2016 Starts Faster Than Most
Each year seems to go by quickly, and the holidays always seem too short. The ball has barely dropped in Times Square before we are back to work thinking about what is in store for the next year. If it seems like this is taking place faster than usual in 2016, it is not our imaginations– 2016 indeed will get off to a faster start than most years.
Observers of the Florida insurance market will recognize that our annual legislative session begins in March in most years and extends until early May. However, 2016 is one of those unique years in which the session actually starts in January and will run 60 days until the latter part of March. We are not kidding when we say that it seems like session is arriving quickly– it really is.
As always, the 2016 session will see a number of insurance issues affecting most lines of business. In the property insurance arena, the legislature will need to consider the explosion of water damage cases and the closely related “assignment of benefits” epidemic. There’s no doubt that the increased prevalence of these types of claims is affecting the price policyholders as a whole pay for insurance, and it is serving as a significant counter-weight to the reductions in reinsurance costs many insurers have seen in recent years.
Also, we’ve seen several recent suggestions that perhaps the PIP system should be discarded. Lawmakers attempted to address abuses in the no-fault system a couple of years ago, but between court cases and continuing abuses in the market some policymakers question whether the time has come to do away with PIP entirely.
The workers’ compensation system also warrants watching in 2016. The Florida Supreme Court is expected to issue key rulings that may go the heart of the system. Workers’ comp rates have gone down significantly since legislative reforms were adopted in 2003. However, this will quickly begin to reverse itself if court decisions significantly impact the current workers’ compensation laws.
We hope everyone was able to relax and unwind at the end of 2015 because 2016 will get off to a fast start, and the some of the state’s most complex insurance markets will be the center of attention.