MARION County, Fla. – After more than a decade out of retirement, a Marion County woman says she is returning to work.
The reason? The cost of his property insurance.
Although the lawmakers who supported the new law said, what was passed in May, and has already started to work, is not enough.
When Pamela Kelley opened the latest notice from her property insurance policy, her response was swift and decisive.
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“I have to get back to work,” Kelley said. “I will have to get a part-time job or I will lose my house,” he said.
Two years ago, Kelly’s insurance premiums were $611 a year. In 2021, it will exceed $1,552 per year.
This year, it rose to more than $2,248 a year, nearly four times what they paid two years ago.
“Being here where there are no hurricanes, I mean very few, this is tough,” Kelley said. “I mean, this isn’t surprising,”
“How much is your insurance coverage, the starting point for you to get back to work?” News 6 asked.
“Of course, because it will increase my mortgage,” Kelley said.
News 6 has been investigating the state’s property insurance crisis for more than a year, and Kelley is not alone.
State Sen. Jeff Brandes pushed for the legislature to have a special section on property insurance. This happened in May and even he was disappointed with the result.
“The whole convention was like we treated stage-1 cancer, but the patient has stage-4 cancer, and we should have been more aggressive than we did,” Brandes said. “There are people with fixed incomes who are going to suffer unless the Legislature does this.”
The first shot for homeowners to see relief was supposed to happen at the end of June. That’s when insurers who participated in the state’s newly created RAP program had to reduce their rates to reflect the savings they received from participating in the program.
More than 60 insurance companies submitted rate cuts to the Office of Insurance Regulation. The average reduction was about 1-2%, but many companies had already raised their prices up to 40%.
“The simple truth is that the RAP program is spitting and chewing gum compared to what the state needs,” Brandes said. “So if the result we wanted was more competition, lower prices, and a better, healthier market, the money didn’t get us there.”
The legislation passed during the special session was written by Republicans and passed largely in the Republican-controlled legislature. Brandes is a Republican.
“I think the entire legislature is responsible for not doing enough in this area,” Brandes said.
Brandes said the legislature still has work to do.
Meanwhile, for Kelley, it’s back to work. He said he didn’t think he would ever go back to work.
“I never thought this would happen,” Kelley said.
Brandes believes the state should eliminate “one-way” attorney fees, which allow insurers to pay attorney’s fees in a homeowner’s case in some cases. He also believes that the government should deal with Assignment of Benefits, which is an agreement that transfers the rights or benefits of insurance to another person. They also believe in allowing the real value of the money or increasing the ceiling instead.
“When all three things happen, the market will correct itself,” Brandes said.
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