Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 2-A, an insurance reform bill to help stabilize Florida’s property insurance market, increase competition, and strengthen consumer protections.
With property insurance described as a “hidden tax” on homeowners, the Florida House gave final approval to a plan to stabilize the state’s troubled insurance market on Wednesday.
The Republican-dominated House voted 84 to 33 along party lines to pass the bill on the final day of a special legislative session.
The Senate approved the bill Tuesday.
The bill includes wide-ranging changes that supporters acknowledge will not immediately lower insurance rates.
At least for some homeowners, such as customers of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance, the bill could increase costs.
“The issues in Florida’s property insurance market did not occur overnight, and they will not be solved overnight,” said Desantis in Fort Myers on Friday. “The historic reforms signed today create an environment which realigns Florida to best practices across the nation, adding much-needed stability to Florida’s market, promoting competition, and increasing consumer choice. I am thankful the Legislature answered the call for meaningful reform.”
After two years of private insurers seeking hefty rate increases and dropping hundreds of thousands of customers because of financial losses, Republican lawmakers, including Mike Giallombardo say the bill will bolster the market, spur competition and, ultimately, bring down costs.
“Insurance companies are in business to make money too. If they can’t make money here, if they can’t stay solvent, they are gone. It’s a business decision,” he said.
Democrats blasted the bill, saying it helps insurers while doing little for residents struggling to pay insurance premiums.
Fentrice Driskel,l the House Minority Leader, said, “Unfortunately, with the Republican’s insurance package, the better parts of the bill are not enough to save the bad parts of the bill, which again is only going to make property insurance more expensive for Florida homeowners.”
Republicans flatly rejected numerous attempts by Democrats to amend the bill.
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