Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law a package of property insurance reforms to curb skyrocketing home insurance costs in Florida.
The House and Senate just passed two bills related to home insurance reform this week during the legislative special session, as the state’s uniquely complicated and pricey property insurance market took center stage.
On Thursday, DeSantis signed Senate Bill 2B which is supposed to minimize insurance costs, increase insurance claim transparency and limit unnecessary lawsuits.
Lawmakers agreed to set aside $2 billion for reinsurance.
DeSantis also signed into law Senate Bill 4B which is expected to increase condo safety in the wake of the Surfside condominium collapse.
"I believe there's going to be a lot of work for us to do but it's a very good start. We do need to encourage the capital markets to come back to Florida so they can compete for your premium dollars,” Republican Rep. Tom Fabricio, District 103, said in Tallahassee this week.
Just this year, three insurance companies were forced into liquidation, forcing thousands of homeowners to find insurance in Florida's complicated market.
Homeowners are paying more for coverage or ending up at last resort Citizens Property Insurance.
The new laws won't provide immediate relief for homeowners but will provide more protections for roofs that are 15 years old or older.
The home insurance changes could take at least 18 months for homeowners to see some potential relief.
“It is difficult for us to create programs in the legislature that are going to make substantial changes tomorrow,” State Rep. Jay Trumbull, R-Panama, said. “Just like there are long tails in claims for hurricanes as an example and when you can bring a claim, it takes some time."
The two laws will offer roof deductibles for homeowners and make sure insurance companies can’t deny coverage for roofs that are less than 15 years old.
If they’re older than that, insurers can’t deny you coverage in certain cases if an inspector determines the roof still has useful years.
"The bill that was passed today, while I do think it does quite a lot of good, it was incomplete in terms of full solutions that we needed,” Democratic Rep. Fentrice Driskell, District 63, said on Wednesday.
Some homeowners would also be eligible for grant money to fix up their homes and make them stronger.
It also sets aside $2 billion for reinsurance.
“The insurance crisis and also the Surfside issue. These are two issues that we couldn't quite come together on in the regular session, so I'm glad the governor took the leadership to bring the House and Senate together,” Rep. Scott Plakon said.
Lawmakers from both parties say more needs to be done, but this week was a step in the right direction.
Industry analysts and lawmakers admit, regardless of any changes that got voted on this week, it will be a while before homeowners see their rates and premiums go down.
It will be at least another year and a half or so before homeowners could potentially start to see some relief.