FORT MYERS BEACH
On Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a property insurance and disaster relief bill on Fort Myers Beach.
By signing the bill, DeSantis is creating a $1,000,000,000 reinsurance fund while rewriting rules on things like coverage denials and attorney fees.
“These recoveries from major storms are really marathons. There are things you need in those first 24, 48, 72 hours. But then you look and there are things that need to get done over a longer period of time,” DeSantis said.
The new property insurance law bans the assignment of benefits.
That’s when you, the homeowner, sign over your policy to a contractor, roofer, or lawyer and they deal with the insurance company directly.
in the past, if you sued your insurance company and won, the insurance company would pay your legal fees.
But, after DeSantis signed the bill on Friday, you won’t have as long to file a claim, but insurers have to respond quickly or they’ll face a penalty.
“The legislator was able to do a really strong hurricane relief package to be able to assist the areas further, beyond what we’ve already done. With not only hurricane Ian, but even Nicole, which wasn’t significant in terms of strength, but what happened is it hit the East coast of Florida in places that had already been hit by Ian. So, it didn’t take much to do some significant damage there as well. So this disaster relief bill is going to do a number of things,” DeSantis said.
One of the goals of the law is to shrink the number of policyholders on Citizens’ Property Insurance.
Anyone using the insurer of last resort has to shop for coverage annually, accept any private policy within 20% of the Citizens’ price, and have flood insurance.
DeSantis also said he doesn’t want to wait on FEMA’s housing program any longer and will be placing travel trailers on properties immediately, even if they are in a flood zone area.
“I understand why you wouldn’t do that in August, but we’re in a situation now where it’s going to help a lot of people to be able to repair their property and to get back on their feet,” DeSantis said.
Opponents of the bill said it won’t help homeowners for at least 12 to 18 months in terms of lowering their rates, but DeSantis said this is a step in the right direction.