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Industry cheers Scott’s signature of property insurance overhaul bill

by Dara Kam | May 17th, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott signed into law today a sweeping property insurance measure (SB 408) hailed by the insurance industry but denounced by consumer groups.

Critics say the new law, which goes into effect immediately, will allow insurance companies to raise rates up to 15 percent and make it harder for Floridians to collect on claims. Proponents contend the law will draw new insurers to the state and increase competition.

“A healthy, stable and competitive private insurance market is critical to the success of Florida, given the hazards we face,” Scott, whose staff helped craft the bill, said in a statement. “I commend the Florida Legislature, especially Senator Richter and Representative Wood, for bringing this important legislation forward.”

The new law undoes many of the changes approved by lawmakers and Gov. Charlie Crist in the wake of the catastrophic 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons.

Among other things, the new law:

- Shrinks from five years to three years the time homeowners have to file claims for hurricane damages;
- Lets insurers make homeowners to pay for repairs before getting reimbursed;
- Permit insurers to raise policyholders’ rates without prior approval from regulators;

Scott’s signature prompted a flurry of accolades from the insurance industry and business groups and a dour statement from Sen. Mike Fasano, who urged Scott to veto the measure.

“For an administration which vowed not to support new taxes or fees, this bill virtually guarantees a 15% premium ‘reinsurance’ increase for Florida policy holders. This is a backdoor tax and fee increase that will hurt most homeowners with a mortgage, consumers and small business owners at a time with very high foreclosure and unemployment rates, all during a fragile economic recovery,” Fasano, R-New Port Richey, said in a statement.

But supporters insist the new law will open up Florida’s insurance market.

“Despite what the critics say, signing this bill into law is the first step toward stabilizing Florida’s property insurance market. It will increase competition by attracting insurance companies that currently do not write property insurance policies in Florida,” said Mark Wilson, president Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Read some of the other blurbs after the jump.

“After enduring years of misguided policies that have wrecked our homeowners’ insurance market, this new law will go a long way in repairing the serious damage that has been done and sends a strong signal to the world that Florida is open for business.” – Kyle Ulrich, Florida Association of Insurance Agents vice president of public affairs.

“Florida faces an array of unique natural risks and this legislation will help us continue to protect Floridians property while also attracting badly needed competition and capital to our state.” – spokesman Bob Lotane, National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Florida

“I commend Governor Scott for his leadership during the legislative session and for signing SB 408 relating to property and casualty insurance. This bill focuses on addressing cost drivers in the system and will yield long-term benefits for Florida by stabilizing the property insurance market and attracting new capital investment to our state.” Florida Office of Insurance Regulation Commissioner Kevin McCarty.

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22 Responses to “Industry cheers Scott’s signature of property insurance overhaul bill”

  1. 1 term govenor Says:

    So what happens if we don’t have the money to pay for repairs out of pocket before getting reimbursed? Not all of us are billionaires you know Scott. Some of us work hard and earn an honest but modest living.

  2. limpwrist Says:

    Rick Scott has a mob associate in his leadership coalition. Meet Joe Ardolina of American Truck Sales. He’s a former vice president in the now defunct H&W Refuse Service whose president was Anthony Carione, fingered by law enforcement along with his brother Frank Carione, as then active figures in the underworld. Another brother, Joseph Carione, plead guilty to defrauding the government as a co-defendant in a case that involved Colombo crime boss Andrew Russo. bit.ly/edERUe

  3. Ric Says:

    More insurance companies, yes. Less insured, yes. There is only so much money the rich can take from everyone else and they have gotten to my limit.

  4. Dinah Says:

    “I commend Governor Scott for his leadership during the legislative session and for signing SB 408 relating to property and casualty insurance. This bill focuses on addressing cost drivers in the system and will yield long-term benefits for Florida by stabilizing the property insurance market and attracting new capital investment to our state.” Florida Office of Insurance Regulation Commissioner Kevin McCarty.

    Of course he does because he will benefit monetarily now won’t he. How does Scott know that this will encourage insurance companies to rip off the homeowners in Florida. Al his cronies no doubt. Recall the bassturd.

  5. Problem is... Says:

    The only real problem with insurance are insurance companies. The only real problem with Florida is the Governor.

  6. OBIWAN Says:

    IF the PB ComPost was familiar with any ‘insurance’ they might understand this is no big deal:

    1. You signed a Homeowners Contract requiring you to ‘immediately’ notify the insurer of an accidental loss.

    You don’t know you have Hurricane damage within 3 years. We suffered Andrew, then struck paydirt again with Frances, Jeanne and Wilma. Each time we notified the insurer within 30 days… completed all repairs within the year!

    2. Most insurance has the standard Repair or Replace clause that limits a claim payment to Actual Cash Value until the higher Repair cost is completed.

    If you choose not to Repair… all you are owed is the ACV at time of loss. Otherwise you are unjustly rewarded for suffering a loss.

    3. Insurers may change rates, but still have to justify the filing with the state Insurance Commissioner…

    Its called ‘File and Use’… Every domestic Insurer has already filed its solvency financials for review by Ins. Comm.

    All three are very normal clauses that bring more certainty to the markets and should aid in smoothing rate increases and improve markets!

    Can we all just get real and admit the PB ComPost is not likely to ever support anything that makes since to private free enterprise??

    Its call rabid progressive liberal Marxist propaganda psychobabblery. They all get their assignments at the morning Editor’s meeting…

  7. thinknoutloud Says:

    This only opens the door for deceptive loan practices after a major storm.Think about it.Most people can`t finance major repairs,or even minor ones for that matter.So they put up thier house as colateral for the loan,default because of high interest or other issues and we`re back to a massive area recession and even lower property values.Yeah,this was well thought out.Only the insurance voltures win this one.

  8. Fed Up Says:

    OBIWAN: What part of

    “Permit insurers to raise policyholders’ rates without prior approval from regulators”

    do you NOT understand? They do not have to get permission to raise rates UP TO 15% A YEAR.

  9. Jim Says:

    If I get roof damage I walk away from my house. If I get any major damage, I walk away from my house. Then it will be the banks that get screwed and everyone will be living next to tore up home that will never be repaired and can’t be sold. People are barely keeping their homes now so how do you expect them to have the money to repair before being reimbursed?

  10. Robert Gordon Says:

    There is going to be a huge uproar when people realize they are going to have to front the cost of repairs. Most people are not financially able to do this.

  11. Rob Says:

    I like Scott, BUT this is the worst piece of legislation I’ve ever seen. I can’t pay for repairs if my home gets wrecked. How the hell will I get my house fixed? Also, giving the greedy ins. cos. 15% for NOTHING is GRAND THEFT!! All ins. cos live for is PROFIT!

  12. sue Says:

    Obiwan…shut the hell up you are a moron….

    Hey Scott…maybe you can try to explain how hardworking people will find the money to pay for these repairs?Let’s see, you’ve taken monies from the teachers, State and County employees, police, fire, the unemployed…hey dopey where are the 700,000 jobs you promised???? Don’t seem to see any of those but a whole lot of paybacks for all your cronies. I can’t wait to see your axx out the door…it won’t be fast enough.

  13. Dinah Says:

    Right on Sue!

  14. Taj Mat Says:

    This all-republican Tallahassee government is like watching an episode of The Sopranos. The one where the mob does a bust-out of a business and leaves all the legitimate people penniless. Can someone direct me to the recall Ric Scott web site? Then I’ll go to the T-baggers Screw Up America pages. There are so many to chose from.

  15. allen Says:

    wait untill a hurricane hits florida the whole replacement cost acv thing will change back.

  16. CM Says:

    He goes after the teachers, attacks the cops and firemen, all public workers for that matter, and now gives the ins companies free hand to do as they wish. My roof was repaired after Wilma. It was 19k for a medium sized house. Who has that kind of cash available to wait/hope that your ins companies reimburse you? When this man leaves office in one, or God forbid two terms, He will go back to being a corrupt billionaire businessman and the rest of us working schmucks can only hope to pay our mortgage. Good job tea bags; you’re a bunch of monkeys for the rich and the corporations. How does it feel to be a bi%ch?

  17. OBIWAN Says:

    Speaking as a gay man, I think the only thing we really need to worry about are the bars in Key West and South Beach. As long as they are open and in business, I will be a happy little camper. Believe me, they need insurance!

  18. smaller government??? Says:

    Rob said:
    “I like Scott,BUT” That’s the problem. You like him, but he was a terrible choice. Now we’re all screwed. Stop believing liars and voting against your own best interest.

  19. Mark Foley Says:

    Congratulations OBI, I knew you could do it! I’ll text you later…

  20. Paul Citro Says:

    I am going to drop windstorm insurance. I’ll put the premium money in the bank and take my chances that I’ll be able to pay for any hurricane damage myself.

  21. Maria Says:

    Question
    Why is it that during the Clinton administration 19,000,000 jobs were created when at the time the tax rate for the “ job creators “ was at 39.5 %
    Bush lowered the tax rate to 35% which under the “job creation” theory should have produced more jobs. Instead we lost hundreds of thousands of jobs each month leading up to and after the election of 2008.
    All the discussion above means NOTHING if we do not have an economy that creates jobs with people working and replenishing our tax revenue .
    Where are the jobs? Florida has an unemployment rate of 11.5 % Rick Scott just added to that number by laying off teachers this week!!!! HOW COULD ANYONE VOTE FOR A MAN WHO JUST PAID 1,700,000,000 yes 1.7 BILLION dollars in fines for medicare fraud!!! The same medicare we are discussing. Take your heads out of the sand people as see who is screwing you…

  22. em Says:

    All we need now to get rid of the Republicans is one bad hurricane. People start paying attention to politics when it affects them personally. Even the tea partiers.

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