'Lack of leadership': Florida congressman presses DeSantis on property insurance crisis
NBC - 8 WFLA (Tampa, FL)
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) -- A central Florida congressman is demanding a meeting with Gov. Ron DeSantis to discuss concerns over the state's property insurance crisis.
Rep. Maxwell Frost, a Democrat and the first Gen-Z member of Congress, held an "emergency roundtable" discussion with his Orange and Osceola County constituents this week and now he wants to bring their stories directly to the governor.
"We want to have this conversation with the governor, a really good faith conversation about the stories and figure out how can we move together as a state to solve this problem," Frost told NBC affiliate WESH.
In a letter to DeSantis on Wednesday, Frost decried the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature for not addressing the crisis during last week's special session, which DeSantis called to pass legislation largely in support of Israel. The governor lauded his involvement in the session on the presidential debate stage, as well as on the campaign trail.
"Last week you called an emergency special session of the Florida Legislature," Frost wrote. "However you did not use that time to deliver legislative solutions to solve the decreasing coverage and rising costs of property insurance hundreds of thousands across our state are facing."
Frost relayed stories from multiple homeowners in the letter, including a Habitat for Humanity homeowner who had his policy cancelled and "is now forced to choose between costly property insurance coverage and paying for his cell phone, internet, or car note." He also discussed a relator who lost several deals this year due to clients backing out over insurance costs and a business owner who fears "a major impact" to "not just their profits, but on the central Florida economy."
Floridians pay an average of $6,000 a year for property insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute, which is about four times higher than the national average. Frost said the burden of addressing the crisis should fall on Florida's legislators - not its residents.
"We should be working towards hardening our homes and businesses, having good resiliency for the climate crisis, but also looking at what are the regulatory options that we have in terms of the insurance market," Frost told WESH.
In the letter to DeSantis, Frost said the stories he heard were the result of the governor's "lack of leadership to properly regulate the insurance industry, mitigate the destruction of extreme
weather events, and make informed legislative decisions to solve the problem."
"I request an urgent meeting to discuss my constituent's concerns and hear your plans for a solution to this crisis," Frost wrote.
Gov. DeSantis' office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.