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Florida lawmakers pass sweeping changes to property insurance laws

MONTERRA construction home
(AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

(TALLAHASSEE, FLA) — The Florida Legislature passed changes to the state’s property insurance laws Wednesday. It’s not clear if Florida homeowners premiums will go down as a result.

This week’s legislation passed during a special session in Tallahassee to stabilize the state’s property insurance crisis.
It offers a $1 billion taxpayer-funded aid program for struggling insurers and sharply limits the incentives to sue those companies. For example, insurance companies will no longer be on the hook for attorneys’ fees even if the homeowner wins the lawsuit. These changes are designed to keep and attract more insurance companies in Florida, increasing supply and lowering demand which will eventually translate into lower premiums for homeowners.
“One thing it won’t do, for now, is lower rates for Floridians, who are paying the highest homeowners insurance premiums in the nation. Premiums are expected to go down in the ‘long-term.'”

The law also sets guidelines for property insurance transactions and companies, and examinations of those companies following events such as a hurricane. IF actions are taken against an insurer, there are now remedial actions allowed for civil court to request damages.

There are also new rules for types of damage, and what types of damage in certain parts of Florida, are eligible for both compensation and coverage, depending on need. For commercial residential policies, this includes wind-only damage and “multiperil coverage” from authorized insurers.
Here is the actual bill SB 2-A: Property Insurance

Property Insurance; Creating the Florida Optional Reinsurance Assistance program (FORA), to be administered by the State Board of Administration; authorizing eligible insurers to purchase reinsurance coverage under FORA; providing that property insurers may be subject to an additional market conduct examination by the Office of Insurance Regulation after a hurricane under certain circumstances; specifying conditions that must be met for a property insurance policy to require mandatory binding arbitration; prohibiting policyholders from assigning post-loss insurance benefits under residential or commercial property insurance policies issued on or after a specified date, etc. APPROPRIATION: $1,757,982

Effective Date: Except as otherwise expressly provided in this act, this act shall take effect upon becoming a law
Last Action: 12/14/2022 – Signed by Officers and presented to Governor