JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida lawmakers return to the Capitol this coming week to take up another special legislative session — this time, dealing with property insurance.
Consumers have complained about dropped policies and exorbitant rate increases, but it’s unclear what kind of solution lawmakers will come up with.
“The rates are rising, they’re skyrocketing through the roof,” said State Rep. Tracie Davis, D-Jacksonville.
The storm has been building for years.
“No doubt we’ve got a serious crisis here in Florida,” said Jerry Holland, Duval County property appraiser.
The roof on a home or other building is just one aspect of the insurance crisis in the Sunshine State.
Holland says a big part of the crisis comes from how home claims are handled and the process called “assignment of benefits” (AOB) — when a contractor takes over a customer’s claim.
Holland says Florida has a little more than 8% of homeowner claims in the U.S. However, he says 76% of the legal claims come from the state.
He points back to the AOB process. False claims for repair also factor in.
“I mean, it’s not the hurricanes,” Holland said. “It’s in fact, you know, construction costs have gone up 30%. That’s an increased cost for the insurance companies.”
“We’ve seen values go up more than 11% this year, you know, on taxable values,” Holland added. “All that plays into it, but it seems like the litigation cost is what’s really the big factor with the insurance companies.”
Davis will travel to Tallahassee next week to work on the solution. She said lawmakers will be working on ways to protect consumers.
“It’s about incentivizing our developers to create some more multifamily housing, to create more affordable living situations, and, you know, we’ve got to understand, our insurance companies have to understand that, you know, these claims are going to be made and they have to be prepared for paying those clients because it’s not going to stop,” Davis said.
The special session begins Monday. One lawmaker said they’ve been told to plan on spending all week in Tallahassee to come up with a plan.