Trade association sues Florida insurance commissioner for allowing property insurance companies to circumvent state law

With the Florida Legislature Preparing to debate property insurance legislation at the next special session next week, a nonprofit trade association advocating for the rights of homeowners and independent contractors sued the Florida Bureau of Insurance Regulations and two insurance companies.

The lawsuit claims that Florida Insurance Commissioner, David Altmaier improperly allowed companies to circumvent state law in order to change customer policies, violating state law and the Florida Constitution.

the Florida Restoration Association (RAF) brought an action in Leon County Circuit Courtarguing that Altmaier violated the public order established by the legislator when he authorized American Integrity Insurance Company of Florida and Property and heritage damage insurance company change consumer insurance policies. These changes restricted homeowners’ rights regarding repair work and violated Florida’s Homeowners Bill of Rights, the lawsuit alleges.

“Each year, Florida homeowners and businesses pay the ever-increasing cost of property insurance premiums in the hope that they will be covered when they need it most,” said Richie Kidwell, President of the RAF. “It’s only then that they realize state regulators have allowed insurance companies to unjustifiably stand up to them and erode their ability to recover.”

The complaint states that insurance companies were allowed “to erect as many barriers as possible to owners receiving proceeds from their policies for legal claims while reaping the benefits of policy premiums paid by Floridians.”

The association is seeking an injunction declaring the revised insurance policies invalid and allowing its members to continue working with owners to perform necessary repairs or inspection services without the threat that these important activities will be restricted by the revised policies. of the two insurance companies.

Kidwell noted that insurance companies have reaped billions of dollars in profits over the past few years, even as homeowners and other homeowners have suffered from escalating insurance premiums. He said home insurance lawsuits would have decreased following legislation passed by the Legislative Assembly in 2021, but insurance companies have still refused to cut premiums.

“Insurance companies have shown a consistent and repeated pattern of grabbing every dollar they can from consumers and then doing whatever they can to keep that money for themselves, rather than lowering rates for their customers,” Kidwell said. “That needs to change if Floridians are to be relieved of skyrocketing insurance premiums.”

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Kristan F. Talley