A poll sent to Florida lawmakers to initiate a special session on property insurance failed, but Governor Ron DeSantis is calling one anyway.
Homes in Florida are beautiful, but they do not come cheap to insure.
“Yeah, look, I think this has had has hit critical mass, it is absolutely a crisis. I mean, I hear from some of the senior citizens in my district who are paying more for homeowners insurance than they’re paying for their mortgage,” said North Fort Myers Representative Spencer Roach.
On Monday, Republican Representative Roach said that he supports a special session of the legislature on property insurance reform.
If that is the case, why did he, along with all the Southwest Florida lawmakers, decline to vote yes or no for a special session?
“I don’t actually recall receiving any information on the on the poll to vote on this or not,” said Roach.
Naples Representative Adam Botana said he didn’t get anything either.
Even if both representatives received the information about the poll, it would not have mattered. Governor DeSantis has the power to call a special session himself and signaled he would call one before the deadline for the poll.
“So, at that time, I didn’t feel like it was necessary to check any box or anything along those lines,” said Botana.
DeSantis called the special session for May.
Political scientist Aubrey Jewett said May couldn’t come soon enough for most folks.
“I think for a lot of voters, a bread-and-butter economic issue, like property insurance rates, not being able to afford it, in some cases, not being able to find it, even if you’re willing to pay a lot. I mean, that is going to hit people’s pocketbooks. And they’re a lot more concerned about that, than they are about some of these social wedge issues,” said Jewett.
Debates and disagreements happen all the time inside the chambers of the Florida Legislature.
When our lawmakers convene for a special session, we usually know what bills are up for debate.
“It is a little unusual that they’re going into this special session without a plan to figure out how to reduce property insurance rates and make them more affordable for Floridians,” said Jewett.
Most of our lawmakers, Republicans, Democrats and the governor, believe property insurance in Florida is a crisis.
Only three out of 52 insurance companies that did business in Florida in 2021 reported a net profit in Florida.
They say the reason they didn’t profit is insurance claims and lawsuits. Those insurance companies say they lost anywhere from $1.6 to $2 billion. Those companies either jack up premiums or leave Florida altogether.
How can lawmakers fix that? They don’t have a plan, but Representative Roach roach said he expects that to change before the special session next month.
“Rather than to go back there just for the sake of going back and not reach consensus on an agreement,” said Roach.
Representative Botana also has high hopes. “We really have to look how we can get some of these insurance companies into Florida to take care of our citizens, something besides citizens, we can’t have just rely on the citizens and insurance company. Because again, that’s on the backs of the taxpayers,” said Botana.
Lawmakers offered several property insurance bills during the regular session, but none of them made it to a final vote.