Florida Bills SB 876 and HB 447 fail
The heavily industry-weighted group the Heartland Institutes Center has reported the death of the pending legislation it referred to as so-called “reform” measures pending in the Florida Legislature. The Heartland Institute is not an organization I can speak of with any degree of accuracy, as I could only report what they claim on their website.
Having said that, I am unclear as to why they would support bills SB 876 and HB 447. Both of these bills took a great deal away from individual policyholders and diluted protections in place to preserve rights under most insurance policies.
For sinkholes and sinkhole claims, the heart of these bills was to make it easier for insurance defense sinkhole attorneys to defeat the claims of individual homeowners, who are having the sinkhole claims denied and delayed by common investigation and claims adjustment tactics.
Why this is good news
Most of these bills attempted to isolate sinkhole coverage and treat it differently than other, less complicated causes of damage to property (e.g. fire, water). For sinkhole coverage for property losses to mean anything, it must be treated the same as other coverage, for which an insured is willing to pay a fair premium.
While most Florida homeowners do not like paying higher premiums, they do not want to buy illusory insurance coverage that may not actually provide them with the protection they need. Certainly, if a sinkhole claim does end up in court, homeowners simply ask for the field to be level.
These two bills introduced various standards to try and nudge the advantage to the insurance companies, and have been properly abandoned by the Florida Legislature.