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ICYMI: Wall Street Journal: A Politically Made Insurance Panic

For Immediate Release: Monday, June 10, 2024
Contact: Office of Communications,, 850.413.2842


Wall Street Journal: A Politically Made Insurance Panic

“Wall Street Journal: A Politically Made Insurance Panic”

June 9, 2024

The Editorial Board

Full Article HERE.

Most readers by now have experienced the sticker shock when their latest auto and homeowner insurance policies arrive. The Washington solution? Expand political control over insurers, naturally. But that misdiagnosis won’t solve the problem.

Auto insurance rates are up 46.2% since January 2020, more than in the eight previous years combined. Homeowner premiums have increased 37.8% since 2019 and 5.8% in the first three months this year. Arizona (62.1%), Illinois (56.9%), Texas (54.5%), California (48.4%) and Florida (42.5%) have seen even higher increases.

Insurers are withdrawing from states, forcing policy holders to scramble for alternative coverage. State-backed insurers of last resort are swelling. Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is now the largest insurer in the Sunshine State.

Progressives blame—what else?—climate change and corporate greed. Insurers have “underwritten financing fossil fuels, and then they profit from selling protection from the impacts of those fossil fuels on climate,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren proclaims. “And now when climate risks are rising, they’re trying to hang American families out to dry here and demanding either higher premiums or to get out of the market altogether.”

Well, no. The actual culprit is a bad storm of inflation, litigation abuse and government-made dysfunctions, which have been exacerbated by a string of bad weather.

Litigation abuse is also growing as plaintiff firms sue insurers for inflated damages. This is one reason, in addition to rising medical costs, that the average bodily injury claim has increased by some 80% since 2014. Excessive litigation accounted for about $4 billion in commercial auto insurance claim costs in 2021.

Unscrupulous plaintiff attorneys are also driving up homeowner premiums, using a playbook they developed in Florida. In 2021 Florida property and casualty insurers faced more than 100,000 lawsuits claiming $7.8 billion in damages—more than three times as much as in the other 49 states combined.

Insurers use “catastrophe models” to project potential damage from natural disasters. Harder to manage is regulatory and legal uncertainty, which is why insurers are retreating from some states. California regulators don’t allow insurers to fully price rising wildfire risk and reinsurance costs into premiums. They have also been slow to approve rate increases.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’s legal reforms in 2022 are helping to stabilize Florida’s market after numerous insurers exited. Florida experienced the second smallest increase in homeowner premiums during the first three months of this year, though its rates are still nearly 40% higher than the U.S. average. Don’t blame hurricanes alone.

Higher interest rates and declining profitability are making it more expensive for insurers to raise capital, further pushing up premiums. Property and casualty insurers last year paid out $101.70 for every $100 they collected in premiums. Such losses are unsustainable, which means premiums will continue rising as insurers price in their growing costs.

Cue Democrats, who hope to exploit these problems to expand Washington’s control over property and casualty insurers, as they did over health insurers with ObamaCare. While the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act enshrined state regulatory authority over insurance, the Dodd-Frank Act created a Federal Insurance Office to “monitor” insurers.

Progressives want to establish a national insurer of last resort and empower the feds to regulate rates, putting Pennsylvanians on the hook for mansions in Napa Valley. Don’t discount the odds in a second Biden term.


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 X (@FLDFS).

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