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The role of pubic adjusters in the Florida property insurance market is proving to be a major stumbling block point in getting CS/CS/SB 2044 passed on the final day of the legislative session. Even if the public adjuster role is resolved, the bill’s ultimate fate is far from certain, given Gov. Charlie Christ’s veto threats. The massive property insurance bill (114 pages) would make major changes in the Sunshine State’s property insurance market, among them: It would allow insurance companies to raise premiums up to 10 percent annually to compensate for reinsurance costs, provide relief to insurers for high home mitigation discounts, and exempt medical malpractice insurers from the CAT Fund. Public adjusters are fighting a provision that would reduce the time a homeowner can file or reopen a claim from five years to three years after the storm and places new limits on public adjusters’ compensation and their ability to solicit claims. Proponents of this provision point to a recent influx of new or reopened claims from the 2005 storms. Crist, busy removing the “R” from his Senate placards, was not present during the latest debate. But he has been adamant that he would veto any bill that resulted in higher property insurance premiums. Lawmakers are heading into their final hours in their usual “hurry up, we are running out of time” mode. And they still have to do the one thing they are legally required to do: Pass the budget.

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