TALLAHASSEE, FL – Florida’s Legislature this week passed two bills to address previous property insurance reforms that critics complained lessened the ability of consumers to hold insurance companies accountable. These two new bills, which were unanimously passed, have been sent to the desk of Governor Ron DeSantis for his signature.
If signed into law by the Governor – which is expected to happen – the bills would increase the authority of insurance regulators in the state of Florida to both review how insurance companies handle claims and to dole out punishments to “bad actors.”
The bills are meant to address concerns expressed by Florida residents over insurance reforms that were passed last year that inhibited policyholders’ ability to sue insurance companies over disputes on how they handled claims, as well as their ability to collect legal fees when lawsuits or settlements have ended in their favor.
Mark Friedlander, communications director for the Insurance Information Institute, noted that the bills passed this week will increase insurance company oversight and would bring the law in Florida to a similar level with many states in the country.
“The bill is consumer-focused and provides stricter oversight of the insurance industry by the state regulator, which is common across many other states,” Friedlander said.
The move on the part of the legislature to increase insurer accountability was especially driven by a Washington Post report released in March that examined complaints filed by five independent insurance adjusters who claimed that two insurers – without consent – greatly lowered their estimates for damage costs for over 100 victims last fall of Hurricane Ian in Southwest Florida.
The new bills also ban insurance companies from reducing loss estimates in adjuster reports unless they provide detailed explanations as to why. The legislation also contains numerous other reforms that are intended to protect consumers and increase insurer accountability.
Florida Gulf Residential specializes in the areas of Sarasota, Siesta Key, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Venice, Palmer Ranch, Osprey, Anna Maria Island and other Gulf Coast communities. Feel free to give us a call at (941) 304-1975 so we can answer any questions you may have.
Christopher Boyle is an investigative journalist for SEARCHEN NETWORKS® and reports for independent news and media organizations in the United States. Christopher helps keep a keen-eye on what’s happening on the West Coast of Florida on behalf of FLORIDA GULF RESIDENTIAL – Your Real Estate Expert for Sarasota and Surrounding Areas.