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Mexico Beach, Florida, 16 days after Hurricane Michael. (Credit: Terry Kelly/Shutterstock.com) Mexico Beach, Florida, 16 days after Hurricane Michael. (Credit: Terry Kelly/Shutterstock.com)

The Florida homeowners market is in full crisis mode. Access to homeowners insurance is quickly slipping from the grasp of many Florida residents who are now finding insurance impossible to secure or afford. Insurers in the state have pulled back on providing coverage; seven have completely pulled out of the state, many others have requested significant premium increases, two have become insolvent with several others in dire financial straits and possibly facing regulatory action against them.

Legislative attempts to fix this “perfect” storm have not been successful to date, although several bills have recently passed a key Senate Subcommittee that would help to address some of the issues. Senate Bill 1728 would make several changes, most notably allowing insurers to pay roof claims based upon actual cash value of the roof instead of full replacement value except for damage due to hurricanes. Senate Bill 186 is designed to help shore up the insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance Company, by making it harder for seasonal or secondary home owners in the state to qualify for continued coverage under Citizens if another insurer will write the property at slightly or moderately higher premiums.

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Christine G. Barlow, CPCU

Christine G. Barlow, CPCU, is Managing Editor of FC&S Expert Coverage Interpretation, a division of National Underwriter Company and ALM. Christine has over twenty-five years’ experience in the insurance industry, beginning as a claims adjuster then working as an underwriter and underwriting supervisor handling personal lines. Before joining FC&S, Christine worked as an Underwriting Supervisor for Maryland Auto Insurance Fund, and as Senior Underwriter/Underwriter for companies Montgomery Mutual, Old American, Charter Group, and Nationwide. The publications Christine has written or edited include Personal Lines Unlocked: The Key to Personal Lines Underwriting, Personal Lines Endorsements Coverage Guide, Commercial Flood Insurance Coverage Guide, Personal Flood Insurance Coverage Guide, Homeowners Personal Lines Coverage Guide 5th Edition, Personal Umbrella Coverage Guide 2nd Edition, and Condominium Coverage Guide 2nd Edition, all published by the National Underwriter Company. Christine regularly writes for Claims Magazine and National Underwriter Magazine. Christine regularly presents and moderates webinars on a variety of topics and is an experienced presenter. Christine graduated cum laude from Towson University, Maryland, with a degree in Sociology/Psychology with a concentration in Gerontology.

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