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Governor Signs Consumer Protection Legislation to Support Florida Policyholders When Disaster Strikes

Hurricane Ian destroyed house in Florida residential area.
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Hurricane Ian destroyed house in Florida residential area.

Florida - Thursday June 1, 2023: Governor DeSantis has signed three bills to strengthen Florida’s property insurance market, expand the state’s home hardening and hazard mitigation programs, and further protect consumers against bad actors.

“The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) will continue to support both a competitive market and ensure that when a bad actor is identified, we utilize the full extent of our regulatory authority to ensure policyholders are protected," said Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky.

Senate Bill 7052: Enacts several consumer protection measures that further increase competition and accountability in Florida’s property insurance market by:

  • Clarifying that once a roof deductible is applied, no other deductible under the policy may be applied to any loss caused by the same covered peril.
  • Tolling the time period for an individual deployed to a combat zone or combat support posting to file a property insurance claim for the duration of the deployment.
  • Requiring property insurance mitigation discounts be updated at least every five years and requiring insurers to provide consumer-friendly information on their website describing hurricane mitigation discounts available to policyholders.
  • Requiring liability insurers to follow proper claims handling practices on behalf of their policyholders and increasing penalties for insurers who don’t.
  • Prohibiting any altering or amending of an adjuster’s report without providing a detailed explanation for any reduction of the estimate of the loss.
  • Prohibiting officers and directors of impaired or insolvent insurers from receiving a bonus.
  • Increasing the maximum administrative fines that may be levied by the OIR on insurance companies by 250 percent generally, and 500 percent for violations stemming from a state of emergency such as a hurricane.

HB 799: The bill expands mitigation discount programs for property insurance policyholders by:

  • Requiring a property insurer’s residential rate filing to allow for mitigation discounts which reduce the potential for windstorm losses.
  • Requiring residential property insurers to provide reasonable discount, credit, or appropriate reduction in deductibles for wind uplift prevention measures as a part of their rate filings.
  • Clarifying provisions included in Senate Bill 2A related to Citizen’s Property Insurance Corporation flood insurance coverage requirements.

HB 881: Refers to eligibility for the My Safe Florida Home Program. It ensures that more Floridians can participate.

The programwas first included in Senate Bill 2D signed by the Governor last year, and upgrades funded through the program can result in premium discounts for program participants.

Additionally, the Governor has announced the approval of an additional $100 million in the 2023–24 General Appropriations Act for the My Safe Florida Home Program which provides grants to Florida homeowners for hurricane retrofitting, making homes safer and more resistant to hurricane damage and bringing the state’s combined investment to $250 million over the past year.