DeSantis Signs Property Insurance Reform Bill, Customers Face Rate Increases

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Earlier this month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill  designed to bring relief to a sector of the property insurance industry. However, some Floridians might be seeing rate increases.

The new law will prohibit contractors from soliciting homeowners to file claims for their roof, but it provides a larger window of time for insurance companies to accept or decline the claim. Some homeowners might find themselves in a discouraging position due to the extended time frame.

“They often will throw their hands up and give up on that claim and that’s what the insurance company is looking for because the insurance company ultimately saves money at that time,” said Public Adjuster Eli Goins.

Goins continued by saying one of the good aspects of the bill will be getting roofers off the streets.

“The good part of getting roofers off the streets, number one, we’re going to keep the claim legitimate and two make it a level playing field for the insurance company,” Goins said.

The bill also adds new rules for litigating insurance claims, and the increase in some rates will likely be for Floridians insured by state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. The new law raises the cap Citizens can charge customers from 10 percent to 15 percent over the next five years.

Some Florida homeowners are seeing their insurance rates increase by nearly 70 percent due to an increase in damages. The damages are mostly from hurricane and storm damage, but also because insurance companies are facing massive reinsurance costs.

“We have seen positive news from the reinsurance markets with respect to the direction that reinsurance rates are going, which is a critical component of our marketplace,” said David Altmaier, head of the Office of Insurance Regulation. “And we’re seeing private carriers pick up additional policies around the state as carriers reoptimize their portfolios as we head into a very critical hurricane season.”

Another rate increase source is Altmaier’s office giving consent to three insurance companies to cancel or not renew more than 53,000 policies. However, only around 1,000 homeowner policies canceled are for Floridians insured through Citizens.

State Rep. Jim Boyd (R-21) said the legislature scaled back the bill and it did not go far enough for him or the insurance industry’s preferences, but still felt it was a step in the right direction.

“Rates aren’t going to go down tomorrow, of course,” Boyd said. “But I firmly believe this will have a definite downward impact on what has been continually rising homeowners’ rates in Florida … I really, truly believe we have done a lot of good toward getting at the root causes of the problem.”

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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