State Roundup: Florida, Maryland, and Mississippi

September 1, 2003

Florida: Insurance assurance

Insurers can’t deny homeowner coverage and other types of personal insurance based solely on an applicant’s credit scores under a Florida law enacted in June. The law also limits insurers’ ability to deny coverage to applicants who’ve encountered unforeseen circumstances—bill payments gone astray in the mail, for example—affecting their credit reports and scoring. Also, insurers must let applicants know when they request their credit report for underwriting or rating purposes, what role the report played in coverage decisions, and provide them with a free copy of the report. The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2004.

Maryland: Handy win

A bill to require drivers to use hands-free technology while talking on their cell phones was defeated with help from the Maryland Association of REALTORS®. Established laws regulating cell phone use while driving address “distracted driving” issues without adding language that would allow police to pull drivers over just for using a handheld cell phone, says William Castelli, MAR government affairs director.

Mississippi: Licensed with pride

REALTORS® here can let their license plate tout their NAR membership. The state will issue license plates with the blue-and-gold membership mark and the slogan “Supporting Housing Opportunity.” Cost is $30 on top of the regular plate fee, with $24 supporting Habitat for Humanity in Mississippi. REALTORS® who terminate their membership must surrender the plates.

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