taxing power of the state or of the unit of local government shall not be pledged for the payment of such bonds. If any of the bonds remain unsold 60 days after issuance, the department shall require all insurers subject to assessment to purchase the bonds, which shall be treated as admitted assets; each insurer shall be required to purchase that percentage of the unsold portion of the bond issue that equals the insurer’s relative share of assessment liability under this subsection. An insurer shall not be required to purchase the bonds to the extent that the department determines that the purchase would endanger or impair the solvency of the insurer. The authority granted by this sub-subparagraph is additional to any bonding authority granted by subparagraph 6.
3. The plan shall also provide that any member with a surplus as to policyholders of $25 million or less writing 25 percent or more of its total countrywide property insurance premiums in this state may petition the department, within the first 90 days of each calendar year, to qualify as a limited apportionment company. The apportionment of such a member company in any calendar year for which it is qualified shall not exceed its gross participation, which shall not be affected by the formula for voluntary writings. In no event shall a limited apportionment company be required to participate in any apportionment of losses pursuant to sub-sub-subparagraph 2.d.(I) or sub-sub-subparagraph 2.d.(II) in the aggregate which exceeds $50 million after payment of available plan funds in any calendar year. However, a limited apportionment company shall collect from its policyholders any emergency assessment imposed under sub-sub-subparagraph 2.d.(III). The plan shall provide that, if the department determines that any regular assessment will result in an impairment of the surplus of a limited apportionment company, the department may direct that all or part of such assessment be deferred. However, there shall be no limitation or deferment of an emergency assessment to be collected from policyholders under sub-sub-subparagraph 2.d.(III).
4. The plan shall provide for the deferment, in whole or in part, of a regular assessment of a member insurer under sub-sub-subparagraph 2.d.(I) or sub-sub-subparagraph 2.d.(II), but not for an emergency assessment collected from policyholders under sub-sub-subparagraph 2.d.(III), if, in the opinion of the commissioner, payment of such regular assessment would endanger or impair the solvency of the member insurer. In the event a regular assessment against a member insurer is deferred in whole or in part, the amount by which such assessment is deferred may be assessed against the other member insurers in a manner consistent with the basis for assessments set forth in sub-sub-subparagraph 2.d.(I) or sub-sub-subparagraph 2.d.(II).
5.a. The plan of operation may include deductibles and rules for classification of risks and rate modifications consistent with the objective of providing and maintaining funds sufficient to pay catastrophe losses.
b. It is the intent of the Legislature that the rates for coverage provided by the association be actuarially sound and not competitive with approved rates charged in the admitted voluntary market such that the association functions as a residual market mechanism to provide insurance only when the insurance cannot be procured in the voluntary market. The plan of operation shall provide a mechanism to assure that, beginning no later than January 1, 1999, the rates charged by the association for each line of business are reflective of approved rates in the voluntary market for hurricane coverage for each line of business in the various areas eligible for association coverage.
c. The association shall provide for windstorm coverage on residential properties in limits up to $10 million for commercial lines residential risks and up to $1 million for personal lines residential risks. If coverage with the association is sought for a residential risk valued in excess of these limits, coverage shall be available to the risk up to the replacement cost or actual cash value of the property, at the option of the insured, if coverage for the risk cannot be located in the authorized market. The association must accept a commercial lines residential risk with limits above $10 million or a personal lines residential risk with limits above $1 million if coverage is not available in the authorized market. The association may write coverage above the limits specified in this subparagraph with or without facultative or other reinsurance coverage, as the association determines appropriate.
d. The plan of operation must provide objective criteria and procedures, approved by the department, to be uniformly applied for all applicants in determining whether an individual risk is so hazardous as to be uninsurable. In making this determination and in establishing the criteria and procedures, the following shall be considered:
(I) Whether the likelihood of a loss for the individual risk is substantially higher than for other risks of the same class; and
(II) Whether the uncertainty associated with the individual risk is such that an appropriate premium cannot be determined.

The acceptance or rejection of a risk by the association pursuant to such criteria and procedures must be construed as the private placement of insurance, and the provisions of chapter 120 do not apply.

e. If the risk accepts an offer of coverage through the market assistance program or through a mechanism established by the association, either before the policy is issued by the association or during the first 30 days of coverage by the association, and the producing agent who submitted the application to the association is not currently appointed by the insurer, the insurer shall:
(I) Pay to the producing agent of record of the policy, for the first year, an amount that is the greater of the insurer’s usual and customary commission for the type of policy written or a fee equal to the usual and customary commission of the association; or
(II) Offer to allow the producing agent of record of the policy to continue servicing the policy for a period of not less than 1 year and offer to pay the agent the greater of the insurer’s or the association’s usual and customary commission for the type of policy written.

If the producing agent is unwilling or unable to accept appointment, the new insurer shall pay the agent in accordance with sub-sub-subparagraph (I). Subject to the provisions of s. 627.3517, the policies issued by the association must provide that if the association obtains an offer from an authorized insurer to cover the risk at its approved rates under either a standard policy including wind coverage or, if consistent with the insurer’s underwriting rules as filed with the department, a basic policy including wind coverage, the risk is no longer eligible for coverage through the association. Upon termination of eligibility, the association shall provide written notice to the policyholder and agent of record stating that the association policy must be canceled as of 60 days after the date of the notice because of the offer of coverage from an authorized insurer. Other provisions of the insurance code relating to cancellation and notice of cancellation do not apply to actions under this sub-subparagraph.

f. When the association enters into a contractual agreement for a take-out plan, the producing agent of record of the association policy is entitled to retain any unearned commission on the policy, and the insurer shall:
(I) Pay to the producing agent of record of the association policy, for the first year, an amount that is the greater of the insurer’s usual and customary commission for the type of policy written or a fee equal to the usual and customary commission of the association; or
(II) Offer to allow the producing agent of record of the association policy to continue servicing the policy for a period of not less than 1 year and offer to pay the agent the greater of the insurer’s or the association’s usual and customary commission for the type of policy written.

If the producing agent is unwilling or unable to accept appointment, the new insurer shall pay the agent in accordance with sub-sub-subparagraph (I).

6.a. The plan of operation may authorize the formation of a private nonprofit corporation, a private nonprofit unincorporated association, a partnership, a trust, a limited liability company, or a nonprofit mutual company which may be empowered, among other things, to borrow money by issuing bonds or by incurring other indebtedness and to accumulate reserves or funds to be used for the payment of insured catastrophe losses. The plan may authorize all actions necessary to facilitate the issuance of bonds, including the pledging of assessments or other revenues.
b. Any entity created under this subsection, or any entity formed for the purposes of this subsection, may sue and be sued, may borrow money; issue bonds, notes, or debt instruments; pledge or sell assessments, market equalization surcharges and other surcharges, rights, premiums, contractual rights, projected recoveries from the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, other reinsurance recoverables, and other assets as security for such bonds, notes, or debt instruments; enter into any contracts or agreements necessary or proper to accomplish such borrowings; and take other actions necessary to carry out the purposes of this subsection. The association may issue bonds or incur other indebtedness, or have bonds issued on its behalf by a unit of local government pursuant to subparagraph (6)(q)2., in the absence of a hurricane or other weather-related event, upon a determination by the association subject to approval by the department that such action would enable it to efficiently meet the financial obligations of the association and that such financings are reasonably necessary to effectuate the requirements of this subsection. Any such entity may accumulate reserves and retain surpluses as of the end of any association year to provide for the payment of losses incurred by the association during that year or any future year. The association shall incorporate and continue the plan of operation and articles of agreement in effect on the effective date of chapter 76-96, Laws of Florida, to the extent that it is not inconsistent with chapter 76-96, and as subsequently modified consistent with chapter 76-96. The board of directors and officers currently serving shall continue to serve until their successors are duly qualified as provided under the plan. The assets and obligations of the plan in effect immediately prior to the effective date of chapter 76-96 shall be construed to be the assets and obligations of the successor plan created herein.
c. In recognition of s. 10, Art. I of the State Constitution, prohibiting the impairment of obligations of contracts, it is the intent of the Legislature that no action be taken whose purpose is to impair any bond indenture or financing agreement or any revenue source committed by contract to such bond or other indebtedness issued or incurred by the association or any other entity created under this subsection.
7. On such coverage, an agent’s remuneration shall be that amount of money payable to the agent by the terms of his or her contract with the company with which the business is placed. However, no commission will be paid on that portion of the premium which is in excess of the standard premium of that company.
8. Subject to approval by the department, the association may establish different eligibility requirements and operational procedures for any line or type of coverage for any specified eligible area or portion of an eligible area if the board determines that such changes to the eligibility requirements and operational procedures are justified due to the voluntary market being sufficiently stable and competitive in such area or for such line or type of coverage and that consumers who, in good faith, are unable to obtain insurance through the voluntary market through ordinary methods would continue to have access to coverage from the association. When coverage is sought in connection with a real property transfer, such requirements and procedures shall not provide for an effective date of coverage later than the date of the closing of the transfer as established by the transferor, the transferee, and, if applicable, the lender.
9. Notwithstanding any other provision of law:
a. The pledge or sale of, the lien upon, and the security interest in any rights, revenues, or other assets of the association created or purported to be created pursuant to any financing documents to secure any bonds or other indebtedness of the association shall be and remain valid and enforceable, notwithstanding the commencement of and during the continuation of, and after, any rehabilitation, insolvency, liquidation, bankruptcy, receivership, conservatorship, reorganization, or similar proceeding against the association under the laws of this state or any other applicable laws.
b. No such proceeding shall relieve the association of its obligation, or otherwise affect its ability to perform its obligation, to continue to collect, or levy and collect, assessments, market equalization or other surcharges, projected recoveries from the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, reinsurance recoverables, or any other rights, revenues, or other assets of the association pledged.
c. Each such pledge or sale of, lien upon, and security interest in, including the priority of such pledge, lien, or security interest, any such assessments, emergency assessments, market equalization or renewal surcharges, projected recoveries from the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, reinsurance recoverables, or other rights, revenues, or other assets which are collected, or levied and collected, after the commencement of and during the pendency of or after any such proceeding shall continue unaffected by such proceeding.
d. As used in this subsection, the term “financing documents” means any agreement, instrument, or other document now existing or hereafter created evidencing any bonds or other indebtedness of the association or pursuant to which any such bonds or other indebtedness has been or may be issued and pursuant to which any rights, revenues, or other assets of the association are pledged or sold to secure the repayment of such bonds or indebtedness, together with the payment of interest on such bonds or such indebtedness, or the payment of any other obligation of the association related to such bonds or indebtedness.
e. Any such pledge or sale of assessments, revenues, contract rights or other rights or assets of the association shall constitute a lien and security interest, or sale, as the case may be, that is immediately effective and attaches to such assessments, revenues, contract, or other rights or assets, whether or not imposed or collected at the time the pledge or sale is made. Any such pledge or sale is effective, valid, binding, and enforceable against the association or other entity making such pledge or sale, and valid and binding against and superior to any competing claims or obligations owed to any other person or entity, including policyholders in this state, asserting rights in any such assessments, revenues, contract, or other rights or assets to the extent set forth in and in accordance with the terms of the pledge or sale contained in the applicable financing documents, whether or not any such person or entity has notice of such pledge or sale and without the need for any physical delivery, recordation, filing, or other action.
f. There shall be no liability on the part of, and no cause of action of any nature shall arise against, any member insurer or its agents or employees, agents or employees of the association, members of the board of directors of the association, or the department or its representatives, for any action taken by them in the performance of their duties or responsibilities under this subsection. Such immunity does not apply to actions for breach of any contract or agreement pertaining to insurance, or any willful tort.
(c) The provisions of paragraph (b) are applicable only with respect to:
1. Those areas that were eligible for coverage under this subsection on April 9, 1993; or
2. Any county or area as to which the department, after public hearing, finds that the following criteria exist:
a. Due to the lack of windstorm insurance coverage in the county or area so affected, economic growth and development is being deterred or otherwise stifled in such county or area, mortgages are in default, and financial institutions are unable to make loans;
b. The county or area so affected is enforcing the structural requirements of the Florida Building Code, as defined in s. 553.73, for new construction and has included adequate minimum floor elevation requirements for structures in areas subject to inundation; and
c. Extending windstorm insurance coverage to such county or area is consistent with and will implement and further the policies and objectives set forth in applicable state laws, rules, and regulations governing coastal management, coastal construction, comprehensive planning, beach and shore preservation, barrier island preservation, coastal zone protection, and the Coastal Zone Protection Act of 1985.

The department shall consider reports of the Florida Building Commission when evaluating building code enforcement. Any time after the department has determined that the criteria referred to in this subparagraph do not exist with respect to any county or area of the state, it may, after a subsequent public hearing, declare that such county or area is no longer eligible for windstorm coverage through the plan.

(d) For the purpose of evaluating whether the criteria of paragraph (c) are met, such criteria shall be applied as the situation would exist if policies had not been written by the Florida Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association and property insurance for such policyholders was not available.
(e)1. Notwithstanding the provisions of subparagraph (c)2. or paragraph (d), eligibility shall not be extended to any area that was not eligible on March 1, 1997, except that the department may act with respect to any petition on which a hearing was held prior to May 9, 1997.
2. Notwithstanding the provisions of subparagraph 1., the following area is eligible for coverage under this subsection effective July 1, 2002: the area within Port Canaveral which is bordered on the south by the City of Cape Canaveral, bordered on the west by the Banana River, and bordered on the north by United States Government property.
(f) As used in this subsection, the term “department” means the former Department of Insurance.
(3) POLITICAL SUBDIVISION; CASUALTY INSURANCE RISK APPORTIONMENT.
(a) The office shall, after consultation with the casualty insurers licensed in this state, adopt a plan or plans for the equitable apportionment among them of casualty insurance coverage which may be afforded political subdivisions which are in good faith entitled to, but are unable to, procure such coverage through the voluntary market at standard rates or through a statutorily approved plan authorized by the office. The office may adopt a joint underwriting plan which shall provide for one or more designated insurers able and willing to provide policyholder and claims service, including the issuance of insurance policies, to act on behalf of all other insurers required to participate in the joint underwriting plan. Any joint underwriting plan adopted shall provide for the equitable apportionment of any profits realized, or of losses and expenses incurred, among participating insurers. The plan shall include, but shall not be limited to:
1. Rules for the classification of risks and rates which reflect the past loss experience and prospective loss experience in different geographic areas.
2. A rating plan which reasonably reflects the prior claims experience of the insureds.
3. Excess coverage by insurers if the office, in its discretion, requires such coverage by insurers participating in the joint underwriting plan.
(b) In the event an underwriting deficit exists at the end of any year the plan is in effect, each policyholder shall pay to the joint underwriting plan a premium contingency assessment not to exceed one-third of the premium payment paid by such policyholder for that year. The joint underwriting plan shall pay no further claims on any policy for which the policyholder fails to pay the premium contingency assessment.
(c) Any deficit sustained under the plan shall first be recovered through a premium contingency assessment. Concurrently, the rates for insureds shall be adjusted for the next year so as to be actuarially sound in conformance with rules adopted by the commission.
(d) If there is any remaining deficit under the plan after maximum collection of the premium contingency assessment, such deficit shall be recovered from the companies participating in the plan in the proportion that the net direct premiums of each such member written during the preceding calendar year bear to the aggregate net direct premiums written in this state by all members of the joint underwriting plan.
(e) Upon adoption of a plan, all casualty insurers licensed in the state shall subscribe thereto and participate therein.
(4) MEDICAL MALPRACTICE RISK APPORTIONMENT.
(a) The office shall, after consultation with insurers as set forth in paragraph (b), adopt a joint underwriting plan as set forth in paragraph (d).
(b) Entities licensed to issue casualty insurance as defined in s. 624.605(1)(b), (k), and (q) and self-insurers authorized to issue medical malpractice insurance under s. 627.357 shall participate in the plan and shall be members of the Joint Underwriting Association.
(c) The Joint Underwriting Association shall operate subject to the supervision and approval of a board of governors consisting of representatives of five of the insurers participating in the Joint Underwriting Association, an attorney named by The Florida Bar, a physician named by the Florida Medical Association, a dentist named by the Florida Dental Association, and a hospital representative named by the Florida Hospital Association. The Chief Financial Officer shall select the representatives of the five insurers. One insurer representative shall be selected from recommendations of the American Insurance Association. One insurer representative shall be selected from recommendations of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. One insurer representative shall be selected from recommendations of the Florida Insurance Council. Two insurer representatives shall be selected to represent insurers that are not affiliated with these associations. During the first meeting of the board after June 30 of each year, the board shall choose one of its members to serve as chair of the board and another member to serve as vice chair of the board. There is no liability on the part of, and no cause of action shall arise against, any member insurer, self-insurer, or its agents or employees, the Joint Underwriting Association or its agents or employees, members of the board of governors, or the office or its representatives for any action taken by them in the performance of their powers and duties under this subsection.
(d) The plan shall provide coverage for claims arising out of the rendering of, or failure to render, medical care or services and, in the case of health care facilities, coverage for bodily injury or property damage to the person or property of any patient arising out of the insured’s activities, in appropriate policy forms for all health care providers as defined in paragraph (h). The plan shall include, but shall not be limited to:
1. Classifications of risks and rates which reflect past and prospective loss and expense experience in different areas of practice and in different geographical areas. To assure that plan rates are adequate to pay claims and expenses, the Joint Underwriting Association shall develop a means of obtaining loss and expense experience; and the plan shall file such experience, when available, with the office in sufficient detail to make a determination of rate adequacy. Within 60 days after a rate filing, the office shall approve such rates or rate revisions as are fully supported by the filing. In addition to provisions for claims and expenses, the ratemaking formula may include a factor for projected claims trending and a margin for contingencies. The use of trend factors shall not be found to be inappropriate.
2. A rating plan which reasonably recognizes the prior claims experience of insureds.
3. Provisions as to rates for:
a. Insureds who are retired or semiretired.
b. The estates of deceased insureds.
c. Part-time professionals.
4. Protection in an amount not to exceed $250,000 per claim, $750,000 annual aggregate for health care providers other than hospitals and in an amount not to exceed $1.5 million per claim, $5 million annual aggregate for hospitals. Such coverage for health care providers other than hospitals shall be available as primary coverage and as excess coverage for the layer of coverage between the primary coverage and the total limits of $250,000 per claim, $750,000 annual aggregate. The plan shall also provide tail coverage in these amounts to insureds whose claims-made coverage with another insurer or trust has or will be terminated. Such tail coverage shall provide coverage for incidents that occurred during the claims-made policy period for which a claim is made after the policy period.
5. A risk management program for insureds of the association. This program shall include, but not be limited to: investigation and analysis of frequency, severity, and causes of adverse or untoward medical injuries; development of measures to control these injuries; systematic reporting of medical incidents; investigation and analysis of patient complaints; and auditing of association members to assure implementation of this program. The plan may refuse to insure any insured who refuses or fails to comply with the risk management program implemented by the association. Prior to cancellation or refusal to renew an insured, the association shall provide the insured 60 days’ notice of intent to cancel or nonrenew and shall further notify the insured of any action which must be taken to be in compliance with the risk management program.
(e) In the event an underwriting deficit exists for any policy year the plan is in effect, any surplus which has accrued from previous years and is not projected within reasonable actuarial certainty to be needed for payment of claims in the year the surplus arose shall be used to offset the deficit to the extent available.
1. As to remaining deficit, except those relating to deficit assessment coverage, each policyholder shall pay to the association a premium contingency assessment not to exceed one-third of the premium payment paid by such policyholder to the association for that policy year. The association shall pay no further claims on any policy for the policyholder who fails to pay the premium contingency assessment.
2. If there is any remaining deficit under the plan after maximum collection of the premium contingency assessment, such deficit shall be recovered from the companies participating in the plan in the proportion that the net direct premiums of each such member written during the calendar year immediately preceding the end of the policy year for which there is a deficit assessment bear to the aggregate net direct premiums written in this state by all members of the association. The term “premiums” as used herein means premiums for the lines of insurance defined in s. 624.605(1)(b), (k), and (q), including premiums for such coverage issued under package policies.
(f) The plan shall provide for one or more insurers able and willing to provide policy service through licensed resident agents and claims service on behalf of all other insurers participating in the plan. In the event no insurer is able and willing to provide such services, the Joint Underwriting Association is authorized to perform any and all such services.
(g) All books, records, documents, or audits relating to the Joint Underwriting Association or its operation shall be open to public inspection, except that a claim file in the possession of the Joint Underwriting Association is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) during the processing of that claim. Any information contained in these files that identifies an injured person is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1).
(h) As used in this subsection:
1. “Health care provider” means hospitals licensed under chapter 395; physicians licensed under chapter 458; osteopathic physicians licensed under chapter 459; podiatric physicians licensed under chapter 461; dentists licensed under chapter 466; chiropractic physicians licensed under chapter 460; naturopaths licensed under chapter 462; nurses licensed under part I of chapter 464; midwives licensed under chapter 467; clinical laboratories registered under chapter 483; physician assistants licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459; physical therapists and physical therapist assistants licensed under chapter 486; health maintenance organizations certificated under part I of chapter 641; ambulatory surgical centers licensed under chapter 395; other medical facilities as defined in subparagraph 2.; blood banks, plasma centers, industrial clinics, and renal dialysis facilities; or professional associations, partnerships, corporations, joint ventures, or other associations for professional activity by health care providers.
2. “Other medical facility” means a facility the primary purpose of which is to provide human medical diagnostic services or a facility providing nonsurgical human medical treatment, to which facility the patient is admitted and from which facility the patient is discharged within the same working day, and which facility is not part of a hospital. However, a facility existing for the primary purpose of performing terminations of pregnancy or an office maintained by a physician or dentist for the practice of medicine shall not be construed to be an “other medical facility.”
3. “Health care facility” means any hospital licensed under chapter 395, health maintenance organization certificated under part I of chapter 641, ambulatory surgical center licensed under chapter 395, or other medical facility as defined in subparagraph 2.
(i) The manager of the plan or the manager’s assistant is the agent for service of process for the plan.
(5) PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE RISK APPORTIONMENT.The commission shall adopt by rule a joint underwriting plan to equitably apportion among insurers authorized in this state to write property insurance as defined in s. 624.604 or casualty insurance as defined in s. 624.605, the underwriting of one or more classes of property insurance or casualty insurance, except for the types of insurance that are included within property insurance or casualty insurance for which an equitable apportionment plan, assigned risk plan, or joint underwriting plan is authorized under s. 627.311 or subsection (1), subsection (2), subsection (3), subsection (4), or subsection (5) and except for risks eligible for flood insurance written through the federal flood insurance program to persons with risks eligible under subparagraph (a)1. and who are in good faith entitled to, but are unable to, obtain such property or casualty insurance coverage, including excess coverage, through the voluntary market. For purposes of this subsection, an adequate level of coverage means that coverage which is required by state law or by responsible or prudent business practices. The Joint Underwriting Association shall not be required to provide coverage for any type of risk for which there are no insurers providing similar coverage in this state. The office may designate one or more participating insurers who agree to provide policyholder and claims service, including the issuance of policies, on behalf of the participating insurers.
(a) The plan shall provide:
1. A means of establishing eligibility of a risk for obtaining insurance through the plan, which provides that:
a. A risk shall be eligible for such property insurance or casualty insurance as is required by Florida law if the insurance is unavailable in the voluntary market, including the market assistance program and the surplus lines market.
b. A commercial risk not eligible under sub-subparagraph a. shall be eligible for property or casualty insurance if:
(I) The insurance is unavailable in the voluntary market, including the market assistance plan and the surplus lines market;
(II) Failure to secure the insurance would substantially impair the ability of the entity to conduct its affairs; and
(III) The risk is not determined by the Risk Underwriting Committee to be uninsurable.
c. In the event the Federal Government terminates the Federal Crime Insurance Program established under 44 C.F.R. ss. 80-83, Florida commercial and residential risks previously insured under the federal program shall be eligible under the plan.
d.(I) In the event a risk is eligible under this paragraph and in the event the market assistance plan receives a minimum of 100 applications for coverage within a 3-month period, or 200 applications for coverage within a 1-year period or less, for a given class of risk contained in the classification system defined in the plan of operation of the Joint Underwriting Association, and unless the market assistance plan provides a quotation for at least 80 percent of such applicants, such classification shall immediately be eligible for coverage in the Joint Underwriting Association.
(II) Any market assistance plan application which is rejected because an individual risk is so hazardous as to be practically uninsurable, considering whether the likelihood of a loss for such a risk is substantially higher than for other risks of the same class due to individual risk characteristics, prior loss experience, unwillingness to cooperate with a prior insurer, physical characteristics and physical location shall not be included in the minimum percentage calculation provided above. In the event that there is any legal or administrative challenge to a determination by the office that the conditions of this subparagraph have been met for eligibility for coverage in the Joint Underwriting Association for a given classification, any eligible risk may obtain coverage during the pendency of any such challenge.
e. In order to qualify as a quotation for the purpose of meeting the minimum percentage calculation in this subparagraph, the quoted premium must meet the following criteria:
(I) In the case of an admitted carrier, the quoted premium must not exceed the premium available for a given classification currently in use by the Joint Underwriting Association or the premium developed by using the rates and rating plans on file with the office by the quoting insurer, whichever is greater.
(II) In the case of an authorized surplus lines insurer, the quoted premium must not exceed the premium available for a given classification currently in use by the Joint Underwriting Association by more than 25 percent, after consideration of any individual risk surcharge or credit.
f. Any agent who falsely certifies the unavailability of coverage as provided by sub-subparagraphs a. and b., is subject to the penalties provided in s. 626.611.
2. A means for the equitable apportionment of profits or losses and expenses among participating insurers.
3. Rules for the classification of risks and rates which reflect the past and prospective loss experience.
4. A rating plan which reasonably reflects the prior claims experience of the insureds. Such rating plan shall include at least two levels of rates for risks that have favorable loss experience and risks that have unfavorable loss experience, as established by the plan.
5. Reasonable limits to available amounts of insurance. Such limits may not be less than the amounts of insurance required of eligible risks by Florida law.
6. Risk management requirements for insurance where such requirements are reasonable and are expected to reduce losses.
7. Deductibles as may be necessary to meet the needs of insureds.
8. Policy forms which are consistent with the forms in use by the majority of the insurers providing coverage in the voluntary market for the coverage requested by the applicant.
9. A means to remove risks from the plan once such risks no longer meet the eligibility requirements of this paragraph. For this purpose, the plan shall include the following requirements: At each 6-month interval after the activation of any class of insureds, the board of governors or its designated committee shall review the number of applications to the market assistance plan for that class. If, based on these latest numbers, at least 90 percent of such applications have been provided a quotation, the Joint Underwriting Association shall cease underwriting new applications for such class within 30 days, and notification of this decision shall be sent to the office, the major agents’ associations, and the board of directors of the market assistance plan. A quotation for the purpose of this subparagraph shall meet the same criteria for a quotation as provided in sub-subparagraph 1.e. All policies which were previously written for that class shall continue in force until their normal expiration date, at which time, subject to the required timely notification of nonrenewal by the Joint Underwriting Association, the insured may then elect to reapply to the Joint Underwriting Association according to the requirements of eligibility. If, upon reapplication, those previously insured Joint Underwriting Association risks meet the eligibility requirements, the Joint Underwriting Association shall provide the coverage requested.
10. A means for providing credits to insurers against any deficit assessment levied pursuant to paragraph (c), for risks voluntarily written through the market assistance plan by such insurers.
11. That the Joint Underwriting Association shall operate subject to the supervision and approval of a board of governors consisting of 13 individuals appointed by the Chief Financial Officer, and shall have an executive or underwriting committee. At least four of the members shall be representatives of insurance trade associations as follows: one member from the American Insurance Association, one member from the Alliance of American Insurers, one member from the National Association of Independent Insurers, and one member from an unaffiliated insurer writing coverage on a national basis. Two representatives shall be from two of the statewide agents’ associations. Each board member shall be appointed to serve for 2-year terms beginning on a date designated by the plan and shall serve at the pleasure of the Chief Financial Officer. Members may be reappointed for subsequent terms.
(b) Rates used by the Joint Underwriting Association shall be actuarially sound. To the extent applicable, the rate standards set forth in s. 627.062 shall be considered by the office in establishing rates to be used by the joint underwriting plan. The initial rate level shall be determined using the rates, rules, rating plans, and classifications contained in the most current Insurance Services Office (ISO) filing with the office or the filing of other licensed rating organizations with an additional increment of 25 percent of premium. For any type of coverage or classification which lends itself to manual rating for which the Insurance Services Office or another licensed rating organization does not file or publish a rate, the Joint Underwriting Association shall file and use an initial rate based on the average current market rate. The initial rate level for the rate plan shall also be subject to an experience and schedule rating plan which may produce a maximum of 25 percent debits or credits. For any risk which does not lend itself to manual rating and for which no rate has been promulgated under the rate plan, the board shall develop and file with the office, subject to its approval, appropriate criteria and factors for rating the individual risk. Such criteria and factors shall include, but not be limited to, loss rating plans, composite rating plans, and unique and unusual risk rating plans. The initial rates required under this paragraph shall be adjusted in conformity with future filings by the Insurance Services Office with the office and shall remain in effect until such time as the Joint Underwriting Association has sufficient data as to independently justify an actuarially sound change in such rates.
(c)1. In the event an underwriting deficit exists for any policy year the plan is in effect, any surplus which has accrued from previous years and is not projected within reasonable actuarial certainty to be needed for payment for claims in the year the surplus arose shall be used to offset the deficit to the extent available.
2. As to any remaining deficit, the board of governors of the Joint Underwriting Association shall levy and collect an assessment in an amount sufficient to offset such deficit. Such assessment shall be levied against the insurers participating in the plan during the year giving rise to the assessment. Any assessments against insurers for the lines of property and casualty insurance issued to commercial risks shall be recovered from the participating insurers in the proportion that the net direct premium of each insurer for commercial risks written during the preceding calendar year bears to the aggregate net direct premium written for commercial risks by all members of the plan for the lines of insurance included in the plan. Any assessments against insurers for the lines of property and casualty insurance issued to personal risks eligible under sub-subparagraph (a)1.a. or sub-subparagraph (a)1.c. shall be recovered from the participating insurers in the proportion that the net direct premium of each insurer for personal risks written during the preceding calendar year bears to the aggregate net direct premium written for personal risks by all members of the plan for the lines of insurance included in the plan.
3. The board shall take all reasonable and prudent steps necessary to collect the amount of assessment due from each participating insurer and policyholder, including, if prudent, filing suit to collect such assessment. If the board is unable to collect an assessment from any insurer, the uncollected assessments shall be levied as an additional assessment against the participating insurers and any participating insurer required to pay an additional assessment as a result of such failure to pay shall have a cause of action against such nonpaying insurer.
4. Any funds or entitlements that the state may be eligible to receive by virtue of the Federal Government’s termination of the Federal Crime Insurance Program referenced in sub-subparagraph (a)1.c. may be used under the plan to offset any subsequent underwriting deficits that may occur from risks previously insured with the Federal Crime Insurance Program.
5. Assessments shall be included as an appropriate factor in the making of rates as provided in s. 627.3512.
6.a. The Legislature finds that the potential for unlimited assessments under this paragraph may induce insurers to attempt to reduce their writings in the voluntary market, and that such actions would worsen the availability problems that the association was created to remedy. It is the intent of the Legislature that insurers remain fully responsible for covering any deficits of the association; however, it is also the intent of the Legislature to provide a means by which assessment liabilities may be amortized over a period of years.
b. The total amount of deficit assessments under this paragraph with respect to any year may not exceed 10 percent of the statewide total gross written premium for all insurers for the coverages referred to in the introductory language of this subsection for the prior year, except that if the deficit with respect to any plan year exceeds such amount and bonds are issued under sub-subparagraph c. to defray the deficit, the total amount of assessments with respect to such deficit may not in any year exceed 10 percent of the deficit, or such lesser percentage as is sufficient to retire the bonds as determined by the board, and shall continue annually until the bonds are retired.
c. The governing body of any unit of local government, any residents or businesses of which are insured by the association, may issue bonds as defined in s. 125.013 or s. 166.101 from time to time to fund an assistance program, in conjunction with the association, for the purpose of defraying deficits of the association. Revenue bonds may not be issued until validated pursuant to chapter 75, unless a state of emergency is declared by executive order or proclamation of the Governor pursuant to s. 252.36 making such findings as are necessary to determine that it is in the best interests of, and necessary for, the protection of the public health, safety, and general welfare of residents of this state and the protection and preservation of the economic stability of insurers operating in this state, and declaring it an essential public purpose to permit certain municipalities or counties to issue such bonds as will provide relief to claimants and policyholders of the joint underwriting association and insurers responsible for apportionment of association losses. The unit of local government shall enter into such contracts with the association as are necessary to carry out this paragraph. Any bonds issued under this sub-subparagraph shall be payable from and secured by moneys received by the association from assessments under this paragraph, and assigned and pledged to or on behalf of the unit of local government for the benefit of the holders of such bonds. The funds, credit, property, and taxing power of the state or of the unit of local government shall not be pledged for the payment of such bonds. If any of the bonds remain unsold 60 days after issuance, the office shall require all insurers subject to assessment to purchase the bonds, which shall be treated as admitted assets; each insurer shall be required to purchase that percentage of the unsold portion of the bond issue that equals the insurer’s relative share of assessment liability under this subsection. An insurer shall not be required to purchase the bonds to the extent that the office determines that the purchase would endanger or impair the solvency of the insurer.
7. The plan shall provide for the deferment, in whole or in part, of the assessment of an insurer if the office finds that payment of the assessment would endanger or impair the solvency of the insurer. In the event an assessment against an insurer is deferred in whole or in part, the amount by which such assessment is deferred may be assessed against the other member insurers in a manner consistent with the basis for assessments set forth in subparagraph 2.
(d) Upon adoption of the plan, all insurers authorized in this state to underwrite property or casualty insurance shall participate in the plan.
(e) A Risk Underwriting Committee of the Joint Underwriting Association composed of three members experienced in evaluating insurance risks is created to review risks rejected by the voluntary market for which application is made for insurance through the joint underwriting plan. The committee shall consist of a representative of the market assistance plan created under s. 627.3515, a member selected by the insurers participating in the Joint Underwriting Association, and a member named by the Chief Financial Officer. The Risk Underwriting Committee shall appoint such advisory committees as are provided for in the plan and are necessary to conduct its functions. The salaries and expenses of the members of the Risk Underwriting Committee and its advisory committees shall be paid by the joint underwriting plan. The plan approved by the office shall establish criteria and procedures for use by the Risk Underwriting Committee for determining whether an individual risk is so hazardous as to be uninsurable. In making this determination and in establishing the criteria and procedures, the following shall be considered:
1. Whether the likelihood of a loss for the individual risk is substantially higher than for other risks of the same class; and
2. Whether the uncertainty associated with the individual risk is such that an appropriate premium cannot be determined.

The acceptance or rejection of a risk by the underwriting committee shall be construed as the private placement of insurance, and the provisions of chapter 120 shall not apply.

(f) There shall be no liability on the part of, and no cause of action of any nature shall arise against, any member insurer or its agents or employees, the Florida Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association or its agents or employees, members of the board of governors, the Chief Financial Officer, or the office or its representatives for any action taken by them in the performance of their duties under this subsection. Such immunity does not apply to actions for breach of any contract or agreement pertaining to insurance, or any other willful tort.
(6) CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE CORPORATION.
(a) The public purpose of this subsection is to ensure that there is an orderly market for property insurance for residents and businesses of this state.
1. The Legislature finds that private insurers are unwilling or unable to provide affordable property insurance coverage in this state to the extent sought and needed. The absence of affordable property insurance threatens the public health, safety, and welfare and likewise threatens the economic health of the state. The state therefore has a compelling public interest and a public purpose to assist in assuring that property in the state is insured and that it is insured at affordable rates so as to facilitate the remediation, reconstruction, and replacement of damaged or destroyed property in order to reduce or avoid the negative effects otherwise resulting to the public health, safety, and welfare, to the economy of the state, and to the revenues of the state and local governments which are needed to provide for the public welfare. It is necessary, therefore, to provide affordable property insurance to applicants who are in good faith entitled to procure insurance through the voluntary market but are unable to do so. The Legislature intends, therefore, that affordable property insurance be provided and that it continue to be provided, as long as necessary, through Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, a government entity that is an integral part of the state, and that is not a private insurance company. To that end, the corporation shall strive to increase the availability of affordable property insurance in this state, while achieving efficiencies and economies, and while providing service to policyholders, applicants, and agents which is no less than the quality generally provided in the voluntary market, for the achievement of the foregoing public purposes. Because it is essential for this government entity to have the maximum financial resources to pay claims following a catastrophic hurricane, it is the intent of the Legislature that the corporation continue to be an integral part of the state and that the income of the corporation be exempt from federal income taxation and that interest on the debt obligations issued by the corporation be exempt from federal income taxation.
2. The Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association originally created by this statute shall be known as the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. The corporation shall provide insurance for residential and commercial property, for applicants who are entitled, but, in good faith, are unable to procure insurance through the voluntary market. The corporation shall operate pursuant to a plan of operation approved by order of the Financial Services Commission. The plan is subject to continuous review by the commission. The commission may, by order, withdraw approval of all or part of a plan if the commission determines that conditions have changed since approval was granted and that the purposes of the plan require changes in the plan. For the purposes of this subsection, residential coverage includes both personal lines residential coverage, which consists of the type of coverage provided by homeowner, mobile home owner, dwelling, tenant, condominium unit owner, and similar policies; and commercial lines residential coverage, which consists of the type of coverage provided by condominium association, apartment building, and similar policies.
3. With respect to coverage for personal lines residential structures:
a. Effective January 1, 2014, a structure that has a dwelling replacement cost of $1 million or more, or a single condominium unit that has a combined dwelling and contents replacement cost of $1 million or more, is not eligible for coverage by the corporation. Such dwellings insured by the corporation on December 31, 2013, may continue to be covered by the corporation until the end of the policy term. The office shall approve the method used by the corporation for valuing the dwelling replacement cost for the purposes of this subparagraph. If a policyholder is insured by the corporation before being determined to be ineligible pursuant to this subparagraph and such policyholder files a lawsuit challenging the determination, the policyholder may remain insured by the corporation until the conclusion of the litigation.
b. Effective January 1, 2015, a structure that has a dwelling replacement cost of $900,000 or more, or a single condominium unit that has a combined dwelling and contents replacement cost of $900,000 or more, is not eligible for coverage by the corporation. Such dwellings insured by the corporation on December 31, 2014, may continue to be covered by the corporation only until the end of the policy term.
c. Effective January 1, 2016, a structure that has a dwelling replacement cost of $800,000 or more, or a single condominium unit that has a combined dwelling and contents replacement cost of $800,000 or more, is not eligible for coverage by the corporation. Such dwellings insured by the corporation on December 31, 2015, may continue to be covered by the corporation until the end of the policy term.
d. Effective January 1, 2017, a structure that has a dwelling replacement cost of $700,000 or more, or a single condominium unit that has a combined dwelling and contents replacement cost of $700,000 or more, is not eligible for coverage by the corporation. Such dwellings insured by the corporation on December 31, 2016, may continue to be covered by the corporation until the end of the policy term.

The requirements of sub-subparagraphs b.-d. do not apply in counties where the office determines there is not a reasonable degree of competition. In such counties a personal lines residential structure that has a dwelling replacement cost of less than $1 million, or a single condominium unit that has a combined dwelling and contents replacement cost of less than $1 million, is eligible for coverage by the corporation.

4. It is the intent of the Legislature that policyholders, applicants, and agents of the corporation receive service and treatment of the highest possible level but never less than that generally provided in the voluntary market. It is also intended that the corporation be held to service standards no less than those applied to insurers in the voluntary market by the office with respect to responsiveness, timeliness, customer courtesy, and overall dealings with policyholders, applicants, or agents of the corporation.
5.a. Effective January 1, 2009, a personal lines residential structure that is located in the “wind-borne debris region,” as defined in s. 1609.2, International Building Code (2006), and that has an insured value on the structure of $750,000 or more is not eligible for coverage by the corporation unless the structure has opening protections as required under the Florida Building Code for a newly constructed residential structure in that area. A residential structure is deemed to comply with this sub-subparagraph if it has shutters or opening protections on all openings and if such opening protections complied with the Florida Building Code at the time they were installed.
b. Any major structure, as defined in s. 161.54(6)(a), that is newly constructed, or rebuilt, repaired, restored, or remodeled to increase the total square footage of finished area by more than 25 percent, pursuant to a permit applied for after July 1, 2015, is not eligible for coverage by the corporation if the structure is seaward of the coastal construction control line established pursuant to s. 161.053 or is within the Coastal Barrier Resources System as designated by 16 U.S.C. ss. 3501-3510.
6. With respect to wind-only coverage for commercial lines residential condominiums, effective July 1, 2014, a condominium shall be deemed ineligible for coverage if 50 percent or more of the units are rented more than eight times in a calendar year for a rental agreement period of less than 30 days.
(b)1. All insurers authorized to write one or more subject lines of business in this state are subject to assessment by the corporation and, for the purposes of this subsection, are referred to collectively as “assessable insurers.” Insurers writing one or more subject lines of business in this state pursuant to part VIII of chapter 626 are not assessable insurers; however, insureds who procure one or more subject lines of business in this state pursuant to part VIII of chapter 626 are subject to assessment by the corporation and are referred to collectively as “assessable insureds.” An insurer’s assessment liability begins on the first day of the calendar year following the year in which the insurer was issued a certificate of authority to transact insurance for subject lines of business in this state and terminates 1 year after the end of the first calendar year during which the insurer no longer holds a certificate of authority to transact insurance for subject lines of business in this state.
2.a. All revenues, assets, liabilities, losses, and expenses of the corporation shall be divided into three separate accounts as follows:
(I) A personal lines account for personal residential policies issued by the corporation which provides comprehensive, multiperil coverage on risks that are not located in areas eligible for coverage by the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association as those areas were defined on January 1, 2002, and for policies that do not provide coverage for the peril of wind on risks that are located in such areas;
(II) A commercial lines account for commercial residential and commercial nonresidential policies issued by the corporation which provides coverage for basic property perils on risks that are not located in areas eligible for coverage by the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association as those areas were defined on January 1, 2002, and for policies that do not provide coverage for the peril of wind on risks that are located in such areas; and
(III) A coastal account for personal residential policies and commercial residential and commercial nonresidential property policies issued by the corporation which provides coverage for the peril of wind on risks that are located in areas eligible for coverage by the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association as those areas were defined on January 1, 2002. The corporation may offer policies that provide multiperil coverage and shall offer policies that provide coverage only for the peril of wind for risks located in areas eligible for coverage in the coastal account. Effective July 1, 2014, the corporation shall cease offering new commercial residential policies providing multiperil coverage and shall instead continue to offer commercial residential wind-only policies, and may offer commercial residential policies excluding wind. The corporation may, however, continue to renew a commercial residential multiperil policy on a building that is insured by the corporation on June 30, 2014, under a multiperil policy. In issuing multiperil coverage, the corporation may use its approved policy forms and rates for the personal lines account. An applicant or insured who is eligible to purchase a multiperil policy from the corporation may purchase a multiperil policy from an authorized insurer without prejudice to the applicant’s or insured’s eligibility to prospectively purchase a policy that provides coverage only for the peril of wind from the corporation. An applicant or insured who is eligible for a corporation policy that provides coverage only for the peril of wind may elect to purchase or retain such policy and also purchase or retain coverage excluding wind from an authorized insurer without prejudice to the applicant’s or insured’s eligibility to prospectively purchase a policy that provides multiperil coverage from the corporation. It is the goal of the Legislature that there be an overall average savings of 10 percent or more for a policyholder who currently has a wind-only policy with the corporation, and an ex-wind policy with a voluntary insurer or the corporation, and who obtains a multiperil policy from the corporation. It is the intent of the Legislature that the offer of multiperil coverage in the coastal account be made and implemented in a manner that does not adversely affect the tax-exempt status of the corporation or creditworthiness of or security for currently outstanding financing obligations or credit facilities of the coastal account, the personal lines account, or the commercial lines account. The coastal account must also include quota share primary insurance under subparagraph (c)2. The area eligible for coverage under the coastal account also includes the area within Port Canaveral, which is bordered on the south by the City of Cape Canaveral, bordered on the west by the Banana River, and bordered on the north by Federal Government property.
b. The three separate accounts must be maintained as long as financing obligations entered into by the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association or Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association are outstanding, in accordance with the terms of the corresponding financing documents. If the financing obligations are no longer outstanding, the corporation may use a single account for all revenues, assets, liabilities, losses, and expenses of the corporation. Consistent with this subparagraph and prudent investment policies that minimize the cost of carrying debt, the board shall exercise its best efforts to retire existing debt or obtain the approval of necessary parties to amend the terms of existing debt, so as to structure the most efficient plan for consolidating the three separate accounts into a single account.
c. Creditors of the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association and the accounts specified in sub-sub-subparagraphs a.(I) and (II) may have a claim against, and recourse to, those accounts and no claim against, or recourse to, the account referred to in sub-sub-subparagraph a.(III). Creditors of the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association have a claim against, and recourse to, the account referred to in sub-sub-subparagraph a.(III) and no claim against, or recourse to, the accounts referred to in sub-sub-subparagraphs a.(I) and (II).
d. Revenues, assets, liabilities, losses, and expenses not attributable to particular accounts shall be prorated among the accounts.
e. The Legislature finds that the revenues of the corporation are revenues that are necessary to meet the requirements set forth in documents authorizing the issuance of bonds under this subsection.
f. The income of the corporation may not inure to the benefit of any private person.
3. With respect to a deficit in an account:
a. After accounting for the Citizens policyholder surcharge imposed under sub-subparagraph i., if the remaining projected deficit incurred in the coastal account in a particular calendar year:
(I) Is not greater than 2 percent of the aggregate statewide direct written premium for the subject lines of business for the prior calendar year, the entire deficit shall be recovered through regular assessments of assessable insurers under paragraph (q) and assessable insureds.
(II) Exceeds 2 percent of the aggregate statewide direct written premium for the subject lines of business for the prior calendar year, the corporation shall levy regular assessments on assessable insurers under paragraph (q) and on assessable insureds in an amount equal to the greater of 2 percent of the projected deficit or 2 percent of the aggregate statewide direct written premium for the subject lines of business for the prior calendar year. Any remaining projected deficit shall be recovered through emergency assessments under sub-subparagraph d.
b. Each assessable insurer’s share of the amount being assessed under sub-subparagraph a. must be in the proportion that the assessable insurer’s direct written premium for the subject lines of business for the year preceding the assessment bears to the aggregate statewide direct written premium for the subject lines of business for that year. The assessment percentage applicable to each assessable insured is the ratio of the amount being assessed under sub-subparagraph a. to the aggregate statewide direct written premium for the subject lines of business for the prior year. Assessments levied by the corporation on assessable insurers under sub-subparagraph a. must be paid as required by the corporation’s plan of operation and paragraph (q). Assessments levied by the corporation on assessable insureds under sub-subparagraph a. shall be collected by the surplus lines agent at the time the surplus lines agent collects the surplus lines tax required by s. 626.932, and paid to the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office at the time the surplus lines agent pays the surplus lines tax to that office. Upon receipt of regular assessments from surplus lines agents, the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office shall transfer the assessments directly to the corporation as determined by the corporation.
c. After accounting for the Citizens policyholder surcharge imposed under sub-subparagraph i., the remaining projected deficits in the personal lines account and in the commercial lines account in a particular calendar year shall be recovered through emergency assessments under sub-subparagraph d.
d. Upon a determination by the board of governors that a projected deficit in an account exceeds the amount that is expected to be recovered through regular assessments under sub-subparagraph a., plus the amount that is expected to be recovered through surcharges under sub-subparagraph i., the board, after verification by the office, shall levy emergency assessments for as many years as necessary to cover the deficits, to be collected by assessable insurers and the corporation and collected from assessable insureds upon issuance or renewal of policies for subject lines of business, excluding National Flood Insurance policies. The amount collected in a particular year must be a uniform percentage of that year’s direct written premium for subject lines of business and all accounts of the corporation, excluding National Flood Insurance Program policy premiums, as annually determined by the board and verified by the office. The office shall verify the arithmetic calculations involved in the board’s determination within 30 days after receipt of the information on which the determination was based. The office shall notify assessable insurers and the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office of the date on which assessable insurers shall begin to collect and assessable insureds shall begin to pay such assessment. The date must be at least 90 days after the date the corporation levies emergency assessments pursuant to this sub-subparagraph. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the corporation and each assessable insurer that writes subject lines of business shall collect emergency assessments from its policyholders without such obligation being affected by any credit, limitation, exemption, or deferment. Emergency assessments levied by the corporation on assessable insureds shall be collected by the surplus lines agent at the time the surplus lines agent collects the surplus lines tax required by s. 626.932 and paid to the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office at the time the surplus lines agent pays the surplus lines tax to that office. The emergency assessments collected shall be transferred directly to the corporation on a periodic basis as determined by the corporation and held by the corporation solely in the applicable account. The aggregate amount of emergency assessments levied for an account in any calendar year may be less than but may not exceed the greater of 10 percent of the amount needed to cover the deficit, plus interest, fees, commissions, required reserves, and other costs associated with financing the original deficit, or 10 percent of the aggregate statewide direct written premium for subject lines of business and all accounts of the corporation for the prior year, plus interest, fees, commissions, required reserves, and other costs associated with financing the deficit.
e. The corporation may pledge the proceeds of assessments, projected recoveries from the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, other insurance and reinsurance recoverables, policyholder surcharges and other surcharges, and other funds available to the corporation as the source of revenue for and to secure bonds issued under paragraph (q), bonds or other indebtedness issued under subparagraph (c)3., or lines of credit or other financing mechanisms issued or created under this subsection, or to retire any other debt incurred as a result of deficits or events giving rise to deficits, or in any other way that the board determines will efficiently recover such deficits. The purpose of the lines of credit or other financing mechanisms is to provide additional resources to assist the corporation in covering claims and expenses attributable to a catastrophe. As used in this subsection, the term “assessments” includes regular assessments under sub-subparagraph a. or subparagraph (q)1. and emergency assessments under sub-subparagraph d. Emergency assessments collected under sub-subparagraph d. are not part of an insurer’s rates, are not premium, and are not subject to premium tax, fees, or commissions; however, failure to pay the emergency assessment shall be treated as failure to pay premium. The emergency assessments shall continue as long as any bonds issued or other indebtedness incurred with respect to a deficit for which the assessment was imposed remain outstanding, unless adequate provision has been made for the payment of such bonds or other indebtedness pursuant to the documents governing such bonds or indebtedness.
f. As used in this subsection for purposes of any deficit incurred on or after January 25, 2007, the term “subject lines of business” means insurance written by assessable insurers or procured by assessable insureds for all property and casualty lines of business in this state, but not including workers’ compensation or medical malpractice. As used in this sub-subparagraph, the term “property and casualty lines of business” includes all lines of business identified on Form 2, Exhibit of Premiums and Losses, in the annual statement required of authorized insurers under s. 624.424 and any rule adopted under this section, except for those lines identified as accident and health insurance and except for policies written under the National Flood Insurance Program or the Federal Crop Insurance Program. For purposes of this sub-subparagraph, the term “workers’ compensation” includes both workers’ compensation insurance and excess workers’ compensation insurance.
g. The Florida Surplus Lines Service Office shall determine annually the aggregate statewide written premium in subject lines of business procured by assessable insureds and report that information to the corporation in a form and at a time the corporation specifies to ensure that the corporation can meet the requirements of this subsection and the corporation’s financing obligations.
h. The Florida Surplus Lines Service Office shall verify the proper application by surplus lines agents of assessment percentages for regular assessments and emergency assessments levied under this subparagraph on assessable insureds and assist the corporation in ensuring the accurate, timely collection and payment of assessments by surplus lines agents as required by the corporation.
i. Upon determination by the board of governors that an account has a projected deficit, the board shall levy a Citizens policyholder surcharge against all policyholders of the corporation.
(I) The surcharge shall be levied as a uniform percentage of the premium for the policy of up to 15 percent of such premium, which funds shall be used to offset the deficit.
(II) The surcharge is payable upon cancellation or termination of the policy, upon renewal of the policy, or upon issuance of a new policy by the corporation within the first 12 months after the date of the levy or the period of time necessary to fully collect the surcharge amount.
(III) The corporation may not levy any regular assessments under paragraph (q) pursuant to sub-subparagraph a. or sub-subparagraph b. with respect to a particular year’s deficit until the corporation has first levied the full amount of the surcharge authorized by this sub-subparagraph.
(IV) The surcharge is not considered premium and is not subject to commissions, fees, or premium taxes. However, failure to pay the surcharge shall be treated as failure to pay premium.
j. If the amount of any assessments or surcharges collected from corporation policyholders, assessable insurers or their policyholders, or assessable insureds exceeds the amount of the deficits, such excess amounts shall be remitted to and retained by the corporation in a reserve to be used by the corporation, as determined by the board of governors and approved by the office, to pay claims or reduce any past, present, or future plan-year deficits or to reduce outstanding debt.
(c) The corporation’s plan of operation:
1. Must provide for adoption of residential property and casualty insurance policy forms and commercial residential and nonresidential property insurance forms, which must be approved by the office before use. The corporation shall adopt the following policy forms:
a. Standard personal lines policy forms that are comprehensive multiperil policies providing full coverage of a residential property equivalent to the coverage provided in the private insurance market under an HO-3, HO-4, or HO-6 policy.
b. Basic personal lines policy forms that are policies similar to an HO-8 policy or a dwelling fire policy that provide coverage meeting the requirements of the secondary mortgage market, but which is more limited than the coverage under a standard policy.
c. Commercial lines residential and nonresidential policy forms that are generally similar to the basic perils of full coverage obtainable for commercial residential structures and commercial nonresidential structures in the admitted voluntary market.
d. Personal lines and commercial lines residential property insurance forms that cover the peril of wind only. The forms are applicable only to residential properties located in areas eligible for coverage under the coastal account referred to in sub-subparagraph (b)2.a.
e. Commercial lines nonresidential property insurance forms that cover the peril of wind only. The forms are applicable only to nonresidential properties located in areas eligible for coverage under the coastal account referred to in sub-subparagraph (b)2.a.
f. The corporation may adopt variations of the policy forms listed in sub-subparagraphs a.-e. which contain more restrictive coverage.
g. Effective January 1, 2013, the corporation shall offer a basic personal lines policy similar to an HO-8 policy with dwelling repair based on common construction materials and methods.
2. Must provide that the corporation adopt a program in which the corporation and authorized insurers enter into quota share primary insurance agreements for hurricane coverage, as defined in s. 627.4025(2)(a), for eligible risks, and adopt property insurance forms for eligible risks which cover the peril of wind only.
a. As used in this subsection, the term:
(I) “Quota share primary insurance” means an arrangement in which the primary hurricane coverage of an eligible risk is provided in specified percentages by the corporation and an authorized insurer. The corporation and authorized insurer are each solely responsible for a specified percentage of hurricane coverage of an eligible risk as set forth in a quota share primary insurance agreement between the corporation and an authorized insurer and the insurance contract. The responsibility of the corporation or authorized insurer to pay its specified percentage of hurricane losses of an eligible risk, as set forth in the agreement, may not be altered by the inability of the other party to pay its specified percentage of losses. Eligible risks that are provided hurricane coverage through a quota share primary insurance arrangement must be provided policy forms that set forth the obligations of the corporation and authorized insurer under the arrangement, clearly specify the percentages of quota share primary insurance provided by the corporation and authorized insurer, and conspicuously and clearly state that the authorized insurer and the corporation may not be held responsible beyond their specified percentage of coverage of hurricane losses.
(II) “Eligible risks” means personal lines residential and commercial lines residential risks that meet the underwriting criteria of the corporation and are located in areas that were eligible for coverage by the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association on January 1, 2002.
b. The corporation may enter into quota share primary insurance agreements with authorized insurers at corporation coverage levels of 90 percent and 50 percent.
c. If the corporation determines that additional coverage levels are necessary to maximize participation in quota share primary insurance agreements by authorized insurers, the corporation may establish additional coverage levels. However, the corporation’s quota share primary insurance coverage level may not exceed 90 percent.
d. Any quota share primary insurance agreement entered into between an authorized insurer and the corporation must provide for a uniform specified percentage of coverage of hurricane losses, by county or territory as set forth by the corporation board, for all eligible risks of the authorized insurer covered under the agreement.
e. Any quota share primary insurance agreement entered into between an authorized insurer and the corporation is subject to review and approval by the office. However, such agreement shall be authorized only as to insurance contracts entered into between an authorized insurer and an insured who is already insured by the corporation for wind coverage.
f. For all eligible risks covered under quota share primary insurance agreements, the exposure and coverage levels for both the corporation and authorized insurers shall be reported by the corporation to the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. For all policies of eligible risks covered under such agreements, the corporation and the authorized insurer must maintain complete and accurate records for the purpose of exposure and loss reimbursement audits as required by fund rules. The corporation and the authorized insurer shall each maintain duplicate copies of policy declaration pages and supporting claims documents.
g. The corporation board shall establish in its plan of operation standards for quota share agreements which ensure that there is no discriminatory application among insurers as to the terms of the agreements, pricing of the agreements, incentive provisions if any, and consideration paid for servicing policies or adjusting claims.
h. The quota share primary insurance agreement between the corporation and an authorized insurer must set forth the specific terms under which coverage is provided, including, but not limited to, the sale and servicing of policies issued under the agreement by the insurance agent of the authorized insurer producing the business, the reporting of information concerning eligible risks, the payment of premium to the corporation, and arrangements for the adjustment and payment of hurricane claims incurred on eligible risks by the claims adjuster and personnel of the authorized insurer. Entering into a quota sharing insurance agreement between the corporation and an authorized insurer is voluntary and at the discretion of the authorized insurer.
3. May provide that the corporation may employ or otherwise contract with individuals or other entities to provide administrative or professional services that may be appropriate to effectuate the plan. The corporation may borrow funds by issuing bonds or by incurring other indebtedness, and shall have other powers reasonably necessary to effectuate the requirements of this subsection, including, without limitation, the power to issue bonds and incur other indebtedness in order to refinance outstanding bonds or other indebtedness. The corporation may seek judicial validation of its bonds or other indebtedness under chapter 75. The corporation may issue bonds or incur other indebtedness, or have bonds issued on its behalf by a unit of local government pursuant to subparagraph (q)2. in the absence of a hurricane or other weather-related event, upon a determination by the corporation, subject to approval by the office, that such action would enable it to efficiently meet the financial obligations of the corporation and that such financings are reasonably necessary to effectuate the requirements of this subsection. The corporation may take all actions needed to facilitate tax-free status for such bonds or indebtedness, including formation of trusts or other affiliated entities. The corporation may pledge assessments, projected recoveries from the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, other reinsurance recoverables, policyholder surcharges and other surcharges, and other funds available to the corporation as security for bonds or other indebtedness. In recognition of s. 10, Art. I of the State Constitution, prohibiting the impairment of obligations of contracts, it is the intent of the Legislature that no action be taken whose purpose is to impair any bond indenture or financing agreement or any revenue source committed by contract to such bond or other indebtedness.
4. Must require that the corporation operate subject to the supervision and approval of a board of governors consisting of nine individuals who are residents of this state and who are from different geographical areas of the state, one of whom is appointed by the Governor and serves solely to advocate on behalf of the consumer. The appointment of a consumer representative by the Governor is deemed to be within the scope of the exemption provided in s. 112.313(7)(b) and is in addition to the appointments authorized under sub-subparagraph a.
a. The Governor, the Chief Financial Officer, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall each appoint two members of the board. At least one of the two members appointed by each appointing officer must have demonstrated expertise in insurance and be deemed to be within the scope of the exemption provided in s. 112.313(7)(b). The Chief Financial Officer shall designate one of the appointees as chair. All board members serve at the pleasure of the appointing officer. All members of the board are subject to removal at will by the officers who appointed them. All board members, including the chair, must be appointed to serve for 3-year terms beginning annually on a date designated by the plan. However, for the first term beginning on or after July 1, 2009, each appointing officer shall appoint one member of the board for a 2-year term and one member for a 3-year term. A board vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term by the appointing officer. The Chief Financial Officer shall appoint a technical advisory group to provide information and advice to the board in connection with the board’s duties under this subsection. The executive director and senior managers of the corporation shall be engaged by the board and serve at the pleasure of the board. Any executive director appointed on or after July 1, 2006, is subject to confirmation by the Senate. The executive director is responsible for employing other staff as the corporation may require, subject to review and concurrence by the board.
b. The board shall create a Market Accountability Advisory Committee to assist the corporation in developing awareness of its rates and its customer and agent service levels in relationship to the voluntary market insurers writing similar coverage.
(I) The members of the advisory committee consist of the following 11 persons, one of whom must be elected chair by the members of the committee: four representatives, one appointed by the Florida Association of Insurance Agents, one by the Florida Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, one by the Professional Insurance Agents of Florida, and one by the Latin American Association of Insurance Agencies; three representatives appointed by the insurers with the three highest voluntary market share of residential property insurance business in the state; one representative from the Office of Insurance Regulation; one consumer appointed by the board who is insured by the corporation at the time of appointment to the committee; one representative appointed by the Florida Association of Realtors; and one representative appointed by the Florida Bankers Association. All members shall be appointed to 3-year terms and may serve for consecutive terms.
(II) The committee shall report to the corporation at each board meeting on insurance market issues which may include rates and rate competition with the voluntary market; service, including policy issuance, claims processing, and general responsiveness to policyholders, applicants, and agents; and matters relating to depopulation.
5. Must provide a procedure for determining the eligibility of a risk for coverage, as follows:
a. Subject to s. 627.3517, with respect to personal lines residential risks, if the risk is offered coverage from an authorized insurer at the insurer’s approved rate under a standard policy including wind coverage or, if consistent with the insurer’s underwriting rules as filed with the office, a basic policy including wind coverage, for a new application to the corporation for coverage, the risk is not eligible for any policy issued by the corporation unless the premium for coverage from the authorized insurer is more than 15 percent greater than the premium for comparable coverage from the corporation. Whenever an offer of coverage for a personal lines residential risk is received for a policyholder of the corporation at renewal from an authorized insurer, if the offer is equal to or less than the corporation’s renewal premium for comparable coverage, the risk is not eligible for coverage with the corporation. If the risk is not able to obtain such offer, the risk is eligible for a standard policy including wind coverage or a basic policy including wind coverage issued by the corporation; however, if the risk could not be insured under a standard policy including wind coverage regardless of market conditions, the risk is eligible for a basic policy including wind coverage unless rejected under subparagraph 8. However, a policyholder removed from the corporation through an assumption agreement remains eligible for coverage from the corporation until the end of the assumption period. The corporation shall determine the type of policy to be provided on the basis of objective standards specified in the underwriting manual and based on generally accepted underwriting practices.
(I) If the risk accepts an offer of coverage through the market assistance plan or through a mechanism established by the corporation other than a plan established by s. 627.3518, before a policy is issued to the risk by the corporation or during the first 30 days of coverage by the corporation, and the producing agent who submitted the application to the plan or to the corporation is not currently appointed by the insurer, the insurer shall:
(A) Pay to the producing agent of record of the policy for the first year, an amount that is the greater of the insurer’s usual and customary commission for the type of policy written or a fee equal to the usual and customary commission of the corporation; or
(B) Offer to allow the producing agent of record of the policy to continue servicing the policy for at least 1 year and offer to pay the agent the greater of the insurer’s or the corporation’s usual and customary commission for the type of policy written.

If the producing agent is unwilling or unable to accept appointment, the new insurer shall pay the agent in accordance with sub-sub-sub-subparagraph (A).

(II) If the corporation enters into a contractual agreement for a take-out plan, the producing agent of record of the corporation policy is entitled to retain any unearned commission on the policy, and the insurer shall:
(A) Pay to the producing agent of record, for the first year, an amount that is the greater of the insurer’s usual and customary commission for the type of policy written or a fee equal to the usual and customary commission of the corporation; or
(B) Offer to allow the producing agent of record to continue servicing the policy for at least 1 year and offer to pay the agent the greater of the insurer’s or the corporation’s usual and customary commission for the type of policy written.

If the producing agent is unwilling or unable to accept appointment, the new insurer shall pay the agent in accordance with sub-sub-sub-subparagraph (A).

b. With respect to commercial lines residential risks, for a new application to the corporation for coverage, if the risk is offered coverage under a policy including wind coverage from an authorized insurer at its approved rate, the risk is not eligible for a policy issued by the corporation unless the premium for coverage from the authorized insurer is more than 15 percent greater than the premium for comparable coverage from the corporation. Whenever an offer of coverage for a commercial lines residential risk is received for a policyholder of the corporation at renewal from an authorized insurer, if the offer is equal to or less than the corporation’s renewal premium for comparable coverage, the risk is not eligible for coverage with the corporation. If the risk is not able to obtain any such offer, the risk is eligible for a policy including wind coverage issued by the corporation. However, a policyholder removed from the corporation through an assumption agreement remains eligible for coverage from the corporation until the end of the assumption period.
(I) If the risk accepts an offer of coverage through the market assistance plan or through a mechanism established by the corporation other than a plan established by s. 627.3518, before a policy is issued to the risk by the corporation or during the first 30 days of coverage by the corporation, and the producing agent who submitted the application to the plan or the corporation is not currently appointed by the insurer, the insurer shall:
(A) Pay to the producing agent of record of the policy, for the first year, an amount that is the greater of the insurer’s usual and customary commission for the type of policy written or a fee equal to the usual and customary commission of the corporation; or
(B) Offer to allow the producing agent of record of the policy to continue servicing the policy for at least 1 year and offer to pay the agent the greater of the insurer’s or the corporation’s usual and customary commission for the type of policy written.

If the producing agent is unwilling or unable to accept appointment, the new insurer shall pay the agent in accordance with sub-sub-sub-subparagraph (A).

(II) If the corporation enters into a contractual agreement for a take-out plan, the producing agent of record of the corporation policy is entitled to retain any unearned commission on the policy, and the insurer shall:
(A) Pay to the producing agent of record, for the first year, an amount that is the greater of the insurer’s usual and customary commission for the type of policy written or a fee equal to the usual and customary commission of the corporation; or
(B) Offer to allow the producing agent of record to continue servicing the policy for at least 1 year and offer to pay the agent the greater of the insurer’s or the corporation’s usual and customary commission for the type of policy written.

If the producing agent is unwilling or unable to accept appointment, the new insurer shall pay the agent in accordance with sub-sub-sub-subparagraph (A).

c. For purposes of determining comparable coverage under sub-subparagraphs a. and b., the comparison must be based on those forms and coverages that are reasonably comparable. The corporation may rely on a determination of comparable coverage and premium made by the producing agent who submits the application to the corporation, made in the agent’s capacity as the corporation’s agent. A comparison may be made solely of the premium with respect to the main building or structure only on the following basis: the same coverage A or other building limits; the same percentage hurricane deductible that applies on an annual basis or that applies to each hurricane for commercial residential property; the same percentage of ordinance and law coverage, if the same limit is offered by both the corporation and the authorized insurer; the same mitigation credits, to the extent the same types of credits are offered both by the corporation and the authorized insurer; the same method for loss payment, such as replacement cost or actual cash value, if the same method is offered both by the corporation and the authorized insurer in accordance with underwriting rules; and any other form or coverage that is reasonably comparable as determined by the board. If an application is submitted to the corporation for wind-only coverage in the coastal account, the premium for the corporation’s wind-only policy plus the premium for the ex-wind policy that is offered by an authorized insurer to the applicant must be compared to the premium for multiperil coverage offered by an authorized insurer, subject to the standards for comparison specified in this subparagraph. If the corporation or the applicant requests from the authorized insurer a breakdown of the premium of the offer by types of coverage so that a comparison may be made by the corporation or its agent and the authorized insurer refuses or is unable to provide such information, the corporation may treat the offer as not being an offer of coverage from an authorized insurer at the insurer’s approved rate.
6. Must include rules for classifications of risks and rates.
7. Must provide that if premium and investment income for an account attributable to a particular calendar year are in excess of projected losses and expenses for the account attributable to that year, such excess shall be held in surplus in the account. Such surplus must be available to defray deficits in that account as to future years and used for that purpose before assessing assessable insurers and assessable insureds as to any calendar year.
8. Must provide objective criteria and procedures to be uniformly applied to all applicants in determining whether an individual risk is so hazardous as to be uninsurable. In making this determination and in establishing the criteria and procedures, the following must be considered:
a. Whether the likelihood of a loss for the individual risk is substantially higher than for other risks of the same class; and
b. Whether the uncertainty associated with the individual risk is such that an appropriate premium cannot be determined.

The acceptance or rejection of a risk by the corporation shall be construed as the private placement of insurance, and the provisions of chapter 120 do not apply.

9. Must provide that the corporation make its best efforts to procure catastrophe reinsurance at reasonable rates, to cover its projected 100-year probable maximum loss as determined by the board of governors.
10. The policies issued by the corporation must provide that if the corporation or the market assistance plan obtains an offer from an authorized insurer to cover the risk at its approved rates, the risk is no longer eligible for renewal through the corporation, except as otherwise provided in this subsection.
11. Corporation policies and applications must include a notice that the corporation policy could, under this section, be replaced with a policy issued by an authorized insurer which does not provide coverage identical to the coverage provided by the corporation. The notice must also specify that acceptance of corporation coverage creates a conclusive presumption that the applicant or policyholder is aware of this potential.
12. May establish, subject to approval by the office, different eligibility requirements and operational procedures for any line or type of coverage for any specified county or area if the board determines that such changes are justified due to the voluntary market being sufficiently stable and competitive in such area or for such line or type of coverage and that consumers who, in good faith, are unable to obtain insurance through the voluntary market through ordinary methods continue to have access to coverage from the corporation. If coverage is sought in connection with a real property transfer, the requirements and procedures may not provide an effective date of coverage later than the date of the closing of the transfer as established by the transferor, the transferee, and, if applicable, the lender.
13. Must provide that, with respect to the coastal account, any assessable insurer with a surplus as to policyholders of $25 million or less writing 25 percent or more of its total countrywide property insurance premiums in this state may petition the office, within the first 90 days of each calendar year, to qualify as a limited apportionment company. A regular assessment levied by the corporation on a limited apportionment company for a deficit incurred by the corporation for the coastal account may be paid to the corporation on a monthly basis as the assessments are collected by the limited apportionment company from its insureds, but a limited apportionment company must begin collecting the regular assessments not later than 90 days after the regular assessments are levied by the corporation, and the regular assessments must be paid in full within 15 months after being levied by the corporation. A limited apportionment company shall collect from its policyholders any emergency assessment imposed under sub-subparagraph (b)3.d. The plan must provide that, if the office determines that any regular assessment will result in an impairment of the surplus of a limited apportionment company, the office may direct that all or part of such assessment be deferred as provided in subparagraph (q)4. However, an emergency assessment to be collected from policyholders under sub-subparagraph (b)3.d. may not be limited or deferred.
14. Must provide that the corporation appoint as its licensed agents only those agents who throughout such appointments also hold an appointment as defined in s. 626.015(3) by an insurer who is authorized to write and is actually writing or renewing personal lines residential property coverage, commercial residential property coverage, or commercial nonresidential property coverage within the state.
15. Must provide a premium payment plan option to its policyholders which, at a minimum, allows for quarterly and semiannual payment of premiums. A monthly payment plan may, but is not required to, be offered.
16. Must limit coverage on mobile homes or manufactured homes built before 1994 to actual cash value of the dwelling rather than replacement costs of the dwelling.
17. Must provide coverage for manufactured or mobile home dwellings. Such coverage must also include the following attached structures:
a. Screened enclosures that are aluminum framed or screened enclosures that are not covered by the same or substantially the same materials as those of the primary dwelling;
b. Carports that are aluminum or carports that are not covered by the same or substantially the same materials as those of the primary dwelling; and
c. Patios that have a roof covering that is constructed of materials that are not the same or substantially the same materials as those of the primary dwelling.

The corporation shall make available a policy for mobile homes or manufactured homes for a minimum insured value of at least $3,000.

18. May provide such limits of coverage as the board determines, consistent with the requirements of this subsection.
19. May require commercial property to meet specified hurricane mitigation construction features as a condition of eligibility for coverage.
20. Must provide that new or renewal policies issued by the corporation on or after January 1, 2012, which cover sinkhole loss do not include coverage for any loss to appurtenant structures, driveways, sidewalks, decks, or patios that are directly or indirectly caused by sinkhole activity. The corporation shall exclude such coverage using a notice of coverage change, which may be included with the policy renewal, and not by issuance of a notice of nonrenewal of the excluded coverage upon renewal of the current policy.
21. As of January 1, 2012, must require that the agent obtain from an applicant for coverage from the corporation an acknowledgment signed by the applicant, which includes, at a minimum, the following statement:

ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF POTENTIAL SURCHARGE
AND ASSESSMENT LIABILITY:

1. AS A POLICYHOLDER OF CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE CORPORATION, I UNDERSTAND THAT IF THE CORPORATION SUSTAINS A DEFICIT AS A RESULT OF HURRICANE LOSSES OR FOR ANY OTHER REASON, MY POLICY COULD BE SUBJECT TO SURCHARGES, WHICH WILL BE DUE AND PAYABLE UPON RENEWAL, CANCELLATION, OR TERMINATION OF THE POLICY, AND THAT THE SURCHARGES COULD BE AS HIGH AS 45 PERCENT OF MY PREMIUM, OR A DIFFERENT AMOUNT AS IMPOSED BY THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE.

2. I UNDERSTAND THAT I CAN AVOID THE CITIZENS POLICYHOLDER SURCHARGE, WHICH COULD BE AS HIGH AS 45 PERCENT OF MY PREMIUM, BY OBTAINING COVERAGE FROM A PRIVATE MARKET INSURER AND THAT TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR COVERAGE BY CITIZENS, I MUST FIRST TRY TO OBTAIN PRIVATE MARKET COVERAGE BEFORE APPLYING FOR OR RENEWING COVERAGE WITH CITIZENS. I UNDERSTAND THAT PRIVATE MARKET INSURANCE RATES ARE REGULATED AND APPROVED BY THE STATE.

3. I UNDERSTAND THAT I MAY BE SUBJECT TO EMERGENCY ASSESSMENTS TO THE SAME EXTENT AS POLICYHOLDERS OF OTHER INSURANCE COMPANIES, OR A DIFFERENT AMOUNT AS IMPOSED BY THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE.

4. I ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE CORPORATION IS NOT SUPPORTED BY THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA.

a. The corporation shall maintain, in electronic format or otherwise, a copy of the applicant’s signed acknowledgment and provide a copy of the statement to the policyholder as part of the first renewal after the effective date of this subparagraph.
b. The signed acknowledgment form creates a conclusive presumption that the policyholder understood and accepted his or her potential surcharge and assessment liability as a policyholder of the corporation.
(d)1. All prospective employees for senior management positions, as defined by the plan of operation, are subject to background checks as a prerequisite for employment. The office shall conduct the background checks pursuant to ss. 624.34, 624.404(3), and 628.261.
2. On or before July 1 of each year, employees of the corporation must sign and submit a statement attesting that they do not have a conflict of interest, as defined in part III of chapter 112. As a condition of employment, all prospective employees must sign and submit to the corporation a conflict-of-interest statement.
3. The executive director, senior managers, and members of the board of governors are subject to part III of chapter 112, including, but not limited to, the code of ethics and public disclosure and reporting of financial interests, pursuant to s. 112.3145. For purposes of applying part III of chapter 112 to activities of the executive director, senior managers, and members of the board of governors, those persons shall be considered public officers or employees and the corporation shall be considered their agency. Notwithstanding s. 112.3143(2), a board member may not vote on any measure that would inure to his or her special private gain or loss; that he or she knows would inure to the special private gain or loss of any principal by whom he or she is retained or to the parent organization or subsidiary of a corporate principal by which he or she is retained, other than an agency as defined in s. 112.312; or that he or she knows would inure to the special private gain or loss of a relative or business associate of the public officer. Before the vote is taken, such member shall publicly state to the assembly the nature of his or her interest in the matter from which he or she is abstaining from voting and, within 15 days after the vote occurs, disclose the nature of his or her interest as a public record in a memorandum filed with the person responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting, who shall incorporate the memorandum in the minutes. Senior managers and board members are also required to file such disclosures with the Commission on Ethics and the Office of Insurance Regulation. The executive director of the corporation or his or her designee shall notify each existing and newly appointed member of the board of governors and senior managers of their duty to comply with the reporting requirements of part III of chapter 112. At least quarterly, the executive director or his or her designee shall submit to the Commission on Ethics a list of names of the senior managers and members of the board of governors who are subject to the public disclosure requirements under s. 112.3145.
4. Notwithstanding s. 112.3148, s. 112.3149, or any other provision of law, an employee or board member may not knowingly accept, directly or indirectly, any gift or expenditure from a person or entity, or an employee or representative of such person or entity, which has a contractual relationship with the corporation or who is under consideration for a contract. An employee or board member who fails to comply with subparagraph 3. or this subparagraph is subject to penalties provided under ss. 112.317 and 112.3173.
5. Any senior manager of the corporation who is employed on or after January 1, 2007, regardless of the date of hire, who subsequently retires or terminates employment is prohibited from representing another person or entity before the corporation for 2 years after retirement or termination of employment from the corporation.
6. The executive director, members of the board of governors, and senior managers of the corporation are prohibited from having any employment or contractual relationship for 2 years after retirement from or termination of service to the corporation with an insurer that has entered into a take-out bonus agreement with the corporation.
(e) The corporation is subject to s. 287.057 for the purchase of commodities and contractual services except as otherwise provided in this paragraph. Services provided by tradepersons or technical experts to assist a licensed adjuster in the evaluation of individual claims are not subject to the procurement requirements of this section. Additionally, the procurement of financial services providers and underwriters must be made pursuant to s. 627.3513. Contracts for goods or services valued at or more than $100,000 are subject to approval by the board.
1. The corporation is an agency for purposes of s. 287.057, except that, for purposes of s. 287.057(22), the corporation is an eligible user.
a. The authority of the Department of Management Services and the Chief Financial Officer under s. 287.057 extends to the corporation as if the corporation were an agency.
b. The executive director of the corporation is the agency head under s. 287.057, except for resolution of bid protests for which the board would serve as the agency head.
2. The corporation must provide notice of a decision or intended decision concerning a solicitation, contract award, or exceptional purchase by electronic posting. Such notice must contain the following statement: “Failure to file a protest within the time prescribed in this section constitutes a waiver of proceedings.”
a. A person adversely affected by the corporation’s decision or intended decision to award a contract pursuant to s. 287.057(1) or (3)(c) who elects to challenge the decision must file a written notice of protest with the executive director of the corporation within 72 hours after the corporation posts a notice of its decision or intended decision. For a protest of the terms, conditions, and specifications contained in a solicitation, including provisions governing the methods for ranking bids, proposals, replies, awarding contracts, reserving rights of further negotiation, or modifying or amending any contract, the notice of protest must be filed in writing within 72 hours after posting the solicitation. Saturdays, Sundays, and state holidays are excluded in the computation of the 72-hour time period.
b. A formal written protest must be filed within 10 days after the date the notice of protest is filed. The formal written protest must state with particularity the facts and law upon which the protest is based. Upon receipt of a formal written protest that has been timely filed, the corporation must stop the solicitation or contract award process until the subject of the protest is resolved by final board action unless the executive director sets forth in writing particular facts and circumstances that require the continuance of the solicitation or contract award process without delay in order to avoid an immediate and serious danger to the public health, safety, or welfare.
(I) The corporation must provide an opportunity to resolve the protest by mutual agreement between the parties within 7 business days after receipt of the formal written protest.
(II) If the subject of a protest is not resolved by mutual agreement within 7 business days, the corporation’s board must transmit the protest to the Division of Administrative Hearings and contract with the division to conduct a hearing to determine the merits of the protest and to issue a recommended order. The contract must provide for the corporation to reimburse the division for any costs incurred by the division for court reporters, transcript preparation, travel, facility rental, and other customary hearing costs in the manner set forth in s. 120.65(9). The division has jurisdiction to determine the facts and law concerning the protest and to issue a recommended order. The division’s rules and procedures apply to these proceedings; the division’s applicable bond requirements do not apply. The protest must be heard by the division at a publicly noticed meeting in accordance with procedures established by the division.
c. In a protest of an invitation-to-bid or request-for-proposals procurement, submissions made after the bid or proposal opening which amend or supplement the bid or proposal may not be considered. In protesting an invitation-to-negotiate procurement, submissions made after the corporation announces its intent to award a contract, reject all replies, or withdraw the solicitation that amends or supplements the reply may not be considered. Unless otherwise provided by law, the burden of proof rests with the party protesting the corporation’s action. In a competitive-procurement protest, other than a rejection of all bids, proposals, or replies, the administrative law judge must conduct a de novo proceeding to determine whether the corporation’s proposed action is contrary to the corporation’s governing statutes, the corporation’s rules or policies, or the solicitation specifications. The standard of proof for the proceeding is whether the corporation’s action was clearly erroneous, contrary to competition, arbitrary, or capricious. In any bid-protest proceeding contesting an intended corporation action to reject all bids, proposals, or replies, the standard of review by the board is whether the corporation’s intended action is illegal, arbitrary, dishonest, or fraudulent.
d. Failure to file a notice of protest or failure to file a formal written protest constitutes a waiver of proceedings.
3. The board, acting as agency head, shall consider the recommended order of an administrative law judge in a public meeting and take final action on the protest. Any further legal remedy lies with the First District Court of Appeal.
(f) The corporation is subject to the provisions of chapter 255.
(g) The board shall determine whether it is more cost-effective and in the best interests of the corporation to use legal services provided by in-house attorneys employed by the corporation rather than contracting with outside counsel. In making such determination, the board shall document its findings and shall consider: the expertise needed; whether time commitments exceed in-house staff resources; whether local representation is needed; the travel, lodging and other costs associated with in-house representation; and such other factors that the board determines are relevant.
(h) The corporation may not retain a lobbyist to represent it before the legislative branch or executive branch. However, full-time employees of the corporation may register as lobbyists and represent the corporation before the legislative branch or executive branch.
(i)1. The Office of the Internal Auditor is established within the corporation to provide a central point for coordination of and responsibility for activities that promote accountability, integrity, and efficiency to the policyholders and to the taxpayers of this state. The internal auditor shall be appointed by the board of governors, shall report to and be under the general supervision of the board of governors, and is not subject to supervision by an employee of the corporation. Administrative staff and support shall be provided by the corporation. The internal auditor shall be appointed without regard to political affiliation. It is the duty and responsibility of the internal auditor to:
a. Provide direction for, supervise, conduct, and coordinate audits, investigations, and management reviews relating to the programs and operations of the corporation.
b. Conduct, supervise, or coordinate other activities carried out or financed by the corporation for the purpose of promoting efficiency in the administration of, or preventing and detecting fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in, its programs and operations.
c. Submit final audit reports, reviews, or investigative reports to the board of governors, the executive director, the members of the Financial Services Commission, and the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
d. Keep the board of governors informed concerning fraud, abuses, and internal control deficiencies relating to programs and operations administered or financed by the corporation, recommend corrective action, and report on the progress made in implementing corrective action.
e. Cooperate and coordinate activities with the corporation’s inspector general.
2. On or before February 15, the internal auditor shall prepare an annual report evaluating the effectiveness of the internal controls of the corporation and providing recommendations for corrective action, if necessary, and summarizing the audits, reviews, and investigations conducted by the office during the preceding fiscal year. The final report shall be furnished to the board of governors and the executive director, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Financial Services Commission.
(j) All records of the corporation, except as otherwise provided by law, are subject to the record retention requirements of s. 119.021.
(k)1. The corporation shall establish and maintain a unit or division to investigate possible fraudulent claims by insureds or by persons making claims for services or repairs against policies held by insureds; or it may contract with others to investigate possible fraudulent claims for services or repairs against policies held by the corporation pursuant to s. 626.9891. The corporation must comply with reporting requirements of s. 626.9891. An employee of the corporation shall notify the corporation’s Office of the Inspector General and the Division of Investigative and Forensic Services within 48 hours after having information that would lead a reasonable person to suspect that fraud may have been committed by any employee of the corporation.
2. The corporation shall establish a unit or division responsible for receiving and responding to consumer complaints, which unit or division is the sole responsibility of a senior manager of the corporation.
(l) The office shall conduct a comprehensive market conduct examination of the corporation every 2 years to determine compliance with its plan of operation and internal operations procedures. The first market conduct examination report shall be submitted to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives no later than February 1, 2009. Subsequent reports shall be submitted on or before February 1 every 2 years thereafter.
(m) The Auditor General shall conduct an operational audit of the corporation every 3 years to evaluate management’s performance in administering laws, policies, and procedures governing the operations of the corporation in an efficient and effective manner. The scope of the review shall include, but is not limited to, evaluating claims handling, customer service, take-out programs and bonuses, financing arrangements, procurement of goods and services, internal controls, and the internal audit function. The initial audit must be completed by February 1, 2009.
(n)1. Rates for coverage provided by the corporation must be actuarially sound and subject to s. 627.062, except as otherwise provided in this paragraph. The corporation shall file its recommended rates with the office at least annually. The corporation shall provide any additional information regarding the rates which the office requires. The office shall consider the recommendations of the board and issue a final order establishing the rates for the corporation within 45 days after the recommended rates are filed. The corporation may not pursue an administrative challenge or judicial review of the final order of the office.
2. In addition to the rates otherwise determined pursuant to this paragraph, the corporation shall impose and collect an amount equal to the premium tax provided in s. 624.509 to augment the financial resources of the corporation.
3. After the public hurricane loss-projection model under s. 627.06281 has been found to be accurate and reliable by the Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology, the model shall be considered when establishing the windstorm portion of the corporation’s rates. The corporation may use the public model results in combination with the results of private models to calculate rates for the windstorm portion of the corporation’s rates. This subparagraph does not require or allow the corporation to adopt rates lower than the rates otherwise required or allowed by this paragraph.
4. The rate filings for the corporation which were approved by the office and took effect January 1, 2007, are rescinded, except for those rates that were lowered. As soon as possible, the corporation shall begin using the lower rates that were in effect on December 31, 2006, and provide refunds to policyholders who paid higher rates as a result of that rate filing. The rates in effect on December 31, 2006, remain in effect for the 2007 and 2008 calendar years except for any rate change that results in a lower rate. The next rate change that may increase rates shall take effect pursuant to a new rate filing recommended by the corporation and established by the office, subject to this paragraph.
5. Beginning on July 15, 2009, and annually thereafter, the corporation must make a recommended actuarially sound rate filing for each personal and commercial line of business it writes, to be effective no earlier than January 1, 2010.
6. Beginning on or after January 1, 2010, and notwithstanding the board’s recommended rates and the office’s final order regarding the corporation’s filed rates under subparagraph 1., the corporation shall annually implement a rate increase which, except for sinkhole coverage, does not exceed 10 percent for any single policy issued by the corporation, excluding coverage changes and surcharges.
7. The corporation may also implement an increase to reflect the effect on the corporation of the cash buildup factor pursuant to s. 215.555(5)(b).
8. The corporation’s implementation of rates as prescribed in subparagraph 6. shall cease for any line of business written by the corporation upon the corporation’s implementation of actuarially sound rates. Thereafter, the corporation shall annually make a recommended actuarially sound rate filing for each commercial and personal line of business the corporation writes.
(o) If coverage in an account is deactivated pursuant to paragraph (p), coverage through the corporation shall be reactivated by order of the office only under one of the following circumstances:
1. If the market assistance plan receives a minimum of 100 applications for coverage within a 3-month period, or 200 applications for coverage within a 1-year period or less for residential coverage, unless the market assistance plan provides a quotation from admitted carriers at their filed rates for at least 90 percent of such applicants. Any market assistance plan application that is rejected because an individual risk is so hazardous as to be uninsurable using the criteria specified in subparagraph (c)8. shall not be included in the minimum percentage calculation provided herein. In the event that there is a legal or administrative challenge to a determination by the office that the conditions of this subparagraph have been met for eligibility for coverage in the corporation, any eligible risk may obtain coverage during the pendency of such challenge.
2. In response to a state of emergency declared by the Governor under s. 252.36, the office may activate coverage by order for the period of the emergency upon a finding by the office that the emergency significantly affects the availability of residential property insurance.
(p)1. The corporation shall file with the office quarterly statements of financial condition, an annual statement of financial condition, and audited financial statements in the manner prescribed by law. In addition, the corporation shall report to the office monthly on the types, premium, exposure, and distribution by county of its policies in force, and shall submit other reports as the office requires to carry out its oversight of the corporation.
2. The activities of the corporation shall be reviewed at least annually by the office to determine whether coverage shall be deactivated in an account on the basis that the conditions giving rise to its activation no longer exist.
(q)1. The corporation shall certify to the office its needs for annual assessments as to a particular calendar year, and for any interim assessments that it deems to be necessary to sustain operations as to a particular year pending the receipt of annual assessments. Upon verification, the office shall approve such certification, and the corporation shall levy such annual or interim assessments. Such assessments shall be prorated as provided in paragraph (b). The corporation shall take all reasonable and prudent steps necessary to collect the amount of assessments due from each assessable insurer, including, if prudent, filing suit to collect the assessments, and the office may provide such assistance to the corporation it deems appropriate. If the corporation is unable to collect an assessment from any assessable insurer, the uncollected assessments shall be levied as an additional assessment against the assessable insurers and any assessable insurer required to pay an additional assessment as a result of such failure to pay shall have a cause of action against such nonpaying assessable insurer. Assessments shall be included as an appropriate factor in the making of rates. The failure of a surplus lines agent to collect and remit any regular or emergency assessment levied by the corporation is considered to be a violation of s. 626.936 and subjects the surplus lines agent to the penalties provided in that section.
2. The governing body of any unit of local government, any residents of which are insured by the corporation, may issue bonds as defined in s. 125.013 or s. 166.101 from time to time to fund an assistance program, in conjunction with the corporation, for the purpose of defraying deficits of the corporation. In order to avoid needless and indiscriminate proliferation, duplication, and fragmentation of such assistance programs, any unit of local government, any residents of which are insured by the corporation, may provide for the payment of losses, regardless of whether or not the losses occurred within or outside of the territorial jurisdiction of the local government. Revenue bonds under this subparagraph may not be issued until validated pursuant to chapter 75, unless a state of emergency is declared by executive order or proclamation of the Governor pursuant to s. 252.36 making such findings as are necessary to determine that it is in the best interests of, and necessary for, the protection of the public health, safety, and general welfare of residents of this state and declaring it an essential public purpose to permit certain municipalities or counties to issue such bonds as will permit relief to claimants and policyholders of the corporation. Any such unit of local government may enter into such contracts with the corporation and with any other entity created pursuant to this subsection as are necessary to carry out this paragraph. Any bonds issued under this subparagraph shall be payable from and secured by moneys received by the corporation from emergency assessments under sub-subparagraph (b)3.d., and assigned and pledged to or on behalf of the unit of local government for the benefit of the holders of such bonds. The funds, credit, property, and taxing power of the state or of the unit of local government shall not be pledged for the payment of such bonds.
3.a. The corporation shall adopt one or more programs subject to approval by the office for the reduction of both new and renewal writings in the corporation. Beginning January 1, 2008, any program the corporation adopts for the payment of bonuses to an insurer for each risk the insurer removes from the corporation shall comply with s. 627.3511(2) and may not exceed the amount referenced in s. 627.3511(2) for each risk removed. The corporation may consider any prudent and not unfairly discriminatory approach to reducing corporation writings, and may adopt a credit against assessment liability or other liability that provides an incentive for insurers to take risks out of the corporation and to keep risks out of the corporation by maintaining or increasing voluntary writings in counties or areas in which corporation risks are highly concentrated and a program to provide a formula under which an insurer voluntarily taking risks out of the corporation by maintaining or increasing voluntary writings will be relieved wholly or partially from assessments under sub-subparagraph (b)3.a. However, any “take-out bonus” or payment to an insurer must be conditioned on the property being insured for at least 5 years by the insurer, unless canceled or nonrenewed by the policyholder. If the policy is canceled or nonrenewed by the policyholder before the end of the 5-year period, the amount of the take-out bonus must be prorated for the time period the policy was insured. When the corporation enters into a contractual agreement for a take-out plan, the producing agent of record of the corporation policy is entitled to retain any unearned commission on such policy, and the insurer shall either:
(I) Pay to the producing agent of record of the policy, for the first year, an amount which is the greater of the insurer’s usual and customary commission for the type of policy written or a policy fee equal to the usual and customary commission of the corporation; or
(II) Offer to allow the producing agent of record of the policy to continue servicing the policy for a period of not less than 1 year and offer to pay the agent the insurer’s usual and customary commission for the type of policy written. If the producing agent is unwilling or unable to accept appointment by the new insurer, the new insurer shall pay the agent in accordance with sub-sub-subparagraph (I).
b. Any credit or exemption from regular assessments adopted under this subparagraph shall last no longer than the 3 years following the cancellation or expiration of the policy by the corporation. With the approval of the office, the board may extend such credits for an additional year if the insurer guarantees an additional year of renewability for all policies removed from the corporation, or for 2 additional years if the insurer guarantees 2 additional years of renewability for all policies so removed.
c. There shall be no credit, limitation, exemption, or deferment from emergency assessments to be collected from policyholders pursuant to sub-subparagraph (b)3.d.
4. The plan shall provide for the deferment, in whole or in part, of the assessment of an assessable insurer, other than an emergency assessment collected from policyholders pursuant to sub-subparagraph (b)3.d., if the office finds that payment of the assessment would endanger or impair the solvency of the insurer. In the event an assessment against an assessable insurer is deferred in whole or in part, the amount by which such assessment is deferred may be assessed against the other assessable insurers in a manner consistent with the basis for assessments set forth in paragraph (b).
5. Effective July 1, 2007, in order to evaluate the costs and benefits of approved take-out plans, if the corporation pays a bonus or other payment to an insurer for an approved take-out plan, it shall maintain a record of the address or such other identifying information on the property or risk removed in order to track if and when the property or risk is later insured by the corporation.
6. Any policy taken out, assumed, or removed from the corporation is, as of the effective date of the take-out, assumption, or removal, direct insurance issued by the insurer and not by the corporation, even if the corporation continues to service the policies. This subparagraph applies to policies of the corporation and not policies taken out, assumed, or removed from any other entity.
7. For a policy taken out, assumed, or removed from the corporation, the insurer may, for a period of no more than 3 years, continue to use any of the corporation’s policy forms or endorsements that apply to the policy taken out, removed, or assumed without obtaining approval from the office for use of such policy form or endorsement.
(r) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to preclude the issuance of residential property insurance coverage pursuant to part VIII of chapter 626.
(s)1. There shall be no liability on the part of, and no cause of action of any nature shall arise against, any assessable insurer or its agents or employees, the corporation or its agents or employees, members of the board of governors or their respective designees at a board meeting, corporation committee members, or the office or its representatives, for any action taken by them in the performance of their duties or responsibilities under this subsection. Such immunity does not apply to:
a. Any of the foregoing persons or entities for any willful tort;
b. The corporation or its producing agents for breach of any contract or agreement pertaining to insurance coverage;
c. The corporation with respect to issuance or payment of debt;
d. Any assessable insurer with respect to any action to enforce an assessable insurer’s obligations to the corporation under this subsection; or
e. The corporation in any pending or future action for breach of contract or for benefits under a policy issued by the corporation; in any such action, the corporation shall be liable to the policyholders and beneficiaries for attorney’s fees under s. 627.428.
2. The corporation shall manage its claim employees, independent adjusters, and others who handle claims to ensure they carry out the corporation’s duty to its policyholders to handle claims carefully, timely, diligently, and in good faith, balanced against the corporation’s duty to the state to manage its assets responsibly to minimize its assessment potential.
(t) For the purposes of s. 199.183(1), the corporation shall be considered a political subdivision of the state and shall be exempt from the corporate income tax. The premiums, assessments, investment income, and other revenue of the corporation are funds received for providing property insurance coverage as required by this subsection, paying claims for Florida citizens insured by the corporation, securing and repaying debt obligations issued by the corporation, and conducting all other activities of the corporation, and shall not be considered taxes, fees, licenses, or charges for services imposed by the Legislature on individuals, businesses, or agencies outside state government. Bonds and other debt obligations issued by or on behalf of the corporation are not to be considered “state bonds” within the meaning of s. 215.58(8). The corporation is subject to the procurement provisions of chapter 287 as provided in paragraph (e), and policies and decisions of the corporation relating to incurring debt, levying of assessments and the sale, issuance, continuation, terms and claims under corporation policies, and all services relating thereto, are not subject to the provisions of chapter 120. The corporation is not required to obtain or to hold a certificate of authority issued by the office, nor is it required to participate as a member insurer of the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association. However, the corporation is required to pay, in the same manner as an authorized insurer, assessments levied by the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association. It is the intent of the Legislature that the tax exemptions provided in this paragraph will augment the financial resources of the corporation to better enable the corporation to fulfill its public purposes. Any debt obligations issued by the corporation, their transfer, and the income therefrom, including any profit made on the sale thereof, shall at all times be free from taxation of every kind by the state and any political subdivision or local unit or other instrumentality thereof; however, this exemption does not apply to any tax imposed by chapter 220 on interest, income, or profits on debt obligations owned by corporations other than the corporation.
(u) Upon a determination by the office that the conditions giving rise to the establishment and activation of the corporation no longer exist, the corporation is dissolved. Upon dissolution, the assets of the corporation shall be applied first to pay all debts, liabilities, and obligations of the corporation, including the establishment of reasonable reserves for any contingent liabilities or obligations, and all remaining assets of the corporation shall become property of the state and shall be deposited in the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. However, no dissolution shall take effect as long as the corporation has bonds or other financial obligations outstanding unless adequate provision has been made for the payment of the bonds or other financial obligations pursuant to the documents authorizing the issuance of the bonds or other financial obligations.
(v)1. Effective July 1, 2002, policies of the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association become policies of the corporation. All obligations, rights, assets and liabilities of the association, including bonds, note and debt obligations, and the financing documents pertaining to them become those of the corporation as of July 1, 2002. The corporation is not required to issue endorsements or certificates of assumption to insureds during the remaining term of in-force transferred policies.
2. Effective July 1, 2002, policies of the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association are transferred to the corporation and become policies of the corporation. All obligations, rights, assets, and liabilities of the association, including bonds, note and debt obligations, and the financing documents pertaining to them are transferred to and assumed by the corporation on July 1, 2002. The corporation is not required to issue endorsements or certificates of assumption to insureds during the remaining term of in-force transferred policies.
3. The Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association and the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association shall take all actions necessary to further evidence the transfers and provide the documents and instruments of further assurance as may reasonably be requested by the corporation for that purpose. The corporation shall execute assumptions and instruments as the trustees or other parties to the financing documents of the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association or the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association may reasonably request to further evidence the transfers and assumptions, which transfers and assumptions, however, are effective on the date provided under this paragraph whether or not, and regardless of the date on which, the assumptions or instruments are executed by the corporation. Subject to the relevant financing documents pertaining to their outstanding bonds, notes, indebtedness, or other financing obligations, the moneys, investments, receivables, choses in action, and other intangibles of the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association shall be credited to the coastal account of the corporation, and those of the personal lines residential coverage account and the commercial lines residential coverage account of the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association shall be credited to the personal lines account and the commercial lines account, respectively, of the corporation.
4. Effective July 1, 2002, a new applicant for property insurance coverage who would otherwise have been eligible for coverage in the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association is eligible for coverage from the corporation as provided in this subsection.
5. The transfer of all policies, obligations, rights, assets, and liabilities from the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association to the corporation and the renaming of the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association as the corporation does not affect the coverage with respect to covered policies as defined in s. 215.555(2)(c) provided to these entities by the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. The coverage provided by the fund to the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association based on its exposures as of June 30, 2002, and each June 30 thereafter shall be redesignated as coverage for the coastal account of the corporation. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the coverage provided by the fund to the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association based on its exposures as of June 30, 2002, and each June 30 thereafter shall be transferred to the personal lines account and the commercial lines account of the corporation. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the coastal account shall be treated, for all Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund purposes, as if it were a separate participating insurer with its own exposures, reimbursement premium, and loss reimbursement. Likewise, the personal lines and commercial lines accounts shall be viewed together, for all fund purposes, as if the two accounts were one and represent a single, separate participating insurer with its own exposures, reimbursement premium, and loss reimbursement. The coverage provided by the fund to the corporation shall constitute and operate as a full transfer of coverage from the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association and Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association to the corporation.
(w) Notwithstanding any other provision of law:
1. The pledge or sale of, the lien upon, and the security interest in any rights, revenues, or other assets of the corporation created or purported to be created pursuant to any financing documents to secure any bonds or other indebtedness of the corporation shall be and remain valid and enforceable, notwithstanding the commencement of and during the continuation of, and after, any rehabilitation, insolvency, liquidation, bankruptcy, receivership, conservatorship, reorganization, or similar proceeding against the corporation under the laws of this state.
2. The proceeding does not relieve the corporation of its obligation, or otherwise affect its ability to perform its obligation, to continue to collect, or levy and collect, assessments, policyholder surcharges or other surcharges under sub-subparagraph (b)3.i., or any other rights, revenues, or other assets of the corporation pledged pursuant to any financing documents.
3. Each such pledge or sale of, lien upon, and security interest in, including the priority of such pledge, lien, or security interest, any such assessments, policyholder surcharges or other surcharges, or other rights, revenues, or other assets which are collected, or levied and collected, after the commencement of and during the pendency of, or after, any such proceeding shall continue unaffected by such proceeding. As used in this subsection, the term “financing documents” means any agreement or agreements, instrument or instruments, or other document or documents now existing or hereafter created evidencing any bonds or other indebtedness of the corporation or pursuant to which any such bonds or other indebtedness has been or may be issued and pursuant to which any rights, revenues, or other assets of the corporation are pledged or sold to secure the repayment of such bonds or indebtedness, together with the payment of interest on such bonds or such indebtedness, or the payment of any other obligation or financial product, as defined in the plan of operation of the corporation related to such bonds or indebtedness.
4. Any such pledge or sale of assessments, revenues, contract rights, or other rights or assets of the corporation shall constitute a lien and security interest, or sale, as the case may be, that is immediately effective and attaches to such assessments, revenues, or contract rights or other rights or assets, whether or not imposed or collected at the time the pledge or sale is made. Any such pledge or sale is effective, valid, binding, and enforceable against the corporation or other entity making such pledge or sale, and valid and binding against and superior to any competing claims or obligations owed to any other person or entity, including policyholders in this state, asserting rights in any such assessments, revenues, or contract rights or other rights or assets to the extent set forth in and in accordance with the terms of the pledge or sale contained in the applicable financing documents, whether or not any such person or entity has notice of such pledge or sale and without the need for any physical delivery, recordation, filing, or other action.
5. As long as the corporation has any bonds outstanding, the corporation may not file a voluntary petition under chapter 9 of the federal Bankruptcy Code or such corresponding chapter or sections as may be in effect, from time to time, and a public officer or any organization, entity, or other person may not authorize the corporation to be or become a debtor under chapter 9 of the federal Bankruptcy Code or such corresponding chapter or sections as may be in effect, from time to time, during any such period.
6. If ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction, the corporation may assume policies or otherwise provide coverage for policyholders of an insurer placed in liquidation under chapter 631, under such forms, rates, terms, and conditions as the corporation deems appropriate, subject to approval by the office.
(x)1. The following records of the corporation are confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution:
a. Underwriting files, except that a policyholder or an applicant shall have access to his or her own underwriting files. Confidential and exempt underwriting file records may also be released to other governmental agencies upon written request and demonstration of need; such records held by the receiving agency remain confidential and exempt as provided herein.
b. Claims files, until termination of all litigation and settlement of all claims arising out of the same incident, although portions of the claims files may remain exempt, as otherwise provided by law. Confidential and exempt claims file records may be released to other governmental agencies upon written request and demonstration of need; such records held by the receiving agency remain confidential and exempt as provided herein.
c. Records obtained or generated by an internal auditor pursuant to a routine audit, until the audit is completed, or if the audit is conducted as part of an investigation, until the investigation is closed or ceases to be active. An investigation is considered “active” while the investigation is being conducted with a reasonable, good faith belief that it could lead to the filing of administrative, civil, or criminal proceedings.
d. Matters reasonably encompassed in privileged attorney-client communications.
e. Proprietary information licensed to the corporation under contract and the contract provides for the confidentiality of such proprietary information.
f. All information relating to the medical condition or medical status of a corporation employee which is not relevant to the employee’s capacity to perform his or her duties, except as otherwise provided in this paragraph. Information that is exempt shall include, but is not limited to, information relating to workers’ compensation, insurance benefits, and retirement or disability benefits.
g. Upon an employee’s entrance into the employee assistance program, a program to assist any employee who has a behavioral or medical disorder, substance abuse problem, or emotional difficulty that affects the employee’s job performance, all records relative to that participation shall be confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, except as otherwise provided in s. 112.0455(11).
h. Information relating to negotiations for financing, reinsurance, depopulation, or contractual services, until the conclusion of the negotiations.
i. Minutes of closed meetings regarding underwriting files, and minutes of closed meetings regarding an open claims file until termination of all litigation and settlement of all claims with regard to that claim, except that information otherwise confidential or exempt by law shall be redacted.
2. If an authorized insurer is considering underwriting a risk insured by the corporation, relevant underwriting files and confidential claims files may be released to the insurer provided the insurer agrees in writing, notarized and under oath, to maintain the confidentiality of such files. If a file is transferred to an insurer, that file is no longer a public record because it is not held by an agency subject to the provisions of the public records law. Underwriting files and confidential claims files may also be released to staff and the board of governors of the market assistance plan established pursuant to s. 627.3515, who must retain the confidentiality of such files, except such files may be released to authorized insurers that are considering assuming the risks to which the files apply, provided the insurer agrees in writing, notarized and under oath, to maintain the confidentiality of such files. Finally, the corporation or the board or staff of the market assistance plan may make the following information obtained from underwriting files and confidential claims files available to an entity that has obtained a permit to become an authorized insurer, a reinsurer that may provide reinsurance under s. 624.610, a licensed reinsurance broker, a licensed rating organization, a modeling company, or a licensed general lines insurance agent: name, address, and telephone number of the residential property owner or insured; location of the risk; rating information; loss history; and policy type. The receiving person must retain the confidentiality of the information received and may use the information only for the purposes of developing a take-out plan or a rating plan to be submitted to the office for approval or otherwise analyzing the underwriting of a risk or risks insured by the corporation on behalf of the private insurance market. A licensed general lines insurance agent may not use such information for the direct solicitation of policyholders.
3. A policyholder who has filed suit against the corporation has the right to discover the contents of his or her own claims file to the same extent that discovery of such contents would be available from a private insurer in litigation as provided by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, the Florida Evidence Code, and other applicable law. Pursuant to subpoena, a third party has the right to discover the contents of an insured’s or applicant’s underwriting or claims file to the same extent that discovery of such contents would be available from a private insurer by subpoena as provided by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, the Florida Evidence Code, and other applicable law, and subject to any confidentiality protections requested by the corporation and agreed to by the seeking party or ordered by the court. The corporation may release confidential underwriting and claims file contents and information as it deems necessary and appropriate to underwrite or service insurance policies and claims, subject to any confidentiality protections deemed necessary and appropriate by the corporation.
4. Portions of meetings of the corporation are exempt from the provisions of s. 286.011 and s. 24(b), Art. I of the State Constitution wherein confidential underwriting files or confidential open claims files are discussed. All portions of corporation meetings which are closed to the public shall be recorded by a court reporter. The court reporter shall record the times of commencement and termination of the meeting, all discussion and proceedings, the names of all persons present at any time, and the names of all persons speaking. No portion of any closed meeting shall be off the record. Subject to the provisions hereof and s. 119.07(1)(d)-(f), the court reporter’s notes of any closed meeting shall be retained by the corporation for a minimum of 5 years. A copy of the transcript, less any exempt matters, of any closed meeting wherein claims are discussed shall become public as to individual claims after settlement of the claim.
(y) It is the intent of the Legislature that the amendments to this subsection enacted in 2002 should, over time, reduce the probable maximum windstorm losses in the residual markets and the potential assessments to be levied on property insurers and policyholders statewide.
(z) In enacting the provisions of this section, the Legislature recognizes that both the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association and the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association have entered into financing arrangements that obligate each entity to service its debts and maintain the capacity to repay funds secured under these financing arrangements. It is the intent of the Legislature that nothing in this section be construed to compromise, diminish, or interfere with the rights of creditors under such financing arrangements. It is further the intent of the Legislature to preserve the obligations of the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association and Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association with regard to outstanding financing arrangements, with such obligations passing entirely and unchanged to the corporation and, specifically, to the applicable account of the corporation. So long as any bonds, notes, indebtedness, or other financing obligations of the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association or the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association are outstanding, under the terms of the financing documents pertaining to them, the governing board of the corporation shall have and shall exercise the authority to levy, charge, collect, and receive all premiums, assessments, surcharges, charges, revenues, and receipts that the associations had authority to levy, charge, collect, or receive under the provisions of subsection (2) and this subsection, respectively, as they existed on January 1, 2002, to provide moneys, without exercise of the authority provided by this subsection, in at least the amounts, and by the times, as would be provided under those former provisions of subsection (2) or this subsection, respectively, so that the value, amount, and collectability of any assets, revenues, or revenue source pledged or committed to, or any lien thereon securing such outstanding bonds, notes, indebtedness, or other financing obligations will not be diminished, impaired, or adversely affected by the amendments made by this act and to permit compliance with all provisions of financing documents pertaining to such bonds, notes, indebtedness, or other financing obligations, or the security or credit enhancement for them, and any reference in this subsection to bonds, notes, indebtedness, financing obligations, or similar obligations, of the corporation shall include like instruments or contracts of the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association and the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association to the extent not inconsistent with the provisions of the financing documents pertaining to them.
(aa) The corporation shall not require the securing of flood insurance as a condition of coverage if the insured or applicant executes a form approved by the office affirming that flood insurance is not provided by the corporation and that if flood insurance is not secured by the applicant or insured in addition to coverage by the corporation, the risk will not be covered for flood damage. A corporation policyholder electing not to secure flood insurance and executing a form as provided herein making a claim for water damage against the corporation shall have the burden of proving the damage was not caused by flooding. Notwithstanding other provisions of this subsection, the corporation may deny coverage to an applicant or insured who refuses to execute the form described herein.
(bb) A salaried employee of the corporation who performs policy administration services subsequent to the effectuation of a corporation policy is not required to be licensed as an agent under the provisions of s. 626.112.
(cc) There shall be no liability on the part of, and no cause of action of any nature shall arise against, producing agents of record of the corporation or employees of such agents for insolvency of any take-out insurer.
(dd) The assets of the corporation may be invested and managed by the State Board of Administration.
(ee) The office may establish a pilot program to offer optional sinkhole coverage in one or more counties or other territories of the corporation for the purpose of implementing s. 627.706, as amended by s. 30, chapter 2007-1, Laws of Florida. Under the pilot program, the corporation is not required to issue a notice of nonrenewal to exclude sinkhole coverage upon the renewal of existing policies, but may exclude such coverage using a notice of coverage change.
(ff) In establishing replacement costs for coverage on a dwelling insured by the corporation, the corporation must accept a valuation from any of the following sources and must use the lowest valuation as the insured value of the dwelling, excluding land value, provided the valuation was completed within the 12 months before the application or renewal date of coverage:
1. A replacement cost valuation software that is specifically designed for use in establishing insurance replacement costs and that includes an itemized calculation of the cost of reconstruction;
2. A replacement cost valuation prepared by a certified or licensed real estate appraiser under part II of chapter 475 that is specifically formulated to establish insurance replacement cost, rather than market value, and which includes an itemized calculation of the cost of reconstruction; or
3. A replacement cost valuation prepared by a general, building, or residential contractor licensed under s. 489.113, or a professional engineer licensed under s. 471.015, which includes an itemized calculation of the total price of reconstruction.
(gg) The Office of Inspector General is established within the corporation to provide a central point for coordination of and responsibility for activities that promote accountability, integrity, and efficiency. The office shall be headed by an inspector general, which is a senior management position that involves planning, coordinating, and performing activities assigned to and assumed by the inspector general for the corporation.
1. The inspector general shall be appointed by the Financial Services Commission and may only be removed from office by the commission. The inspector general shall be appointed without regard to political affiliation.
a. At a minimum, the inspector general must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and 8 years of professional experience related to the duties of an inspector general as described in this paragraph, of which 5 years must have been at a supervisory level.
b. The inspector general shall report to, and be under the supervision of, the chair of the board of governors. The executive director or corporation staff may not prevent or prohibit the inspector general from initiating, carrying out, or completing any audit, review, evaluation, study, or investigation.
2. The inspector general shall initiate, direct, coordinate, participate in, and perform audits, reviews, evaluations, studies, and investigations designed to assess management practices; compliance with laws, rules, and policies; and program effectiveness and efficiency. This includes:
a. Conducting internal examinations; investigating allegations of fraud, waste, abuse, malfeasance, mismanagement, employee misconduct, or violations of corporation policies; and conducting any other investigations as directed by the Financial Services Commission or as independently determined.
b. Evaluating and recommending actions regarding security, the ethical behavior of personnel and vendors, and compliance with rules, laws, policies, and personnel matters; and rendering ethics opinions.
c. Evaluating personnel and administrative policy compliance, management and operational matters, and human resources-related matters.
d. Evaluating the application of a corporation code of ethics, providing reviews and recommendations on the design and content of ethics-related policy training courses, educating employees on the code and on appropriate conduct, and checking for compliance.
e. Evaluating the activities of the senior management team and management’s compliance with recommended solutions.
f. Cooperating and coordinating activities with the chief of internal audit.
g. Maintaining records of investigations and discipline in accordance with established policies, or as otherwise required.
h. Supervising and directing the tasks and assignments of the staff assigned to assist with the inspector general’s projects, including regular review and feedback regarding work in progress and providing recommendations regarding relevant training and staff development activities.
i. Directing, planning, preparing, and presenting interim and final reports and oral briefings which communicate the results of studies, reviews, and investigations.
j. Providing the executive director with independent and objective assessments of programs and activities.
k. Completing special projects, assignments, and other duties as requested by the Financial Services Commission.
l. Reporting expeditiously to the Department of Law Enforcement or other law enforcement agencies, as appropriate, whenever the inspector general has reasonable grounds to believe there has been a violation of criminal law.
(hh) The corporation shall prepare a report for each calendar year outlining both the statewide average and county-specific details of the loss ratio attributable to losses that are not catastrophic losses for residential coverage provided by the corporation, which information must be presented to the office and available for public inspection on the Internet website of the corporation by March 1 of the following calendar year.
(ii) The corporation shall revise the programs adopted pursuant to sub-subparagraph (q)3.a. for personal lines residential policies to maximize policyholder options and encourage increased participation by insurers and agents. After January 1, 2017, a policy may not be taken out of the corporation unless the provisions of this paragraph are met.
1. The corporation must publish a periodic schedule of cycles during which an insurer may identify, and notify the corporation of, policies that the insurer is requesting to take out. A request must include a description of the coverage offered and an estimated premium and must be submitted to the corporation in a form and manner prescribed by the corporation.
2. The corporation must maintain and make available to the agent of record a consolidated list of all insurers requesting to take out a policy. The list must include a description of the coverage offered and the estimated premium for each take-out request.
3. The corporation must provide written notice to the policyholder and the agent of record regarding all insurers requesting to take out the policy and regarding the policyholder’s option to accept a take-out offer or to reject all take-out offers and to remain with the corporation. The notice must be in a format prescribed by the corporation and include, for each take-out offer:
a. The amount of the estimated premium;
b. A description of the coverage; and
c. A comparison of the estimated premium and coverage offered by the insurer to the estimated premium and coverage provided by the corporation.
1(7) COLLATERAL PROTECTION INSURANCE.As used in this section and ss. 215.555 and 627.311, the term “collateral protection insurance” means commercial property insurance of which a creditor is the primary beneficiary and policyholder and which protects or covers an interest of the creditor arising out of a credit transaction secured by real or personal property. Initiation of such coverage is triggered by the mortgagor’s failure to maintain insurance coverage as required by the mortgage or other lending document. Collateral protection insurance is not residential coverage.
History.s. 445, ch. 59-205; ss. 13, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 69-199; ss. 1, 2, ch. 70-234; s. 1, ch. 72-22; s. 1, ch. 73-259; s. 1, ch. 74-216; s. 14, ch. 75-9; s. 3, ch. 75-279; s. 1, ch. 76-96; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 5, ch. 76-260; s. 3, ch. 77-64; s. 1, ch. 77-93; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 1, ch. 77-380; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 28, ch. 77-468; s. 1, ch. 78-47; s. 164, ch. 79-164; ss. 1, 2, ch. 79-185; ss. 1, 2, ch. 80-94; ss. 1, 2, ch. 81-4; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 351, 357, 809(2nd), 810, ch. 82-243; ss. 48, 49, 79, ch. 82-386; ss. 1, 5, ch. 82-391; s. 1, ch. 83-124; s. 1, ch. 83-206; s. 95, ch. 83-216; s. 15, ch. 85-62; s. 24, ch. 85-175; s. 1, ch. 85-274; ss. 13, 44, ch. 86-160; s. 35, ch. 86-191; s. 14, ch. 86-287; s. 1, ch. 88-368; s. 5, ch. 88-390; s. 1, ch. 89-236; s. 1, ch. 90-108; s. 6, ch. 91-106; s. 59, ch. 91-110; s. 18, ch. 92-179; s. 114, ch. 92-318; s. 3, ch. 92-345; s. 21, ch. 93-260; s. 4, ch. 93-289; s. 3, ch. 93-401; s. 14, ch. 93-410; s. 1, ch. 95-233; s. 9, ch. 95-276; s. 8, ch. 96-194; s. 2, ch. 96-377; s. 379, ch. 96-406; s. 5, ch. 97-55; s. 28, ch. 97-94; ss. 1731, 1732, ch. 97-102; s. 57, ch. 97-264; s. 8, ch. 98-49; ss. 221, 290, ch. 98-166; s. 8, ch. 98-173; s. 56, ch. 98-287; s. 1, ch. 99-237; s. 132, ch. 2000-141; s. 139, ch. 2000-318; s. 35, ch. 2001-186; s. 4, ch. 2001-372; s. 2, ch. 2002-221; s. 2, ch. 2002-240; s. 11, ch. 2002-282; s. 90, ch. 2003-1; s. 1101, ch. 2003-261; s. 73, ch. 2003-281; s. 122, ch. 2004-5; s. 47, ch. 2004-335; s. 24, ch. 2004-374; s. 7, ch. 2005-111; s. 87, ch. 2006-1; s. 15, ch. 2006-12; s. 21, ch. 2007-1; s. 141, ch. 2007-5; s. 4, ch. 2007-39; s. 11, ch. 2007-90; s. 6, ch. 2007-126; s. 148, ch. 2008-4; s. 13, ch. 2008-66; s. 24, ch. 2008-191; s. 3, ch. 2008-220; s. 84, ch. 2009-21; s. 4, ch. 2009-77; s. 10, ch. 2009-87; s. 121, ch. 2010-5; s. 39, ch. 2010-151; s. 15, ch. 2011-39; s. 77, ch. 2012-5; s. 1, ch. 2012-80; s. 11, ch. 2012-151; s. 24, ch. 2013-36; ss. 7, 8, ch. 2013-60; s. 19, ch. 2013-154; s. 1, ch. 2013-158; s. 149, ch. 2014-17; s. 8, ch. 2014-103; s. 3, ch. 2014-104; s. 1, ch. 2014-140; s. 12, ch. 2014-183; s. 1, ch. 2015-94; s. 21, ch. 2016-165; s. 1, ch. 2016-229.
1Note.Also published at s. 215.555(15).