Monday, May 30, 2011

Scott signs bill aimed at aiding Florida insurers

A law Gov. Rick Scott signed Tuesday is expected strengthen property insurance companies that cover damages to homes and businesses from hurricanes, fires and other hazards, but critics say it'll mean higher rates for their customers.

The measure (SB 408) also is aimed at reducing fraudulent sinkhole claims.

A key feature of the new law will reduce the time windstorm victims have to file their claims from five to three years. Sinkhole claims will have to be filed within two years and they'll face some new limitations.

Other provisions are aimed at regulating public adjusters who work for claimants rather than insurance companies. Their fees would be capped and deceptive solicitations would be prohibited.

Insurers will be able to offer better coverage but for a higher price.

Another provision will require insurance companies to have at least a $15 million surplus to pay claims.

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