Politics

Why and How Florida’s New Insurance Laws Affect Roofing Companies

The need to control the rapid increase in home insurance costs in Florida elicited contentious legislative proposals affecting roofing contractors as well. The final provisions of SB 76 that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed to take effect in July 01, 2021 included certain restrictions that bar Florida roofing companies from carrying on with certain business practices when contracting roofing repair services with insured property homeowners. Mainly because insurance companies have been putting the blame on roofing contractors for the mounting costs of roof repair claims being filed by insured homeowners.

In recent years, many insurance companies have been rejecting insurance claims that they deem as unnecessary costs of roof repairs or roof replacements supposedly instigated by roofing contractors. As a result, an increasing number of lawsuits are being filed against insurance companies, since homeowners feel disadvantaged in not being able to claim reimbursements for their roof-repair expenses.

Inasmuch as legal costs all the more increase the financial burdens faced by insurance companies, a spate of increases in insurance premiums have taken place as recourse.

SB 76 intends to control the continuously rising costs of home insurance premiums being charged by Florida insurance companies. Yet the insurance bill focused on controlling the soaring number of roof damage claims, which insurance companies allege are results of business strategies and practices of roofing companies.

SB 76 Restrictions Imposed on Florida Roof Contractors

SB 76 included provisions that require insurance companies to include information about closed claims in the annual reports being submitted to the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation.

Additionally, insurance laws now require the Property Insurance Corporation to provide an estimation of the costs of catastrophe reinsurance in the calculation of rates for a projected 100-year probable maximum loss; regardless of whether the corporation purchases reinsurance.

 

While several other provisions pertaining to procedures for rejecting claims of roof repairs are now prescribed, the new insurance bill included the following restrictions that roofing companies and contractors must observe:

1. Roofing contractors are prohibited from initiating an insurance claim or negotiating claims in behalf of insured homeowners.

2. It is now unlawful for roofing contractors to offer cash rebates, discount coupons, gift cards or anything of value, to insured homeowners as incentive to having their home inspected for roof damages. Incentives include waiver of insurance deductible on a residential property,

3. Roof repair contractors are likewise prohibited from urging insured homeowners to file an insurance claim as consideration in carrying out roof inspection, as this is also considered as tantamount to soliciting a roof repair deal with the insured homeowner.

4. Generally, SB 76 prohibits roofing contractors from coaxing, urging or bribing insured homeowners with rebates or discounts through advertisements or by way of door-to-door marketing campaigns. The contention is that these methods deviate from conventional approaches in which insured homeowners initiate roof inspections by searching online for a licensed roofing contractor using search phrases like “Roofing Company near me.”

5. While some insured homeowners rely on recommendations of neighbors, relatives and associates, SB 76 also prohibits roofing contractors from offering some form of financial consideration to those who will recommend their services to others by word-of-mouth.

Still, in an article published by the owner of Silvers Systems Inc., Mike Silvers, who is a Director of Technical Services at Florida’s Fellow of the Royal Services and Arts (FRSA), he warns that there are certain language in the SB 76 bill that could be misinterpreted. He gives advice to roofing contractors to first seek legal advice before modifying their policies and their roofing contracts in line with the provisions and restrictions of SB 76.