With Florida’s legislators holding a special session to address the state’s problematic property insurance market, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) has issued a statement saying that the special session is “an opportunity for the Legislature to pass critical reforms.”
During the special session, the Senate Committee on Appropriations approved two bills, which will move to the Senate. One of the bills – Senate Bill 2D – seeks to establish a $2 billion reinsurance fund; revise homeowner eligibility criteria for mitigation grants; require claimants to adequately establish that their insurers have breached the contract to claim for damages; and make the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation publicly release aggregate certain data submitted by insurers.
The other measure, Senate Bill 4D, looks to amend how roofing repairs are performed and covered by insurance. The bill would forbid insurers from automatically denying coverage for roofing that is 15 years old or less; it also changes current rules so that all roofs that are more than 25% damaged but comply with Florida’s 2007 building code to be repaired instead of replaced.
NAMIC positively responded to the approved bills in a statement.
"The package, while not perfect, makes much-needed progress in substantially reforming the litigation environment that has allowed rampant lawsuit abuse in Florida in recent years and has sent the marketplace into a slow-motion collapse," said NAMIC Southeast regional vice president Caitlin Murray.
NAMIC stressed in a statement that while Florida currently represents only 9% of property claims in the US, it also accounts for 79% of insurance lawsuits in the country.
"As the bill currently stands, we believe it will improve the property insurance climate and will leave Florida policyholders in a better place than they are today, particularly in reforming Florida's broken bad faith and attorney's fees statutes that incentivize unnecessary litigation and drive costs upward," added Murray. "NAMIC anticipates this session will lead to fewer lawsuits and, as those costs fall, insurers will be encouraged to do business in a more stable litigation environment in Florida."