Florida Insurance Relief Bill Signed by Gov. Bush, Provides $1.2B

May 16, 2006

A bill which provides $1.2 billion to help ease the impact of rising property insurance rates caused by two unprecedented hurricane seasons has been signed into law by Gov. Jeb Bush in Tallahassee.

“The Legislature was given a very complex and difficult task,” Tom Gallagher, Florida’s CFO commented after the signing. “After eight hurricanes inflicting $30 billion of insured losses, there were no easy solutions.

“The bi-partisan legislation is a step in the right direction, and it accomplishes two goals that I have been fighting for since 2004,” he said. “First, we’re giving a billion dollars back in tax relief to help Floridians deal with rising insurance costs and prepare for future storms. Second, the new law will help stabilize the market by attracting new companies and offer alternatives to the insurer of last resort.

“Our priority must now be preparing Floridians for the upcoming storm season. All the changes made to our insurance market will mean little if Floridians don’t take the time to prepare.

“To help Floridians prepare for storms, my goal is to get the hurricane damage mitigation program started as quickly as possible. It will be a massive undertaking but it is an unprecedented opportunity to help thousands of Floridians get their homes hurricane-ready and save money on their insurance premiums.”

The property insurance bill signed by Gov. Bush was sponsored by Sen. Rudy Garcia and Rep. Dennis Ross. It includes $715 million in insurance rate relief for Florida’s property owners and $250 million to help Floridians strengthen their homes to better withstand hurricanes. It also institutes important reforms at Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, including a $1 million cap on properties it covers, and requires uniform building codes to be implemented statewide.

Source: Florida Department of Financial Services

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