The 2021 legislative session was a mixed bag for Monroe County property insurance issues. Most concerning was the removal of Citizens’ 10% rate cap. Effective July 1, 2021 the rate cap will increase by 1% per year until it reaches 15%. Historically, Monroe County’s increases have been just short of the 10% cap, so we can expect that trend to continue as the cap increases. FIRM intends to continue to advocate for a carve-out for Monroe County, and we thank Rep. Jim Mooney for attempting to have that language added to the legislation.

On the good news front, the proposal to create a roof reimbursement schedule did not make the final bill, so homeowners will receive the full reimbursement to which they are entitled on roof claims.

Other related issues, including a host of consumer protections, proposed by Insurance Consumer Advocate Tasha Carter are listed below.

Mitigation incentives

  • A proposal that would allow tax breaks to homeowners who voluntarily elevate their homes
  • Resilient Florida Grant Program funded with $500 million federal stimulus money to help communities combat the effects of rising sea levels across the state

Consumer Protections

  • Require the insurance company to notify the policyholder within 7 business days when an adjuster is assigned to the claim. The requirement will ensure that insurance companies are effectively communicating with the policyholder and keeping the policyholder informed throughout the claim process.
  • Require the insurance company to provide written confirmation if claim is fully or partially covered or denied within 30 days of receiving a complete Proof of Loss Statement.
  • Require the insurance company to send the Homeowners Claims Bill of Rights within 14 days after the initial filing of a hurricane-related claim. The Homeowners Claim Bill of Rights is an important document that outlines a consumer’s rights and responsibilities as a policyholder after filing a claim. 
  • Add information that details a policyholder’s right to accrued interest if the insurance company fails to fully or partially pay or deny the claim within 90 days.
  • Add video as an additional option to document damage and repairs. Currently, only photographs are listed.
  • Add information that advises policyholders to file all claims directly with their insurance company and to be aware of contractors or repair vendors that offer incentives for free inspections or promise to coordinate with the insurance company to repair the home with no out of pocket expenses.

Public Adjuster Services

  • Only an attorney or licensed public adjuster can prepare, complete or file an insurance claim; act on behalf of an insured in negotiating or effectuating the settlement of a claim, and offer to initiate or negotiate a claim.
  • The Department of Financial Services may take administrative actions and impose fines against those who violate these provisions.

Contractor Solicitation

Additionally, Senate Bill 76 includes provisions to protect consumers from unlicensed adjusting and contracting and solicitation fraud. These provisions will be a deterrent to out-of-state contractors looking to cash in after a storm event.

Some of the prohibitions on contractor solicitation include: 

  • Using prohibited advertisements
  • Offering rebates, gift cards, cash, etc. in exchange for conducting an inspection on a roof or making an insurance claim
  • Compensation for referrals
  • Interpreting policy provisions or duties
  • Providing an agreement without a good faith, itemized estimate

 A contractor who violates these prohibitions is subject to a fine up to $10,000 for each violation. A person who engages in unlicensed contracting can be fined up to $10,000 for each violation.

  • Contractor’s agreements must include a notice of the prohibitions. If a contract does not include the notice, the homeowner can void the contract within 10 days after execution  

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