Claude Scee salvages what he can from his father-in-law’s home after Hurricane Irma hit Summerland Key in 2017. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
The Florida Senate voted 30-9 to adopt a property-insurance bill to help Florida’s collapsing marketplace, despite admissions that more companies will fail and more policies will be cancelled after June 1.
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives, where a companion bill adopted Tuesday in the House Appropriations Committee awaits.
Sen. Jim Boyd, the Manatee-Bradenton Republican who championed Senate Bill 2-D, said the chief purpose of the bill is to help stabilize the insurance industry, not to hold down policy rates and cancellations. That, he said, will take time.
“I wish I could guarantee your constituents and my constituents that these rates will go down immediately. We just can’t guarantee you that. I can guarantee you is, 18 months from now, if we do nothing, this market will continue to deteriorate … if there is a market left,” Boyd said. “We’re in a situation I never dreamed we’d be in in Florida. It’s unbelievable what’s going on right now.”
Boyd said SB 2-D will “move the needle in a positive direction” but that more needs to be done.
Six Democrats supported the bill, saying it falls short of hopes and expectations but is much better than nothing.
Nine other Democrats voted no, citing, for one thing, the bill’s provision to provide $2 billion in taxpayer revenue to shore up the insurance industry but providing little state funding to assist consumers with soaring rates and policy cancellations.
“If we can find $2 billion for the insurance companies, how about we find some money for homeowners in the process?” said Miami-Dade Democratic Sen. Annette Taddeo.
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