House expected to pass property insurance reform bills

Hanah Lopes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The dual property insurance measures have now passed the lower chamber of Florida’s legislature, and will now go to Governor Ron DeSantis for approval, according to Spectrum News reporter Greg Angel. 

What You Need To Know

  • The House is expected to pass the two bills that address property insurance
  • The Senate passed the two bills Tuesday
  • The measures also include language that would require building inspections after the Surfside condo collapse

The House passed SB2-D with a 94-14 vote, and passed SB4-D with full support. The measures will now go to Governor Ron DeSantis for a final approval, although that is expected, since he worked with Republican Sen. Boyd who sponsored the Senate version of both measures. 

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried reacted to the bills, calling the move a “disgrace.” 

“It’s a disgrace that Governor DeSantis and Republicans in the Legislature spent all of regular session ignoring Florida’s real problems and creating fake ones to stoke culture wars, and now taxpayers have had to pay for multiple Special Sessions for legislators to complete some of the basic functions of their jobs,” she reacted.

“The legislation passed during this week’s Special Session to address property insurance falls short of providing immediate financial relief for Florida’s consumers and adequately protecting their homes and property. It also should not have taken almost a year after the Surfside tragedy for meaningful action on condo safety,” she concluded. She’s currently in the running for Governor in the Democratic Primary. If she succeeds in the primary, she is likely to be running against DeSantis.

The Florida Senate passed two bills Tuesday that would prevent insurance companies from denying coverage of homes based on the roof’s age. They would also allow for $150 million in matching grants for “home hardening,” as well as authorize $2 billion in additional funding for the state’s Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. 

The Senate went home after passing the bills Tuesday. The House had 27 amendments to consider, but ultimately rejected all of them. If the chamber had accepted any of the amendments, the bill would have had to been approved again by the Senate. 

The Senate added language to one of the measures that would address safety concerns like the Surfside condo building collapse. The addition would require buildings that are three stories or higher to receive an inspection after 30 years and calls for an inspection every 10 years after that. The rule changes when a building is within 3 miles of a coastline. In that case, the inspections begin once the building reaches 25 years of age. 

“We will never forget the pain, confusion and sorrow the community and state felt when the Surfside condominium building collapsed and took 98 lives with it,” House Speaker Chris Sprowls said about the need to add more legislation regarding the matter. 

“The Florida Legislature has grappled with reaching a consensus on what meaningful reform looks like, but today, we have arrived at an agreement that will help to ensure this kind of tragedy never happens again,” he said.

“Notably, the Surfside legislation will include a House-championed reserve that is required to be fully funded by condominium owners and boards to ensure that repairs and maintenance can be covered and not put off until it’s too late. The victims, survivors and their families deserve reform with integrity and real impact, and that is and always has been our commitment to the people of Surfside and residents of Florida.”

The two main bills under consideration for the “D” special session this week passed the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier than expected on Monday. Nearly all members of the committee voted in favor of the measures.

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