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The Florida Statutes

The 2001 Florida Statutes

Title XXXVII
Insurance
Chapter 627
Insurance Rates And Contracts
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Section 627.0629, Florida Statutes 2001

627.0629  Residential property insurance; rate filings.--

(1)  A rate filing for residential property insurance must include actuarially reasonable discounts, credits, or other rate differentials, or appropriate reductions in deductibles, for properties on which fixtures or construction techniques demonstrated to reduce the amount of loss in a windstorm have been installed or implemented. The fixtures or construction techniques shall include, but not be limited to, fixtures or construction techniques which enhance roof strength, roof covering performance, roof-to-wall strength, wall-to-floor-to-foundation strength, opening protection, and window, door, and skylight strength. Credits, discounts, or other rate differentials for fixtures and construction techniques which meet the minimum requirements of the Florida Building Code must be included in the rate filing. All insurance companies must make a rate filing which includes the credits, discounts, or other rate differentials by December 31, 2002.

(2)(a)  A rate filing for residential property insurance made on or before the implementation of paragraph (b) may include rate factors that reflect the manner in which building code enforcement in a particular jurisdiction addresses the risk of wind damage; however, such a rate filing must also provide for variations from such rate factors on an individual basis based on an inspection of a particular structure by a licensed home inspector, which inspection may be at the cost of the insured.

(b)  A rate filing for residential property insurance made more than 150 days after approval by the department of a building code rating factor plan submitted by a statewide rating organization shall include positive and negative rate factors that reflect the manner in which building code enforcement in a particular jurisdiction addresses risk of wind damage. The rate filing shall include variations from standard rate factors on an individual basis based on inspection of a particular structure by a licensed home inspector. If an inspection is requested by the insured, the insurer may require the insured to pay the reasonable cost of the inspection. This paragraph applies to structures constructed or renovated after the implementation of this paragraph.

(c)  The premium notice shall specify the amount by which the rate has been adjusted as a result of this subsection and shall also specify the maximum possible positive and negative adjustments that are approved for use by the insurer under this subsection.

(3)  A rate filing made on or after July 1, 1995, for mobile home owner's insurance must include appropriate discounts, credits, or other rate differentials for mobile homes constructed to comply with American Society of Civil Engineers Standard ANSI/ASCE 7-88, adopted by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development on July 13, 1994, and that also comply with all applicable tie-down requirements provided by state law.

(4)  The Legislature finds that separate consideration and notice of hurricane insurance premiums will assist consumers by providing greater assurance that hurricane premiums are lawful and by providing more complete information regarding the components of property insurance premiums. Effective January 1, 1997, a rate filing for residential property insurance shall be separated into two components, rates for hurricane coverage and rates for all other coverages. A premium notice reflecting a rate implemented on the basis of such a filing shall separately indicate the premium for hurricane coverage and the premium for all other coverages.

(5)  In order to provide an appropriate transition period, an insurer may, in its sole discretion, implement an approved rate filing for residential property insurance over a period of years. An insurer electing to phase in its rate filing must provide an informational notice to the department setting out its schedule for implementation of the phased-in rate filing.

(6)  An insurer may not write a residential property insurance policy without providing windstorm coverage or hurricane coverage as defined in s. 627.4025. This subsection does not apply with respect to risks located in an area eligible for coverage under the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association under s. 627.351(2).

(7)  Any rate filing that is based in whole or part on data from a computer model may not exceed 25 percent unless there is a public hearing.

(8)  An insurer may implement appropriate discounts or other rate differentials of up to 10 percent of the annual premium to mobile home owners who provide to the insurer evidence of a current inspection of tie-downs for the mobile home, certifying that the tie-downs have been properly installed and are in good condition.

(9)  EVALUATION OF RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY STRUCTURAL SOUNDNESS.--

(a)  It is the intent of the Legislature to provide a program whereby homeowners may obtain an evaluation of the wind resistance of their homes with respect to preventing damage from hurricanes, together with a recommendation of reasonable steps that may be taken to upgrade their homes to better withstand hurricane force winds.

(b)  To the extent that funds are provided for this purpose in the General Appropriations Act, the Legislature hereby authorizes the establishment of a program to be administered by the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association.

(c)  The program shall provide grants to homeowners, for the purpose of providing homeowner applicants with funds to conduct an evaluation of the integrity of their homes with respect to withstanding hurricane force winds, recommendations to retrofit the homes to better withstand damage from such winds, and the estimated cost to make the recommended retrofits.

(d)  The Department of Community Affairs shall establish by rule standards to govern the quality of the evaluation, the quality of the recommendations for retrofitting, the eligibility of the persons conducting the evaluation, and the selection of applicants under the program. In establishing the rule, the department shall consult with the advisory committee to minimize the possibility of fraud or abuse in the evaluation and retrofitting process, and to ensure that funds spent by homeowners acting on the recommendations achieve positive results.

(e)  The Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association shall identify areas of this state with the greatest wind risk to residential properties and recommend annually to the department priority target areas for such evaluations and inclusion with the associated residential construction mitigation program.

(10)  A property insurance rate filing that includes any adjustments related to premiums paid to the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund must include a complete calculation of the insurer's catastrophe load, and the information in the filing may not be limited solely to recovery of moneys paid to the fund.

History.--s. 13, ch. 93-410; s. 7, ch. 95-276; s. 7, ch. 96-194; s. 4, ch. 97-55; s. 99, ch. 2000-141; ss. 34, 42, ch. 2001-186.