This article reports the highlights from legislation passed in 2021 and 2022, key aspects of the My Safe Florida Home program, and includes comments from insurance agents on the impact on homeowners’ insurance premiums.
Over the last 2-3 years it has become increasingly difficult to get insurance on a property with a roof more than 15 years old – and here I am talking of the asphalt roof prevalent in Florida.
Part of the problem stems from Hurricane Irma and the widespread fraud after that event when roof contractors got homeowners to sign up for new roofs based upon “hurricane damage.”
In 2021, Florida represented just 6.9% of total homeowner’s claims, but 76% of the nation’s homeowner’s lawsuits, and many insurers either withdrew from Florida or became insolvent.
A comprehensive property insurance reform bill was passed and signed into law in 2021, introducing several measures to tackle the escalating insurance costs within the state.
One significant change included in the bill was the limitation on contractors’ practices concerning insurance claims for roof damage. This measure aimed to curb fraudulent activities and ensure fair practices within the industry. Additionally, the bill placed limitations on the fees that attorneys representing claimants can receive, preventing excessive charges.
The legislation mandated that policyholders had to file claims within two years of a loss, in an attempt to streamline the claims process and ensure timely resolution. It also strengthened the oversight of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) on companies affiliated with Florida property insurers.
In 2022, additional property insurance reforms were enacted to address ongoing issues in the property insurance market. These reforms included: (more…)
Over the past year, state lawmakers have made changes on paper through several attempts to cure Florida’s property insurance crisis. But a homeowner in Florida who opens their annual renewal and sees their premium has increased, or finds out their carrier has suddenly dropped them, may not have noticed anything different.
State Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, noted during the first of last year’s special sessions to address insurance that relief from any measures taken by lawmakers wouldn’t be realized for at least another 18 months. That session took place in May 2022.
Since then, two hurricanes hit the state. Lawmakers then held a second special session on insurance in December. Six property insurance companies were declared insolvent last year. Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-run “insurer of last resort,” continues to grow with more than 1 million policies.
And now the annual, 60-day regular legislative session is underway. The session is largely where party-line battles are taking center stage, but not insurance. And those homeowners with delayed or unfulfilled property damage claims may find their legal recourses slashed, owing to legislation approved in the special sessions to limit what the insurance industry and lawmakers said was too much litigation over property insurance claims and disputes between homeowners and their insurers.
The story remains the same as it was a year ago: it’s lawyers, contractors and public adjusters versus lawmakers and insurance companies. (more…)