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Insurance crisis spurs Town Hall in Cape Coral

By CHUCK BALLARO - | May 26, 2022

Florida’s declaration that the state is in a homeowners insurance crisis is far from political hyperbole.

Insurers are leaving the state, homeowners by the thousands have received cancellation notices and those who are being renewed face sticker shock.

A series of reforms passed in a special session of the State Legislature awaiting approval by Gov. Ron DeSantis may help.

But in the meantime, many homeowners have questions and a local town hall may provide the answers.

The Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral along with the city of Cape Coral will host a Town Hall style meeting focusing on homeowners insurance rates on Tuesday, June 7, starting at 6 p.m. at the Cape Coral Yacht Club. Residents will hear about the problems related to homeowners insurance, as well as the outcome of the 2022 special legislative session on the matter. The guest panel of speakers will include State Rep. Mike Giallombardo, State Rep. Bob Rommel, Brian Chapman – Chapman Insurance Group and James Barfield – Barfield Insurance and Financial. Check in will start at 6 p.m. and the program will begin at 6:30 p.m. The meeting is free and open to the public.

“Homeowners insurance and its affordability is becoming a challenge throughout the state of Florida,” said Donna Germain, president, and CEO of the Chamber. “We want to see the results of the special session and also the community give feedback to those who are going to be there and get advice from the insurance industry.”

Councilmember Gloria Tate, who is a Realtor, said that insurance is at the top of the list of concerns people have when buying a house.

“It’s something we’re concerned about when packaging flood and homeowners insurance. It’s very costly and we’re concerned about it,” Tate said. “Separately, it can be very difficult for homeowners to get insurance.”

Tate said the insurance situation centers around roofs and the age of them. Most homes had roof damage from Charley in 2004 and were replaced. Those roofs are now approaching 20 years old.

“Now, if you have a roof before 2004, it’s not insurable. It could be in great condition, but according to insurance standards, it’s a hazard,” Tate said. “The new legislation gives everyone the opportunity to get insurance regardless of the age. The companies can come out and check the roof and see if it has life left.”

Another issue is insurance adjusters who drive by and tell people they need a new roof. Tate said some such claims were legitimate, but others were not.

“Hurricane season starts June 1 which for all of us is a big deal. We’re all in the same boat. You’re getting a roof, it’s hurricane season and it’s really scary right now,” Tate said.