Fla. Cabinet Issues Emergency Rule: Extends Moratorium to Dec. 31 for Unrepaired Homes

November 23, 2004

Gov. Jeb Bush and members of the Florida Cabinet have approved an emergency rule extending the moratorium to Dec. 31 and banning insurance companies from canceling or non-renewing insurance policies for victims whose homes have yet to be repaired.

Tom Gallagher, Florida Chief Financial Officer recommended the rule to protect thousands of Floridians still waiting for storm repairs who would be uninsurable if they lost their insurance coverage.

“We recognize that many homeowners are being told there is a substantial waiting list for repairs, due to a shortage of contractors,” Gallagher said. “Without this protection, homeowners who lost their insurance coverage would be uninsurable. I applaud the governor and my fellow Cabinet members for making sure that storm victims have property protection.”

The emergency rule, developed by the Office of Insurance Regulation, is effective until Dec. 31st. It applies to all residential and commercial residential properties and prohibits insurance companies from canceling insurance policies until 60 days after repairs are complete.

“This is a very necessary measure to protect Floridians from becoming uninsurable and the attendant problems that could follow such a situation,” said Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, who heads the Office of Insurance Regulation.

Gallagher said he will ask the legislature to address this issue in next month’s special session by giving insurance regulators the authority to protect homeowners from losing coverage until storm repairs are complete.

Gallagher will also ask lawmakers to take steps to prevent consumers from being charged large multiple hurricane deductibles when more than one storm strikes Florida in a single season. The Office of Insurance Regulation reported that to date, more than 29,000 Floridians have paid more than $50 million in second, third and fourth deductibles.

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