Florida Roofing Magazine- March 2022

Page 12

Irony Abounds as Florida’s Building Codes, Legislation and Insurance Company Policies Converge Mike Silvers, CPRC, Owner of Silvers Systems Inc. and FRSA Technical Director You can’t read a newspaper or tune into any news source that covers Florida without the “property insurance crises” being significantly featured. “Free Roofs,” “Unscrupulous Roofers,” “Soaring Property Insurance Premiums,” and “Insurer Insolvencies” are just a few examples. All of these issues are coalescing. Groups from both inside and outside the state are attempting to address them. FRSA is involved at many different levels. Anyone who has been involved in construction over the last several decades is familiar with the ever-



increasing demand for resiliency in our buildings and, even more so, in our roof systems. FRSA has, of course, been a willing partner in improving the Florida Building Code. We have tried to steer the inevitable changes in a direction that improves a roof’s wind resistance while maintaining the primary purpose of resisting moisture intrusion. All of this, while striving to improve the longevity of these roof systems. Many of the code changes dealing with increased resiliency have been championed by the insurance industry. The intention was to reduce the cost of claims that are paid by all of us and to also maintain the ability to occupy the structures after windstorms. These are good goals at many levels but the improvements come with increased costs. The additional cost has seemed justifiable in order to achieve better performing roof coverings. Quality, resiliency and longevity have long been the hallmarks of our craft. With a willing owner and a quality contractor using premium products and following the code, we can produce incredibly durable and sensible roof systems. This is where the irony begins. The same insurers that pushed our industry to meet these high expectations are now undermining their own efforts. They are regularly demanding that their insureds replace these roof systems in as little as 10 to 12 years of age. Depending on the type of roof covering and the quality of the installation and material, they could easily have a remaining serviceable life of two or three times that long. What incentive is there to buy a better, more resilient roof when it will have to be replaced prematurely regardless of its condition? Property insurers are rightfully alarmed by Florida’s ever-increasing cost and the quantity of roof damage claims. Florida’s legally contested claims over the last several years have amounted to nearly 80 percent of all such claims in the country. “Free roof” claims are at the center of the problem. When some unscrupulous contractors team with similarly minded adjusters and attorneys, the cost of these claims can easily be four or five times the legitimate cost for a reroof. This is bad