After a brief debate, the Florida Senate passed SB 1672 to shift homeowners who carry Citizens Property Insurance into non-regulated property insurance plans in an effort to get them out of the state-run company.
The Senate voted 22-16 to send the bill to the House, where a similar proposal was killed last year. Opponents the proposal could mislead homeowners into thinking they are getting the same insurance for less and could cause homeowners, seeking to save money, into out-of-state companies that aren't held accountable in Florida.
Under the bill, SB 1672, unregulated insurance sold by surplus lines carriers would be included in the list of options homeowners can choose from in the state-run clearinghouse when their policy is up for renewal.
These companies would have to offer the same coverage Citizens offers and rates must be 15 percent or but, since surplus lines are not regulated, there is no assurance the rates won’t change.
Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, said it was “admirable and some would say necessary to try to depopulate citizens insurance,’’ but he warned it will have unintended consequences.
"Surplus lines are not regulated,'' he said. "If they try to get their benefits after a storm, they’re going to have a tough time doing that."