Florida lawmakers to tackle skyrocketing insurance rates during special session

MIAMI – State legislators are being called back to Tallahassee for a special session to address skyrocketing insurance rates throughout the Sunshine State, though exactly what lawmakers will do is still up in the air.

No specific bills have been filed, but the priorities are clear: stopping runaway property insurance costs.

Making property insurance affordable and available is a category 5-sized dilemma.

“I don’t think anyone is safe. I think everyone’s gonna get looked at. You’re talking about attorneys,” Rep. Daniel Perez, R-Miami, said. “Yes. You’re talking about insurance companies, too. You’re talking about public adjusters, and you’re talking about the consumer.”

It’s a complicated puzzle.

The two major headlines: Keeping insurers in Florida and in business and looking at lawsuits and attorneys’ fees.

Half a dozen Florida insurers have recently failed or bailed.

“Can we, since we have such massive budget reserves right now, could we provide a bridge on re-insurance as the rest of our market starts to get better?” Gov. Ron DeSantis said.

“We have to look at capitalization of some of these insurance companies,” Sen. Jason Pizzo, D-northeast Miami-Dade, said. “They’re able to open up with 15 million, open up a shop and carry all kinds of exposure that they really, in good faith, cannot pay if there really is a catastrophic event.”

Lawmakers say tackling litigation will be a priority.

“The repealing of one-way attorneys’ fees is going to be a tremendous step in the right direction,” Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, R-Miami-Dade/Keys, said.

Rodriguez represents the areas with some of the priciest insurance in the state.

She describes companies offering free new roofs to homeowners, courtesy of their insurance companies.

“There is no such thing as free roof, by the way,” she said. “It involves tremendous litigation and whatnot and that’s really what drives up cost of insurance for all Floridians.”

Lawmakers expect blowback from insurers, attorneys and property owners, but know that failure is not an option.

Regardless of what happens, lawmakers said no matter what they do, any relief will take time.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."