Florida Keys are covered — for now

May 10, 2011

The following article was posted to Keysnews.com on May 10, 2011:

Florida Keys are covered — for now

Legislation that would have phased out windstorm coverage from Citizens Property Insurance Corp. — the state’s quasi-public insurer of last resort — didn’t survive the final hours of Florida’s legislative session, but Florida Keys property owners may find it more difficult to file windstorm claims in the future.

Senate Bill 1714 and House Bill 1243 would have allowed Citizens to deny new or renewal policies for homes valued at $1 million or more as of Jan. 1, 2012, properties worth $750,000 or more as of Jan. 1, 2014, and properties worth $500,000 or more as of Jan. 1, 2016. New policies for commercial property would not be required upon passage of the bills.

The bills also would have allowed Citizens to not only increase rates by up to 25 percent per policy per year, but also prohibit the rates from being reduced where it makes actuarial sense to reduce them, said Annalise Mannix, executive director of Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe (FIRM).

The legislation failed this session, but may come back as early as the fall in a possible special session, Mannix said.

“We laid the groundwork for defeat, but will have to continue working on this,” she said. “FIRM will be watching to see if the governor convenes a special session to resurrect the Citizens bill. We must continue to find a solution to the insurance crisis in the Keys or we ill be priced out of our homes.”

FIRM was not as successful in lobbying against Senate Bill 408 and House Bill 803. The bills reduce the window to file a complaint from five to three years. Because storm damage sometimes does not become evident for several years, that could be a problem for property owners, according to FIRM.

“It will be very important to get a thorough engineering inspection promptly if you endure damage from a hurricane,” Mannix said.

Find this article here:  http://keysnews.com/node/31770