Insurance Reform and Relief for those Affected by the Hurricanes
The Florida Legislature held a special session this month (Dec 2022), during which legislators focused on three main pieces of legislation that would provide relief to Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian and Nicole. The following is a brief overview of the bills approved:
SB 2A- Property Insurance Reform
This Bill aims to stabilize the residential insurance market and lower consumer costs. The bill also seeks to address abuses with the assignment of benefits, frivolous litigation, and concerns about Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.
-Eliminates one-way attorney fees in suits arising in residential or commercial property insurance.
-Eliminates a policyholder’s ability to execute an assignment of benefit for all property insurance policies.
-Reduces the time limit for providing notice of a loss to a property insurer from two years to one year for initial or reopened claims and from three years to 18 months for supplemental claims.
–A new optional state reinsurance program, the Florida Optional Reinsurance Assistance, was created to address shortages in the reinsurance market. The bill also requires insurers to communicate, investigate and pay valid claims more promptly.
SB 4A- Disaster Relief
Expands disaster relief efforts to aid those impacted by Hurricane Ian and Nicole. The bill provides $750 million for the communities impacted by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, as well as:
-Extends the due dates for property taxes levied in 2022 for property owners whose property was destroyed or rendered uninhabitable by Hurricane Ian or Nicole.
-Authorizes property tax refunds for residential properties that were made uninhabitable for at least 30 days by either hurricane for the portion of the year that the residence was unusable.
-Appropriates $350 million from the General Revenue Fund to the Division of Emergency Management (DEM) to provide the full match requirement for FEMA Public Assistance grants to local governments affected by the two hurricanes.
-Appropriates $150 million from the General Revenue Fund to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation: $60 million shall be provided to local governments to assist persons with the repair or replacement of housing, relocation costs, housing reentry assistance, and insurance deductibles. $90 million shall be used to fund the Rental Recovery Loan Program to promote the development and rehabilitation of affordable housing in affected areas.
SB 6A- Toll Relief
SB 6A directs the Florida Turnpike Enterprise to establish a toll relief program effective January 1, 2023, through December 31, 2023, for all Florida toll facilities or Florida toll facility entities that use Florida-issued SunPass transponders.
Toll road users who record 35 or more qualifying transactions per transponder per calendar month will be eligible for an account credit equal to 50% of the amount paid in that calendar month for the qualifying transactions.
This would include tolls along the Central Florida Greenway SR 417 and East-West Expressway SR 408, which are prevalent routes in Central Florida.
Follow this link for more information: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022A/2A