When can Florida homeowners expect to see insurance relief?
As Florida lawmakers work to try to untangle and solve the state’s growing insurance crisis, many say they don’t expect relief for homeowners to come quickly.
All of this comes as hurricane season approaches and homeowners keep losing policies.
Robert Norberg, the president of Arden Insurance, is not only trying to find policies for 40 unlucky clients but also for himself.
"I've got to shop all my markets just like I'm doing for all my clients who got canceled," Norberg said. "It's a tough thing and it hits home."
He has to move fast because Florida lawmakers — who are trying to solve a homeowners insurance crisis — admit relief may take time.
"Sadly, there doesn't seem to be a magic bullet," state Sen. Lori Berman, D-Delray Beach, said. "We've heard from the bill's sponsor that the earliest we'll see relief is 18 months if we see it at all."
Eighteen months means two hurricane seasons for Floridians who are already struggling with skyrocketing rates and cancellations.
Democrats say they tried to freeze insurance rates but that failed.
"We are up here in Tallahassee, and we are not getting any guarantees and that gives me great consternation," state Sen. Bobby Powell, D-West Palm Beach, said.
The Republican-led legislature is working on two bills, aimed at curbing lawsuits and policy cancellations over aging roofs, as well as creating a $2 billion reinsurance fund for insurance companies.
The reinsurance fund is designed to help struggling companies and lead to lower rates eventually.
"I'm not sure that we'll see that in the next two months — as far as rates going down — however, I'm certainly hopeful," state Rep. Toby Overdorf, R-Stuart, said.
Insurance experts say the market needs time to adjust to any reforms, considering the losses that insurance companies are now struggling with.
"The changes that are about to happen — or if they get passed — will allow some of the carriers to adjust their underwriting and possibly come back into the marketplace," Norberg said. "But they will not say, 'Hey, everybody we've canceled, we're going to take back.'"
That has some worried that whatever happens this week in Tallahassee will do any good at all.
"We're giving insurance companies a $2 billion bailout, and I worry it won't pass down to consumers," Berman said.
However, some believe that if enough reforms are enacted, it could bring more insurance companies back to Florida and give homeowners some options.
Scripps Only Content 2022