Last week, we previewed the special session with a list of issues contained in the House and Senate bills. Today, the Legislature will vote to approve the final version of the measure. Here are some of the various provisions contained within the legislation, taken from various media reports:
- A one-year freeze on rates for Citizen’s policyholders
- Allow Citizens to offer full policies (not just windstorm) in high risk areas, provided that a business plan can show rates would be reduced 10% by expanding coverage
- Repeal prior rate increases for Citizens set to go into effect this year, previously required to provide Citizens with enough cash before the 2007 hurricane season and that Citizens rates should be higher than private sector companies.
- Citizens can sell insurance to businesses statewide, not just in high risk areas
- Change the Citizens assessment, in place to cover Citizens losses in 2004 and 2005 and currently on all homeowner insurance policies in Florida, to all forms of insurance – homeowner, health, automobile, life, medical malpractice – for future deficits in Citizens.
- Allow insurance companies to buy from the state in exchange for guaranteed rate reduction for damages from $6 billion to $38 billion
- Require CEOs or CFOs to swear an oath that information provided to the state justifying rate increases is truthful.
- Require insurance companies who offer homeowner insurance in other states and other polices in Florida to offer homeowner insurance in Florida or pull out
- Require insurance companies to use “storm worthiness” of a home, rather than date of construction, when setting rates
- Give homeowners more options: no windstorm coverage and no coverage for the contents of their homes.
- Homeowners can pay higher deductibles in exchange for lower premiums, with approval of the mortgage lender in certain cases
- Homeowners can pay annual premiums in installments
- Provide additional funds to homeowners to harden their homes
- Homeowners can receive discounts for strengthening their homes
- Require the statewide building code to apply to the panhandle
- Wind mitigation inspectors will be regulated by the state
- Local governments, hospitals and homeowner associations can form self-insurance funds
This list may not be exhaustive, and I will update as I find more information. The general feeling is that rates will be reduced by 5% to 30% — which isn’t much considering some insurance premiums have increased 300% or more.
Expect to see more property insurance legislation during the 2007 Legislative Session.