The first of many significant hurdles to normalcy in Florida’s property market was cleared Tuesday when SB-76 emerged unscathed from the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee via a 9 to 3 bipartisan vote. Two Senate hearings remain before it goes to the floor–next being the sometimes prickly Judiciary Committee chaired by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg). Senator Brandes voted for the bill as a member of Senator Boyd’s Committee and has been a staunch advocate for common sense reforms, including attorney fee multipliers and reductions in the time for promptly filing a claim.
You can view the entire Senate B&I committee hearing and the debate on SB-76 beginning at the 5:33 mark here. A parade of public presentations were delivered by trial lawyers and the customary advantage takers tendering an array of misleading anecdotes and distractions. “What’s wrong with doorknob hangers?” one asked. “Isn’t that just good marketing?” Answer: good marketing should not include, promises of free roofs, no deductible insurance, blue tarps with no damage, unlicensed practice of public adjusting and inflated invoices.
Noteworthy was Senator Jim Boyd’s (R-Bradenton) aplomb and bipartisanship ushering a bill he sponsors out of a committee he chairs—and kudos to Senator Doug Broxson (R-Pensacola) for able assistance as Vice Chairman. Thanks as well to all those on the committee who voted for the bill.
But some senators (at least three on this committee) are still missing the point. There’s no denying that Florida’s P&C Insurance Market is Spiraling Toward Collapse. When insurers are losing money the law requires rates to be raised–this time on your constituents who long ago reached their tipping point.
SB-76, in my opinion, is precisely what Florida’s insane market needs. It limits the use of attorney fee multipliers to only rare and unusual circumstances (the Federal standard employed in every other state). It cracks down on the “free roof” scam by allowing ACV after 10 years. It creates a two-year statute of limitations (down from three) on claim filing and amends the one-way attorney fee statute similar to 2019’s successful AOB reforms.
SB-76 also contains a sensible roof reimbursement schedule calibrated for each category of roof. Tens of thousands of Floridians already reduce their premiums voluntarily opting for such a schedule. SB-76 merely allows carriers to offer a roof replacement schedule at renewal without having to non-renew and issue a new policy with the same schedule.
I also find it hard to believe that even a trial lawyer would object to SB-76’s new claim reporting deadlines. It’s really just a simple requirement for prompt notification, which most consumers already provide–80% within 30 days of the loss. One of Florida’s largest carriers says that 97% of its claims are reported within one year. In fact, SB-76’s two year statute of limitations is double that of Texas and California and four times the limit of 180 days in Louisiana.
Still they lined up in opposition, struggling to explain how Florida policyholders facing the highest percentage rate increases in America, while already paying the highest rates in America, are somehow disadvantaged by having two full years to report a loss, the longest in America.
There’s much more to SB-76 and much more work to be done before it becomes law.
For those who want to get involved in this important issue, go here and enter the necessary information for a letter to be sent to your legislator in support of SB-76 and HB-305.
IMPORTANT: If you enjoyed this post you’re invited to subscribe for automatic notifications by going to: www.johnsonstrategiesllc.com. Enter your email address where indicated. If you’re already on the website at Johnson Strategies, LLC, go to the home page and enter your email address on the right-hand side. Remember, you’ll receive an email confirming your acceptance, so…check and clear your spam filter for notifications from Johnson Strategies, LLC. ENJOY!
Please view “The Johnson Strategies Story”