Proposed ‘hurricane tax’ could hit Florida hard, topping $1.6B

Financial tunnel
No one knew how much the cost of insurance itself could shoot up. Until now.

Increasingly, Florida lawmakers and business leaders have been paying close attention to a provision of President Joe Biden’s tax plan that could raise the cost of insurance for every Florida business and homeowner.

A respected Washington think tank has just released a policy study that puts numbers to the concern: total insurance premium increases in Florida between $864 million and $1.62 billion per year.

The study by the R Street Institute examines how the Made in America Tax Plan will increase the cost of insurance in the U.S., in part by raising the tax rate on overseas reinsurance companies that cover American insurance carriers from heavy losses due to massive climate events like hurricanes. Virtually all the leading reinsurance companies are overseas, so that means the tax increase will hit pretty much every insurance policy covering property in Florida.

We all know what happens when companies have to pay more in taxes. Eventually, the cost comes out of our wallets.

“As these tax increases are passed through to consumers, they will effectively tax everyone who buys insurance, regardless of income,” said Jerry Theodorou, director of R Street’s finance, insurance, and trade policy team.

From business interests to consumer watchdogs, groups in Florida have come out against what they call the “hurricane tax,” urging members of Florida’s congressional delegation, especially Democrats, to encourage the President to drop this element of his tax plan. These groups include the Florida Chamber, Florida Association of Insurance Agents, Florida Alliance for Consumers and Taxpayers, Federal Association for Insurance Reform, and others.

Their message warns of considerable costs to Floridians, including the cost to the government if the increases cause more Florida residents to go without insurance, and taxpayers have to pick up the tab for recovery costs.

But no one knew how much the cost of insurance itself could shoot up. Until now.

According to the R Street Institute, Florida (unsurprisingly) faces the third-largest expected increase if the Biden plan is approved.

Depending on the percentage increase in the Global Minimum Tax, the institute estimates that Florida would see a total annual price increase of as much as $1.62 billion. The estimated increase in cost ranges from $170 to $319 per family.

And that’s its conservative estimate.

“Burdening U.S. families and firms with these new taxes will have harmful effects on the economy and our preparedness for natural disasters. The timing could not be worse, as the economy rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic and the disaster insurance coverage gap persists,” wrote the report’s author, Dr. Lars Powell, executive director of the Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research at the University of Alabama.

With Hurricane Ida a not-too-recent memory and the tropics in full trouble-making mode, Floridians could not have more at stake in how this tax plan unfolds.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Orlando Rising and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


4 comments

  • Professor Emeritus

    September 13, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    Usual right wing nonsense DON’T TAX THE RICH SINCE THEY WILL JUST SCREW THE POOR. Reinsurnance is outside the USA precisely so they can evade US taxes. Tax breaks for international corporations cost us jobs

    Reply

    • Vicki Waterman

      September 17, 2021 at 11:03 am

      You do realize a good many of us in Florida are retirees on a fixed income! Trust me, we are not rich!

      Reply

  • PeterH

    September 13, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    FLORIDA IS NOT A SELF SUPPORTING STATE

    If you evaluate all the individual State’s “free stuff” provided by the USA Treasury ….. Florida ranks number three in the grift. For every dollar the Florida taxpayer sends to Washington…. the State receives $4.50 in return. Actually, if you look at the graph on the attached link you will see that most of the States that rely on continuous … year after year ….. Federal Government bailouts are red states! Lindsey Graham should be embarrassed!

    So you can see why a tax increase needs to happen to subsidize the annual hurricane bailouts!

    At some point blue states will say “no more bailouts” for Florida millionaires…… and the State will be forced to pay its own bills!

    Here is one of a dozen links to this red state grifting scheme!

    https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/05/which-states-are-givers-and-which-are-takers/361668/

    Reply

  • Alex

    September 13, 2021 at 2:59 pm

    The R Street Institute is a right wing 501(c)3 non profit “think tank” and an associate member of the State Policy Network (SPN). Formerly named “D.C. Progress”, the R Street Institute was “founded” on June 1, 2012 by former members of the Heartland Institute and American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), both of which are also SPN member organizations.

    https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/R_Street_Institute

    Reply

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