Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this week signed a new law aimed at bringing more accountability to insurance providers.
The Insurer Accountability Act requires insurance companies provide more transparency with their process, increases fines that can be levied against companies, and gives state regulators more power to investigate allegations of impropriety.
The new law comes after several bills, that critics argued were too favorable for insurance companies, cut down on a customer’s ability to challenge their insurance company in court.
“Many legislators heard ‘you’re not doing enough for us, the consumer.’ That was the main driver,” said Mark Friedlander with the Insurance Information Institute.
According to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, nearly half a million homeowner’s insurance claims have been filed since Hurricane Ian slammed into Southwest Florida.
However, less than half of those claims were closed with payment.
Of those, it’s unclear how many of those payments met what consumers expected or were underpayments.
One specific act, sparked by media reports, bans insurance companies from altering a field adjuster’s report without detailing exactly why.
Friedlander believes the new law will be good for consumers.
But it won’t provide relief for victims of Hurricane Ian.
The new law, which takes effect July 1st, isn’t retroactive.
“If you’ve already gone through the claim process for Hurricane Ian, perhaps the claim was closed and you don’t agree with that, it wouldn’t be reopened because of this bill,” said Friedlander.
Attorney Gina Clausen Lozier, who often handles insurance related cases, calls the new law “too little too late.”
“It comes only after ignoring improper claims practices by insurance companies for years and only after stripping policyholders’ of the ability to hold an insurance company accountable for its actions by the abolishment of the attorney fee statute,” said Lozier.