SARASOTA, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed a bill into law that he says will make the property insurance market more competitive and hopefully make policies more affordable for consumers.
It comes during a highly unstable time for the property insurance market, with many homeowners seeing significant premium increases, along with being suddenly dropped by their insurance company.
"We saw problems," DeSantis said during a news conference at the Sarasota County Terrace Building. "We wanted to do something to stabilize that."
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That something is SB 76, which prohibits certain practices by contractors, cracks down on unlicensed contractors, and requires property insurers to be more transparent about their claims data.
DeSantis said he hopes this will invite more companies from the private sector to participate in the property insurance market and ultimately give consumers more affordable policies.
"Without a viable, competitive homeowner's market, it affects so many parts of our economy," said State Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Manatee County, who sponsored the legislation.
Boyd, who works in the insurance industry, said it will take a year to 18 months for the changes to filter through the insurance system and for rates to start to significantly go down.
However, critics fear the new law may lead to larger rate hikes for customers of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance. For many left without insurance, the only option is Citizens, the state-sponsored insurer of last resort.
The law, which goes into effect on July 1, allows larger annual rate increases for customers of Citizens.
Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation offers a comparison tool on its website to help homeowners compare policies and rates. To see that tool, click here.