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Florida Homeowner's Insurance Crisis Solutions

Florida Legislature addresses homeowner's insurance

Florida Insurance Crisis solved? If the list of the proposed reforms passes that the Florida Association of Realtors compiled from the five bills that the House of Reps in Tallahasses is looking at. For a listing of the options in the latest package of reforms, see the Florida Insurance Reform page.

This is from the BayNews9 web site:

Tallahassee, FL- Governor-elect Charlie Crist, Senate President Ken
Pruitt (R-St. Lucie), and House Speaker Marco Rubio (R-Miami)
announced Wednesday they will call a Special Session of the Florida
Legislature starting January 16 of next year to begin an effort to
restructure Florida's property insurance market and provide relief to
Florida residents and businesses.

Note that Charlie Crist doesn't even own a home, so he doesn't know the bite that homeowner's insurance takes out of his pay check. Let's not even discuss the wisdom of someone who doesn't take advantage of the greatest investment opportunity and tax deduction ever offered and whether he deserves to be Governor and help run the state's finances.

Charlie Crist at Insurance Rally Populist Florida Governor, Charlie Crist, greeting a supporter at a rally in Tallahassee, FL

Charlie's landlord got into trouble in 2006 when the St Petersburg Times revealed that he had homesteaded the condo he was renting to the Governor to be.

Governor Jeb Bush

From an insurance reform web site, there is some proposed legislation with "Governor Bush's Analysis of Proposed Legislation", there are included the following proposals:

  • go without windstorm coverage, and
  • opt for higher deductibles, and
  • only insure mortgage balances, and
  • no personal contents coverage

The following notes were compiled from before the primaries from my meetings with several candidates in the St Petesburg, FL area.

Frank Farkas

Frank Farkas is the Republican Florida House Representative for District 52 and I attended a meeting where he gave an update on how our elected representatives are trying to help the citizenry of this state. He is running for Florida Senate District 16 in 2006.

He is supporting a bill which would cap the increase in tax assessments on investment and commercial properties. The cap would be 5% a year. Which may be a bit late as it probably won't protect us against against the increases from the past few "hot" years. I think I have heard this bill referred to as a "Save Our Holdings" proposal. I spoke to him afterwards and he definitely understands that tenants will be the ultimate losers if investors have to pay higher taxes.

For "save our homes" residential beneficiaries, portability is still a goal of the legislature, and they realize for many that it translates to "stuck in our homes". They can't afford to move out of their existing home and lose their existing comfortable low tax bill.

On the insurance front, he stated that they have passed legislation that will enable home owners to obtain a free inspection to determine how hurricane resistant their home is. Based on the report from this inspection, home owners can arrange to have work done, for which the state will pay half of up to a maximum of $5000 in total grant.

This will help alleviate the extraordinary vulnerability of many homes in Florida to hurricane damage. He stated that many homes built in the 1960s, 70s and 80s are LESS hurricane resistant than homes built in the 30s, 40s and 50s. He said that laxness in building code enforcement in those more recent decades is responsible for this. Whether that is apocryphal or not, I don't know. Does anyone know if there is any truth to that assertion?

He said that the state government is also lobbying Congress to put into place a similar plan for wind (caused by tempests such as hurricanes, tropical storms and tornadoes) as exists with water in the form of the National Flood Insurance Program.

He also suggested that Citizens be allowed to write policies for insurance coverage other than homeowner's. Though there is a lot of unhappiness with Citizens, if they were allowed to do this, then they may be able to offer the multiple policy discounts that most Floridians are now disenfranchised from because we have to insure our homes with Citizens, and our autos and other coverages with another insurance company.

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