The Phoenix Flyer

Legislature to return to Tallahassee in December to debate insurance fixes

By: - November 23, 2022 10:47 am

An area that once contained a building is shown swept clear following Hurricane Ian on Oct. 3, 2022, in Fort Myers Beach. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Leaders of the Florida House and Senate have scheduled their promised special legislative session to address skyrocketing property insurance costs for the week of Dec. 12, when lawmakers are due in Tallahassee to conduct committee hearings in advance of the 2023 regular session.

House Speaker Paul Renner and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo made the announcement via a memorandum on Tuesday, as they wrapped their organizational session (a routine post-election gathering to swear in members and elect new leaders).

“We anticipate issuing a formal proclamation following the Thanksgiving holiday,” Renner and Passidomo wrote.

Specifics of the legislation to be debated are yet to come.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been working with the Legislature on an agenda for the special session, has called for fixes to Florida’s insurance system, which has been experiencing wild increases in rates; rebating property taxes for people who suffered hurricane damage this year; and perhaps other matters.

Multiple insurers have been cancelling policies in Florida or applying for, and being granted, rate hikes from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. They’ve cited higher losses due to worsening weather, widespread litigation, rising costs of construction and repairs, and rising property values.

During a separate special session in May, the Legislature made an initial pass at responding to insurance market disruptions which were further stoked by hurricanes Ian and Nicole. That legislation attacks costs of litigating claims disputes; forbids insurers from refusing to cover homes solely for the reason that the roofs are more than 15 years old; and boosts condominium safety following the deadly collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside in June 2021.

Additionally, that special session produced a $2 billion infusion of taxpayer money into reinsurance coverage to help companies that cannot obtain it in the private marketplace.

Meanwhile, the auto insurance market has also been deteriorating. As the Phoenix reported on Wednesday, Florida ranks as the most expensive state in the nation for auto insurance, with the average premium at $2,560 a year, or $213 a month — a 23% increase in rates from 2021.

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Michael Moline
Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.

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