Florida Senate approves property insurance changes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Property insurance rates are on the rise with insurers reporting $1.6 billion in losses last year.

Florida lawmakers are hoping legislation passed Wednesday through the Senate will help lessen the blow, but even with the proposed changes, rates will likely keep increasing in the short term.

Last year the state approved more than 100 rate increase requests from property insurers. More than half were double-digit jumps.

“Floridians should expect their homeowners insurance rates to double within the next three years,” said Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg.

Brandes argues fraud and excessive litigation are to blame.

“We’re 8% of the total U.S. market and 75% of the total U.S. lawsuits,” said Brandes.

He’s co-sponsoring legislation that aims to lower rates by limiting attorneys fees for claim litigation, reducing required coverage for roof replacements and limiting the time claims can be filed from three to two years.

“This system isn’t designed to be a home maintenance contract. This is here to take care of catastrophic loss that a homeowner may not be able to cover themselves,” said Brandes.