Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed property insurance legislation aimed at reducing lawsuits and prohibiting contractors from encouraging residents to file claims for roof damage.
But critics say part of the new property insurance reforms could negatively impact homeowners who receive coverage through the state-backed insurance company, allowing the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation gradually increase rates for customers over the years.
Citizens offers home insurance to Floridians who cannot find coverage in the private market, according to its website. The government-backed company was established by the Florida legislature in 2002.
According to a legislative analysis, citizens will be allowed to increase their current cap by 10% on annual rates by 1% each year “from 2022, until the cap reaches 15% in 2026”.
DeSantis signed the bill, SB 76, at a panel discussion in Sarasota on Friday, where state lawmakers and others praised the governor for his support for property insurance reform.
However, advocacy groups such as Progress Florida have slammed the Republican governor for approving the measure that could make property insurance less affordable for Florida residents.
Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferrulo said in a statement:
âThe governor has raised taxes for all Floridians by $ 1 billion to fund tax cuts for larger businesses, raised property taxes to lower impact fees for larger developers, and now it increases property insurance rates for homeowners while making it easier for insurance companies. deny claims for damages and force people to leave citizens and opt for more expensive private plans. “
Proponents of property insurance reform, including the Florida Chamber of Commerce, argued that state contractors had committed fraud by causing homeowners to file claims for roof damage, which triggers an increase in insurance.
Florida Senate Speaker Wilton Simpson said in a written statement:
âFlorida has become a beacon for businesses that canvass neighborhoods by creating roofing claims that would not otherwise be filed, driving up the cost of insurance for everyone,â said Florida President of the Senate, Wilton Simpson, in a written statement: âTo mitigate these rising premiums, this Legislation prohibits predatory roofing advertising to prevent the abuse of fraudulent claims by contractors trying to take advantage of homeowners.
Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, said in a written statement:
âWhen Florida only accounts for 8% of the nation’s property insurance claims, but 76% of the nation’s property insurance disputes, you know there is a problem. The Florida Chamber thanks Governor Ron DeSantis for signing SB 76, which addresses some of the root causes that are rapidly increasing homeowners insurance rates.