HomeHome InsuranceConsumer group, Democrats call on Florida lawmakers to address property insurance crisis

Consumer group, Democrats call on Florida lawmakers to address property insurance crisis

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — There’s growing concern about the Florida property insurance crisis clashing with this year’s hurricane season.

West Tampa Resident Christopher Rivera knows insurance is pricey nowadays.

“Everything has gone up,” he said. “Not just property insurance but the cost of living.”

Over in St. Petersburg, Steve Brunner has been dealing with high costs, too.

“Between flood insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and taxes can run you [$10,000] a year. It adds up,” Brunner said.

Now, Consumer Federation of America wants lawmakers to take more action in Tallahassee. It also wants insurance companies to help policyholders.

“We want them to reject excessive rate increases and we want them to promote efforts to try to reduce risks, like providing grants to consumers,” Michael DeLong said.

DeLong wants insurance companies to provide discounts to policyholders who undertake mitigation measures. He also says climate change is causing rates to go up. However, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill to make climate change less of a focus, even deleting the phrase out of some existing laws.

Florida Democrats held a virtual meeting Wednesday calling on more action during hurricane season.

State Rep. Susan Valdes (D-Tampa) is one of the leading Democrats behind the push for more action. She fears a perfect storm for property owners.

“Floridians do not have that kind of money to backfill their own home. That’s why they pay insurance,” Valdes said.

Democrats fear Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, which is the state’s insurer of last resort, could run out of money if a disaster strikes.

Citizens has 1.1 million policyholders now. It only collects money from those property owners. In 2023, it ended the year with $10.3 billion in total assets. Since hurricane damage is in the billions, there’s fear that account could be wiped clean. If that happens, state law forces taxpayers to foot the rest of the bill.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the state is taking action and families will see relief. He mentioned reforming who can file a lawsuit against an insurance company. He also mentioned safety improvement grants for homeowners.

“There’s a light at the end of this tunnel with the combination of the “My Safe Florida Home Program” and with the combination of the litigation reforms we’ve had,” he said.

Now, people like Brunner will wait for more action.

So far, there’s no plan for a special session to focus on the property insurance crisis.

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