Homeowners insurance crisis: Florida insurance commissioner moves to allow roof deductibles

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — More homeowners are turning to 8 On Your Side, devastated as the soaring cost of property insurance threatens to ruin them financially. 

For homeowners like Lonnie Brown, panic is setting in. His annual property insurance rate increased by $2,000 dollars.

“I can’t afford this,” Brown, of Valrico, said. “We barely get by with bills anyway and this comes up… we do not have the money to do that.”

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) oversees the industry. It’s Commissioner David Altmaier’s job to promote a stable market for consumers like Brown.

Last week, on March 29, Commissioner Altmaier gave the state cabinet an update.

“We continue to work around-the-clock,” he said.

Like lawmakers, Commissioner Altmaier says the cost of roof claims is driving the premium spike. To help cut the cost of these claims, the commissioner is offering a choice: less roof coverage for a discounted premium.

OIR will soon allow insurers to offer consumers roof deductibles and a schedule on what will be paid on roof replacements.

“So again, these are options for consumers to choose if they wish,” said Commissioner Altmaier.

“In theory it sounds great,” said Ronald Assise CIC, CPRM, an insurance broker with the Horton Group.

Assise says the commissioner’s administrative move may not have widespread impact. It’s not a mandate, so insurance companies must ask for this option and consumers must opt into it.

“In the absence of a large adoption rate, it will literally do very little to nothing,” said Assise.

With soaring property insurance a continuing problem in Florida, homeowners like Brown are begging for relief and hoping lawmakers will act.

“I cannot be the only one in this situation,” said Lonnie.

“Maybe somebody will listen..”

Last week, reporters asked the insurance commissioner whether a special session was needed on property insurance rates.  The commissioner did not say yes.   He would only say all parties need to stay diligent.

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