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Property insurance special session begins Monday

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Posted at 6:19 AM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 18:15:46-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — After months of talk and the insistence of some, Florida’s property insurance crisis is getting its special session. Lawmakers gavel in at the capitol Monday morning.

High prices are plaguing consumers, corporations pulling out of the state, and some of them going under. What are lawmakers going to do to help? We will find out in just a few days.

As the five-day special session gavels in, two big bills are on the docket for this week and they cover a broad range of reforms that GOP members say balance, “costs and protections for consumers while adding reasonable guardrails for insurance companies against the frivolous litigation and fraudulent claims that drive up rates for everyone.”

Roofing will get a big renovation to curb what insurers say is a rash of unethical claims.

Providers are allowed to offer separate deductibles on repairs and replacement outside of a loss to trees or hurricanes.

Insurers also can’t refuse a policy because a roof is under 15 years old.

A crackdown on frivolous litigation is also in the crosshairs.

Limits on expensive attorney fees and a higher burden of proof to win in a bad faith claim against insurers.

The threshold to get access to the Hurricane Catastrophe fund also getting lowered, which means during disasters insurers may have access to funds faster and pay claims quicker.

“As far as getting everything done that needs to be done, we'll see, we'll see,” Rep. Tom Fabricio, (R) Hialeah said. “But, I am optimistic.”

Optimism that these changes will bring relief is high, although some lawmakers said the issues should have been tackled sooner.

“It's really just malpractice on the part of leadership if we don't do this the right way," Sen. Tina Polsky, (D) Boca Raton said.

The gavel drops at 9 a.m. Monday, and if the bills get enough support in committees and on the floor, could be headed to Gov. DeSantis before the week is over.

While we haven’t seen an additional topic added to this call, there's still time for that. Gov. DeSantis has, at the last moment, added bills to the special session which could happen as lawmakers, again, are scheduled to be here until Friday.