Sean Shaw sponsored and passed a law that protects victims of hurricanes from scammers and criminals. This new law became effective January 1 of this year. Some bad apples are breaking the law, and these scammers need to be stopped.
House Bill 911, effective January 1, 2018, was filed by Representative Sean Shaw and enacted by the Florida Legislature to amend Fla. Stat. § 626.854, which protects policyholders through the regulation of public adjusters. Chip Merlin discussed this new law in detail in his post on July 2, 2017. In requiring public adjusters to be licensed by the State of Florida and defining the scope of their services, the Florida Legislature also excluded the growing practice of unlicensed public adjusting and the unauthorized practice of law. By defining what a licensed public adjuster can do for policyholders, the amended law notifies contractors, vendors, accountants, and others known after a catastrophe to unlawfully solicit business to act in the scope of a public adjuster. One service to policyholders that was recently questioned was whether an appraiser is required to be licensed in Florida. In the answer to this question, many others will find the answer to other services related to public adjusters, which do require a license.…
Last Tuesday night, I held my head in my hands almost crying after Sean Shaw confirmed he won election to Florida’s House of Representatives by a little more than a hundred votes. I could see the relief in Sean’s eyes as well. Waiting for a jury verdict and results from an election have certain similar emotional similarities.
The fix appears to be in for sinkhole losses. The insurance industry and lobby worked hard to set the rhetoric in its favor. Florida’s Insurance Commissioner seems to now be more concerned about appeasing the insurance industry to keep his job rather than taking on an industry he used to battle. Many policyholders with property in sinkhole prone areas of Florida will financially be doomed given the scenario painted in the Florida Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance Interim Report, "Issues Relating to Sinkhole Insurance."
Three consumer advocates published a letter, Property Insurance Deregulation Too Costly, which claims that currently proposed Florida legislation calling for no regulation of insurance rates is bad for Floridians "because the average consumer does not have the resources or information to determine when a rate is excessive, the opportunity for the [insurance] company to abuse consumers exists." I agree, and for many more reasons than just that.
Why do so many of our politicians play to the lobbyists and support laws that harm the average person and voter? This is exactly what has happened with important laws sponsored by the insurance industry lobbyists and then proposed by Florida Senator Mike Bennett of Bradenton and Representative Bill Proctor of St. Augustine. These politicians and other Florida political leaders have sponsored a law that would allow insurance companies to raise the rates of Florida policyholders as much as they want. Indeed, the law they support allows for insurance companies to collude with each other, since it calls for the complete deregulation of rates. As the insurance industry is exempt from anti-trust regulation, based on a bargain it made with the federal government in which it agreed to state regulation of rates, the insurers would be legally exempt from all regulation. Is this stupid or what? Do the Florida political leaders supporting this law think people will be happy when their rates go up 100% in a couple of years, or is this just a payback to the insurance industry and their lobbyists funding certain political action committee dollars? Or, giving them the benefit of the doubt, do they really understand the issue?
There are times when I am troubled about what I write on this blog. This is one of them. I know that many people are going to read this who have very different viewpoints. When a number of people tell you in advance that they look forward to what you are going to write, there is some tendency to write for the readers rather than having the courage to just place what is in your heart on paper. There is no way I can write about all my thoughts, but I will share points.
The appraisal clause should not be removed from Florida insurance policies. The concerns of insurers and policyholders can be addressed if we simply do two things……