Big Insurance Changes Headed For Gov. Scott’s Desk

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Late Thursday, the Florida Legislature sent a bill to Governor Scott that makes it easier for property insurers to raise rates, cut the time you have to file claims, an keep your payment until the repairs are actually made to your house.

Gov. Scott has 15 days to sign the bill into law.

The bill allows insurers to raise rates up to 15 percent a year, without any further regulation, to cover the increased cost of reinsurance. That’s the insurance an insurance company buys to help cover its losses.

The move has homeowner like Gunther Krager groaning over his insurance bill.

“This is inconceivable”, said Krager. “People cannot afford in a very weak economy, second to the great depression. People losing their homes.  And so now how are they going to come up with these premiums.”

In addition, insurers will no longer have to get regulator approval to raise rates to cover the cost of advertising expenses and payment of agent commissions.

Currently, a homeowner has up to 5 years to file claims for hurricane and sinkhole coverage. The new law would cut that to 3 years for Hurricane claims, and just 2 years for sinkhole losses.

In addition, once a claim is filed and payment is agreed upon, insurers will now have the right to withhold full payment for the claim until all the work is done, except in the case where a property is totally destroyed.

Currently, if an insurance company offers both auto and homeowners insurance in the same policy, they will now be able to drop that policy with just 90 days notice.

In are area of consumer protection, the bill would require new insurers to have better reserves, $15 million starting this year. Existing insurers to have $15 million by 2021.

“Regardless of who was in office this was going to be necessary,” Dulce Suarez-Resnick told CBS4’s David Sutta.

She says every insurer in the state was watching this bill.  If it didnt pass, some would have stopped writing new policies or worse, closed down.

“The situation is if you want a healthy market.  Your going to spend your hard earned money on an insurance policy,” said Suarez-Resnick. “Do you want the company to be there the day you have a claim?  That’s the bottom line.”

More from David Sutta
  • Harriett

    Stomp on the homeowners. Make sure those insurance companies can make a record profit. Mortgage companies are not going to be happy when homeowners take their beloingings and just walk away because they cannot afford the insurance and taxes anymore.

  • Jerry Talerico

    I think this will kill whatever is left of the real estate market in Florida, especially South Florida. Another reason to leave Florida. Rick Scott, how did you get elected? Campaign intensely saying you will bring jobs to Florida and make the state prosper, meanwhile, your real agenda is to pull away all rights for individual citizens in favor of big business. Typical Republican bait and switch techniques. I am surprised people keep falling for it. When will they learn!

    • fred

      jerry u know nothing about business. is not about republicans or democrats this needed to happen or all the insurance where going to leave the state

  • James

    Unbelievable!!! I wish I could give myself a 15% raise every year uncontested!!

  • just me

    if you choose to live in hurricane alley you’d better expect to pay for it – it was your choice after all

    as a taxpayer i see no reason why i should be on the hook for your losses when Florida goes bankrupt because of its own unsound actuarial practces at Citizens

  • John Zatroch

    How come everybody I meet says they didn’t vote for Gov. Valdemort?

    • fred

      John that because you hang out with lots of jerks

  • Gunther Karger

    Gunther Karger,
    The bill allows the insurance company to withold plyment until repairs are completed. n a disaster situation, the homeowner may need some money for deposits to get repairs started. What happens to the person who is short of cash, out of a job? Once again, “When money speaks, truth keeps silent”

  • GJ

    As an Independant insurance agent our job is never easy. Dealing with people who want to be rewritten to a cheaper policy with Citizens. This bill was long overdue and thanks to Charlie it took this long. Homes older than 1995 do not stand a chance with a good standard company.

    • Mr Dude

      You could have fooled us, but you haven’t. Insurance companies make more money than banks do. The profit margin for an insurance company is 8,000 percent. Check it out. GJ is full of it. Insurances, all of them, are scams. When you file a claim, you pay most of the damage yourself out of pocket anyways.

  • JSL

    With record sinkhole claims throughout Florida and claims still be presented for Hurricane damage from 2004-2008 – insurance companies cannot possible contemplate staying in the state with out some relief.

    Unfortunately for the average homeowner – we will all pay for the dishonest homeowner and the attorneys that will always find a way to make money off the backs of the government and insurance companies.

    100s of homeowners have been working with attorneys to get their “underwater” homes declared “totaled” – taking the money and walking away from the home and the mortgage.

    1000s of homeowners at the encouragement of public adjusters and attorneys are filing claims to have “sinkhole damage” repaired (ie – settling and building cracks) – just to determine if there is a sinkhole cost insurance companies $10,000 – $15,000 – do the math – that is millions of dollars that the companies are paying out for claims to fix cracked driveways & cracked stairs.

    The premiums in the coastals areas have been kept artificially low for years by the State and everyone will be paying the price now.

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