Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Two Bills to Support
Disaster Relief and Help Stabilize Florida’s Property Insurance
Article Courtesy of News Releases, by Staff
By Governor's Staff
December 23, 2022
FORT MYERS BEACH — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis
signed two bills following the special session that took place this
week. Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill (SB) 4-A which provides $750
million for additional disaster relief to Floridians following
Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. The Governor also signed SB 2-A,the most
significant property insurance reform bill in recent history which helps
to stabilize our property insurance market, increase competition, and
strengthen consumer protections. More on actions taken during the recent
special session can be found here.
“We have taken an all hands on deck
approach to cut through bureaucracy to help our communities
recover from Hurricanes Ian and Nicole,” said Governor Ron
DeSantis. “I want to thank the Legislature for bringing
additional disaster relief to communities across the state
as we continue our historic recovery.
“The issues in Florida’s property insurance market did not
occur overnight, and they will not be solved overnight. The
historic reforms signed today create an environment which
realigns Florida to best practices across the nation, adding
much-needed stability to Florida’s market, promoting
competition, and increasing consumer choice. I am thankful
the Legislature answered the call for meaningful reform.”
“I am honored to stand beside Governor DeSantis and Senate
President Passidomo after a productive Special Session that
was focused on providing Floridians with much needed
relief,” said House Speaker Paul Renner.
“The Florida House and our Senate partners faced the
challenge of stabilizing the property insurance market and providing
Floridians affected by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole with critical resources
to recover quickly and efficiently. We are all feeling the effects of
inflation and rising insurance premiums, so we took action to deliver
consumer driven reforms that expedite the claims process and curb
frivolous lawsuits that drive up costs. I witnessed the devastation from
the recent hurricanes and was proud of how our Chamber came together and
rose to the occasion. The results of this Special Session provide
Floridians with the peace of mind that they will be able to access a
robust property insurance market and our local communities will have the
financial assistance to recover and rebuild better than before.”
“When the Governor and I walked through the communities impacted by Ian
in the days that followed the storm, the devastation was almost
indescribable,” said Senate President Kathleen Passidomo. “The Governor
made a promise that he would be here every step of the way as we work to
recover, and he has kept that promise. The legislation he is signing
today provides three quarters of a billion dollars in additional
hurricane relief funding that will make a huge difference for impacted
communities in Southwest Florida and across our state. This legislation
provides tax relief for owners of destroyed homes, housing assistance
for displaced Floridians, and funding for reconstructing impacted
beaches and essential water infrastructure. We are also providing $350
million to help local government to pay local match requirements for
FEMA Grants. With the continued leadership and support of our great
Governor, our community is bound and determined to rebuild stronger and
better than ever.”
SB 4-A, Disaster Relief, provides property tax relief for homes rendered
uninhabitable due to the storm. Additionally, the bill provides $750
million for the communities impacted by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole,
$350 million to support the entire portion of
local government match for FEMA Public Assistance, freeing up local
funds to undertake additional hurricane recovery and mitigation
This important matching money may provide up to
$7 billion in reconstruction and recovery projects undertaken by
local governments depending on the applicable federal cost share.
$150 million to the Florida Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP) to support local beach renourishment
projects and a new Hurricane Restoration Reimbursement Grant Program
to assist homeowners with coastal hardening and fortification to
protect their property against the severe coastal erosion from both
Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.
The bill also authorizes DEP to waive local match
requirements for beaches in these impacted areas.
$100 million to DEP to repair and reconstruct
community stormwater and wastewater infrastructure that was damaged
by Hurricanes Ian or Nicole.
$150 million to continue efforts to support
homeowners and renters impacted by the storms through the Hurricane
Housing Program and Rental Recovery Loan Program.
SB 2-A, Property Insurance, is the most significant
property insurance reform bill in recent history, strengthening
Florida’s property insurance market by:
Eliminating one-way attorney fees for property
insurance claims, which will disincentivize frivolous lawsuits, and
realigning Florida’s market to best practices that will promote more
market competition in the private insurance industry.
Reducing the burden of excessive and predatory
litigation will help bring down costs for homeowners.
Enhancing the Office of Insurance Regulation’s
ability to complete market conduct examinations of property insurers
following a hurricane to hold insurance companies accountable and
prevent abuse of the property appraisal process.
Reducing timelines for insurers to get payments
out the door and back into the hands of policyholders as they
rebuild their lives.
Building on reforms passed earlier this year by
committing additional funding to provide temporary reinsurance
support to help stabilize our market.
SB 2-A, Property Insurance, builds on progress made
during the Special Session held earlier this year to address concerns
with the property insurance market. After that Special Session, Governor
DeSantis signed SB 2-D which enacted pro-consumer measures to help
alleviate rising insurance costs, increased insurance claim
transparency, and cracked down on frivolous lawsuits which drive up
costs for all Floridians. This built upon previous actions taken by the
Governor on property insurance including signing House Bill 7065 in 2019
to curtail Assignment of Benefit abuse and SB 76 in 2021 which
restructured litigation rules for insurance claims to reduce the burden
of excessive litigation.