Florida Insurance Law Tightens Filing Windows, Combats Fraud | Business

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Florida Insurance Law Tightens Filing Windows, Combats Fraud
Florida Insurance Law Tightens Filing Windows, Combats Fraud

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Florida's homeowners insurance market hasn't been the same since Hurricane Andrew slammed the state in 1992.

Insurance expert David Miller, CEO of Brightway Insurance and independent agency, said change is long overdue and that recently passed state insurance laws will reduce fraud.

"We've seen a tremendous increase in fraud over the last few years," he said. "The law is meant to clamp down on ... (fraud) which does not help anyone."

Among the changes, homeowners now must have repairs completed before their insurance company pays the claim in full. "We had a system before that favored people getting claim money and not doing repairs and that was not good," said Miller.

The change will make Florida consistent with the laws in other states, he said. 

The way sinkhole claims are processed will also change. Miller said the law closed loopholes that led to fraud.

"The difference is if you have a crack in your sidewalk, the insurance industry is not going to pay you to rebuild your entire house. And that is some of the problems that were going on and plaguing the industry," he said.

The bill also shortens the window for filing windstorm and hurricane claims from five years to three after a storm hits. It allows the companies to raise rates by up to 15 percent to cover re-insurance costs.

Even so, in the end, Miller said everyone wins under the new law. "The industry is going to be better off and consumers will end up having better rates in the long run," said Miller.

The changes to the insurance law take effect July 1.







Miller said if the industry has any regrets, it is the failed attempt to raise rates for policyholders of the Citizens Property Insurance. The industry is concerned about the financial strength of the Citizens Property Insurance if there is a major disaster.


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