Friday, May 01, 2009

Florida House, Senate Pass Bill to Remedy Zota Ruling

The Florida House and Senate approved legislation this week clarifying the surplus lines industry's status regarding forms and policy regulation that was challenged by the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling in 2008 in Essex v. Zota.

The Florida House of Representatives passed legislation on Tuesday by a vote of 116-0 and the Senate passed it 38-0 on Friday. The bill now goes to the Governor for signature.

The bill restores the industry's exemption from regulation of surplus lines forms and policies that was put into question by the court ruling which said that surplus lines was only exempt from the rating section of Chapter 627 of Florida’s statute (Insurance Rates and Contracts) but was subject to the chapter’s other provisions.

The new legislation affirms the industry's regulatory exemption retroactive to Oct. 1, 1988, the date the court’s decision ruled previous legislation initiated the exemption of rate, but not form regulation.

"We are pleased to see that the Florida legislature has passed this bill and are hopeful that the Governor will sign the bill," said Executive Director Richard Bouhan. "Led by the work of the Florida Surplus Lines Association, the Florida Insurance Council, PCIAA, AIA, Lloyd's, NAPSLO and the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office this legislation affirms the industry’s freedom from regulation of rate and forms."

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