About Florida Insurance Laws, Health Insurance and Regulations…
The Florida insurance industry has been under heavy strain over the past two years. The state is notorious as a target of frequent natural disasters, such as hurricanes, that cause widespread flooding. This has made the state unpopular with the property insurance industry because of the major risks the state represents. Despite these challenges, the Florida insurance industry has managed to flourish and, in some sectors at least, experience some modest growth.
The industry is regulated by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, which enforces both federal and state insurance regulations that are designed to protect consumers and businesses.
Auto insurance is mandatory in Florida. The state’s auto insurance regulations are somewhat different than those found elsewhere and, in some cases, can be somewhat strict in terms of penalties. Drivers may carry a minimum level of auto insurance coverage per the Financial Responsibility Law. This coverage must account for: $10,000 for one person in bodily injury liability; $20,00 for two or more people in bodily injury liability; $10,000 per crash in property damage liability; and $30,000 in combined single units.
Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state, meaning that insurance companies must pay benefits to parties even if they are found at fault of an accident. Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is mandatory in Florida and must account for $10,000 per person/crash and $10,000 per crash in property damage liability. According to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, the average cost of auto insurance coverage in the state is $1,476.
The Florida insurance industry is home to a somewhat turbulent property sector. Because the state is considered a high risk in terms of floods and natural disasters, homeowners insurance for properties near the coast can be very expensive. Many of the country’s larger insurance companies have abandoned the Florida property sector because of the risks it presents. Those that remain often do not offer flood protection of any kind. The Office of Insurance Regulation has also been contending with fraud concerning sinkhole coverage, which has served to raise the rates of homeowners insurance in the state.
Florida is home to more than 18 million people, 20% of which do not have health insurance currently. The Florida insurance industry does boast of a relatively strong health sector, but prices are largely effected by the financial risks represented by the state and its populace.
Florida had once stood in opposition to the Affordable Care Act, specifically the mandate that required the state to build a health insurance exchange. As of November 2012, however, Governor Rick Scott has revealed plans for the state to begin considering building and operating an exchange system of its own. This exchange program will be designed to grant consumers access to affordable health insurance policies that will be supplied by the Florida insurance industry.
Florida Insurance Resources:
Florida Insurance Commissioner: Kevin M. McCarty
Florida Department of Insurance Website: http://www.floir.com/
Florida Insurance Licensing Info: http://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/Agents/
File Insurance Complaint: http://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/Consumers/NeedOurHelp.htm