2022 Property Insurance Reform: Current Roofing Implications and the Path Forward
Property Insurance: HB 1D
Creating the Reinsurance to Assist Policyholders program to be administered by the State Board of Administration.
Requiring certain property insurers to obtain coverage under the program.
Revising homeowner eligibility criteria for mitigation grants.
Requiring claimants to establish that property insurers have breached the insurance contract to prevail in certain claims for damages.
Requiring the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) to aggregate and make publicly available certain data submitted by insurers and insurer groups.
Other notable take-aways from the special session include information on the My Safe Florida Home program, contractor solicitation of roof claims, separate roof deductibles and roofs-insurer underwriters.
There is no question that we’ve made great strides that were long overdue. As a state-licensed roofing contractor, I believe the new legislation goes a long way toward helping single-family residential homeowners and condominium unit owners. First, it protects financially limited owners from a full roof replacement. Instead, an owner can elect to repair a roof, and extend its useful life, without losing insurance coverage.
Second, the new legislation gives owners a chance to have roofs evaluated by licensed roofing contractors, engineers or architects who can provide signed affidavits for insurability and whose services can provide immediate cost savings. What’s more, third party roof evaluations can aid the budgeting process for new roofs once useful life periods expire.
Still, despite the noticeable leap forward, there are additional changes needed. For example, I think there should be more reform on overseeing the roofing industry and policing the abuse of insurance claims. Although there have been additions to the legislation that require owners to pay their deductibles, as required by law, there are unscrupulous contractors that find a way to cheat the system. These bad actors negatively impact owners’ rates throughout Florida and bring down the overall insurance and roofing industries nationally. Enforcement should be severe enough to make a positive impact across the roofing industry and not just an administrative slap on the wrist for first offenses.
Another example of positive reform would be to allow residential property owners to choose the contractors they want to work with to repair or replace their roofing systems. In my view, if insurance companies are putting verbiage in their insurance policies that “allows them the right to repair,” they should not require customers to seek repairs at a specific company, especially ones in which they have an ownership interest. That‘s monopolistic and should be outlawed across the country. Since insurance companies generally set the rates for repairs as a part of their claims process, opening the market to competition will give customers greater choices for service and strengthen the industry.
A third possible residential property insurance reform measure would be to prevent insurance agents/agencies from receiving bonuses for denying claims or suggesting their clients not file a claim. Insurance reform should require polices to clearly spell out any compensation to agencies, brokers or agents for any kind of claims reduction.
There are many positive changes being implemented in the Florida legislature, especially specific to HB 1D. Evidence is already there to show that new legislative reforms are moving residential property insurance in the right direction. Still, both insurers and the insured will significantly benefit from additional reform that targets insurance fraud, customer contractor choice, and insurance agency incentives.
Disclaimer: Beachfront and Jim Wolff are not insurance agents, attorneys, or third-party insurance experts. This blog post is provided for informational purposes only. Please speak to your insurance professional or attorney about insurance requirements and limitations, or to answer policy questions.
Are you one of the many asking yourself why your insurance coverages have skyrocketed lately and why so many insurers are pulling out of Florida? Does it concern you that the Florida Legislature has dragged its feet for the past several years to respond to any legislative reform on behalf of the millions of insureds struggling to keep their homeowner’s policies more affordable?
In May's special session, the Florida Legislature addressed the state’s ongoing problems affecting residential property insurance. In just a few days, legislators passed major reforms that will benefit Florida residents for years to come. Let’s take a look at the property insurance bill that passed.