State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Annette Taddeo on Wednesday called out Governor Ron DeSantis, stating that he is not taking action to manage the ongoing property insurance crisis in the state, also claiming that the only newly approved property insurance company in recent years, Vyrd Insurance, is “funded by Communist China.”
St. Petersburg-based Vyrd insurance, led by CEO David M. Howard, was approved by the Office of Financial Regulation last November and was expected to ease the policy load of the state-backed Citizens Insurance Inc. by upwards of 40,000. Politico, at the time of the agency’s approval, reported that Vyrd was being backed by SiriusPoint Ltd., a company whose largest shareholder is Shanghai-based China Minsheng Investment Group, and Kole, Inc.
The ownership raised questions among state leaders, who previously took measures to dampen the influence of countries considered hostile to the United States, including China.
“These property insurance increases are on Governor Ron DeSantis, period. Ironically, in Ron DeSantis’ “freest state in the country”, the only new insurance company approved in Florida in years is funded by communist China,” said Taddeo. “When he’s not investing $300 million of our money in Putin, DeSantis is serving up millions in massive rate hikes paid by Floridians to communist China. If he thinks that’s what “freedom” looks like, there’s some prime coastal real estate in Venezuela I’m sure Maduro would like to sell him.”
By the second half of 2022, Vyrd plans to begin offering insurance policies on the open market. Some, like Senator Jeff Brandes, who has repeatedly requested the governor make a call to orchestrate a property special session, stated that he “doesn’t know why we would care where the money is coming from.”
Florida Senate Democrats joined Brandes in penning their own letter to DeSantis, calling for similar action to be taken in correcting the volatile property insurance market within the state.
“Not only has the Governor intentionally neglected this crisis and has refused to call a Special Session, but the Governor signed into law last year a bill that raised Citizens Insurance Premiums even more. Meanwhile, Governor DeSantis has consistently labeled “Communist China” as a country we don’t want to “be entangled with” and yet, thanks to DeSantis, China is now a major stakeholder in the only new property insurer in nearly a decade approved in Florida.”
Taddeo on Wednesday also called for Florida Democrats to boycott the upcoming special session on redistricting, which begins next week.
“I’ll be damned if I’m showing up to kiss his ring and waste taxpayer money for an unconstitutional map that erases Black and Brown voices from the electoral process,” said Taddeo. “It’s too bad between the Senate President and the Speaker of the House they couldn’t put together one spine to stand up to DeSantis. I’m calling the rest of my Democratic colleagues in the legislature to join me in the cojones caucus and boycott this upcoming special session.”