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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Sun Sentinel Op-Ed: “On insurance, we can’t lose sight of the policyholder | Jimmy Patronis”

8/22/2023
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, August 22, 2023
Contact: Office of Communications, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com, 850.413.2842

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Sun Sentinel Op-Ed: “On insurance, we can’t lose sight of the policyholder | Jimmy Patronis”

“On insurance, we can’t lose sight of the policyholder | Jimmy Patronis”

By Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis

Florida Sun Sentinel Op-Ed

August 21, 2023

FULL LINK (NOTE: Pay Wall) HERE

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To stabilize the market, Gov. Ron DeSantis called two special sessions focused on insurance, and significant reforms were enacted to rein in abuses of the system that drove up premiums — and we can already see the benefits. I can’t begin to underscore how meaningful these reforms were.

The state’s insurer of last resort, Citizens Insurance, has already seen a roughly 17% decrease in lawsuits so far in 2023 for the same time frame last year and also expects more than $900 million in operational savings following these reforms. Recently, companies like State Farm and Kin Insurance have indicated they plan on staying in the Sunshine State. We also have new insurance companies taking hundreds of thousands of policies out of Citizens Insurance. Since the start of 2023, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has approved more than 280,000 policies to be moved into the private market, which brings more competition and competitive pricing to Florida, and that’s ultimately good for the consumer.

We knew that as the market stabilizes, we needed to take action to provide tools to policyholders to help rein in their premiums, so we worked with the Legislature to create the My Safe Florida Home program to provide free home inspections, and up to $10,000 in home hardening improvements, to reduce premiums. The Legislature provided $250 million for the program, and our records show the average policyholder has realized $1,000 in annual premium savings.

I get asked all the time, “When will I see my premiums lowered?” and the honest answer is, we’ll know more after hurricane season. Companies aren’t going to bring in tons of new capital in the middle of storm season. There’s also the realities of inflation and interest rates. Over the past two years, the cumulative inflation rate has gone up by 16%, which is why everything is more expensive. That means whether you live in Florida or somewhere else, the price to repair your house has automatically increased, and the premium that you and I are paying doesn’t cover it.

It will take time for these reforms to be fully realized within Florida’s insurance market, and to some degree, Florida’s challenges with insurance may have been the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the United States. According to the Wall Street Journal, 31 states have had double digit rate increases since the beginning of 2022.

As Florida’s changes take hold, the Legislature has to ensure we don’t lose sight of the policyholder. For next session, lawmakers should seriously consider extending the My Safe Florida Home program and the Home Hardening tax cut. These are popular programs that help rein in rates.

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About CFO Jimmy Patronis  
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).

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