On June 11th, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the SB 76 bill into law. It passed the Florida legislature on April 30th, 2021, and goes into effect on July 1st, 2021. What exactly does this bill mean? It was designed to further reform bad practices and protect insurance consumers from double-digit rate increases, misleading roof solicitations, costly claims practices, and excessive litigation.
This seems like a good thing, however, Florida homeowners don’t think so. In fact, tens of thousands of homeowners in the sunshine state are quite furious over this new law. Essentially, because of this new law, insurance companies have begun to drop clients simply due to the age of their roof. The insurance company, Progressive, has already dropped almost 56,000 policies on Florida homes with roofs that are older than 15 years. The reasoning is said to be “exposure management.” Insurances claim that if your roof is ten years or older, it would need to be replaced altogether.
Many homeowners have been left reeling. Even after passing a full roof inspection, insurance companies have continued to drop homeowners simply due to the age of their roof. They claim that the weather conditions in Florida make it so that roof conditions need more upkeep than in other states. From conditions such as extreme heat to excessive rain and wind during hurricane season each year, it seems this is the excuse that insurance companies used to lobby for their bill.
The anger that most homeowners in Florida feel is coming from the fact that even if their roof still has life in it, they are forced to either replace it or be dropped altogether. Shingle roofs would especially need to be replaced at the ten-year mark, while tile and metal structures should in theory be able to last a bit longer. Many homeowners weren’t even aware of the bill until they received news from their insurance companies informing them of their nonrenewal. This has resulted in a very hostile homeowners insurance market. People who are against SB 76 argue that the bill doesn’t do anything to help protect homeowners from predatory practices of insurance carriers.
It’s not just homeowners who are being affected by this new law. It’s also contractors and roofers that are feeling the effects. SB 76 also prohibits roofers from encouraging property owners from filing a roofing claim. Roofers also are unable to offer anything of value to perform a roof inspection or even offer to look at an insurance policy or file a claim. Contractors will also have to submit a detailed cost estimate of the labor and materials required to repair a home before starting the insurance claim work. If any of these rules are broken, there would be a $10,000 fine for each and any violation.
The bill was passed as a way to save Florida’s housing market from collapse. It has also been promoted as a way to save Florida’s economy. The truth, however, is that for many homeowners, there is a fear of not being able to stay in their homes due to the rise in insurance premiums, and/or the cost of new roofing. Throughout 2020, property insurance rates have increased anywhere from 20% to 50%. MIC Insurance company reported that at least 25% of their clients were unable to renew their existing policies. So, is there any hope for Florida homeowners?
Since SB 76 went into effect last year, thousands of Floridians have switched over to Citizens. Since June 2020, Citizens have taken on 4,000 new policies a week. In 2018 they had a total of 420,000 policyholders. By the end of 2021, that number has skyrocketed to 700,000. That number has projected to keep growing for as long as this new law stays in effect.
If you fall into the category of having an old roof and is forced to replace your roof, we are here to help. Schedule an appointment with one of our experts to learn more about the condition of your roof.