Day 1 Florida Legislative Session - Insurance Reform & Sports Gambling

Day one of Florida’s legislative session was highlighted by Governor DeSantis’s State of the State address. Aside from the nuggets in the Governor’s speech, there were a couple of other policy moves that have entered the conversation for consideration over the next 59 days. Starting with a topic the governor did briefly touch on, property insurance reform. 

Florida’s current property insurance system allows “Assignment of Benefits” to be widely abused. In 2018, according to the state Insurance Information Institute, there were 134,497 instances of insurance fraud resulting from homeowners signing benefits over to third parties who stole insurance money without adequately completing work. Using Citizens data on the issue, the average Floridian is already paying an extra $300-$400 per year for property insurance resulting from billions in loses per year due to this type of fraud. The estimate is that over the next four years that additional loss will at least double to $800 per home per year in additional cost without reform. 

In other words, it’s a pretty big deal. The proposal limiting AOB’s to a $3,000 maximum passed out of committee on Monday. However, on day 1 of the state session, Florida’s CFO Jimmy Patronis made it his top priority by saying, "All we’ve got is 60 days to fix this. And if we don’t do anything for another 60 days, then we’re just sticking the citizens of the state of Florida with another higher bill because we will continue to pass on the struggles and frustrations that these sides will not get together to discuss and work out".

Another issue that’s bound to draw attention if it gains momentum is sports gambling. State Senate President Bill Galvano stated that he’s making it a priority. He cited the Supreme Court decision enabling sports gaming at the state level and said that there’s a need to rework the existing Seminole Compact which grants exclusivity on gaming in the state to the tribe. There's a May deadline for designed player games which could be the opportunity for a rework that would enable Florida to move on sports betting in the state sooner than previously thought. 

Photo by: DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images

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