Florida legislators have been struggling with property insurance reform for some time now. With insurers raising prices and the widespread accusations of fraud, specifically involving instances of sinkhole damage, the state has never been in such dire need of change, according to lawmakers. Fortunately, change is on the way as the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill that will address factors that are contributing to higher insurance costs as well as revitalize the state’s insurance market.
The bill passed with an 85 to 33 vote. Lawmakers are representing the bill as a way for them to reign in unruly cost drivers.
Minimum surplus requirements for insurers will be increased and the time statutes for claims will be reduced from 5 years to 2. Regulators will be granted increased authority over public claims adjusters, many of whom are being scrutinized in light of recent fraudulent sinkhole claims. Legislators hope that, should the law come to fruition, it will also give consumers more insurance options.
The bill has its opponents, many of whom claim that large insurance companies will now be able to raise rates more easily while providing stripped down coverage on new policies. Representative Evan Jenne says that the law will put consumers at risk of being taken advantage of by big companies.
The bill must still pass additional hearings. Amendments are likely to be made as both Republicans and Democrats get a chance to present their ideas on the best solution.