February 23, 2007
In 2005, the Florida Legislature enacted a law requiring all residential property insurance companies to file with the Office of Insurance Regulation a range of premium discounts they propose to offer. Insurance companies issuing new homeowners’ insurance policies on or after October 1, 2005, or the first renewal of a homeowner’s insurance policy, must let policyholders know they can get discounts if they strengthen their homes against hurricane damage. All residential property insurance companies must file a new loss mitigation discount no later than March 1, 2007. After that date, insurance companies must provide all new and renewing customers the exact discounts that apply specifically to their homes.
In order to take advantage of the discounts, most homeowners will need a licensed professional (general, residential or building contractor, building inspector, registered architect, engineer or certified building code official) to inspect the home to identify potential mitigation measures and legally verify improvements. In 2006, the Florida Legislature enacted a law establishing within the Department of Financial Services the Florida Comprehensive Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program. This program provides assistance to Floridians on how they can strengthen their homes against hurricanes and to reduce hurricane damage exposure. Eligible homeowners can apply for a free inspection through the program by visiting www.mysafefloridahome.com or calling toll-free 1-800-342-2762.
Every licensed general lines agent and customer representative who is subject to the required continuing education provisions in Florida Statutes 626.2815, must complete, as part of his or her required hours, one hour of continuing education every 2 years on the subject of premium discounts available on property insurance policies. The premium discounts are based on various hurricane mitigation options.
Below is an example of an outline of areas that could be covered in the course. Item 2 shows the types of mitigation for which property insurance carriers will offer discounts.