Senate passes property insurance bill but Speaker Sprowls is skeptical
If you want to know about insurance, ask an agent — Jim Boyd.

“If we do nothing, your constituents are going to continue to suffer."

The Florida Senate on Thursday passed SB 1728, a bill aimed at reducing property insurers’ costs related to claims. It’s a measure supporters say is needed to halt rampant rate increases for homeowners, but derided by opponents as a risky revision that will boost costs for homeowners while reducing the coverage they receive.

The vote was 28-11, with five Democrats joining Republicans in support. Sen. Gary Farmer, a Lighthouse Point Democrat, led opposition to the measure, saying he was doubtful it will lower rates for homeowners and could hamper their ability to get a claim paid to repair their home.

“It’s always a different excuse for the insurance industry,” Farmer said. “You’re talking about people’s biggest investment in their lives.”

Bill sponsor Sen. Jim Boyd, a Bradenton Republican, defended the measure as essential to lowering costs related to claims, which would, in turn, reduce pressure on rates.

“If we do nothing, your constituents are going to continue to suffer,” Boyd said.

But the bill could struggle to get through the House.

House Speaker Chris Sprowls, a Palm Harbor Republican, on Wednesday sounded skeptical about the need to pass another major property insurance reform, after lawmakers passed SB 76 last year, which reduced attorneys fees in some cases.

“I’m also cognizant of the fact that we just passed a very significant insurance bill last Session,” Sprowls said. “If what has been told to me in the eight years I’ve been here from the insurance lobby is true, which is that it takes 18 months to see an impact in rates — which is what I’ve been told over and over and over again — then I don’t think we are yet seeing the impact we are having in rates by the bill we passed last year.”

Sprowls didn’t rule out passing a property insurance bill, but his lack of urgency stands in contrast to Senate leaders, who have pressed the need to pass something in the face of an insurance market regularly described as in “crisis.”

Many companies have received large rate increases, five companies have canceled 110,000 policies in the last 12 months, and St. Johns Insurance Co. just went into receivership.

The situation led Senate President Wilton Simpson, a Trilby Republican, to declare last month the Legislature “will have failed our citizens” if nothing is done to address the situation.

Boyd said Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office has taken an interest in the issue and gave input on some parts of the bill.

“It’s an issue that’s important to him,” Boyd said. “He understands the gravity of the issue and all of our constituents and what they’re paying for their homeowners’ insurance.”

Insurers report large losses related to frivolous claims or claims with only superficial damage, as well as a surge in lawsuits stemming from claims as the main reasons for their losses in Florida.

The bill contains several provisions aimed at limiting those losses, especially on roof damage claims, as well as getting Citizens Property Insurance, a state-run insurer, to shed policies and get private companies to take the policies.

Boyd’s bill would require contractors issuing advertisements to tell customers they are responsible for deductibles, and that intentionally filing a misleading or false claim is insurance fraud. It also further frees unregulated out-of-state insurers, known as surplus lines companies, to accept policies from state-run Citizens Property Insurance by loosening their rate requirements.

Other provisions would require the select members of Citizens’ board to have at least 10 years experience in the property insurance industry; requires Citizens customers to move to the private market if they receive an offer less than 20% of Citizens’ rate; allows second homes to be subject to larger rate increases from Citizens; allows insurers to require a special deductible for roof damages; and allows insurers to recover “reasonable attorney fees and costs” if a lawsuit is dismissed because a litigation notice wasn’t filed in time.

Amendments offered by Democrats on Thursday to remove the attorney fee provision and to remove the roof deductible provision were rejected by Republicans.

It remains unclear if the House will take up the issue in the remaining eight days of the Legislative Session.

“I’m optimistic that (the House will) consider what we’ve done and then we’ll talk about how to fine-tune it as we move forward,” Boyd said. “If we do nothing … the market will get worse, rates will continue to go up. We just can’t continue to let that happen to Floridians that we’re here to represent.”

Gray Rohrer


  • nail

    March 4, 2022 at 10:35 am

    “Boyd said Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office has taken an interest in the issue and gave input on some parts of the bill.”
    Who are the kidding? Themselves only!
    This is how bills go in the state of Florida:
    10am- DeSantis comes up with some asinine idea that is usually unconstitutional.
    11am-The GQP legislature writes it up, No questions.
    1pm- They bring it to the floor with 30 second rebuttals for 5 minutes.
    2pm- Then it is sent for a vote. Vote passes without a word from any GQP.
    2:30om- Sent to DeSantis’ desk..

  • Ryan D Notte

    March 5, 2022 at 11:14 am

    Boyd’s points are conflicting when articles say the insurance markets are making profits year after year. Wouldn’t it make sence to look over the Ffinancials of these insurance companies before a bill is proposed to confirm the claims of losses. Attacking the homeowner to consistantly drive costs up with rates and now high deductibles is not the answer. No promise in the bill to lower rates as bill 1728 is a one sided bill for insurance companies to only benefit from and drive up profits. Each year is something new and we have to give each bill time to take affect instead of passing a bulk of laws to only bennitfit the insurance companies. A mismanagement of an insurance company should not be the fault of the homeonwe or anyone else. Insurance should remain affordable for all homeowners. As a homeowner I would rather see higher rates then higher deductibles. Not everyone can afford a deductible of 2% as an average $500,000 home in a rising real estate market would mean a payment of $10,000. Most will not be able to afford repairs. How will the mahority of people afford deductible payments. This bill will only collapse the insurance market even further. Boyd owns an insurance company Boyd Insurance and its no secret he is profiting from passing these bills. He should not be allowed to make bills being he is in the market of insurance, it’s not fair you can see in the bill it only Bbennetts insurance companies. Rising insurance costs, no promises and high deductibles. What’s the point of insurance coverage? Mortgage companies need to step in and more homeowners to defend this issue of horrible law making by Boyd. This year his term is up and we need to vote Boyd out!

Comments are closed.


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