Just weeks after Hurricane Ian blew through Florida and caused an estimated $67 billion in damage to the state, Governor Ron DeSantis has announced a special legislative session to address the shaky property insurance industry and provide property tax relief to people affected by the storm.
DeSantis made the announcement on October 20th but did not give dates for when the session would be scheduled. He stated, “We’ll have those dates (for a special session) nailed down very soon. But it will certainly be before the end of the calendar year.”
Florida’s property insurers have been on shaky footing for several years. Private insurers have been refusing to renew policies and raising rates on property owners, arguing that they were suffering financial losses. As it stands, Florida property owners already pay almost three times more in insurance premiums per year than the national average. Some insurers have left the state entirely, and six providers have closed their doors since February.
Why Is the Florida Insurance Market Struggling?
According to Insurance Business America, Florida makes 9% of all property insurance claims in the US but only has about 6% of the country’s total population. Furthermore, the average property insurance premium in the state is $4,231, compared to a national average of $1,544. Why is Florida’s market so different from other states? Several factors may need to be addressed to resolve the issue.
- Severe Weather: Florida is known for experiencing some of the most severe weather in the country. Hurricanes and tropical storms regularly destroy roofs and flood homes even dozens of miles inland. Property owners are less able to afford to improve their properties to be more storm resistant because of high premiums, leading to higher claims and greater stress on the industry.
- Denials of Legitimate Claims: Florida insurers may attempt to underpay or deny legitimate claims to save money after severe weather events. Not only is this unjust, but it also costs the insurance industry more in the long run when consumers work with experienced attorneys like The Professional Law Group represent them to be sure that they are treated fairly, and that the consumers receive the money they’re owed according to the terms of the policy.
- High Costs: As insurance premiums go up, more people choose not to insure their homes. The people who continue to pay do so because they are at high risk of damage and can’t afford to repair their properties without coverage. The removal of low-risk policies increases the overall insurance pool, causing premiums to go up further and leading to costs spiraling out of control.
- Questionable Statistics: Some experts think that the insurance industry is exaggerating the number of claims by including other types of insurance claims and litigation over other types of properties with the statistics for the numbers of claims and litigation reported for property insurance. If this is correct, the industry should be held to account and report the statistics correctly instead of using confusing numbers to justify business practices that are bad for Florida Property owners.
How Consumers Can Protect Themselves
These initiatives could have a significant impact on the future of the insurance market, but they are not yet active. Furthermore, neither directly addresses the high premiums and reduced service that homeowners struggle with. This is a complicated situation in which property owners can be caught in the middle, just when they are most vulnerable and need protections. Property owners will benefit from having an experienced legal team on their side to lead them through the process, file claims, and make sure they’re paid in full.
Property damage attorneys can help you with claims in multiple ways.
- Help you understand what your policy covers. Your lawyer will clearly explain your policy so you know exactly what’s covered and what damage can be on your claim.
- Submit your claim so it is accurate, complete, and grounds for underpayment or denial are reduced. Your lawyer will draft your claim and submit it with all necessary evidence and documentation, so insurers know that they have to take it seriously and think twice before denying or underpaying it.
- Guide you on matters like assignment of benefits, service providers and other legal details regarding your payments. Your attorney will explain how you should receive your funds, whether you should sign an assignment of benefits, and advocate on your behalf with the insurer.
Ensure Your Claim is Covered Despite Florida’s Shaky Property Insurers
Florida’s insurance industry is struggling. What isn’t clear is how the upcoming special legislative session will address the problems and whether anything will be done to improve conditions for consumers suffering from excessive premiums and reduced protection. If you’ve noticed the impact of the shaky insurance market on your insurer’s service, you deserve help. At The Professional Law Group, our expert attorneys focus on helping property owners like you take a stand so that claims are complete, treated fairly and so that property owners are protected against insurers who try to underpay or deny legitimate claims. We will help you file your claim and advocate for you to ensure your home is repaired to the full extent of your coverage. Schedule your case review today to learn more.