Florida Representative Wyman Duggan acknowledges the time it took for the state to navigate its insurance crisis, emphasizing that the resolution will also require patience. Recent legislative changes aim to alleviate soaring homeowners insurance premiums and dwindling provider options. Amendments include restricting attorney fees for claim disputes, reducing the claim window for damages, and imposing penalties on insurers for procedural lapses.
Despite these measures signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis, their impact on consumers is yet to be fully realized, according to insurance professionals and lawmakers. Fitzhugh Powell Jr., president of Cecil W. Powell & Co., stresses the prolonged neglect of the issue, comparing it to an untreated wound.
Rep. Wyman Duggan, chair of the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee, emphasizes that attracting more insurance companies to offer property damage policies is vital for rate reduction. Although recent reforms have led to the approval of additional insurers entering Florida’s market, including Condo Owners Reciprocal Exchange and Tailrow Insurance Companies, opinions differ on whether this will result in lower premiums.
While the market adapts to increased competition, the impact of another reform—shortening the time between a casualty loss and filing a claim—is still unfolding. Duggan points out that existing policies under the longer timeline will continue to influence claims and litigation.
Looking ahead, the focus of the Legislature shifts to motor vehicle insurance, particularly commercial auto insurance. Escalating premiums, fueled by settlements for damages and personal injury, prompt the consideration of further reforms. A proposed bill, HB 215, aims to address rate relief by allowing commercial trucking companies to issue policies within their group, pooling resources for their own coverage.
As the legislative session progresses, Florida’s policymakers remain committed to addressing challenges faced by policyholders. The ongoing session, scheduled to conclude on March 8, underscores the state’s dedication to comprehensive insurance reform.