ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida lawmakers are pushing forward with a bill to reform the state’s property insurance market.
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Average yearly premiums in our state are up to more than $4,200, triple the national average.
However, the proposed changes are not designed to bring rates down. Rather, they’ll give money to struggling carriers.
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This is the third time lawmakers have dealt with property insurance in the last two years.
State leaders said they will likely have to revisit the issue again next year.
Here are 9 things to know about changes to homeowner’s insurance in Florida:
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1) AOB = DOA - The new law will eliminate what is known as “assignment of benefits,” the process where a homeowner hands over their claim to a third party to both do the work and directly bill the insurance company.
2) One Way, No Way - The new law will eliminate one-way attorney’s fees. These are fees attorneys collect from the insurance company following a lawsuit for denial of claim. Moving forward, customers will either need to hire an attorney on their own or pay for the attorney’s fees out of their claim payment.
3) Tic-Tock - The time for insurance companies to acknowledge or review a claim from 14 days to seven, the time for a physical examination of the property is reduced from 45 days to 30, and the time for the payment or denial of a claim is reduced from 60 days to 45 days.
4) Half-Life - The time for customers to file a claim with their insurance company is reduced from two years to one year.
5) Citizens off Citizens - For the more than 1.1 million customers currently on the state-backed Citizens property Insurance, they will now be forced off Citizens if there is a private company offering a rate no more than 20% more expensive than their rate with Citizens.
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6) Flooded - Residents that remain on Citizens Insurance and who live in a flood zone will be required to get separate flood coverage. This change applies to condos as well as single-family homes.
7) One Billion Dollars - There is another billion dollars of taxpayer money headed to the insurance industry for reinsurance. This is in addition to the $2 billion that lawmakers set aside in May 2022 for reinsurance.
8) Mediate, Alleviate - Customers who opt to use mandatory mediation rather than litigation will be eligible for a discount on their insurance.
9) Help! - Even advocates of these changes admit rates are unlikely to come down. In fact, there is nothing in the law to mandate lower rates or caps. For many lawmakers, the best case going forward is that rates don’t increase by as much and no more private carriers flee the state.
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