Just say no to a flawed, mysterious insurance plan

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What are Floridians getting for this money? Not much if past giveaways are any indication. Lawmakers have acknowledged that individual homeowners are unlikely to see lower premiums any time soon. Meanwhile, industry experts we consulted say the changes in the House and Senate Bills are unlikely to bail out those insurance companies that are already on the brink of failure.

Why, then, are legislative leaders so fixated on speed and secrecy? It seems to us that the best course of action is to schedule public meetings across the state for the next month or so, listen for ideas that are viable and could make a difference — and then take the best of those ideas and to walk them through the more inclusive, collaborative process of the regular legislative session, which begins in March.

It would also give state officials time to get a better idea of ​​the impact of massive, back-to-back Hurricanes Ian and Nicole for Florida’s economy and insurance market.

Here’s our prognosis: It won’t happen. Instead of this, House and Senate Executives will push through laws that make it easier for insurance companies to deny claims — and make it harder for consumers to fight those denials. Many Floridians end up paying more for coverage that offers less protection. Insurance companies will have to respond to claims a little faster (up to a month in some cases), but consumers will see their time to file some claims cut by up to a year. And it becomes riskier to protest a rejection. In some cases, consumers fighting for coverage risk paying their own insurance company’s legal fees.

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Blocked reforms

In the meantime nobody will talk about the real reforms democrats tried to move forward, some of which looked like good ideas. Among them: A guarantee that any freebies or legal tweaks that benefited insurance companies would flow back to consumers in the form of premium reductions. We also agree with the emphasis on fraud, which insurance companies have long complained about, but Republican leaders clearly have no plans to spend an extra dime on eradication and prosecution. We’re not particularly excited about voters being able to re-elect Florida’s insurance commissioner — because we’re reminded of how shady those elections could get. But we’d like to hear more about a plan that would require big-name out-of-state insurance companies to write profitable auto policies Florida also cover homeowners.

We won’t because the Republican leadership took the unprecedented step of refusing to let that happen democrats even submit their bill. That seems petty and mean to us.

We get it. This is a huge, complicated issue, skewed by years of poor decision-making and the same kind of arrogant secrecy that is driving lawmakers this year. That’s why we’re making it easy for our readers to send a message to lawmakers:

Tell them to stop. Let Floridians take a look at what they’re doing. And then they get in their cars, come home, and prepare to listen before Florida’s tainted insurance market becomes even more of a burden for those who want to live, work, and do business in the Sunshine State.

Stop. Looks. Listen. It’s not asking too much, and it’s what Floridans should be asking for.

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The Orlando Sentinel editorial board consists of Opinion Editor Krys Flukereditor-in-chief Julie Anderson and viewpoint editor Jay Reddick. contact us under [email protected]

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