News Source: WKMG News 6
Author: Louis Bolden
Date Published: June 13th, 2022
ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s been just over two weeks since the governor signed an insurance bill into law, but consumers tell News 6 that not every insurance agent is up to speed on what the law contains.
Sheila Guzman said every year her anxiety starts when it’s time for her property insurance to renew, and this year is no different.
“Because I don’t know what to expect,” Guzman said.
According to her statements, in 2020 her premium was $815. In 2021, it jumped to $1500, and if she chooses to renew this year, it will be nearly $4,000.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Guzman said. “I mean, I had to re-read the letter. I thought they had made a mistake.”
It was no mistake and the letter that came along with the statement confirmed it.
“Many of our customers have received or will receive substantial premium increases with their latest renewal offer,” according to the letter.
“We’ve seen increases throughout the years, but never this much,” Guzman said.
Guzman is like so many Floridians, faced with rising property insurance rates and looking for relief after lawmakers passed a new law to address the problem during a special legislative session.
When she started looking for alternative insurance, she said she didn’t believe insurance agents were up to speed on the legislation that was passed.
“Because I’ve heard them say, ‘We have no word yet and this is what we have’ and what they have is not what was discussed in the session,” Guzman said.
Her roof was replaced in April of 2009, according to a roof replacement contract, which makes it 13 years old.
Agents have told Guzman that insurers won’t write her a policy because of the age of her roof, according to Guzman.
But Senate Bill 2-D, which took effect two weeks ago, prohibits insurers from not writing policies for homeowners with roofs “less than 15 years old solely because of the age of the roof,” according to the law.
Paul Handerhan is the president of the Federal Association for Insurance Reform, FAIR.
There typically is some time of confusion where people have to figure out what the law says when new legislation is passed, according to Handerhan.
“These people are busy running their businesses every single day, they probably haven’t read the bills,” Handerhan said.
While the Florida Association of Insurance Agents tracks legislation, there are over 100,000 insurance agents across the state, and all of the information may not have trickled down to each agent, according to Handerhan.
“It’s very common that once legislation is passed, most people who don’t follow that legislation really don’t know what’s passed,” Handerhan said. “They don’t know how it impacts their local businesses, and I’m sympathetic to that, but when the law becomes the law you have to follow the law.”
If you’re looking for insurance right now, make sure you are familiar with the law. If you believe the agent is not familiar with the new law, have them double-check.
Long term, if an agent gives you bad information, and it impacts you adversely, you could file an errors and omissions claim.