by Kelsey Coffey

Florida legislators will meet this week for a special session on property insurance. They will be discussing issues regarding both insurance companies and property owners.

The biggest problem for property owners are rising annual premiums.

Channel 3 spoke with the owner of Gulf Coast Insurance, Mary Jordan.

She estimates that just two years ago, a $250,000 home would have $1,200 to $1,500 annual premium. Today, that same house could have a $3,000 to $6,000 annual premium depending on where it's located.

Some homeowners can’t afford insurance anymore.

Rep. Alex Andrade says ensuring that no state resident will go without insurance is a top priority for this special session.

“Coming up with a plan to back fill citizens, the insurance option of last resort to make sure that no property owner goes without insurance, is going to be a big issue,” says Representative Andrade.

Another problem for homeowners are predatory contractors.

Jordan says some contractors are giving homeowners assignment of benefits contracts.

“Make sure that’s not something you sign, because you’re signing the rights away to your policy to that contractor. At that point, your agent is not going to be able to help you,” she says.

These contracts lead to several issues, one of those are lawsuits that leave insurance companies bankrupt.

When those companies go bankrupt, they shut down and leave the state.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation says Florida homeowners filed 8 percent of all property insurance claims in the U.S. in 2019, yet they accounted for 76 percent of property insurance lawsuits in the nation.

In terms of new legislation, Jordan says legislators have several options including eliminating assignment of benefits contracts.

The special session is set to end Friday.