Florida Governor to Sign Property Insurance Measure But Says State Needs to Do More

Florida Governor to Sign Property Insurance Measure But Says State Needs to Do More

2021-06-10 14:44:07

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he will sign recently passed legislation regarding the cost of property insurance and roofing practices, while adding that he believes the state needs to do more to curb excess lawsuits and boost the insurance market. improve.

The measure he said he will sign seeks to solve some of the problems plaguing the state's homeowners insurance market, in which insurers lost more than $1.5 billion last year. Consumers face double-digit rate hikes, limited coverage or have to turn to the state insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance.

DeSantis revealed his intentions to sign the measure at a meeting of Enterprise Florida's board of directors. He said he wants to see "controllable premiums" and a "stronger private insurance market," the statement said Orlando Sentinel.

He said he thinks lawmakers have done "pretty good work" in tackling the insurance market, but the state will likely need to do more.

The governor's office told Insurance Journal that DeSantis hadn't signed the bill by late morning.

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Some stakeholders agree with DeSantis that more needs to be done to reduce costs and reduce lawsuits, citing the omission of two provisions that the insurance industry believes were essential. Other policymakers are optimistic that the measure as adopted will still have a positive effect.

The legislation, Senate Bill 76, passed on the last day of the legislative session, includes changes to the state's one-way attorney's fee statute, citizens' eligibility and glide path, and the deadline to file claims. to serve. It also sets new requirements and restrictions on roofers.

But two provisions that industry and experts considered crucial to tackling cost drivers and stabilizing the market were left out of the final bill: the elimination of the state attorney's fee multiplier and a provision that allows insurers to use policy language. implement to reduce the cost of roof replacement. The provisions were sticking points in both legislative chambers.

sen. Jim Boyd, also an insurance broker and owner of Boyd Insurance & Investments in Bradenton, Florida, acknowledged that what was over didn't have everything he or the industry wanted, but he's confident that what did come will make a difference.

"Rates won't go down tomorrow, of course," Boyd said. "But I firmly believe that this will have a clear downward impact on the continuously rising homeownership rate in Florida … I really, really believe we've done a lot of good to address the root causes of the problem."

sen. Jeff Brandes, co-sponsor of the legislation, voted to pass the bill but said it was only a “40% solution to what it takes in Florida to bend the cost curve. Hopefully it will stabilize rates but will ultimately do nothing to actually lower them," he told his Senate colleagues.

"In my opinion, the most important provisions are the ones that aren't included," said Joseph Petrelli, president and founder of rating analysis firm Demotech, which rates more than 40 domestic insurers in Florida.

"It's a diluted bill that won't restore market stability. It won't curb tariff hikes," said Robert Ritchie, CEO of American Integrity. "Everyone is geared to these expectations and everyone will be mad at each other."

The insurance measure was: one of 13 invoices sent to DeSantis yesterday to draw. Once signed by the governor, the legislation would come into effect on July 1.

In the main provisions of the legislation:

  • Changes the eligibility, rate slide, and factually correct rate indication for Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
  • Replaces the statute of one-way attorney's fee to make recovery of attorney's fees and expenses conditional on obtaining a judgment for damages in excess of the insurance company's pre-suit offer.
  • Shorten the claim deadline for all claims to two years from the date of loss, except for additional claims that receive an additional year.
  • requires plaintiffs to file a claim against an insurer at least 10 days prior to filing a lawsuit containing an estimate of the claim, the attorney's fees and costs claimed, and the amount disputed; prohibits submitting advance notices before the insurance company can determine coverage; and permits an insurer to require mediation or other form of alternative dispute resolution upon receipt of the notice.

The bill also makes several amendments to address what insurers say is an explosion of roofing claims and lawsuits, including illegally making roofers or persons acting on their behalf to create a "banned advertisement." including an electronic communication, phone call or document in which a claim is made. Offering anything of value to perform a roof inspection, an offer to interpret an insurance policy or make a claim or amend the claim on behalf of the insured is also prohibited. In addition, contractors are prohibited from making repairs for an insured without a contract that includes a detailed cost estimate of the labor and materials required to make the repairs. Violations can result in fines of $10,000.


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