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HOMEOWNERS BEWARE: SB 76 & HB 305 Do NOT Benefit You! Here’s Why…

Feb 23, 2021

This Legislative Session has already begun and the proposed bills (damaging to homeowners) are on track to be passed. We need to band together to stop this legislation and protect Florida homeowners. Here’s everything you need to know about SB 76 and HB 305 and why they do NOT benefit homeowners.

SB 76 and HB 305 allow insurance carriers to limit coverage for roofs more than 10 years old.

If these pass, SB 76 and HB 305 would amend Florida Statute 627.7011, allowing insurance companies to OFFER personal lines residential property insurance policies that LIMIT the amounts you can recover for roof damage by including a roof surface reimbursement schedule. Essentially, it allows the insurer to provide limited coverage and provide based on the roof surface. If the roof is less than 10 years old, the policy could provide full replacement cost value (RCV). However, if the roof is over 10 years old, the most you could get to replace the roof is subject to the following:

· 70% for metal roofs

· 40% for concrete tile and clay tile roofs

· 40% for wood shake and wood shingle roofs

· 25% for all other roof types, including asphalt shingle roofs

· If your roof is more than 10 years old, you can potentially get full coverage if there is a total loss of the property.

This could mean thousands of dollars out of pocket for homeowners.

SB 76 and HB 305 reduce the timeframe to report property damage claims, including Hurricanes, to 2 years!

If passed, SB 76 and HB 305 amend Florida Statute 627.70132, reducing the time limit to file a new/supplemental/re-opened property insurance claim, for any type of claim, to 2 years after the Date of Loss. Currently, you have 3 years from the Date of Loss to file claims, for damage caused by Windstorm or Hurricane.

SB 76 and HB 305 give insurance carriers an additional 60 days! Given the 90-day period insurers already have to adjust claims, adding 60 days means generally waiting 5 MONTHS from the date the claim was reported before being able to sue for failure to pay the claim.

If passed, SB 76 and HB 305 would CREATE Florida Statute 627.70152, outlining voluminous preconditions to filing lawsuits. This will cause more delays and take longer to file suit against insurance companies when they wrongfully deny or underpay property insurance claims.

The new statute would require that we send a written notice of intent to initiate litigation (our “Demand”) 60 days PRIOR to filing suit. If the lawsuit is filed BEFORE the 60 day demand period expires, the Court will dismiss the case. The insurance company will have 30 days from receiving the Demand to request an inspection. Notice of Intent must include:

· The amount of damages sought

· A detailed estimate for repairs

· The actions of the insurer that gave rise to the action

· The amount of attorney’s fees incurred by the insured policyholder

SB 76 and HB 305 limit policyholders’ ability to recover attorney’s fees in a lawsuit against their insurer, a right that has been guaranteed under Florida law for decades.

The new statute would also LIMIT recoverable attorney’s fees. Before filing suit on a claim, you are forced to guess what the judgment amount could be, in order to calculate the risk of recovering attorney’s fees. This matters because if attorneys are forced to file lawsuits without knowing whether they will get paid for their work, then consumers will be limited in finding someone to fight for them.

PLEASE call your state representatives, tell them how horrible this would be for consumers, and ask them to vote against SB 76 and HB 305. Find your state representatives here.

**ALSO SPEAK TO YOUR INSURANCE AGENT. Avoid getting coverage that would limit recovery for roof damages. If you get a policy with a roof surface reimbursement schedule, you may have to pay significant costs to repair or replace your roof.

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