So I guess we finally have an answer as to how we “fix” the insurance “problem” in Florida. The insurance industry, through some of our elected officials, has proposed some legislation that will “rein in fraud,” “inject some free market principles into insurance,” and “stop us from socializing insurance.” (All three of these quotes are actual remarks made by current Legislators). Let’s see what our industry friends have for us so far this session:

SB 1714 – Relating to Citizens Property Insurance Corporation – 2011
by Hays
-CPIC would be able to raise its rates by as much as 25 percent a year. The bill would prohibit Citizens customers from hiring a public adjuster to help them with any claims.
It would also make homeowners ineligible for Citizens coverage if they can get a policy from a private carrier that charges up to 25 percent more than Citizens does.
Related Bill: HB 1243 – Relating to Citizens Property Insurance Corporation by Boyd 

SB 1462 – Relating to Powers of the Consumer Advocate – 2011
by Hays
-Does away with the ability of the Insurance Consumer Advocate to issue letter grades to insurance companies based on a number of factors (including claims handling).
Related Bill: HB 4115 – Relating to Powers of the Consumer Advocate by Plakon

SB 1330 – Relating to Residential Property Insurance – 2011
by Hays
-Deregulates insurance rates in the State of Florida. In other words, companies don’t have to get approval for their rates from the Office of Insurance Regulation. Insurance carriers would be allowed to increase customer rates by as much as 30% per year without OIR approval.
Related Bill: HB 0885 – Relating to Residential Property Insurance by Wood

SB 408 – Relating to Property And Casualty Insurance – 2011
by Richter CoSponsors: Hays CS Sponsors: Banking and Insurance
-Eliminates the requirement that insurance companies offer sinkhole coverage. Also shortens the time period by which you have to file a claim. Reduces the amount of money you will get up front when you file a claim and creates more hoops to jump through before you can get your final replacement costs.
Related Bill: HB 0803 – Relating to Property and Casualty Insurance by Wood 

Usually, when the Legislature convenes for session in Tallahassee, there are a few anti-consumer bills related to insurance. The difference this session is that there are more bills that have more impact than normal. As I have repeatedly stated, the insurance market in Florida does need some changes. But these bills should be recognized for that they are – a slap in the face to insurance consumers.