Court to hear dispute over life insurance law

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The 1st District Court of Appeal will hear arguments in January in a dispute about the constitutionality of a 2016 state law that placed new requirements on life insurers.

The Tallahassee-based court Wednesday scheduled oral arguments on Jan. 8 in an appeal filed by state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and the Florida Department of Financial Services, according to an online docket.

The case stems from a 2016 law that, in part, placed new requirements on insurers to try to determine if policyholders had died and to contact beneficiaries.

The law was designed to spur insurers to pay benefits or to turn over unclaimed money to the state. But Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis ruled in April that part of the law requiring insurers to apply the changes retroactively to policies dating back as far as 1992 violated the companies’ constitutional due-process rights.

In a seven-page order, Lewis issued an injunction against applying the changes retroactively. That prompted Patronis and the Department of Financial Services to appeal.