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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida legislature began a special session Monday focused on resolving the turbulent state property insurance market, considering sweeping legislation to create a $2 billion reinsurance fund. and setting new guidelines regarding legal professional charges and denials of coverage as lawmakers try to stabilize a market plagued by rising charges and insurer failures.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has begun debating the proposals and is expected to approve them later Monday. The payments would then be transferred to the entire Senate.

During hours of committee debate, the Republican sponsor of the proposals conceded they would not immediately scrap the household fee, but maintained that the legislative package is important to the long-term health of the oil market. State.

” It is very serious. some carriers are on life support, some are about to disconnect, others are in critical condition. And without reform will go to the maintenance of life and or pull the plug. so I don’t know if we could be in a worse position than we are as Floridians,” Sen. Jim Boyd said.

The special session comes as the second extracurricular meeting of the Florida legislature in recent months, following the failure of the GOP-controlled state House to cross insurance proposals earlier this year during its joint meeting period. There may be a growing urgency for lawmakers to fix the state’s market problems ahead of the impending hurricane season, which in previous years has brought devastating storms to Florida, such as category-class Hurricane Michael. 5 in 2018.

The proposals would create the $2 billion Reinsurance Program to Help Policyholders allowing insurers to purchase insurance to help protect them from harm. For an insurer to enter the fund, it must reduce the costs of the insured.

The payments would prohibit insurers from routinely denying coverage based on the age of a roof if the roof is less than 15 years old. Homeowners with roofs 15 years or older could be allowed to have their situation inspected before insurers deny them coverage, under the bill. If an inspection reveals that a roof has at least 5 years of life remaining, insurers cannot refuse to offer coverage based solely on the age of the roof under the proposed laws.

Another measure would provide grants worth up to $10,000 each to renovate homes so they are less vulnerable to hurricane damage. To qualify, properties must have an insured value of $500,000 or less, be family owned, built before 2008, and located in areas where storm wind speeds can exceed 140 mph (225 km/h). Homeowners would receive $2 from the state for every $1 invested in mitigation efforts.

The laws further aim to curb many legal fees in insurance-related circumstances, which insurers blame for much of the rate hike for policyholders. Proponents of the legislative package have consistently noted that Florida accounts for 9% of all insurance claims filed nationwide, but nearly 80% of all property insurance lawsuits.

The payments would allow for additional state oversight so regulators can spot developments, analyze causes and try to stop insurers’ long-term failure. The insurance business has had two years of underwriting losses exceeding $1 billion each year, according to the office of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican. Several insurance companies have gone bankrupt, required midterm cancellations, are in liquidation or have stopped writing new business since 2021, the governor said in his proclamation calling lawmakers back to Capitol Hill.

The extraordinary session is set to take place from Monday to Friday.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material will not be disclosed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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