Volume 2 Number 19
May 9, 2005










TEXT VERSION

GALLAGHER LAUDS PASSAGE OF HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE PROTECTIONS FOR FLORIDIANS

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher said that the homeowners insurance legislation that passed late Friday contains numerous provisions that will benefit Florida’s consumers. 

“Following last year’s devastating hurricanes, there was a clear demand from storm victims for  simpler insurance policies that would allow Floridians to better understand what they are buying,” said Gallagher.  “This legislation is a giant step forward in providing transparency and accountability in homeowners insurance policies.”  

The legislation contains multiple improvements to Florida homeowners, mobile homeowners, and condominium policies and institutes other market enhancements including:

  • Prohibits insurance companies from non-renewing homeowners polices until 90 days beyond the completion of storm repairs.

  • Requires insurance companies to pay replacement costs up front without holding back any of the money owed to the policyholder for repairs.

  • Adds in a policy checklist that the insurer must fill out so the policyholder can see what is and what is not covered along with a simple outline of coverage.  The language would enable consumers to understand the principal benefits, exclusions and limitations of the policy.

  • Requires insurers to offer a range of hurricane deductibles – 2, 5 and 10 percent, and to disclose the cost that could result from each choice, including impact on premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. 

  • Increases the level of law and ordinance coverage insurers must offer for losses caused by having to rebuild a home to meet new building codes from 25 to 50 percent.

  • Expands the current mediation program to allow commercial residential insureds to participate.

  • Establishes a low-interest loan program up to $1 million for homeowners to retrofit their homes to reduce hurricane losses.

  • Requires insurance companies to make it clear in polices what discounts can be received for home improvements that would make a property better able to withstand hurricanes.

  •  Improves the Florida Catastrophic Hurricane Fund to increase the availability of homeowners coverage.

  •  Requires a public hearing for rate requests exceeding 15 percent.

  • Requires several changes in Citizens Property Insurance Company, including requiring the Auditor General to conduct an operational audit.

Lake County, the 43rd county, was established  May 27, 1887, being taken from Orange and Sumter counties and named for the large number of lakes within its boundaries. The courthouse, above, was built in 1924.