We have updated Florida insurance reform changes information you need to know. For the second time this year Governor Ron DeSantis called a special session of the legislature to deal with an insurance crisis in Florida.
The insurance crisis was so bad insurance companies were pulling out and leaving the state. Many condominium associations were finding a hard time obtaining any insurance at all, and when they did find it, the cost was prohibitive. Homeowners, perhaps to a lesser extent were also frustrated. Of course, Hurricanes Ian and Nicole weren’t going to help. The real estate industry has been impacted greatly.
In December the legislature approved, and Governor DeSantis signed into law SB 2-A. The previous 2022 bill is SB 2-D. Here is a recap of the Florida insurance reform changes made in 2022.
SB 2-A Signed December 2022
The newer SB 2-A eliminates one-way attorney fees which were meant to shield policyholders from legal bills when they needed to sue an insurer. Many argued that because one-way attorney fees were permitted it led to frivolous lawsuits. Eliminating excessive and predatory lawsuits should help lower costs in the long run.
The Office of Insurance Regulation was beefed up such that they will be able to assess property insurers performance after a hurricane to hold them accountable and prevent abuses. You can’t take away power from the people without adding protections from abuse.
Insurer timelines were reduced to payout money and into the hands of policyholders quicker after an event. The state also provided additional funding for temporary reinsurance which should further stabilize the insurance market.
SB 2-D Signed May 2022
Insurance companies can no longer refuse to issue or renew homeowners’ insurance for roofs less than 15 years old based solely on the age of the roof. If a roof is 15 years old or more the homeowner has the right to hire an approved inspector, and if the inspector states the roof has 5 years or more remaining life the insurance company may not refuse.
The homeowner has the right to see the detailed report/estimate by the adjuster. This report must be furnished within 7 days of the request, or completion of the report, whichever occurs later. We have heard instances of insurance companies changing adjusters reports to minimize payouts. This provision will provide the insured with additional rights and information to challenge. If there is a difference between the estimate and the payout, insurers must provide a reasonable explanation of the claim decision.
Insurers must also physically inspect the property within 45 days of receiving a proof of loss statement from the insured, although it does not apply to hurricane claims.
There were many other provisions in SB 2-D, like inspections on condos that are 3 stories or higher and 25-30 years old or more depending on their location. Provisions were added regarding repair or replacement of roofs and whether they need to meet new building codes.
The main takeaway is these new changes should make insurance more affordable in Florida. We may not see price reductions immediately, but it should entice insurers to come back to Florida and increase competition. Hopefully the insurance companies and attorneys will be on a more level playing field and consumers will win in the end
If you have a property to sell, call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-310-6500 voted Best in Real Estate 9 consecutive years by News Press Readers in SW Florida.
To find out the value of your home instantly, check out the best home valuation tool around www.SWFLhomevalues.com
New Way to Sell Homes Coming
In the next 2 weeks we will unveil a new program to sell your home in SW Florida. It’s pretty incredible. Give us a call to get on the list. You’ll want to hear about this.