Reinsurance News

More property reforms proposed as Florida plans another Special Session

21st October 2022 - Author: Matt Sheehan

The Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has announced that he is planning to call a Special Session in December to address solutions to stabilise the state’s property insurance market following Hurricane Ian.

DeSantis says he is working with the Legislature on a session to introduce more competition and policies that will aim to lower prices for consumers, among other issues.

If it goes ahead, the meeting will follow an earlier Special Session this year following which Florida lawmakers passed reforms designed to alleviate rising insurance costs, increase insurance claim transparency, and crack down on frivolous lawsuits.

The reforms included a $2 billion reinsurance fund and new rules on coverage denials and attorney fees, as well as $150 million for hurricane retrofitting, and rules that require insurers to provide a reasonable explanation for denying coverage.

However, the reforms did receive some criticism from within the re/insurance market for not going far enough, so it appears that Florida may be listening to market feedback and exploring further options in the wake of the devastating impacts of Hurricane Ian.

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In particular, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis highlighted the need for more fraud prevention during a press conference this week, calling for legislation to prevent public adjusters from taking advantage of Floridians under financial duress and eliminating assignment of benefits (AOB) claims altogether.

As a replacement, Patronis proposed the creation of a statewide prosecutor focused solely on property insurance fraud, in addition to a $3 million anti-fraud public education campaign.

“In the wake of Hurricane Ian, we need to build on the efforts from the recent Special Session and continue to reduce frivolous litigation, stop predatory public adjustors, and tackle AOB abuse once and for all,” said Patronis.

“Bad actors use tools like AOBs to take advantage of Florida consumers in their most vulnerable moments, preying on our citizens for too long. At the same time, there are bad public adjusters swarming impacted areas, soliciting, and trying to make a quick buck,” he continued.

“They are promising to help while betraying the trust of people who have lost everything. This upcoming legislative session, we are going to work to make it less profitable for unscrupulous public adjusters following a disaster.

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