By Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida
TALLAHASSEE — With a special legislative session poised to start, the Florida House and Senate late Friday released proposals that would make far-reaching changes in the state’s troubled property-insurance system.
The bills (HB 1A and SB 2A) would take steps to reduce litigation costs, move policies out of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp., offer additional reinsurance to insurers and try to speed up claims.
The bills, which each top 100 pages, appeared nearly identical, indicating that House and Senate Republican leaders have agreed on the major details.
“I believe the goal we all share is for Florida to have a robust property insurance market that offers homeowners the opportunity to shop for insurance that meets their needs and budget,” Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, said in a memo to senators. “We also want to make certain that when damage occurs, claims are paid promptly and fairly, so homeowners do not have to contend with time-consuming and expensive litigation. SB 2A continues our efforts to focus on fair costs and strong protections for consumers while adding reasonable guardrails for insurance companies against the frivolous litigation and fraudulent claims that drive up rates for everyone.”
The insurance market has faced massive problems during the past two years, with insurers seeking large rate increases and dropping hundreds of thousands of customers because of financial losses. Citizens, which was created as an insurer of last resort, has seen its policy count more than double to 1.13 million.
Among the key proposed changes:
— The bills would eliminate requirements that property insurers pay the attorney fees of policyholders who successfully file lawsuits over claims. Insurers have long blamed the requirements for spurring litigation and driving up costs, while plaintiffs’ attorneys argue the elimination would make it financially difficult for policyholders to pursue valid lawsuits.
The industry claims that since 2013, insurance companies made $15 billion in payouts in Florida, with less than 10% going to homeowners, 20% to contractors, and 70% to attorneys.
It’s shameful and the attorneys are blaming the roofers.., the Ins defense counsel and plaintiffs’ attorneys love the Roof Cash Festivus.
Read this, https://www.floridabar.org/the-florida-bar-news/contingency-fee-multipliers-expected-to-be-discussed-during-property-insurance-special-session/
Barb is right. Some people choose to live in hurricane and flood zones knowingly in poorly built housing, and dont bother to save any money, just relying on insurers who have all the leverage, or govt. Insurance on a 500k house on the beach SHOULD be astronomical. A trailer in florida WILL get demolished. We all know this, but depend on govt to burp us.
A Skeptic, Thanks, for that info. I did not know that.
@Barb — insurance companies have caught onto that scam and are fighting back. Based on the roof type and its age, companies are declaring the properties “uninsurable” and won’t write policies and in many cases won’t even renew. I.e., a house with a 20-year, 3-tab shingle roof that is 17 years old is a prime candidate for the hurricane damage scam and the owner may no be able to get insurance until the roof is inspected and/or replaced.
I think there are people who have roofing or fencing that needs replacing but they don’t want to pay for it because it is expensive. So, they don’t repair or replace it, they just wait for a storm to blow through and then file an insurance claim. They now have a new roof or fence paid by insurance (i.e. paid by everyone else who has the same insurance).
Claimants, along with attorneys and insurance companies and price gougers, can be part of the problem.
My point is, there is money to be made from these hurricanes and I suspect many people are playing games and driving up the costs.
I left Farm Bureau after 32 years because of the $4,040.00 increase. After 3 recommendations, I went with USAA.
@Pat – Before Morgan adopted the “Size Matters” slogan their advertising focused on how much money they had recovered for their clients. The math is pretty easy and when they bragged on the billions recovered they failed to mention that 40% of 2.5 billion is 1 billion. Our collective premiums increased by the billion dollars that went to Morgan that year.
My kids bought their first house 2 years ago (this month)! The renewal notice that they got a couple of weeks ago has their premium jumping from about a grand to $2,500. They’re shopping it now!
@ Deep… explain please… or was it just my mean words?
@ Lena… I can feel my globes warming as we speak… oh wait, that’s just my heated car seats… never mind.
Ed, there is something wrong with you.
@ Pat A… you know the weak and malleable get offended easily. Whenever they can’t win or counter to argument, they redirect the focus on those mean words.
You’re absolutely correct however… the ambulance chasing firm of DueWe, Screw’em, and How are the root cause of this mess.
My home owners premium increase 126 percent with no claims. My guess is most folks will receive at least a 35 percent increase if not cancellation. My point, litigation attorneys contributed to the increase .
The fact of the matter is that global warming is causing more severe storms and hurricanes. ALL politicans everywhere need to address how global warming is affecting their community.
In Florida, this means not building on areas that will be crumbling under rising tides. It means protecting the Everglades and fresh water sources. It means switching to housing stock that can withstand hurricane winds and that’s maybe steel frame housing, for example.
The Republicans only answer so far is to do nothing. You should have voted for Democrats if you wanted someone to actually do something.
“How to win friends and influence people” by Pat A .
First, get their attention with a standard vulgarity then call everyone in the audience a “dumb a$$”.
I’m guessing Pat just paid a deductible, or sumthin…
I say, let’s do a “shout out” to Morgan and Morgan, Scott and Wallace, Anderson and Hart, and Fasig Brooks for driving up the cost of doing business by suing the $h1t out of our local businesses. For all you dumb a$$ES out there, local businesses pass on the cost of defending against lawsuits to the consumer. If your home owner’s insurance company has to pay 5 times the cost to replace your roof because a sleezie attorney made them….well guess what. Your premiums are going up thosands this year.
From past history, anytime insurance companies start crying “Uncle”, you better watch your wallets! I know many businesses and homeowners received low ball claims during Hurricane Michael and if it was not settled, you could wait years to get your home or business repaired. Insurance companies know this and use it as a cost savings technique. And now they don’t want to pay attorneys fees to clients who successfully fight this? Orwellian at best.
Everyone knows its tort reform. Now the legislature is going to have to find a balance. Good thing the legislature isn’t full of attornies. LOL