When no change is good
This last legislative session saw a wide array of attempts by the insurance industry to shore up its battle against sinkhole insurance coverage, all of which failed without much of a sizzle.
During this past Florida legislative session, there were efforts to limit the amount of coverage to 25 percent of the coverage available under an insurance policy. This was kicked almost as quickly as it was filed, we’d like to think in part due to our efforts to focus the public on the issue.
The dirty details
This was a really bad idea, and everyone knew it, and it was being sponsored by a legislator whose district sees few sinkholes. There were also efforts to place greater burdens on insureds to defend their claims.
One bill suggested that if a sinkhole dispute ended up in front of a jury, the insured should carry a greater burden of proof then the insurance company. Why anyone thought this was fair, or even a good idea was unknown. But, this bill made a lot of waves in Tallahassee anyway but was finally abandoned.
Ready, fire, aim
I am always suspicious of legislative ideas introduced in bills and then dropped so quickly. If an idea is a good idea but dropped so quickly, it suggests to me the idea was not very well conceived.
My belief, and I may be in the minority on this, is that legislative actions should be considered and analyzed prior to being put into bills, rather than after. I call this “ready, fire, aim.”
This is one of the reasons why we keep such a vigilant eye on sinkhole legislation, in part due to the fact these provisions get added to large, “reform” bills, many of which are being debated on more technical issues.
No news is good news
Overall, I am pleased with the result of the session, not because there were any changes (because there were not), but because I’d rather the law remain the same than take steps backward.
Certainly, there is room for improvement, but until there is a balanced, fair approach to many of these sinkhole issues, things may stay in a state of confusion between insureds and insurance companies. In that setting, we all need to work collectively.