Tentatively Approved

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An estimated 29,000 people who paid double hurricane deductibles will have until March 1 to file for a rebate with the state under legislation Miami Sen. Rudy Garcia is guiding through the special session.

Sen. Rudy Garcia says, "We are going to be able to help them out up to $10,000 to help them pay for the deductible."

The bill sets aside $150 million from a state insurance fund. Homeowners will likely see a small increase over five years to cover the rebates. The legislation also eliminates double deductibles for the future. That alone is expected to drive rates up by about a half percent.

The insurance industry believes the rebates will spark a second round of claim filing from people who suffered minor damage from a second or third storm and didn’t file a claim because it was below their deductible.

William Stander of the Property Casualty Insurance Association says, "Those people who we put under the subject of a partial deductible, those people are probably going to go ahead and file another claim so that they can get in line for the money that is due them under this program."

One unintended consequence has large condo associations screaming. Re-insurance for the umbrella policies covering the building and common areas has already been negotiated.

Sandy Safley says eliminating the double deductible could force cancellations or huge rate hikes.

Sandy says, "The testimony was given during both the House and Senate committees that rates could go up as much 30 percent, 30 to 37 percent."

The rebate of double deductibles is only available to homeowners, not business property.