More than 30,000 Floridians faced two or more insurance deductibles this year in order to get their homes repaired after being hit by more than one hurricane.
Florida Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher didn’t think that was fair. He helped push through a bill this week to ban insurers from collecting more than one deductible per hurricane season.
Tom says, "Help is on the way. The Legislature recognized that there are many people because of the multiple deductibles who are going to be unable to repair their homes and that is not good for those people. It’s not good for the state as a whole."
The ban on multiple deductibles comes at a cost what amounts to a five-dollar-a-year tax increase on every policy holder in Florida. It’s part of a billion-dollar hurricane relief package that includes tax rebates for owners of damaged or destroyed homes, reimbursement of sales tax on replacement mobile homes, beach restoration and loans to help fix damaged schools.
But the hurricane relief bills passed by lawmakers could be bad news for condominium owners. The bill to protect homeowners from double deductibles could end up sending condo insurance rates skyrocketing by more than 30 percent.
The problem is condo associations carry huge deductibles, as much as $2 million, to help keep their rates down.
Sam Miller with the Florida Insurance Council says if insurers can’t collect second or third deductibles for multiple storms, they’ll have to jack up their rates.
Sam says, "The company is going to have to buy reinsurance to cover that gap. It’s taking on an incredible amount of additional exposure and it will have to pass those reinsurance costs on to those condo owners."
The good news is lawmakers are already pledging to consider changes so condo associations may have a choice of single or multiple deductibles.