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Insurance 'glitches' tweaked

The House is expected to pass changes to parts of the new property insurance law.

By Jennifer Liberto, Times Staff Writer
Published March 29, 2007


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TALLAHASSEE - The Florida House is poised to pass a property insurance bill today that would undo some of the consumer-oriented elements of the new property insurance law.

The "glitch bill," so called because it's supposed to fix "glitches" in the legislation rushed to passage during a one-week special session in January, has drawn the interest of insurance lobbyists eager to tweak provisions of the law they don't like.

Glitch bill sponsor Rep. Ron Reagan, R-Bradenton, said the bill would not change policy decisions "made about homeowners insurance."

But 40 House Democrats and seven Republicans disagreed with Reagan on Wednesday. The group tried to strip from the glitch bill a provision that would delete a requirement now in law that says condo association and commercial policy writers pay claims within 90 days.

"Just 67 days ago, we were singing Kumbaya. ... We were all talking about consumer protection that was supposed to lower rates and help consumers," said House Minority Leader Dan Gelber.

The effort lost.

The glitch bill also would change a number of elements of the new insurance law:

- The bill would eliminate the option for condo dwellers when their association carries the building's policy and businesses to forgo coverage of contents as a way to cut their insurance costs.

- It would allow insurers to do five-year reviews on premium discounts for homeowners who strengthen their homes, giving the insurance companies the chance to cut or drop discounts if they deem the strengthening measures less effective.

- It would exempt insurers who had negotiated reinsurance contracts before Jan. 25 from having to lower premiums.

"It's taking away what we've already given to the citizens of the State of Florida," said Rep. Matt Meadows, D-Fort Lauderdale.

The Senate also will have a glitch bill, said Sen. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, who said he hasn't paid much attention to the House version.

Jennifer Liberto can be reached at (850) 224-7263 or liberto@sptimes.com.

[Last modified March 28, 2007, 22:57:48]


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