December 14, 2019
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The Florida Statutes

The 2001 Florida Statutes

Title XXXVII
Insurance
Chapter 627
Insurance Rates And Contracts
View Entire Chapter
Section 627.351, Florida Statutes 2001

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 department. The department 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 department in sufficient detail to make a determination of rate adequacy. Prior to the filing of such experience with the department, 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 department 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 department 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 department 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 department 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 department. 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 department 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)  The plan of operation shall provide for a board of directors consisting of the Insurance Consumer Advocate appointed under s. 627.0613, 1 consumer representative appointed by the Insurance Commissioner, 1 consumer representative appointed by the Governor, and 12 additional members appointed as specified in the plan of operation. One of the 12 additional members shall be elected by the domestic companies of this state on the basis of cumulative weighted voting based on the net direct premiums of domestic companies in this state. Nothing in the 1997 amendments to this paragraph terminates the existing board or the terms of any members of the board.

(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 Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties or at least 30 percent of the policies so removed cover risks located in 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. or sub-subparagraph (6)(b)3.b., 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 $20 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.  The association may require arbitration of a rate filing under s. 627.062(6). 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.  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.  Association policies and applications must include a notice that the association policy could, under this section, be replaced with a policy issued by an authorized insurer that does not provide coverage identical to the coverage provided by the association. The notice shall also specify that acceptance of association coverage creates a conclusive presumption that the applicant or policyholder is aware of this potential.

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 1subparagraph (g)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)  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.

(3)  POLITICAL SUBDIVISION; CASUALTY INSURANCE RISK APPORTIONMENT.--

(a)  The department 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 department. The department 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 Insurance Commissioner, in his or her 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 of the department.

(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 department 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 to be named by The Florida Bar, a physician to be named by the Florida Medical Association, a dentist to be named by the Florida Dental Association, and a hospital representative to be named by the Florida Hospital Association. The board of governors shall choose, during the first meeting of the board after June 30 of each year, one of its members to serve as chair of the board and another member to serve as vice chair of the board. There shall be no liability on the part of, and no cause of action of any nature 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 department 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 department in sufficient detail to make a determination of rate adequacy. Within 60 days after a rate filing, the department 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 department 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 (6) 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 department 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 department 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 department 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 Insurance Commissioner, 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 2sub-subparagraph d. 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 Insurance Commissioner, 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 commissioner. 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 department 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 department 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 commissioner, subject to his or her 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 department 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 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.

7.  The plan shall provide for the deferment, in whole or in part, of the assessment of an insurer if the department 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 Insurance Commissioner. 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 department 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, or the department 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)  RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY AND CASUALTY JOINT UNDERWRITING ASSOCIATION.--

(a)  There is created a joint underwriting association for equitable apportionment or sharing among insurers of property and casualty insurance covering residential property, for applicants who are in good faith entitled, but are unable, to procure insurance through the voluntary market. The association shall operate pursuant to a plan of operation approved by order of the department. The plan is subject to continuous review by the department. The department may, by order, withdraw approval of all or part of a plan if the department 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's, mobile home owner's, dwelling, tenant's, condominium unit owner's, and similar policies, and commercial lines residential coverage, which consists of the type of coverage provided by condominium association, apartment building, and similar policies.

(b)1.  All insurers authorized to write subject lines of business in this state, other than underwriting associations or other entities created under this section, must participate in and be members of the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association. A member's participation shall begin on the first day of the calendar year following the year in which the member was issued a certificate of authority to transact insurance for subject lines of business in this state and shall terminate 1 year after the end of the first calendar year during which the member no longer holds a certificate of authority to transact insurance for subject lines of business in this state.

2.  All revenues, assets, liabilities, losses, and expenses of the association shall be divided into two separate accounts, one of which is for personal lines residential coverages and the other of which is for commercial lines residential coverages. Revenues, assets, liabilities, losses, and expenses not attributable to particular coverages shall be prorated between the accounts.

3.  With respect to a deficit in an account:

a.  When the deficit incurred in a particular calendar year is not greater than 10 percent of the aggregate statewide direct written premium for the subject lines of business for the prior calendar year for all member insurers, the entire deficit shall be recovered through assessments of member insurers under paragraph (g).

b.  When the deficit incurred in a particular calendar year exceeds 10 percent of the aggregate statewide direct written premium for the subject lines of business 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 the subject lines of business for the prior calendar year for all member insurers. Any remaining deficit shall be recovered through emergency assessments under sub-subparagraph d.

c.  Each member insurer's share of the total assessment under sub-subparagraph a. or sub-subparagraph b. shall be in the proportion that the member 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 for all member insurers.

d.  Upon a determination by the board of governors that a deficit in an account exceeds the amount that will be recovered through regular assessments on member insurers under sub-subparagraph a. or sub-subparagraph b., the board shall levy, after verification by the department, emergency assessments to be collected by member insurers and by underwriting associations created under this section which write subject lines of business upon issuance or renewal of policies for subject lines of business, excluding 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 subject lines of business for all member insurers and underwriting associations, excluding National Flood Insurance Program 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 under this section which writes subject lines of business 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-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 subject lines of business 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.

e.  The board may pledge the proceeds of assessments, projected recoveries from the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, other insurance and reinsurance recoverables, market equalization surcharges and other surcharges, and other funds available to the association as the source of revenue for and to secure bonds issued under paragraph (g), 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 association in covering claims and expenses attributable to a catastrophe. As used in this subsection, the term "assessments" includes regular assessments under sub-subparagraph a., sub-subparagraph b., or subparagraph (g)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 under sub-subparagraph d. 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 other indebtedness.

f.  As used in this subsection, the term "subject lines of business" means, with respect to the personal lines account, any personal lines policy defined in s. 627.4025, and means, with respect to the commercial lines account, all commercial property and commercial fire insurance.

(c)  The plan of operation of the association:

1.  May provide for one or more designated insurers, able and willing to provide policy and claims service, to act on behalf of the association to provide such service. Each licensed agent shall be entitled to indicate the order of preference regarding who will service the business placed by the agent. The association shall adhere to each agent's preferences unless after consideration of other factors in assigning agents, including, but not limited to, servicing capacity and fee arrangements, the association has reason to believe it is in the best interest of the association to make a different assignment.

2.  Must provide for adoption of residential property and casualty insurance policy forms, which forms must be approved by the department prior to use. The association shall adopt the following policy forms:

a.  Standard personal lines policy forms including wind coverage, which are multiperil policies providing what is generally considered to be full coverage of a residential property similar to the coverage provided under an HO-2, HO-3, HO-4, or HO-6 policy.

b.  Standard personal lines policy forms without wind coverage, which are the same as the policies described in sub-subparagraph a. except that they do not include wind coverage.

c.  Basic personal lines policy forms including wind coverage, which 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 coverage is more limited than the coverage under a standard policy.

d.  Basic personal lines policy forms without wind coverage, which are the same as the policies described in sub-subparagraph c. except that they do not include wind coverage.

e.  Commercial lines residential policy forms including wind coverage that are generally similar to the basic perils of full coverage obtainable for commercial residential structures in the admitted voluntary market.

f.  Commercial lines residential policy forms without wind coverage, which are the same as the policies described in sub-subparagraph e. except that they do not include wind coverage.

3.  May provide that the association 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 association shall have the power to borrow funds, by issuing bonds or by incurring other indebtedness, and shall have other powers reasonably necessary to effectuate the requirements 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 (g)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. The association is authorized to take all actions needed to facilitate tax-free status for any such bonds or indebtedness, including formation of trusts or other affiliated entities. The association shall have the authority to pledge assessments, projected recoveries from the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, other reinsurance recoverables, market equalization and other surcharges, and other funds available to the association 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 association operate subject to the supervision and approval of a board of governors consisting of 13 individuals, including 1 who is elected as chair. The board shall consist of:

a.  The insurance consumer advocate appointed under s. 627.0613.

b.  Five members designated by the insurance industry.

c.  Five consumer representatives appointed by the Insurance Commissioner. Two of the consumer representatives must, at the time of appointment, be holders of policies issued by the association, who are selected with consideration given to reflecting the geographic balance of association policyholders. Two of the consumer members must be individuals who are minority persons as defined in s. 288.703(3). One of the consumer members shall have expertise in the field of mortgage lending.

d.  Two representatives of the insurance industry appointed by the Insurance Commissioner. Of the two insurance industry representatives appointed by the Insurance Commissioner, at least one must be an individual who is a minority person as defined in s. 288.703(3).

Any board member may be disapproved or removed and replaced by the commissioner at any time for cause. All board members, including the chair, must be appointed to serve for 3-year terms beginning annually on a date designated by the plan.

5.  Must provide a procedure for determining the eligibility of a risk for coverage, as follows:

a.  With respect to personal lines residential risks, if the risk is offered coverage from an authorized insurer at the insurer's approved rate 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 not eligible for any policy issued by the association. If the risk accepts an offer of coverage through the market assistance plan or an offer of coverage through a mechanism established by the association before a policy is issued to the risk by the association or during the first 30 days of coverage by the association, and the producing agent who submitted the application to the plan or to the association is not currently appointed by the insurer, the insurer shall either appoint the agent to service the risk or, if the insurer places the coverage through a new agent, require the new agent who then writes the policy to pay not less than 50 percent of the first year's commission to the producing agent who submitted the application to the plan or the association, except that if the new agent is an employee or exclusive agent of the insurer, the new agent shall pay a policy fee of $50 to the producing agent in lieu of splitting the commission. If the risk is not able to obtain any such offer, the risk is eligible for either a standard policy including wind coverage or a basic policy including wind coverage issued by the association; however, if the risk could not be insured under a standard policy including wind coverage regardless of market conditions, the risk shall be eligible for a basic policy including wind coverage unless rejected under subparagraph 8. The association 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.

b.  With respect to commercial lines residential risks, 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 any policy issued by the association. If the risk accepts an offer of coverage through the market assistance plan or an offer of coverage through a mechanism established by the association before a policy is issued to the risk by the association, and the producing agent who submitted the application to the plan or the association is not currently appointed by the insurer, the insurer shall either appoint the agent to service the risk or, if the insurer places the coverage through a new agent, require the new agent who then writes the policy to pay not less than 50 percent of the first year's commission to the producing agent who submitted the application to the plan, except that if the new agent is an employee or exclusive agent of the insurer, the new agent shall pay a policy fee of $50 to the producing agent in lieu of splitting the commission. If the risk is not able to obtain any such offer, the risk is eligible for a policy including wind coverage issued by the association.

c.  This subparagraph does not require the association to provide wind coverage or hurricane coverage in any area in which such coverage is available through the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association.

6.  Must include rules for classifications of risks and rates therefor.

7.  Must provide that if premium and investment income attributable to a particular plan year are in excess of projected losses and expenses of the plan attributable to that year, such excess shall be held in surplus. Such surplus shall be available to defray deficits as to future years and shall be used for that purpose prior to assessing member insurers as to any plan year.

8.  Must provide objective criteria and procedures 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:

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 association shall be construed as the private placement of insurance, and the provisions of chapter 120 shall not apply.

9.  Must provide that the association shall make its best efforts to procure catastrophe reinsurance at reasonable rates, as determined by the board of governors.

10.  Must provide that in the event of regular deficit assessments under sub-subparagraph (b)3.a. or sub-subparagraph (b)3.b., or by the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association under sub-sub-subparagraph (2)(b)2.d.(I) or sub-sub-subparagraph (2)(b)2.d.(II), the association shall levy upon association policyholders in 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 subject lines of business for member insurers for the prior calendar year. Market equalization surcharges under this 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.

11.  The policies issued by the association must provide that, if the association or the market assistance plan obtains an offer from an authorized insurer to cover the risk at its approved rates under either a standard policy including wind coverage or a basic policy including wind coverage, the risk is no longer eligible for coverage through the association. However, if the risk is located in an area in which Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association coverage is available, such an offer of a standard or basic policy terminates eligibility regardless of whether or not the offer includes wind coverage. Upon termination of eligibility, the association shall provide written notice to the policyholder and agent of record stating that the association policy shall 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 subparagraph.

12.  Association policies and applications must include a notice that the association policy could, under this section or s. 627.3511, be replaced with a policy issued by an admitted insurer that does not provide coverage identical to the coverage provided by the association. The notice shall also specify that acceptance of association coverage creates a conclusive presumption that the applicant or policyholder is aware of this potential.

13.  May establish, subject to approval by the department, 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 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.

(d)1.  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, so that the association functions as a residual market mechanism to provide insurance only when the insurance cannot be procured in the voluntary market. Rates shall include an appropriate catastrophe loading factor that reflects the actual catastrophic exposure of the association and recognizes that the association has little or no capital or surplus; and the association shall carefully review each rate filing to assure that provider compensation is not excessive.

2.  For each county, the average rates of the association for each line of business for personal lines residential policies shall be no lower than the average rates charged by the insurer that had the highest average rate in that county among the 20 insurers with the greatest total direct written premium in the state for that line of business in the preceding year, except that with respect to mobile home coverages, the average rates of the association shall be no lower than the average rates charged by the insurer that had the highest average rate in that county among the 5 insurers with the greatest total written premium for mobile home owner's policies in the state in the preceding year.

3.  Rates for commercial residential coverage shall not be subject to the requirements of subparagraph 2., but shall be subject to all other requirements of this paragraph and s. 627.062.

4.  Nothing in this paragraph shall require or allow the association to adopt a rate that is inadequate under s. 627.062 or to reduce rates approved under s. 627.062.

5.  The association may require arbitration of a filing pursuant to s. 627.062(6). Rate filings of the association under this paragraph shall be made on a use and file basis under s. 627.062(2)(a)2. The association shall make a rate filing at least once a year, but no more often than quarterly.

(e)  Coverage through the association is hereby activated effective upon approval of the plan, and shall remain activated until coverage is deactivated pursuant to paragraph (f). Thereafter, coverage through the association shall be reactivated by order of the department 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 department that the conditions of this subparagraph have been met for eligibility for coverage in the association, 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 department may activate coverage by order for the period of the emergency upon a finding by the department that the emergency significantly affects the availability of residential property insurance.

(f)  The activities of the association shall be reviewed at least annually by the board and, upon recommendation by the board or petition of any interested party, coverage shall be deactivated if the department finds that the conditions giving rise to its activation no longer exist.

(g)1.  The board shall certify to the department its needs for annual assessments as to a particular calendar year, and any startup or 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 department shall approve such certification, and the board shall levy such annual, startup, or interim assessments. Such assessments shall be prorated as provided in paragraph (b). The board shall take all reasonable and prudent steps necessary to collect the amount of assessment due from each participating member insurer, including, if prudent, filing suit to collect such assessment. If the board is unable to collect an assessment from any member insurer, the uncollected assessments shall be levied as an additional assessment against the participating member insurers and any participating member insurer required to pay an additional assessment as a result of such failure to pay shall have a cause of action against such nonpaying member insurer. Assessments shall be included as an appropriate factor in the making of rates.

2.  The governing body of any unit of local government, any residents 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. 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 such bonds as will permit relief to claimants and policyholders of the joint underwriting association and insurers responsible for apportionment of association 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 subparagraph shall be payable from and secured by moneys received by the association 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. 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.

3.a.  In addition to any credits, bonuses, or exemptions provided under s. 627.3511, the board shall adopt a program for the reduction of both new and renewal writings in the association. The board may consider any prudent and not unfairly discriminatory approach to reducing association writings, but must adopt at least a credit against assessment liability or other liability that provides an incentive for insurers to take risks out of the association and to keep risks out of the association by maintaining or increasing voluntary writings in counties in which association risks are highly concentrated and a program to provide a formula under which an insurer voluntarily taking risks out of the association by maintaining or increasing voluntary writings will be relieved wholly or partially from assessments under sub-subparagraphs (b)3.a. and b.

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 association. 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 association, 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 a member insurer, other than an emergency assessment collected from policyholders pursuant to sub-subparagraph (b)3.d., if the department finds that payment of the assessment would endanger or impair the solvency of the insurer. In the event an 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 paragraph (b).

(h)  Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to preclude the issuance of residential property insurance coverage pursuant to part VIII of chapter 626.

(i)  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 association or its agents or employees, members of the board of governors or their respective designees at a board meeting, association committee members, 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:

1.  Any of the foregoing persons or entities for any willful tort;

2.  The association or its servicing or producing agents for breach of any contract or agreement pertaining to insurance coverage;

3.  The association with respect to issuance or payment of debt; or

4.  Any member insurer with respect to any action to enforce a member insurer's obligations to the association under this subsection.

(j)  The Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association is not a state agency, board, or commission. However, for the purposes of s. 199.183(1), the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association shall be considered a political subdivision of the state and shall be exempt from the corporate income tax.

(k)  Upon a determination by the board of governors that the conditions giving rise to the establishment and activation of the association no longer exist, and upon the consent thereto by order of the department, the association is dissolved. Upon dissolution, the assets of the association shall be applied first to pay all debts, liabilities, and obligations of the association, including the establishment of reasonable reserves for any contingent liabilities or obligations, and all remaining assets of the association shall become property of the state and deposited in the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.

(l)  All obligations, rights, assets, and liabilities of the Florida Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association created by subsection (5), which obligations, rights, assets, or liabilities relate to the provision of commercial lines residential property insurance coverage as described in this section are hereby transferred to the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association. The Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association is not required to issue endorsements or certificates of assumption to insureds during the remaining term of in-force transferred policies.

(m)  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 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.

2.  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 under subparagraph (c)10., or any other rights, revenues, or other assets of the association 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, market equalization 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 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.

4.  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, 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 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, 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.

(n)1.  The following records of the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association 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.

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 for 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 association 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 an association employee which is not relevant to the employee's capacity to perform his or her duties, except as otherwise provided in this paragraph. Information which 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 which 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 will be redacted.

When an authorized insurer is considering underwriting a risk insured by the association, 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. When 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 of 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 association 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 licensed general lines insurance agents: 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 licensed general lines insurance agent must retain the confidentiality of the information received.

2.  Portions of meetings of the Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association 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 association 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(2)(a), the court reporter's notes of any closed meeting shall be retained by the association 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.

3(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.

1Note.--Subparagraph (g)2. does not exist. The reference may be to subparagraph (6)(g)2.

2Note.--Subparagraph (5)(a)9. is not divided into sub-subparagraphs. The reference may be to sub-subparagraph (5)(a)1.d.

3Note.--Also published at s. 215.555(15).

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