TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida’s eventful 2022 hurricane season brought a storm of further reform on property insurance in the state.
As homeowners enter this hurricane season with rising property insurance rates, state officials are putting more tools in the policyholders’ toolbox.
The governor signed off on three pieces of legislation Wednesday that “strengthen Florida’s property insurance market, expand the state’s home hardening and hazard mitigation programs, and further protect consumers against bad actors.”
One of those reforms signed into law Wednesday is SB 7052, dubbed the “insurer accountability bill.” DeSantis claims the policy will shield consumers from “predatory insurer practices.”
Some of the consumer protections in the bill include stiffer penalties for insurers who improperly handle or alter claims, as well as handing over more oversight capabilities to the Office of Insurance Regulation.
All provisions, Florida’s CFO Jimmy Patronis says, will hold insurers accountable.
“This is the most accountable legislation I’ve ever seen passed by the Florida legislature to hold the insurance company’s feet to the fire,” CFO Patronis said.
Some consumer advocates say the new law should’ve gone further, pointing to policyholders’ need for short-term solutions that would lead to rate relief.
Paul Handerhan, the president of the Federal Association for Insurance Reform, says lawmakers could have gone further.
“They could have done something that would’ve impacted rates in the short-term,” he said.
While this year’s session has passed, there’s always next year, which lawmakers say could bring more reform if needed. The legislature returns to the Capitol in January 2024. This law will go into effect on July 1st of this year.