In a state predominately known for sandy beaches, tourists and theme parks, the Sunshine State has more recently taken the spotlight for far less crowd-pleasing reasons. AOB abuse resulting in overinflated roof claims and fierce litigation, combined with rising construction costs due to pandemic impacted inflation has resulted in rapidly increasing property insurance premiums, mass nonrenewals and shaky company financials. With several carriers recently rendered insolvent and more forced to shed policies to avoid the same fate, insureds are flooding into the state’s insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation at a rate of over 5,000 new policyholders a week. With little progress being made in regular legislative sessions over the last couple years, and continuous efforts to circumvent the measures that were able to pass, the state is calling on legislators to assist by calling a legislative special session.
What is a Legislative Special Session?
The National Conference of State Legislatures describes a special (or extraordinary) session as a legislative session called to deal with specific issues or topics. Usually the topics addressed in a special session are limited to the issues specified in the notice calling for the special session. Who can call a special session varies by state law, but in Florida a special session can be called by either the Governor or Legislature.
The upcoming Florida special session was called by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. It will commence at 9am EST on Monday, May 23, 2022 and extended until 11:59pm EST, on Friday, May 27, 2022 at the latest. Governor DeSantis is calling on the Legislature to consider legislation for property insurance, reinsurance, changes to the Florida Building Code to improve the affordability of property insurance, the Office of Insurance Regulation, civil remedies, and appropriations.
The Property Insurance industry is hopeful that new legislation that will bring stability to a battered Florida property insurance market. Policyholders are hopeful that changes will bring much needed premium relief amid soaring housing costs and record-high gas prices.
We asked Florida’s former Deputy Insurance Commissioner and now consultant, Lisa Miller, for her take on the upcoming special legislative session. “The special session is our best opportunity to change laws that are anti-consumer and are driving insurance premiums to levels we have never seen in our state. Property insurance is tied to our state’s economy and as the insurance market continues to fail, the eventual collapse will affect every Floridian young and old. We need those that we have elected to lead…and act… in our best interests.”