Ruling Could Derail Insurance Rate Reductions

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A court ruling means that new recruitment rules for insurance experts will not be enforced. State Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, said this likely means savings the legislator hoped for on insurance policies will not materialize this year.

“It won’t allow tariff cuts that we planned,” said Boyd, who sponsored the legislation passed and signed by Governor Ron DeSantis this year at a ceremony in Sarasota. “The ruling will allow the same dishonest requests that drove up the costs.”

A federal judge shot down some of the insurance reforms this month. The new law was intended to prevent roofers from directly asking homeowners for sales. The concern was that many roofers and outside loss adjusters followed roof inspections by claiming roofs should be replaced rather than repaired, often leading to legal disputes with insurance companies.

Gate Force Roofing and Restoration disputed 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 inappropriate behavior or practices (contractors acting as public adjusters, exploiting consumers, filing fraudulent claims, etc.) can cause storm damage, and that storm damage can be covered by insurance.”

Boyd hopes other parts of the law that seek to limit court costs will still lead to fewer losses for insurance companies, which in turn should lead to lower rates. But almost certainly the legislature will have to come back and make further reforms, he said.

“The attorney fees review will help,” Boyd said. “We’ll see what next steps we need to take as we have to do away with the unscrupulous requests that put a lot more money in their pockets than the homeowners with claims.”

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