One year ago, property insurance topped FAR's list of real estate stories for the year, but things have improved - slightly. In January, a special session of the Florida Legislature boosted the state's reinsurance fund, lowering risk for insurers. But savings were less than promised, so the state started carrying a bigger stick when insurers requested rate adjustments. Add to the mix a legislative change in the state's insurer, Citizen's Property Insurance Corp., that froze rates and expanded coverage, and Florida property owners now have a few more affordable choices.
A key component of the ongoing battle, however, cannot be legislated or changed. While the state has experienced two years without having a hurricane that hit land, another blow will again send insurers packing even though they enjoyed highly profitable years. Lawmakers and regulators could still tinker with the rules to encourage greater savings, even as the big insurers continue to limit their risk, notably in coastal areas.
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