Florida Governor Ron DeSantis addressed the “out of control” insurance crisis plaguing the state after a reporter confronted him about the issue.
The Florida insurance market has been unstable for decades but has grown increasingly volatile in recent years. This month, Farmers Insurance announced that it would discontinue new coverage for auto, home and umbrella policies, reportedly impacting 100,000 policies. Farmers was the fourth major company to leave Florida’s insurance market in the past year, with many insurers citing the risk posed by hurricanes.
The pullouts have triggered criticism toward DeSantis, a 2024 presidential candidate, and some experts believe that the insurance crisis could cost the GOP in Florida in the next presidential election.
A video tweeted by The Recount shows a reporter confronting DeSantis about the insurance crisis during a presidential campaign stop in New Hampshire on Monday when the Florida governor unveiled his new “Declaration of Economic Independence” policy proposal. The event came a week after DeSantis announced layoffs that eliminated more than one-third of his campaign staff.
“Why didn’t you see those crises coming ahead of time and address them before they got so out of control?” the reporter asked.
DeSantis refuted the reporter’s question: “That’s a false premise. We did.”
DeSantis said he wanted the state legislature to act sooner, but that lawmakers weren’t prepared, even though he said they have been working on the insurance crisis since 2021.
“We’ve been working on this for a number of years,” he said before shifting the conversation toward affordable housing.
Newsweek reached out to DeSantis’ press secretary, Jeremy Redfern, by email for comment.
Much of the state legislature’s efforts have focused on shielding insurance companies from lawsuits, most of which have stemmed from hurricanes.
Fraudulent insurance claims and the associated litigation costs have crippled some companies, causing seven residential-only insurers to become insolvent. The litigation also has spurred high premiums and fewer offerings from national insurers.
“Many of the insurance companies in Florida are still saddled with the tailing litigation stemming from recent hurricanes, most notably Hurricane Irma,” Redfern previously told Newsweek in a statement. “But due to implemented reforms, we are seeing some new companies entering the market.”
Despite the state’s efforts, Florida’s property insurance premiums are among the highest in the nation. By the end of 2022, average annual property insurance premiums in the Sunshine State exceeded $4,200—triple the national average.
Critics argue that DeSantis should’ve tried harder to make insurance more affordable rather than focusing on “culture war” issues, such as prohibiting education about sexual orientation or gender identity in school classrooms.
Former President Donald Trump also took a swipe at DeSantis regarding the insurance crisis in a video posted to Truth Social this month. Trump, who is vying for his second term as president, holds a massive lead over DeSantis and all other GOP contenders, according to polls.
“The DeSanctimonious super-PAC, Always Back Down, should focus more on Florida property and auto insurance, which has zoomed to highest-in-the-nation status, and highest by far,” Trump said in the video. “Come home, Ron, where you belong. Get those insurance rates way down, because what’s happening in Florida shouldn’t happen anywhere.”
Alice J. Roden started working for Trending Insurance News at the end of 2021. Alice grew up in Salt Lake City, UT. A writer with a vast insurance industry background Alice has help with several of the biggest insurance companies. Before joining Trending Insurance News, Alice briefly worked as a freelance journalist for several radio stations. She covers home, renters and other property insurance stories.