Property insurance reform
Senate Bill 2D includes a variety of reform measures
Protecting Policyholders from Nonrenewal: Insurers may not refuse to write or renew policies on homes with roofs that are less than 15 years old solely because of the roof’s age.
Roof Solicitations: Requires roofing solicitations to contain consumer-awareness language that the homeowner is responsible for the deductible under the insurance policy, and it is insurance fraud for the contractor to reduce or waive the deductible or file a claim with false or misleading information.
Roof Deductible: Allows insurance companies to offer a policy at a reduced rate to consumers that includes a roof deductible of up to 2% of the insured value or 50% of the roof replacement cost. Roof deductibles will not apply when there is a total loss to the structure, a loss caused by a hurricane, a roof loss resulting from a fallen tree or other hazard, or a loss requiring a repair of less than 50% of the roof.
Assignment of Benefits (AOB) Reform: Eliminates attorney fee awards where policyholder benefits have been assigned to a 3rd party.
Improving Affordability for Policyholders: Authorizes $2 billion for a new Reinsurance to Assist Policyholders (RAP) program to help insurers obtain reimbursement for hurricane losses earlier than they normally would under the Florida CAT Fund. This reinsurance is provided by the state at no cost to the insurer. Insurers that participate in RAP must reduce policyholder premiums.
Home Hardening Grants: Appropriates $150 million to provide hurricane mitigation inspections and matching grants to help Floridians afford home hardening improvements to their homestead single-family residences with an insured value of $500,000 or less. The program provides $2 in grant funds for every $1 provided by the homeowner up to $10,000.
Condominium safety reform
Florida lawmakers also addressed condominium reform by passing Senate Bill 4D. This bill provides an overhaul of the high-rise inspection law, requires more frequent recertification of safety standards and mandates that condo boards build up reserves so they can make needed repairs. Changes in the bill include:
Creates a statewide “milestone inspection” requirement for condominiums and cooperative buildings that are three stories or higher 30 years after initial occupancy, and 25 years after initial occupancy for buildings located within three miles of the coast.
Requires inspections every 10 years after a building’s initial “phase 1” inspection.
Requires an additional, more intensive inspection, or a “phase 2” inspection, if a building’s initial inspection reveals substantial structural deterioration.
Beginning in 2024, condo associations are required to conduct a structural integrity reserve study at least every ten years and prevents needed reserves from being waived.
Click here for fuller details.
Difficulty in finding homeowners’ insurance – and large rate increases when a policy has been renewed – have plagued the Florida market. One of the biggest issues has been roofs which are 15 years or more old – that has been a cause for non-renewal for many, so this new legislation should make things easier.
I shall investigate what is covered by the Home Hardening Grants and report further.
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- Andrew Oliver, M.B.E., M.B.A.
Real Estate Advisor
800 Laurel Oak Drive, Suite 400, Naples, FL 34108
Licensed in Massachusetts