Charlie Crist: Ron DeSantis is Florida’s worst property insurance Governor

Crist_Desantis side_by_side (10)
‘Florida Democrats deserve a nominee who has a record of fighting the insurance industry to protect Florida homeowners.’

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist says Gov. Ron DeSantis is in the pocket of the property insurance industry and is ignoring a looming market meltdown.

The Democratic candidate for Governor called on DeSantis to allow any homeowner that loses coverage and can’t find alternative coverage to be eligible for the state’s last-resort property insurance agency, Citizens, at the same rate for the next 12 months. With the trickle of insurers beginning to go insolvent, and a large batch of policy writers looking at a downgrade, potentially 1 million Floridians could lose their property insurance at the height of hurricane season.

“Ron DeSantis has been the worst governor in Florida history on property insurance,” Crist said in a statement on Tuesday.

“After taking millions of dollars from the insurance industry, he ignored the storm clouds brewing in the market because he’s too busy fighting culture wars and running for President. The looming DeSantis meltdown would be one of the most disruptive market events ever, a catastrophe for the over 1 million Floridians who could lose their insurance during the height of hurricane season. Florida Democrats deserve a nominee who has a record of fighting the insurance industry to protect Florida homeowners.”

One ratings firm, Demotech, is expected to downgrade 17 of Florida’s major property insurance sellers. The downgrades were set to take place Tuesday, but Demotech delayed the ratings revision on Monday, citing “various circumstances.”

DeSantis called the Legislature into a Special Session in May to stave off the spate of bankruptcies, cancellations and rate hikes. The legislation took effect immediately with his signature, but the results of those changes won’t be seen for more than a year, particularly as the legislation works its way through the courts.

As part of his gubernatorial campaign, Crist has touted his 2007 to 2011 term as Governor, which he began as a Republican. Crist says he stabilized the market and lowered rates by 10%.

However, his Democratic Primary opponent, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, says Crist helped get Florida’s insurance market into the position it’s in today.

During the Democratic gubernatorial debate on Thursday, Fried did not give Crist a pass for the increased number of policyholders with Citizens despite the Great Recession impacting the majority of his term. She also accused him of siding with the Trial Bar over insurance companies or Floridians.

“By manipulating the market, he made sure that we have a crisis today. The policies that he put into place when he was Governor is why we have an insurance problem here today,” Fried said.

Crist issued his call for DeSantis to act as part of a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Joining him was former Democratic Rep. Sean Shaw, the state’s former Insurance Consumer Advocate.

“As a trial lawyer, I sued property insurance companies on behalf of homeowners who had been screwed by their carrier. The only person I’ve seen stand up to property insurance companies is Charlie Crist,” said Shaw, who was also the Democratic nominee for Attorney General in 2018. “When State Farm threatened to leave the state if they couldn’t hike up their rates, Charlie said, ‘Good, you charge too much anyway,’ and that’s when I knew Charlie was the fighter we needed on this issue.”

“This is what affects people’s ability to have a house, to have a home, and to feel safe now that hurricane season is coming, and Gov. DeSantis wants to talk about everything but this issue,” he continued. “Charlie Crist was the best Governor I’ve ever seen for property insurance consumers, and that’s why I’m here today supporting him to be Florida’s next Governor.”

As a Congressman, Crist introduced the FAITH Act, a federal backstop for catastrophic reinsurance that has been called a “massive, quick, quick, fix for the market.”

Crist is the current front-runner in the Democratic Primary. He has consistently led Fried in polling and fundraising. However, both fall short of DeSantis’ current numbers.

The Primary will take place Aug. 23, and the General Election is scheduled for Nov. 8.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


4 comments

  • Joe Corsin

    July 26, 2022 at 7:16 pm

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  • Bend

    July 27, 2022 at 11:23 am

    26 thousand a month getting homes that’s a big expensive deal if you want people to support it

  • Pancho Villar

    July 27, 2022 at 11:32 am

    Crist had his hand in creating today’s property insurance issues in FL too. The FL legislature deserves the most criticism, however, it did absolutely nothing to address things during its theatrical special session.

Comments are closed.


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