Florida Lawmakers Hold Special Session to Address Homeowners Insurance

Florida lawmakers are dedicating a portion of the special session this week to address the issue of homeowners insurance. Among the notable bills being discussed is one proposed by state Sen. Corey Simon, R-Tallahassee, which focuses on hurricane relief. The bill aims to allocate an additional $175 million to the My Safe Florida Home Program, which has proven to be immensely successful.

State Rep. Toby Overdorf, R-Stuart, expressed the importance of reauthorizing and securing additional funding for the program, stating, “The program has been such an amazing success we ran out of money. That’s why we’re here and felt it was important to reauthorize and get some additional money because frankly it’s helped out a lot of different folks.”

The My Safe Florida Home Program offers state-paid inspections for wind mitigation, helping homeowners reduce their insurance bills. It also provides grants for qualified homeowners to make necessary repairs in preparation for storms. Devii Pratt, a resident of Palm Beach County, shared her experience with the program, stating, “I had sent an email to let them know I was having difficulties with the system and all they said was, ‘We’re out of funds.'” Pratt had attempted to submit an application online earlier this year.

Pratt remains hopeful that once the program receives new funding, she will be able to install new windows in her home. Democrats are also advocating for a bill that would provide one-time grants of $2,500 to homeowners to assist with insurance premiums. State Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, D-Orlando, emphasized the urgency of this support, stating, “It’s a short-term solution, but we know that we have many families that are fiscally restrained. They cannot afford to maintain a home because of the rate of their property insurance.”

However, Republicans in the majority seem to be unsupportive of this proposal. Overdorf expressed his skepticism, stating that it “only puts a Band-Aid on an issue that needs surgery.” The discussions surrounding homeowners insurance in Florida continue, with lawmakers striving to find a comprehensive and long-term solution to address the challenges faced by homeowners in the state.

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