Florida Gov. Charlie Crist today signed into law HB 853, which clarifies the surplus lines industry's status regarding forms and policy regulation that was challenged by the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling in 2008 in the Essex v. Zota opinion.
The Florida House of Representatives and Senate unanimously passed the legislation in May and sent the bill to the governor. On Wednesday representatives of the surplus lines industry met with the Governor to explain the importance of the legislation to Florida consumers and encouraged him to sign the bill.
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 law affirms the industry's regulatory exemption retroactive to Oct. 1, 1988, the date the Florida Supreme Court’s decision ruled previous legislation initiated the exemption of rate, but not form regulation.
“We are pleased to see that the Governor signed the bill," said NAPSLO Executive Director Richard Bouhan. "This is was an important victory for the industry and for the Working Group that had drafted and steered the legislation to unanimous approvals in the Florida House and Senate."