Lawmakers to Give Insurance Changes Time

Lawmakers to Give Insurance Changes Time

By Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — A key senator said Tuesday he does not expect lawmakers to make major property-insurance changes during the 2024 legislative session, as they continue to watch the results of an overhaul passed last year.

“In my opinion, we swung for the fences, and we got a lot done,” Senate Banking and Insurance Chairman Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, said after his committee received updates about the property-insurance market from state Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky and Citizens Property Insurance President and CEO Tim Cerio.

Boyd said he doesn’t see “any additional big-deal things that we can do” during the 2024 session, while giving time for the changes passed last year to play out. The 2024 session will start in January.

Troubles in the property-insurance market during the past three years have led to many homeowners facing massive rate increases or losing coverage and have spurred a flood of policies into Citizens, which was created as the state’s insurer of last resort. Citizens ended last week with 1.412 million policies, nearly double the 708,919 policies it had on Sept. 30, 2021.

Lawmakers during a special session in December passed wide-ranging changes to try to shore up the market. For example, they tried to shield property insurers from costly lawsuits and took steps to help push policies from Citizens into the private market.

At the time, lawmakers said the changes would likely take 12 to 18 months to filter through the system. Since December, property owners have continued to see increased rates and, in many cases, few choices for coverage.

But Boyd, Yaworsky and Cerio said they see signs of improvement in the industry.

“Everyone is in this together,” Yaworsky told reporters after his presentation to the Banking and Insurance Committee. “It is a very difficult time for Florida homeowners, but the state has enacted significant legislation to address that after years of trying to get it done.”

Yaworsky said, for example, that costs of reinsurance — critical backup insurance that drives a large chunk of homeowners’ bills — did not increase as much as initially feared.

Also, regulators have approved requests from private insurers to take as many as 646,617 policies from Citizens this year. While only a portion of those policies will go into the private market, Yaworsky said the interest in so-called “depopulation” of Citizens is a sign of a healthier market.

Cerio said Citizens had expected it could end 2023 with 1.5 million to 1.7 million policies. But he said it now expects to end the year with about 1.3 million policies.

During the committee meeting, however, concerns about the market remained apparent.

For example, Senate Rules Chairwoman Debbie Mayfield, R-Indialantic, said the majority of calls she gets in her office are related to property insurance. At least some of those concerns involve a lack of competition and coverage choices.

“I can tell you it (coverage) has been shopped, and you can’t find it,” Mayfield said.

Sen. Victor Torres, D-Orlando, asked Yaworsky whether the state would consider a cap on rate increases over the next few years or a moratorium on policies being dropped.

But Yaworsky said a rate cap could lead to some Florida-focused insurers leaving the market or going insolvent. Cerio also said lower rates for Citizens could be a “long way off” because the insurer’s rates are below where they should be.

6 Responses to "Lawmakers to Give Insurance Changes Time"

  1. The legislators are delusional if they think the little tweaks they made in their legislation will do anything to help homeowners and lower the insurance rates on homes or vehicles. Just got my auto insurance renewal and it’s going up $83 dollars. I’m a senior and drive a 2013 SUV, going maybe 40 miles a month, no tickets or accidents in 20 years so WTF? Why am I paying for the careless driving of others? There are several other states that border the Gulf or other coasts that are subject to hurricanes, tornados and other catastrophic events and their insurance costs aren’t as high as ours.

    The stumbling block is the fact that Tallahassee is infested with lawyers. This is why we can’t have better rates, almost every commercial is for an injury lawyer promising they won’t charge you if they don’t win their case or offering to sue somebody for various other things.

  2. I live in NorthWest Leon County. Nowhere near the coast and miles from the Apalachicola River.

    Still, my homeowners insurance premiums with my old carrier were set to triple this year. My insurer was one of them that had huge losses due to Ian. I understand them needing to recoup some/most of their losses, but the policy needs to reflect the actual risk. Writing a new policy with another carrier would have still been at least double my old rate.

    The Citizens policy included a jump of 40-50%. That no private insurer would come close to that price says a lot about how bad some of them are hurting.

    And I agree with David — Insurance for properties should reflect the risk, and living on the coast or a barrier island is a greater risk than living in Tallahassee or Lake City.

  3. ““In my opinion, we swung for the fences, and we got a lot done,” Senate Banking and Insurance Chairman Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, said after his committee received updates about the property-insurance market from state Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky and Citizens Property Insurance President and CEO Tim Cerio.”

    What planet is this dude living on?

  4. People who live on barrier islands should be self insured, period.
    There should be rates applied for how close you live to the Atlantic/gulf, decreasing as you get further from the flood zone.
    And what PRR said.

  5. My homeowner premium only rose $51.00 for 2024. My Gadsden Co property taxes increased about $200.00. So, I feel lucky. Property taxes will be wasted, I’m sure.

    Taxpayers would benefit if government would only return to some of the prison/jail practices of the early 20th Century. Bring back the Prison Farm where inmates worked and raised all the food they prison required. Until recently, Georgia’s State Prison in Reidsville would have inmates out behind mules plowing fields, raising beef, pork and poultry. Inmates work on public service project. In fact, Reidsville raised so much food it had a surplus. But now, Liberal Progressive Politicians think it is better to make more Day Rooms for inmates to watch television and they hire citizens to cut the grass and clean the roads. Liberals are so soft on crime it is ridiculous. Liberals will not acknowledge that criminals do not follow the law no matter how many times you say it. Apparently, the city commission is clueless on the causes of crime because they are about to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars hiring progressive groups to figure it out.

    Bring back the chain gang. Today, inmates are not required to work. Instead, the taxpayer hires a county employee, pays him and provides top-shelf medical care and retirement benefits. All for doing simply tasks like cutting grass. Making inmates work hard while they are incarcerated would save tax dollars and deter crime.

    I understand why insurance is expensive. Between “give-them-the-Organ and Organ and all the other attorneys working at Dewey, Cheatum and Howell sticking it to them and natural disasters, raising rates to make a profit is understandable. So, local government should look elsewhere to save taxpayers and homeowners money.

    And is it any wonder that average ACT scores have dropped again? When the School board takes 20 minutes to define what is a woman and what is a man says, it all. The typical High School graduate sucks at basic math, reading and has little knowledge of History and Science.

    Do you know the vast majority of Metro Star Bus Riders are those that lost their driver’s license because they didn’t pay child support, have a DUI arrest, just got out of the prison/jail or are just full-time welfare recipients? In the Liberal’s world, we got you covered. Welfare has taken the place of the Father. Welfare deters working because being on welfare pays more. Welfare encourages single mothers to have more children. In my opinion, and a few others, the biggest and worst threat to the Black community is Welfare and the Teacher’s Union. It is literally, the Democrats Peeing down the backs of the Black Community and telling them it’s raining. Growing Welfare, dumbing down school and college curriculums and eliminating any standards for college admission will assure the the majority of the Black Community will always be government dependent and in/out of the prison system.

    Welfare allows you to eat better, smoke, play the lottery and not work. I know they eat better than me.

    To Ryan Wray, I say, at least I ain’t Matlow’s “do-boy”. Not a chance because I’m a Proud Rural Redneck

  6. People living or own Homes on the Coast should be paying a lot more for Insurance then they have been because Myself and others shouldn’t have to pay extra to cover them.

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