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Westmont Wire

Florida Grants Insurers the Right to Contribution for Defense Costs


In addition to its previously reported surplus lines updates, Florida’s House Bill 301 added a new statute to the Florida Code, Fla. Stat. § 624.1055, which requires any court hearing a liability case to allocate defense costs among all liability insurers who owe a duty to defend the insured against the claim or suit in accordance with the terms of the liability insurance policies. The court is free to use any such equitable factors it determines are appropriate in making an allocation. Any liability insurer entitled to contribution may file an action for contribution in any court of competent jurisdiction.
The statute is meant to prevent insurers from avoiding their duty to share in the defense of an insured. It applies to all liability policies issued in Florida or liability policies issued in other states under which the insurer has a duty to defend an insured in suits or actions filed in Florida. It also applies to any liability policy issued under the Florida Surplus Lines Law.
For any questions regarding Fla. Stat. § 624.1055, or for inquiries regarding the apportionment of costs, please contact Westmont Associates, Inc.


Insurance Data Security Legislation Continues to Roll Out

On August 2, 2019, New Hampshire passed Senate Bill 194 implementing insurance data security requirements by adding RSA 420-P:1 et seq. to the New Hampshire Code. The bill requires licensees to implement procedures to meet certain standards of data security, investigate a cybersecurity event, and notify the Commissioner.


Under SB 194, each licensee shall perform a risk assessment to identify foreseeable threats that could lead to a cybersecurity event. Following that assessment, licensees must create an information security program, tailoring it to its risk assessment while also considering its size and complexity, nature and scope of its activities (including the use of third-party services), and the sensitivity of the nonpublic information in the licensee’s possession. If a company is in compliance with the NYDFS Cybersecurity Regulations, NH will deem that company compliant with its requirements.


New Hampshire’s data privacy initiative comes on the heels of Connecticut and Delaware passing similar legislation on July 26 and July 30, respectively. Delaware’s compliance deadline comes first on July 31, 2020, followed by Connecticut on October 1, 2020. Lastly, New Hampshire’s compliance deadline is on January 1, 2021. Both NH and DE have adopted variants of the NAIC Model law whereas CT has chosen to follow the NYDFS Cybersecurity Regulations. What this means for those insurers writing across state lines is that they will need to ensure that their cybersecurity plans comply with each states separate requirements.


For any questions about NH Senate Bill 194, or any other states data security requirements, please contact Westmont Associates, Inc.

Texas Doubles Auto Insurance Assessment Fees

In an effort to boost funding for trauma care centers throughout the state, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 2048, doubling its motor vehicle assessment fee. The new law, signed in June, amends Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Art. 4413(37) to increase an insurer’s assessment from $2 to $4 per motor vehicle.
Taking effect on September 1, insurers may choose to pass the fee onto policyholders, but the Department of Insurance will require insurers that decide to pass on any of the fee to submit a rate and rule filing. Of the increased assessment, 20% will be directed towards vehicle theft prevention, 20% will go to the general fund, and the remainder benefits Texas trauma facilities and emergency medical services.
For any questions about Texas House Bill 2048, or for inquiries regarding assessments, licensing and contracting, please contact Westmont Associates.


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