The Florida Legislative Special Session is finished. One of the most important pieces of legislation that will be passed this year and next (SB 2 Property Insurance) was rammed through the State Legislature in a matter of 48 hours under the guise of “fixing” the collapsing insurance market. Here is a summary.
• Following the delivery of a $2 billion gift to insurance companies during a previous Special Session devoted to property insurance reform, this new bill is another $1 billion bailout to the insurance industry that has already contributed $10 million to Gov. DeSantis’ political ambitions since he has been in office.
• The bill does nothing to reduce or stall the increasing insurance rates that policyholders are experiencing. In fact, the Democrats in the House and Senate proposed about 50 amendments to make the bill more acceptable to policyholders, and all were voted down despite Republicans admitting that homeowners will not see reduced rates for at least 18 months.
• The bill actually goes out of its way to be punitive to policyholders by refusing to deal with bad-faith insurers who refuse to administer claims in a quick and fair manner and then making it harder for policyholders to retain legal counsel to fight the insurers.
• In an effort to force customers out of Citizens Property Insurance, the insurer of last resort in Florida, it will force policyholders to purchase higher-priced policies on the private market and then purchase additional flood insurance.
This bill will allow more insurers to re-enter the Florida market. That is true. However, the problem is that they will be coming back to Florida because there is literally no risk to them. The Legislature has made sure of that.
Those insurers will sell lousy policies that will not help Floridians when they need them most. These predators will again leave the area and we will witness more Floridians losing their homes.