SARASOTA-  Governor DeSantis in Sarasota today to sign property insurance changes into law. DeSantis says changes to coverage were necessary with customers seeing major premium increases in recent years.

“You even see some homeowners,” DeSantis said. “Their policies get cancelled; they get dumped onto citizen’s so we wanted to do something to stabilize that, to try to invite more people from the private sector to participate in the market.”

State Senator Jim Boyd says the bill addresses one of the biggest costs insurance companies’ face… litigation, taking steps to limit fees of attorneys representing homeowners.

“Between 2013 and 2020,” Senator Boyd said. “$15 billion dollars in claims were paid out in Florida in property insurance claims, 71% of that $15 billion went to lawyers, something like 8% went to homeowners for their claims.”

The bill also prevents contractors from soliciting homeowners to file insurance claims for things like roof damage.

“Unfortunately we had found ourselves in a situation here in Florida,” President and CEO of the Florida Association of Insurance Agents Kyle Ulrich said. “Where because of some unscrupulous activity of a few, they were taking advantage of a system and everyone was having to pay a price for that.”

Critics of the bill say it could lead to larger rate increases of the Citizens Proper Insurance Corporation… but Senator Boyd says it will help private completion.

“It will drive costs down,” Boyd said. “It’s going to take a year to 18 months for this to filter through the system and rates to really realize the impact of what we’ve done.”

“And ultimately give consumers,” DeSantis said. “More opportunities to have policies that are affordable.”

The bill makes a number of other changes, including reducing the time in which homeowners can file claims.