Friday, August 12 2022

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) — Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed property insurance and condominium security reform bills into law.

During a special session in Tallahassee, at the request of the governor, the Florida legislature overwhelmingly approved a measure aimed at stemming the property insurance problems that have led policyholders across the state to lose their coverage and see their premiums skyrocket.

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“This package represents the most significant reforms to Florida’s home insurance market in a generation,” Governor DeSantis said. “These bills will help stabilize a problematic market, help Floridians strengthen their homes through the My Safe Florida Home program, and pave the way for more choices for homeowners.”

Here’s what Senate Bill 2B includes:

  • $2 billion in reinsurance relief through the Reinsurance to Assist Policy (RAP) program for policyholders over the next two years.
    • Requires insurance companies to file an additional rate deposit once enrolled in the program to provide relief to policyholders.
  • $150 million for the My Safe Florida Home program to provide grants to Florida homeowners for hurricane renovations, making homes safer and more resistant to hurricane damage, which may result in premium discounts for those participating in the program.
  • Prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based solely on the age of a roof if the roof is less than 15 years old or if the roof is determined to have at least 5 years of remaining useful life.
  • Requiring insurance companies to provide policyholders with a reasonable explanation if they deny or partially deny a claim and provide consumers with greater access to information during the claims adjudication process.
  • Create a new standard for the application of attorney fee multipliers that have been widely applied, resulting in increased costs for consumers.
  • Limiting the award of attorneys’ fees in property insurance cases, discouraging frivolous claims.

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“I am grateful that Governor DeSantis has called on lawmakers to meet this week to pass legislation that will help rein in insurance rates, provide premium savings for Floridians, and strengthen homes against storms,” said chief financial officer Jimmy Patronis. “I remain committed to fighting insurance fraud and strengthening our investigative services to further support our consumer protection efforts.”

As for the condominium issue, it was added to a special legislative session after the House and Senate failed to reach an agreement during this year’s regular session.

Here’s what Senate Bill 4B includes:

  • Require inspections for all condominiums and co-op buildings with three stories or more.
    • For buildings within three miles of the coast, Phase 1 inspections must take place 25 years after initial occupancy and every 10 years thereafter.
    • For all other buildings, Phase 1 inspections must take place 30 years after initial occupancy and every 10 years thereafter.
    • If a Phase 1 inspection reveals significant structural deterioration, a more intensive Phase 2 inspection is required.
  • Require condominiums and co-ops to conduct structural integrity reserve studies for buildings three stories or higher to ensure funding for future structural repairs is available and prohibits waiver of funding for certain reserves structural.
  • Increase transparency by requiring that all structural inspection reports and reserve studies become part of the associations official record and be provided to potential purchasers of a unit.

NO MORE NEWS: South Florida homeowners hope recently passed legislation will provide some relief from skyrocketing insurance rates

The housing crisis leaves many people desperate for help. That’s why CBS News Miami wants to share your stories to show the crisis you’re in or how you navigated the system. We will highlight these issues and work to get answers and solutions. Email us at [email protected]

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