Hopes that new Florida insurance bill will solve fraudulent sinkhole claims issue

Kevin McCarty, Florida Insurance Commissioner
Kevin McCarty, Florida Insurance Commissioner

Florida Insurance Commissioner feels certain that Governor will sign SB 408 into law. The bill pertains to property and casualty insurance and directly effects property insurance coverage and overhauling a system vulnerable to fraudulent claims.

Property insurers have had to increase rates in efforts to keep up with mounting sinkhole claims, rising reinsurer fees and other issues that are pushing costs through the roof. However, with the passing of SB 408, much of that is likely to change.

Bill 408 directly goes after what many insurers and several Lawmakers consider being the main issues directly pushing insurance costs up. The bill will allow insurers to omit offering sinkhole coverage to homeowners. If they chose to offer the coverage, they can state what areas of the home and property are covered or not covered, decrease value of damaged areas and raise the homeowner’s policy for the additional coverage.

The new bill will also put a limit on public adjuster’s fees; put a limited time frame on making claims for sinkholes or hurricanes, and repeal terms to Citizens Insurance that would have reduced boundaries to high-risk zones. Florida’s Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty applauded the Legislatures move to address these issues and take action to overhaul and obviously damaged system.

Insurers feel that the provisions of the bill will allow the private insurance industry to get back on their feet and pull in the massive costs (associated with sinkhole claims) that are draining the industry across the state. The American Insurance Association vice president commented that this bill would encourage a thriving and competitive insurance market in Florida.

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