Florida Legislative Session Begins
The annual 60-day legislative session begins in Florida on March 2, 2021. This session will feature accommodations designed to limit exposures to COVID-19. This includes most public testimony being presented by video stream from an offsite location in downtown Tallahassee.
From an insurance perspective, the session will include substantial discussion about the auto and property insurance markets. In recent years, the legislature has considered proposals to repeal Florida’s no-fault Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage and replace it with mandatory bodily injury limits. PIP repeal has commanded a lot of attention in prior sessions, and this session is likely to be similar. The legislature also will consider reforms to address the auto glass problem that plagues the Florida auto insurance market. The legislature addressed a similar problem in the property insurance market in 2019 when it adopted AOB reform, but thus far a solution to the auto glass problem has proven to be elusive.
Florida’s property insurance market is in peril due largely to increased litigation attributable to Florida’s one-way attorneys’ fee statute. The incentive to litigate has manifested itself in various ways over time, including through dubious sinkhole claims, AOB’s, roof claims, and similar abuses. Compounded by recent weather activity affecting the state, mounting losses and loss adjustment expenses due to the incentive to litigate claims threatens the Florida property insurance market by reducing availability and increasing prices. As a result, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is experiencing significant growth that will only continue for the foreseeable future unless the legislature takes meaningful action.