Lawmakers have proposed changes to Florida’s property insurance laws to speed up the claiming process that are now approved
Florida’s lawmakers plan to resolve property insurance problems and stabilize the market through new legislation that has now passed. Their plan requires the insurers to fasten their claim responses, enable homeowners to file claims easily, decrease the incentives that lead to insurers getting sued, and offer companies a taxpayer-funded bailout program worth $1 billion.
Property insurance laws
Senator President Kathleen Passidomo wrote after the legislation was filed on Friday, December 9 that the goal is to ensure Florida has a property insurance market that allows homeowners to buy insurance according to their needs and budget. This is also to ensure that when damages occur, the homeowners don’t have to go through an expensive, time-consuming case.
There’s no clear understanding of whether or not these changes will lower property insurance premiums in Florida. However, those with Citizens Property Insurance plans can expect to pay more than they currently do.
With the legislation in place, the Office of Insurance Regulation will also get more authority to monitor the insurer’s practices.
What was being proposed in the bill?
The legislation proposed faster timelines from when a claim is filed to how long it takes to respond to it. Some of its clauses are:
- Homeowners will get one year to file a lawsuit instead of two
- They will have eighteen months to file a supplemental claim
- Insurers will get two months to accept or deny a claim
- State regulations can extend the claims for an additional month in case of an emergency like hurricanes and floods
- Insurers will get a month to conduct physical inspections
- Insurers will get a week to review and accept a claim or to start an investigation
The bill also plans to reduce how much insurance companies can be sued by limiting lawsuits.
- Property insurers will no longer be required to pay attorney fees when a successful lawsuit is filed.
- The practice of “assignment of benefits” will end.
- Insurers can offer policies that forbid the individuals buying the policy from suing the company.
- Insurers can offer mandatory binding arbitration with their policies, but the policyholders will get the right to accept it.
There will also be a flood insurance program. Policyholders can buy flood insurance if their property is located in flood zones that the Federal Emergency Management Agency defines.
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