The Florida Legislature in December 2022 passed a historic package of reforms aimed to stabilize the Florida property insurance market and return Citizens to its role as Florida’s insurer of last resort.
Industrywide, the legislation will reduce litigation by removing Florida’s one-way attorney fee statute and eliminating assignment of benefits (AOB) contracts for property insurance claims, with limited exceptions. Litigation and AOB abuse have been cited as the leading causes of premium increases.
The legislation is expected over time to bring Citizens’ rates more closely in line with private market insurers.
Specifically, the new law:
- Maintains the statutory cap (the glide path) on annual rate increases for Citizens’ Personal Lines customers whose policy provides coverage for their primary residence (the policyholder’s primary home or the primary home of the tenant, and which the policyholder or tenant occupies for at least nine months of each year).
- Provides that for depopulation applications submitted by insurers to the Office of Insurance Regulation on or after January 1, 2023, a Citizens policyholder is ineligible for Citizens’ coverage if they receive a depopulation offer that is within 20% of the estimated Citizens renewal premium for comparable coverage. For policies due to renew on or after April 1, 2023, the policy will not be eligible for renewal with Citizens if a private offer is made that is within 20% of the Citizens renewal premium for comparable coverage.
- Provides that Citizens’ rates must be actuarially sound and not competitive with approved rates charged in the admitted voluntary market.
- Requires that Citizens’ personal residential policyholders whose policies include wind coverage carry flood insurance to be eligible for a Citizens policy. This provision will be phased in over the next four years (See accompanying article).
- Provides Citizens the authority to combine its three accounts into a single new account.