Homeowner's Insurance Battle Continues in the Legislature

Homeowners are facing up to a 20 percent increase in the next year just to cover losses from the 2005 storms.

State lawmakers spent most of the day Thursday wrestling with a 180-page insurance bill, which will do a lot to offset what homeowners will have to pay.

2005's storms put citizens, the state insurer of last resort, nearly $2 billion in debt. By law, that deficit is passed on to every policyholder in the state.

But state lawmakers are using more than 900 million to offset half the loss, and they are acting to spread the rest of the loss over ten years.

Rep. Dennis Ross, House Insurance Committee Chairman, says the action will spare most homeowners almost a twenty percent hike just to pay for last year’s storms.

Because this is an election year, the next time your policy renews the company will be required to show you how much the assessment would have been before and after the legislative action.

One close vote was about when and how companies have to reimburse you for contents that are lost. Current law says you get a check now, whether you replace a lost couch or not. The companies wanted to require receipts before they paid a dime.

Outside the House chamber, the companies fought hard to turn the vote around, claiming paying for contents that are never replaced is adding two percent to the cost of insurance for everyone.