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'Insurance Bill of Rights' bill passes Florida Legislature

In our April 11 blog post, we discussed a bill before the Florida Legislature that should interest all homeowners in Broward County. As we talked about then, the bill would create a "Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights" that insurance companies would have to provide that explains the process of making a claim after your home is damaged.

In an update, we can now tell our readers that the Legislature has passed the bill. The House unanimously approved it in late April, sending it to Gov. Rick's Scott's desk. If he approves it, the Bill of Rights will make the process of pursuing a homeowner's insurance claim less confusing to Florida residents.

The Bill of Rights is a document that insurers would have to send to a homeowner that explains how the claims process works. Originally, the bill would have required insurance companies to mail the document within 14 days of receiving a claim. However, an article in the Gainesville Sun does not make clear if that provision was still part of the bill that the House passed.

The bill also would make it illegal for insurers to deny a claim based on the claimant’s credit history, at least for those with a policy older than 90 days. Regulators criticized this practice among big insurance companies in Florida.

State Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater proposed the Bill of Rights after his office received hundreds of thousands of calls from confused homeowners. Hopefully, the document will take much of the guesswork out of filing a claim in a timely manner, providing the necessary paperwork and waiting for a response.

Source: The Gainesville Sun, “Florida Legislature passes insurance claims bill,” April 30, 2014

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