Bipartisan Property Insurance and Condominium Safety Reforms Signed Into Law
Today, Governor Ron DeSantis signed bipartisan legislation implementing the most significant and comprehensive property insurance reforms Florida has seen in decades to provide short- and long-term relief to Floridians to combat skyrocketing insurance costs. A one pager on the insurance reforms can be found here.
Additionally, Governor DeSantis signed legislation which modifies structural inspection and financial reserve requirements for condominium associations.
“This package represents the most significant reforms to Florida’s homeowners insurance market in a generation,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “These bills will help stabilize a problematic market, help Floridians harden their homes through the My Safe Florida Home Program, and pave the way for more choices for homeowners.”
“I’m grateful that Governor DeSantis called lawmakers to convene this week to pass legislation that will help rein in insurance rates, provide premium savings to Floridians, and aid in hardening homes against storms,” said Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. “I remain committed to fighting insurance fraud and bolstering our investigative services to further support our efforts to protect consumers.”
Senate Bill 2B, signed by Governor DeSantis today, enacts pro-consumer measures to help alleviate rising insurance costs, increases insurance claim transparency, and cracks down on frivolous lawsuits which drive up costs for all Floridians. Specific provisions to stabilize the market include:
- $2 billion in reinsurance relief through the Reinsurance to Assist Policy (RAP) program to benefit policyholders over the next two years.
- Requires insurance companies to file a supplemental rate filing 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 retrofitting, making homes safer and more resistant to hurricane damage, which can result in premium discounts for those who participate in the program.
- Prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage solely based 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 useful life remaining.
- Requiring insurance companies to provide policyholders with a reasonable explanation if they deny or partially deny a claim and provides consumers with greater access to information during the claim adjustment process.
- Creating a new standard for application of attorney fee multipliers which have been liberally applied, resulting in increased costs to consumers.
- Limiting the assignment of attorney’s fees in property insurance cases, disincentivizing frivolous claims.
Senate Bill 4B, also signed today, includes reforms to increase the safety of condominiums.
- Requiring inspections for all condominiums and cooperative buildings that are three stories or higher.
- For buildings within three miles of the coast, Phase 1 inspections must occur 25 years after initial occupancy and every 10 years after.
- For all other buildings, Phase 1 inspections must occur 30 years after initial occupancy and every 10 years after.
- If a Phase 1 inspection reveals substantial structural deterioration, a more intensive Phase 2 inspection is required.
- Requiring condominiums and cooperatives to conduct structural integrity reserve studies for buildings three stories or higher to ensure the funding necessary for future structural repairs is available and prohibits waiver of funding for certain structural reserves.
- Increasing transparency by requiring all structural inspections reports and reserve studies to be part of the associations’ official record and must be provided to potential purchasers of a unit.