Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed into law bills aimed at tackling the state’s property insurance crisis and increasing condo safety.
The Florida Legislature reconvened at the Capitol this week to provide relief to homeowners battling skyrocketing insurance costs. Florida lawmakers, during a three-day special session, passed legislation (SB 2B) to alleviate rising insurance costs, increase insurance claim transparency and crack down on frivolous lawsuits.
Lawmakers also agreed to set aside $2 billion in tax dollars to provide another “layer” of reinsurance to insurers that otherwise might not be able to buy it in the private market.
The bill passed 95-14 in the House and 30-9 in the Senate.
“This package represents the most significant reforms to Florida’s homeowners insurance market in a generation,” said DeSantis “These bills will help stabilize a problematic market, help Floridians harden their homes through the My Safe Florida Home Program, and pave the way for more choices for homeowners.”
Many Democrats, however, criticized the bill, saying it wouldn’t provide immediate rate relief to homeowners.
“Smoke and mirrors. Dog and pony show,” said Democratic Rep. Angie Nixon. “Unfortunately, that seems to be all we’re doing here.”
DeSantis also signed a measure (SB 4D) that modifies structural inspection and financial reserve requirements for condominium associations. The bill, added to the agenda Tuesday, passed immediately in the Senate before being approved by the House on Wednesday. The legislation is in response to the Surfside building collapse that killed 98 people last year.
According to the bill, condominiums and cooperative buildings higher than three stories will be required to undergo periodic inspections on structural integrity. Notably, statewide recertification will be required after 30 years, or 25 years if the building is within 3 miles (5 kilometers) of the coast, and every 10 years thereafter.
The legislation also prevents condo associations from waiving maintenance reserve funds.
“These measures will help to protect hundreds of thousands of Floridians living in condo buildings just like the Champlain Towers South,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
In total, DeSantis signed 10 bills on Thursday.