The Florida Association of Insurance Agents on Monday praised proposed legislation to stabilize the property insurance market but cautioned that the effects will not be felt overnight.
FAIA, a trade association representing 2,000 independent property and casualty agency members, lauded the property insurance bills (HB 1A and SB 2A) for focusing on consumers rather than “insurance companies, attorneys, public adjusters, and roofers.”
The association highlighted several provisions it said would foster “consumer protection and consumer choice,” including the central component of the bills which would make available another $1 billion in reinsurance coverage that insurers could purchase from a fund backed by taxpayer money.
“Florida’s consumers have long paid the price for the excess litigation and fraud in the property insurance market,” FAIA CEO Kyle Ulrich said. “House Speaker Paul Renner, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Jim Boyd and Rep. Tom Leek, and House Commerce Chair, Rep. Bob Rommel, have made it clear that relief for Florida’s consumers is the priority with the release of the proposed legislation.”
FAIA also praised measures aimed at decelerating the growth of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and providing lawsuit protections for insurers by ending the right to attorney’s fees in residential and commercial property insurance lawsuits. Insurers have long claimed excessive litigation is the main driver of rising premiums. Trial lawyers and contractors, meanwhile, say slow-walked claims force policyholders to take their insurers to court.
The bills also have measures intended to protect consumers, including requiring market conduct examinations, or thorough reviews of a company’s practices by regulators, following a hurricane; and requiring detailed monthly reporting on the number of claims open, closed and pending.
FAIA said, “It is important to note that just as Florida’s property insurance did not collapse overnight, the relief from legislative reforms will not be felt overnight. However, the proposed legislation sends a strong message that Florida is serious about stabilizing the property insurance market and creating an environment to attract capital and create more options for Florida’s insurance consumers.”
Florida Politics reporter Gray Rohrer contributed to this post.