TALLAHASSEE, FL – The arrival of the New Year here in Florida brings with it a plethora of new laws, and the real estate industry is no exception; as of January 1, 2023, Florida now has a series of new legislative mandates in-place governing the state’s property insurance industry which were originally passed by lawmakers last year, brought about by the exceptionally difficult hurricane season that residents and insurance companies were forced to endure.
In an effort to prepare for future hurricanes, the Florida Optional Reinsurance Assistance Program (FORA) is now in effect making $1 billion in funding available to insurance companies to help with claims brought about by potential future hurricanes and other catastrophic storms that damage their policyholders’ homes and businesses.
In addition, the new law contains sections which have eliminated several processes, such as the Assignment of Benefits (AOB’s), meaning that residents whose homes were damaged by storms are no longer able to assign a portion of their insurance claims to specific repair contractors. It also removes a requirement for insurance companies to pay a plaintiff’s legal fees in the event they lose a claims suit; two reasons insurers say the costs of insurance are higher than normal in Florida.
The amount of time granted to insurance companies to conduct on-site inspections of the damaged properties of their policyholders have been truncated, from 45 days to 30 days, as per the new law. Also, the span of time that insurance companies have to either pay or deny a claim has been whittled down from 90 days to 60.
In addition, the deadline for filing insurance claims related to storm damage has been significantly tightened from two years to just one.
Tampa-based licensed public insurance adjuster Rick Tutwiler noted that while the new property insurance laws may be beneficial in some ways, curtailing deadlines to file and prepare claims may be detrimental to those whose homes and businesses have incurred especially heavy damages as a result of a storm.
“I think they really need to focus on empowering the adjusters, training them again, letting seasoned adjusters make decisions out in the field so that claims can move forward,” he said. “People can move forward and start with their contractors and start rebuilding their lives.”
Tutwiler also noted that the new law will likely not help curtail the steadily-increasing rates that insurance policy holders are currently being saddled with.
“Rates are going to continue to go up,” he said. “There’s not an insurance company anywhere who’s going to come into the state of Florida with all of the communities and structures built around our coast.
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.