Lawmakers pass bill concerning Citizens and homeowners insurance
Florida lawmakers having been toiling over legislation concerning Citizens Property Insurance and the state’s homeowners insurance market. Senate Bill 1770, as it is called, has been a controversial issue for the state’s Legislature. The original iteration of the bill would have introduced significant changes to Citizens Property Insurance, which accounts for the majority of homeowners insurance policies in the state. The bill would have forced the state-run insurer to raise rates on coverage, a provision that proved unpopular among the general population. This unpopularity drove the bill out of the Legislature until it could be changed to be more consumer friendly.
Bill aims to provide more stability to consumers without raising rates
This week, the Florida House passed a version of SB 1770 that is not expected to be as financially turbulent as the iteration of the bill that the state’s Senate had passed last week. The House worked closely with Governor Rick Scott in order to draft more consumer friendly provisions into the bill while still ensuring that it addressed the financial issues of Citizens Property Insurance. In summary, the bill aims to reduce the liability exposure of Citizens Property Insurance, thus providing more financial security for the state; limit rate and assessment shock; increase the state-run insurer’s accountability; and introduce some changes to the homeowners insurance sector meant to provide consumers with some stability.
Consumers expected to be forced out of Citizens
One of the most significant aspects of the bill, and one supported by both the House and the Senate, involves Citizens steering current homeowners insurance policyholders to private insurance companies. This involves working with the state’s private insurers to secure comparable rates for current Citizens customers. If such rates can be secured, consumers will be forced out of Citizens, but their policies and rates will remain unchanged for a time.
Florida market remains somewhat volatile
The bill is considered a major step forward in the state’s continued efforts to reform Citizens Property Insurance. The state’s homeowners insurance market continues to be a problematic issue, however, as many private insurers are not eager to do business in a state that is prone to natural disasters. Citizens has long been one of the few places where homeowners could find the coverage they needed at an affordable rate.