Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he will sign a recently passed law on property insurance costs and roofing practices, adding that he believes the state needs to do more to curb excessive litigation and improve the insurance market.
The move, he said, will sign attempts to resolve some of the problems plaguing the state’s homeowner insurance market, which has seen insurers lose more than $ 1.5 billion in the past year. Consumers face double-digit rate increases, limited insurance coverage, or the need to turn to the state insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance.
DeSantis announced its intention to sign the measure during a meeting of the Board of Directors of Enterprise Florida. He said he wanted “manageable premiums” and a “stronger private insurance market,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.
He said he thinks lawmakers did a “pretty good job” of targeting the insurance market, but the state will likely have to do more.
The governor’s office told the Insurance Journal that DeSantis had not signed the law late that morning.
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Some stakeholders agree with DeSantis that more needs to be done to cut costs and reduce litigation, citing the omission of two provisions that the insurance industry believed were essential. Other politicians are optimistic that the measure that has been decided will still have positive effects.
The law, Senate Law 76, passed on the last day of the legislature, includes changes to the state’s one-way attorney fees law, citizen eligibility and glide slope, and the deadline for filing claims. It also places new demands and restrictions on roofers.
But two provisions that the industry and experts identified as crucial in combating cost drivers and stabilizing the market were not included in the final bill – the abolition of the state lawyer multiplier and a provision that allows insurers to develop guidelines to reduce roof replacement costs to implement. The provisions were sticking points in both legislative chambers.
Senator Jim Boyd, also an insurance broker and owner of Boyd Insurance & Investments in Bradenton, Fla., Admitted that what he or the industry wanted didn’t have everything he or the industry wanted, but he’s confident it does Will make a difference.
“Prices won’t go down tomorrow, of course,” Boyd said. “But I firmly believe that this will have a significant downward trend on the ever-increasing homeowner rates in Florida … I really, really believe that we have done a lot of good to find the root cause of the problem.”
Senator Jeff Brandes, who co-sponsored the legislation, voted for the bill to be passed but said it was only a “40% solution to what Florida needs to bend the cost curve. Hopefully it will stabilize interest rates, but in the end it will not do anything to actually lower them, ”he told his Senate colleagues.
“I think the most important regulations are the ones that didn’t come into play,” said Joseph Petrelli, president and founder of Demotech, a rating analyst, which reviews more than 40 domestic insurers in Florida
“It is a weakened bill that will not restore market stability. It won’t put a brake on rate hikes, ”agreed Robert Ritchie, CEO of American Integrity. “Everyone is prepared for these expectations and everyone will be mad at the other.”
The insurance measure was one of 13 invoices sent to DeSantis yesterday for signature. Once signed by the governor, the law would come into effect on July 1st.
In its main provisions, the legislation states:
- Changes the rating, glide path of the tariff, and the actuarial display of the tariff for Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
- Replaces the Unilateral Attorney Fee Act to make the recovery of attorney fees and costs conditional on obtaining a judgment on compensation that exceeds the insurance company’s offer in advance of the lawsuit.
- Reduces the damage period for all damage cases to two years from the day of the damage event, except for additional damage that has an additional year.
- Requires plaintiffs to submit pre-litigation proceedings at least 10 days prior to filing a lawsuit against an insurer that includes an estimate of the claim, legal fees and fees charged, and the amount in dispute; Prohibits submitting pre-litigation notices before the insurance company can make a decision on coverage; and enables an insurer to request mediation or some other form of alternative dispute resolution upon receipt of a notice.
The bill also introduces several changes to combat the explosion of roofing claims and litigation alleged by insurers, including prohibiting roofers or anyone acting on their behalf from making “prohibited advertising”, including electronic communications, a phone call or a document requesting a claim. The offering of valuables for the performance of a roof inspection, an offer to interpret an insurance policy or to submit a claim or to adjust the claim on behalf of the insured person is also prohibited. In addition, contractors are prohibited from performing repairs for an insured person without entering into a contract that includes a detailed cost estimate of the labor and materials required to perform the repairs. Violations could result in fines of $ 10,000.
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