A lawsuit filed by Olympus Insurance Company challenges Florida's insurance regulations regarding issues of payment for property that matches after a repair. The lawsuit also challenges whether the Florida Match Charter is a minimum limit for damages and whether insurers can enter into agreements without matching.
A major outcry from all Florida policyholders should go to Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier and his staff at the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) to stand up to Olympus and not approve the insurance form. On July 22, 2021, Jamilynn Pettiway, OIR's Deputy Advocate General, declared that "the Charter provides a minimum acceptable level of coverage to be provided." Insurance policyholders are increasingly requesting changes to property insurance forms that pay less and make the insurance gaps larger for otherwise unsuspecting policyholders. Florida OIR staff have a crucial role to play in capturing these changes that are not found in standard insurance in particular.
Here is Florida's matching charter:
626.9744 Claims for property insurance settlement. ̵1; Unless otherwise stated by the insurance. , when a homeowner's insurance policy provides for the adjustment and settlement of loss from a first party based on repair or replacement cost, the following requirements apply:
(1) When a loss requires repair or replacement of an item or part, any physical Damage that occurs during repair or exchanges that are covered and not otherwise excluded by the policy shall be included in the loss to the extent that applicable limits apply. The insured may not have to pay for improvements required by regulation or code other than the applicable deductible, unless specifically excluded or limited by the insurance. in quality, color or size, the insurer shall carry out reasonable repairs or replace objects in adjacent areas. To determine the extent of repairs or replacement of objects in adjacent areas, the insurer may consider the cost of repairing or replacing the undamaged parts of the property, the degree of uniformity that can be achieved without such cost, the remaining useful life of the undamaged part and other relevant factors.
(3) This section should not be construed as making the insurer a guarantee for the repairs carried out under this section.
(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed as an endorsement or impediment to the enforceability of decisive policy provisions.
Olympus claims that the language "unless otherwise stated" requires the OIR to approve its form, which would reduce the requirements of the Charter and set a limit of 1% for matching costs.  In Matching Protection of Hurricane Irma Claims in Florida it was noted that the National Association of Insurance Commissioners adopted a new section to its model rule views regarding unfair claims regarding matching:
A. When the policy prescribes adjustment and settlement of first-party losses based on compensation costs, the following applies:
(2) When a loss requires replacement of articles and the replaced articles do not match in quality, color or size, the insurer shall replace all such objects in the area so that they correspond to a reasonably uniform appearance. This applies to internal and external losses. The insured shall not bear any costs over the applicable deductible, if any.
Olympus Insurance Company asks Florida OIR to approve what each insurance company should have with termination is an unfair tort practice and gives it a competitive advantage over how other insurance companies pay their policyholders. Cheers to the OIR staff for resisting this!
Thought For The Day
There is indeed a role for regulation, but regulation should always take into account the effect it has on markets, a balance that must be constantly weighed .
– Jerome Powell