Florida Insurance Changes Hit with Second Lawsuit

ByMargie D. Moore

Jun 13, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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A contractors team and an Orlando-spot roofing business Thursday challenged the constitutionality of a new legislation that brings together a property-insurance coverage adjust with attempts to bolster the safety of condominium properties.

The lawsuit, filed in Leon County circuit courtroom, arrived soon after a different problem was filed Tuesday in opposition to yet another bill that the Legislature passed very last week through a distinctive session referred to as to handle issues in the property-insurance policy procedure.

In Thursday’s scenario, the Restoration Association of Florida and Florida Leading Roofing LLC are targeting a invoice (SB 4-D) that, in aspect, changed a state law about roof hurt. But the maximum-profile aspect of the bill placed new demands on condominium buildings and associations right after the fatal collapse past yr of the Champlain Towers South making in Surfside.

The lawsuit worries the roofing improve but also contends that the overall bill is unconstitutional because it ties with each other “voluminous unique topics.” The plaintiffs contend it violates a constitutional necessity that guidelines deal with solitary topics.

“By way of example, but not limitation, the institution of obligatory structural inspections for condominium and cooperative properties lacks any cogent link to regulating roofing contractors and restoring and/or replacing roofing methods in residential households,” the lawsuit said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis known as the specific session to check out to bolster a troubled property-insurance market place that has led to homeowners getting rid of coverage and seeing significant quality increases. Lawmakers handed two payments (SB 2-D and SB 4-D), which were being immediately signed by DeSantis.

The condominium problem was added to SB 4-D during the specific session soon after the Household and Senate previously this yr could not arrive at agreement on a system for striving to avert potential building collapses. Amid other factors, the new legislation sets needs for inspections and condominium associations getting enough reserves to make repairs.

Lawmakers unanimously passed the measure.

In addition to alleging a violation of what is known as the constitutional “single-topic rule,” the lawsuit submitted Thursday also contends that the roofing improve is unconstitutional.

Insurers in current several years have blamed roof-problems statements for enjoying a important function in driving up costs. Lawmakers manufactured a change associated to the Florida Developing Code that could lead to insurers fixing a lot more roofs as a substitute of needing to change them, in accordance to a Senate team evaluation.

“Put merely, the coverage marketplace needed, and the Florida Legislature enacted, laws aimed to considerably boost roof repairs immediately after property loss and considerably lessen the range of whole roof replacements when, in truth, they are essential to preserving a dwelling soon after severe climate functions these as hurricanes take place,” the lawsuit stated.

The lawsuit alleges, in section, that the evaluate violates thanks-course of action rights simply because it conflicts with a different state legislation that calls for roofing products to match in quality, shade and dimensions when repairs are manufactured.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs wrote that “many homeowners choose to swap broken roofs when sizeable troubles come up right after a severe climate celebration. Nevertheless, their coverage firms — firms that experience the gains of policy premiums — prefer to shell out fewer and make repairs, exposing the house owner to further difficulties in the future. The new statutory framework permits insurance policies businesses to restore roofing programs without adhering to the (roof-content) matching statute in violation of Florida regulation.”

The Restoration Affiliation of Florida, which lobbies on insurance policy problems, also is a plaintiff in the lawsuit submitted Tuesday in Leon County circuit court docket. Together with Air High quality Assessors, LLC, an Orlando company that does perform this sort of as mold testing and leak detection, the affiliation is hard section of SB 2-D that set a new restriction on lawyer charges in lawsuits against insurance plan firms.

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