Florida Governor Calls Special Session To Address Property Insurance Crisis
Orlando Sentinel (FL)
TALLAHASSEE — As expected, Gov. Ron DeSantis has called the Legislature back for a second special session, this time to deal with the state’s mounting property insurance crisis that didn’t get resolved during the regular 60-day session.
Noting that the insurance industry has set two years in a row of underwriting losses exceeding $1 billion a year, DeSantis declared a weeklong session for May 23-27, to deal with “legislation related to property insurance, reinsurance, changes to the Florida Building Code to improve the affordability of property insurance, the Office of Insurance Regulation, civil remedies, and appropriations.”
Fixing the property insurance crisis was one of the Legislature’s top issues coming into the 60-day session back in January. Lawmakers were criticized for failing to address what many constituents were calling their legislators in a panic over, and for being distracted by disruptive, controversial “culture wars” legislation backed by DeSantis.
As many as three insurance companies have gone into receivership, others decided to stop doing business in Florida, and several others are at risk.
Homeowners, meanwhile, have reported astronomical increases in property insurance premiums, which are expected to continue to rise without legislative action.
But the Senate and House couldn’t come to terms and proposed measures to curb rising costs failed.
Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-Pinellas Park, set the wheels in motion to poll members in support of a special session. DeSantis said a special session on property insurance was possible if the House and Senate could reach an agreement.
House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, who previously said more time was needed to see how sweeping changes passed in 2021 took hold, said Tuesday that he looked “forward to working with our partners to evaluate whether there is more we can do to address the availability and affordability of property insurance.”