DeSantis signs billion-dollar insurance industry subsidy; but will ordinary homeowners get help?

Governor also signed into law hurricane disaster relief programs from Ian, Nicole storms

By: - December 16, 2022 12:56 pm

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Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday approved what Democrats have called a billion-dollar “bailout” for the property insurance industry, even as ordinary homeowners wait for lower premiums for policy holders.

“Floridians are losing yet again. I worry for our neighbors on fixed incomes. How many people are going to lose their homes before this ‘trickle down’ plan offers any relief?” House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell said in a written statement Friday.

“I’m worried about Florida’s retirees. This bill definitely wasn’t written to help them.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis signs property insurance and disaster relief bills from December special session on Dec. 16, 2022. Credit: screenshot/Florida Phoenix.

The governor also signed into law a disaster relief bill to assist victims of hurricane Ian and Nicole, at a press conference in Fort Myers Beach Friday.

Fort Myers and Southwest Florida areas were battered by Category 4 storm Ian in September. Nicole followed in November, as a Category 1 storm.

The press conference comes just a day after Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier submitted his resignation to step down from his position on December 28, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The bills signed Friday were a part of a special session to tackle the state’s turbulent insurance industry.

The Florida Phoenix previously reported that the insurance legislation creates “a fund in that amount to help carriers purchase reinsurance against their risks in a chancy Florida market — this after creating a similar, $2 billion reinsurance fund as recently as May. The measure furthermore would make it harder for policyholders to retain attorneys to help them force carriers to pay in full.”

The idea is to create a more appealing market for the insurance industry, DeSantis said at the bill signing.

“If we do get more people to come and offer policies, you are finally going to have, potentially, choices,” he said, responding to questions. “And that will allow you, I think, to make the best decisions for you right now. You pretty much, you know, maybe, have one or two — some people just get dumped on Citizens. That ultimately is not good for the consumer,” DeSantis said.

“Citizens” refers to the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. which is Florida’s insurance of last resort.

The other bill that was signed Friday involved some $750 million to continue hurricane recovery efforts.

The disaster relief legislation includes multiple projects, including millions to offset the local costs for federal emergency management assistance, hurricane-related tax refunds, beach and sand restoration and other efforts.


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Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown

Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University. She has served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine and Rowland Publishing. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat.