Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs property insurance bill aiming for more affordable policies

SB 76 signed into law identifies causes of increases

FILE - In this April 30, 2021, file photo surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. Now that the pandemic appears to be waning and DeSantis is heading into his reelection campaign next year, he has emerged from the political uncertainty as one of the most prominent Republican governors and an early White House front-runner in 2024 among Donald Trump's acolytes, if the former president doesn't run again. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File) (Wilfredo Lee, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

SARASOTA, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a bill signing Friday morning, addressing property insurance by identifying several causes of premium increases, including hurricanes.

The governor signed SB 76 that he said will help Florida “turn the corner and get to a better spot.”

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“Florida obviously is a unique environment for a lot of things but particularly as a storm prone states, we are uniquely susceptible to having to respond to natural disasters, and that obviously has an impact when you talk about people’s homes and ensuring the homes against up potential damage from that,” he said.

As a result of seeing “major premium increases,” SB 76 prohibits certain practices by contractors by setting guidelines and restrictions on what home inspectors can do to have more affordable policies.

A spokesperson with Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation told News 6 earlier this year that the challenges are largely due to increased litigation, higher catastrophe claim losses as a result of multiple hurricanes over the past several years and rising reinsurance costs.

Florida Sen. Jim Boyd said during the news conference that the bill identified the cost drivers. He said unlicensed contractors or “unscrupulous contractors” in the business were driving up the costs.

“But we’ve got significant penalties and responsibilities for them,” he said. “...Then some of the claims reporting some other areas that I think will definitely, definitely make a difference and will drive costs down.”

Boyd said the impacts of this bill signing will take one year to 18 months to filter through the system and for affordable rates to show.

Lawmakers said Florida accounted for 76% of property and casualty lawsuits in the U.S. between 2013 and 2020. Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier said the goal is to have insurance “be not a worry” for consumers, especially during hurricane season.

“Already since the passage of this bill, we’ve seen some positive signs from the marketplace already,” Altmaier said. “We have seen carriers have brought in additional private market capital to re-bolster their balance sheets, we have seen positive news from the reinsurance markets with respect to the direction that reinsurance rates are going, which is a critical component of our marketplace.”

The news conference comes one week after DeSantis signed three bills into law that benefit veterans and their families.

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.