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Lawmakers consider intervention after homeowners insurance companies leave Florida

Originally published by Wink News | Read Full Article

By Drew Hill

Homeowner’s insurance companies are raising rates, dropping clients, or moving out of Florida. Now, lawmakers are considering a plan to get the rates under control.

Fraud and frivolous lawsuits are forcing insurance companies from servicing Florida homeowners, and that is according to the insurance companies.

On Tuesday, Lighthouse Property Insurance announced that it would stop writing new policies. This change will be effective at the end of this month. This issue is affecting millions of Floridians, and it has lawmakers’ attention.

The price to insure your home is rising. Ken Skelton owns a home in Collier County. “It went up $1700,” Skelton said.

Homeowners are being forced to pay these increased premiums or find another provider. This is something Skelton and his neighbors are worried about.

“I’ve seen a lot of talk on next-door about everybody’s insurance going up, and they’re like panicking to find affordable insurance,” said Skelton. Or any coverage at all.

Homeowners across the State of Florida are receiving letters that are notices of nonrenewal. WINK News report Lauren Leslie says her mother received one.

Why? Companies are trying to reduce overall exposure due to catastrophic loss. Insurers say that fraud and frivolous lawsuits are to blame.

This issue has gotten the attention of lawmakers like U.S. Representative Byron Donalds (R-Florida). “Of all the things that is great about Florida our court system is not the one. It’s a very bad system. A lot of frivolous lawsuits, and it’s incumbent upon the legislator to get this cleaned up,” said Rep. Donalds.

And, it is an issue that state lawmakers say they’re working on. Florida Senator Jeff Brandes tweeted on Tuesday that four insurance providers have told regulators they can’t continue writing coverage here in the last three weeks.

“The one thing that is very concerning to me is if we’re losing carriers at this speed,” Donalds said.

Lawmakers are seriously considering giving property insurance policies more flexibility to get these rates under control.

Much of this deals with storm damage, and a bill in the Senate would allow companies to offer policies only paying a depreciated value of, say, a roof or the actual cash value it was worth when damaged.

The idea is that it would lower your monthly premium, but you’d pay more in repair costs.

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