House adds potential Citizens rate hikes to insurance reform

The House of Representatives adopted a package of reforms on home insurance, supported by the Senate. But the changes passed in the lower chamber introduce a new language that would allow an increase in tariffs for property insurance for citizens.

The invoice (SB 76) overall aims to combat rising premiums. But rep. Bob Rommel, a Republican from Naples, said the state must also address an impending financial crisis within the state of last resort’s publicly managed insurer.

“This is the fastest growing insurance company in America,” he said, “and it is state-owned.”

Rommel carried the house attendant (HB 305) to the Senate legislation this year. Along the way, he has absorbed many of the controversial aspects of the bill passed in the upper chamber. The bill would reduce the deadline for filing claims from three years after an incident to two years.

It will also allow insurance carriers to sell roofing policies that cover the depreciated present value of a roof rather than the full replacement cost, but companies should still have this full coverage and must include a disclaimer with the policies.

Also, the legislation will greatly reduce the money attorneys can make on charges related to litigation proceedings by restricting the use of an emergency risk multiplier.

An amendment passed in plenary on Tuesday also introduces a number of issues that are being dealt with in the House, particularly those relating to citizens.

The statutory health insurance companies are now only allowed to increase the tariffs by 10% per year. At a time when private airlines are increasing renewal rates by up to 40%, pricing policies are much lower than the rest of the market. Meanwhile, the cost of lawsuits and court visits, which Rommel said drives up interest rates in the private market, puts as much risk or more at it.

His amendment would gradually increase how much citizens can raise their rates until costs can rise by 15% in 2026.

Rommel said Citizens now enroll about 5,000 new policyholders every week. She now holds around $ 7 billion in the bank in the event of a loss. But risk estimates say a catastrophic hurricane Andreas-Such an event could expose Florida to $ 100 billion in damage.

“We are still restricting citizens against private companies, whose prices rise depending on market conditions,” said Rommel.

Democrats in the House of Representatives, as in the Senate, greeted the bill with skepticism, suggesting that the bill would help insurance companies more than consumers.

To bring this point home, Rep. Evan Jenne, the Democratic co-chair of the House of Representatives, tabled his own amendment that would mandate a reduction in consumer prices if airline protections came into effect.

“We will make sure that the savings promised actually benefit your voters, and not just insurance company profits,” Jenne said.

Jenne suggested that the state may have more responsibility for rising premiums because the Insurance Regulation Bureau, which he renamed the Insurance Rubber Stamp Office, had never denied an interest rate hike request in living memory.

But that amendment and others offered by Democrats were shot down in the chamber.

If the bill is passed in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, as expected, it will be sent back to the Senate in modified form.

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