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Special Session: GOP Property Insurance Bill Advances, Democrats Say It Helps Insurers, Not Homeowners

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Tallahassee - Tuesday December 13, 2022: The Special Session underway in Tallahassee this week is considering only one bill to cure the state’s property insurance crisis. It was introduced last Friday by the Republican leaders in each house, after consultation with the Governor’s Office.

However, Democrats are criticizing the proposal saying it was introduced at the last minute without their input, and no time for public comment. And they say the measure provides relief for insurance companies, not homeowners.

The bill targets fraudulent insurance claims by eliminating one-way attorney's fees and it would provide re-insurance relief to insurers in an effort to encourage them to lower rates for homeowners.

“We’ve been working on this for a while, the House the Governor, and the Senate," said Republican Senator Jim Boyd Chairs the Insurance Committee "So, while it may have dropped late, a fair amount of time to vet, its going through two committees and then to the floor, so we’ve got a lot of opportunities for all of the House members and the Senators to weigh in on.”

“We had more than 25 amendments that would have given some relief to the consumer," said State representative Diane Hart Chairs the Legislature’s Black Caucus. "nothing was accepted."

Boyd however said the cause of the crisis is clear and a large part of the cure is to curb the fraud. “Its these frivolous and unscrupulous lawsuits that have given people new roofs when really they needed a couple of shingles replaced," he said. "Its just not sustainable. And it’s costing all of us more and more dollars every year to pay their insurance premiums and I do believe this bill will fix it.”

But its 'real relief' that’s needed for homeowners, who are struggling to pay surging property insurance rates, said Democratic Senator Darryl Rouson. "Relief on the part of the homeowners and not just the insurance companies. We’re bailing out re-insurance programs and not giving real relief to the people.”

Give it a chance said Senator Boyd, but don’t expect rates to come down anytime soon. “It takes 12 months to 18 months to filter through the rate making process. But once this is implemented, I believe it will do a lot for consumers.”