Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 76 into law in June 2021, marking the first meaningful insurance reform related to attorney’s fees enacted in Florida in recent years. Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London, a Foley & Lardner client, were very interested in not only seeing such reform become law, but also in having the attorney’s fees limitations and other litigation reforms contained therein applied to the non-admitted/surplus lines insurance market, through which it provides property insurance in Florida.
While Foley has provided regulatory representation to the London market in the United States for many years, this is the first significant Lloyd’s engagement to openly advocate the passage of Florida legislation. Tallahasee partner Austin Neal
, who has represented Lloyd’s in Florida since 2007, put together and worked with a team of Foley public affairs consultants, as well as with outside lobbying support, to run a “full- court press” in support of the reform measures and to advocate amendments to guarantee their applicability to policies issued by Underwriters at Lloyd’s.
, Foley’s Tallahassee public affairs director, assisted by Katie Kelly
, Tallahassee’s public affairs advisor, were charged with leading the effort and helping to identify, retain, and manage outside lobbying support where helpful. The Foley team was able to have measures in both the House and the Senate expanded to incorporate language that would apply to all of the provisions to surplus lines insurance. At various stages, both the expanded applicability and the reforms themselves appeared to be in danger, facing strong opposition by the Florida trial lawyers. Ultimately, Foley’s efforts led to SB 76 was the final piece of legislation passed on the last day of the 2021 legislative session. The new law will take effect July 1, 2021.