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Florida Governor Bush Signs Law to Reimburse Multiple Storm Deductibles, Extends Cancellation Moratorium

Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) has signed a bill into law that creates a program to reimburse homeowners who paid multiple deductibles as a result...
December 29, 2004

Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) has signed a bill into law that creates a program to reimburse homeowners who paid multiple deductibles as a result of last summer's spate of hurricanes that hit the state. In addition to reimbursing homeowners, the bill establishes a system where policyholders will pay one deductible per hurricane season, instead on one deductible per storm. Insurers will be required to cooperate with the state by providing claims information and to issue notices to policyholders.

Separately, Governor Bush and the state's Cabinet have extended a rule preventing insurance companies from canceling or not renewing homeowner insurance policies for hurricane victims through the March 31, 2005. The rule, which applies to residential and commercial properties, prohibits insurers from canceling policies of people whose property was damaged until 60 days after repairs are complete. If a policy expires while the rule is in effect, and the property has not been repaired for 60 days, insurers would have to renew the policy.

Worried that Florida's four 2004 hurricanes could lead to higher homeowners rates, Florida lawmakers also announced they will convene a joint committee in January to examine ways to fix the state's homeowners insurance market. This might include lowering the amount of losses that insurers are required to sustain before they can use money from Florida's Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, which is used to buy reinsurance. Private insurers will be sought to take on some of the policies of Citizens Property Insurance, the state's insurer of last resort.

Insurance Market Help Priority for Legislature (South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 12/17/04, free registration required)

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