TAMPA, Fla. — New property insurance laws will take effect on January 1, just weeks after the details were hammed out by Florida lawmakers.
SB 2A, which addresses Florida’s property insurance industry, was passed in a special session mid-December. The changes were made following a catastrophic hurricane season on top of what has been an already troubled property insurance market.
The new law creates the Florida Optional Reinsurance Assistance Program (FORA), which is a billion dollar safety net designed to assist insurance companies should we see a hurricane season or catastrophe similar to what we did in 2022.
Also part of the new law, is the elimination of the Assignment of Benefits. Starting January 1, homeowners can no longer sign over claims to contractors who would then work to get payments from insurers.
There’s also a series of changes coming to how quickly claims are submitted and processed. Claims now have to be filed within one year, instead of the previously allotted 2 year timeline. Insurance companies now also only have 60 days to prepare a claim instead of 90.
That’s a change that Rick Tutwiler, a licensed public insurance adjuster in Tampa, feels isn’t achievable with larger losses.
“I think they really need to focus on empowering the adjusters, training them again, letting seasoned adjusters make decisions out in the field so that claims can move forward… people can move forward and start with their contractors and start rebuilding their lives,” he said.
Tutwiler also feels the new law will not affect premiums or what homeowners are paying.
“Rates are going to continue to go up,” he said. “There’s not an insurance company anywhere who’s coming to come into the state of Florida with all of the communities and structures built around our coast.”
The new law also cuts the amount on time insurers have to do on-site inspections.