Gov. Ron DeSantis during a press conference on Monday remarked that he will sign a proclamation of a special session this week in order to pass legislation to address the ongoing property insurance crisis that has seen rising rates and the liquidation of insurance agencies. DeSantis said that lawmakers would most likely convene in May.
Florida’s insurance market has been in a freefall of late with two of the state’s biggest policy writers — St. Johns Insurance and Avatar Property and Casualty Insurance — deemed insolvent this year, bringing the total number of insolvent insurance agencies in Florida up to seven since 2014.
As well as shrinkage in companies, residents are faced with rising premium costs, forcing many to turn to the state-back Citizen’s Insurance, an agency meant to serve as a last resort option for Floridians.
“There are some things that we were working on that didn’t quite make it over the finish line,” said the governor. “If we can get to a place where we can punch it through. we would absolutely do a special session. Those are issues like property insurance and trying to bring some sanity and stabilize and have a functioning market. I’m confident that we’re going to be able to get that done. I am not confident we’d be able to punch it through this week, but what I will be signing this week is a proclamation to set the dates for a special session in May, and it will have, as the main focus, the reformation of the property insurance market.”
Desantis stated that the special session could also be utilized to deal with other issues facing the state. In past questionings, the governor has cited constitutional carry, which state Representative Anthony Sabatini recently requested a special session for, and data privacy, among others.
Last week the Florida Senate Democrats, following the lead of Sen.Jeff Brandes, penned a letter requesting a property insurance special session to halt the freefall of the insurance market in Florida.
“Florida is near a tipping point, and our neighborhoods are in danger of losing their viability,” reads the Senate Democrats’ letter. “Some insurance companies have been unable to reissue policies, are ceasing operations, or are pricing renewals at unaffordable rates leaving thousands of Floridians with the unsettling surprise that they’ve lost coverage, and must scramble to protect their most valuable asset. All of these issues are clearly creating an affordability crisis for our constituents.”
Proposed legislative actions that didn’t make it through the most recent Legislative Session include reform of the state hurricane fund and changes in the way that an insurer can process claims for roofs beyond a certain age.