Homeowner’s insurance is a top issue for Florida voters

To illustrate how Florida’s property insurance problem has become a full-blown crisis, just look at how Brandon insurance agent Kevin Swanson’s annual rates have risen in recent years.

What you need to know

  • The annual cost of an average Florida homeowners insurance policy is expected to rise to $4,231, nearly three times the annual U.S. average of $1,544, according to a recent analysis.
  • According to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR), Florida accounted for 79% of the nation’s homeowner’s insurance claims on claims filed, while accounting for only 9% of the nation’s homeowner’s insurance claims. owner of the country
  • Citizen’s Property Insurance Corp., the state’s property insurer of last resort, has seen its policy count reach one million customers. That’s more than double what the insurer had at the start of 2020

From 2013 to 2018, his annual homeowner’s insurance policy cost him about $1,800. But last year his rate rose to $3,823.

“A 238% increase? This is not sustainable and will create an inaccessibility to the state of Florida for people to move here and live in Florida,” Swanson told Spectrum Bay News 9 last week.

Homeowners insurance policies have skyrocketed in 2022, driven by fraud, lawsuits and rising property values. Property insurers are leaving the state, pushing more people to Citizens Property Insurance, the state-backed insurer of last resort.

The dire situation prompted Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature to call a special session to address property insurance in May. The Legislature approved $2 billion to help insurers pay hurricane damage claims, limit lawsuits against companies and make homeowners responsible for more of the costs of roof replacement. This led Governor DeSantis to declare that the session had resulted in the “most important reforms to Florida’s property insurance market in a generation.”

Brandon-based property insurance agent Kevin Swanson says Gov. DeSantis needs to call another special session to deal with the property insurance issue right after the November election (Mitch Perry/Spectrum Bay News 9)

But according to an analysis by the Insurance Information Institute, problems with the property insurance market in Florida “appear to be escalating” because the Legislature did not take strong enough action to address the crisis.

“That’s why we’ve seen two companies declared insolvent since the special session,” says Mark Friedlander, a spokesman for the Florida Insurance Information Institute. “We’ve seen eight more companies announce a moratorium on writing new business, including one company that said they planned to exit the domestic market because the Legislature has not resolved the crisis. Their concern is that this is a losing battle. We cannot continue operating in a market where cost pressures are so high due to litigation. We cannot survive in this scenario.”

Swanson agrees.

“I’m hopeful that the changes will work in time,” he says. “But I’m more hopeful and I’m more optimistic that after this election, our legislature will get to work and start fixing this for the Florida homeowner.”

The issue is powerful for voters this election year.

“The main concerns I hear are people dropping their insurance company, which causes people to go to Citizens Insurance at a higher rate, or their company renewing them at a higher rate than the ‘last year,” attorney Jesse Philippe, Democratic candidate. for the House District 62 seat this month. “This is a quiet issue that affects a lot of people in the district.”

Among those tens (if not hundreds) of thousands who have lost their policies this year is St. Petersburg attorney Rohom Khonsari, who said he initially didn’t know where to turn when his carrier informed him they were withdrawing your policy.

“Because if that company went bankrupt, I didn’t know what other companies would have policies available,” he says. “I thought if this was a problem with this company, it would be a problem for a lot of different companies.”

The two top Democrats running to oppose Gov. DeSantis in November, Charlie Crist and Nikki Fried, have laid out extensive plans to address the crisis if elected.

Fried called on DeSantis earlier this month to use the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund instead of Citizens Property Insurance as a reinsurance backer, reform the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund to be more accessible to smaller businesses and cancel the 6.4% rate increase for Citizen’s Property Insurance that the OIR recently approved. He also called for the appointment of a task force to focus on fraud prevention, frivolous claims and ways to recruit new providers to the state and increase the State Insurance Attorney’s authority to serve as a consumer advocate.

Crist unveiled his plan to address property insurance reform in May. His proposals include eliminating the 25 percent surcharge that homeowners pay to the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund; create an insurance fraud task force to crack down on fraudulent claims and make companies that sell auto insurance policies in the state sell homeowners insurance policies.”

Swanson says the issue transcends partisan politics and must be addressed, otherwise, he says, “Florida will become unaffordable for the average American.” He wants Governor DeSantis to call another special session to deal with property insurance immediately after the November election.

According to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR), Florida accounted for 79% of the nation’s homeowner’s insurance claims on claims filed, while accounting for only 9% of the nation’s homeowner’s insurance claims. owner of the country

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