Ruling Could Derail Insurance Rate Reductions

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A court ruling means new solicitation regulations on insurance adjusters won’t be enforced. State Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, said that likely means savings the Legislature hoped to drive on insurance policies won’t be realized this year.

“It will not allow rate reductions we had planned for,” said Boyd, who sponsored legislation passed this year and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis at a ceremony in Sarasota. “The ruling will allow the same dishonest solicitations that have driven costs up.”

A federal judge this month shot down a portion the insurance reforms. The new law aimed to stop roofers from soliciting homeowners directly about sales. The concern has been that many roofers and third-party adjusters followed roof inspections by claiming roofs needed to be replaced instead of patched, which often led to court disputes with insurance companies.

Gate Force Roofing and Restoration challenged that restriction as a violation of free speech, claiming it stopped legitimate advertising based on the actions of a few bad actors. Judge Mark Walker agreed, ruling “there is a difference between targeting disfavored conduct or practices (contractors acting as public adjusters, exploiting consumers, filing fraudulent claims, etc.) and targeting anything that may lead to that conduct— including truthful information that a consumer may have storm damage, and that storm damage may be covered by insurance.”

Boyd hopes other portions of the law seeking to limit court costs still result in reducing losses for insurance carriers, which in turn should lead to lower rates. But almost surely, the Legislature will need to come back and pass further reforms, he said.

“The attorney fee revision will help,” Boyd said. “We will see what next steps we need to make as we must do away with the unscrupulous solicitations that put lots more money in their pockets than the homeowners with claims.”

 

Photo from Pixabay

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