Gov. DeSantis describes state insurer Citizens as ‘unfortunately undercapitalized’
Ron DeSantis

Ron DeSantis
'We had questions early on even as the storm was hitting.'

Florida’s Governor continues to defend the state’s struggling property insurance market, though his words offer as much caution as reassurance.

Gov. Ron DeSantis remarked Friday in Cape Coral that Citizens Property Insurance, the state insurer of last resort, is “unfortunately undercapitalized.” However, he also noted that the company feels like it will be able to pay claims from this storm due to a relative lack of policies in Southwest Florida.

Citizens’ customer base has grown to more than a million customers as private insurers have failed or bailed on the state, but the Governor’s remarks suggest such growth comes with limits.

DeSantis told a reporter that “we had questions early on even as the storm was hitting about the Citizens Property Insurance, which I think most of you know is unfortunately undercapitalized, and it’s something that if you had a major storm, could be in some problems.”

Luckily for those policyholders at risk from Citizens’ precarious position, “they don’t have quite as many policies in this part of the state as they do in some other parts of the state. So they feel like they are going to be able to pay the claims that are out.”

Citizens’ latest estimate is that losses from the storm will be between $2.3 billion and $2.6 billion, per the Tampa Bay Times.

DeSantis stressed, as he has previously in the wake of Hurricane Ian, the “wind-water thing” (the difference between wind damage and flood damage). He noted that in many cases, people did not get flood insurance.

“My view is most of the damage has been flood damage,” DeSantis said, contending that some people buying property insurance were told “they don’t need flood insurance” and will be stuck with Federal Emergency Management Agency payouts in lieu of insurance settlements.

The insurance issues during the stretch run of the campaign have been something DeSantis’ political enemies have tried to weaponize. Friday’s comments were no exception.

Democrat Charlie Crist again called DeSantis the “worst property insurance governor in Florida history.”

“And it isn’t even close,” Crist said. “I never thought I’d live to see the day of a Florida governor bragging about the most expensive insurance market in America held together by billions in bailouts and duct tape. DeSantis’ Session was only special for the insurance companies that gave him $3 million in campaign contributions while he let them double Floridians’ rates. Because DeSantis failed, homeowners are getting squeezed and taxpayers are at risk. Floridians deserve a governor who gives a damn about them – not the insurance companies.”

Crist has brought that insurance argument to the airwaves as part of a seven-figure ad buy earlier this month, messaging backed up by third-party groups. Crist allies at the Lincoln Project have a new digital spot targeting women in the Interstate 4 corridor with the message that DeSantis was too busy playing politics to fix insurance.

The economic toll of the storm is enormous for the insurance industry, with more than $5.2 billion in paid-off claims already, according to the Office of Insurance Regulation. A little more than 12% of all claims have been resolved as of Friday morning.

Property insurance in Florida continues to struggle amid the second straight year of annual industry losses exceeding $1 billion. The Legislature convened in May for a Special Session to fix issues, including establishing a $2 billion reinsurance fund, but that didn’t stop the bleeding.

Even before Hurricane Ian, the average homeowner’s policy was $4,231 in 2022, nearly triple the U.S. average of $1,544.

____

Renzo Downey of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


15 comments

  • Joe Corsin

    October 14, 2022 at 12:02 pm

    ♥️Soros/Sanders 2024♥️

    • Impeach Biden

      October 15, 2022 at 9:36 am

      Probably see those bumper stickers in San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. Everyone else will have DeSantis bumper stickers. November 8 can’t come soon enough. Remember people vote with their wallets and you Democrats have drained them from 401k’s to inflation, fuel prices and on.

      • Joe Corsin

        October 15, 2022 at 11:54 am

        Yeah?
        👹 DeSatan 2024👹
        🍊 Orange Hitler 2024🍊
        💲Fraud Scott 2024💲
        Looks great..real classy.

      • Dennis Pruett

        October 15, 2022 at 6:28 pm

        Maybe deathSantis should spend a few more million of OUR money and fly himself and the whole crooked lying right wing faction to a resort

      • Blue Voter

        October 17, 2022 at 1:03 pm

        You’re a fool.

  • PeterH

    October 14, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    Fun Fact:

    Under capitalization of the FLORIDA STATE HOMEOWNERS WELFARE INSURANCE COMPANY …… Is a DeSantis problem. What is he doing about it? How is he planning on funding it? Will he ask for Biden to subsidize Florida homeowner’s insurance? Just how many federal handouts to the DeSantis administration will the American taxpayers support?
    REPUBLICANS ARE AMERICA’S PROBLEM!
    VOTE ALL REPUBLICANS OUT OF OFFICE!

  • tom palmer

    October 14, 2022 at 5:14 pm

    Well, in Gov. DeSantis’ defense, he was was pretty occupied in gay bashing and race-baiting and may not have had time to be involved in something like insurance that actually mattered.

    • Linwood Wright

      October 14, 2022 at 10:04 pm

      THIS

    • Ocean Joe

      October 15, 2022 at 9:04 am

      You left out banning books, campaigning outside of Florida for other wackos, illegally transporting unsuspecting Venezuelans to Martha’s Vineyard, playing games with covid, pushing redistricting to eliminate 3 majority Black districts, pushing an anti-riot bill directed at Blacks while ignoring it when it came to others, engaging in a culture war against climate science, impersonating George Wallace (I guess you covered that with the race baiting), fawning over Donald Trump, appointing a Q-anon gal to the university board of regents and her election denier husband as secretary of state, setting up the election police (because even though he claimed initially that Florida’s elections were perfect, we need to spend millions to look for fraud beyond the four old drunks in the Villages who voted for Trump twice), getting revenge on school board members who put safety over nonsense, attacking the federal government and then demanding FEMA relief, getting into the abortion debate, doling out federal covid aid without disclosing its’ source…
      ….so he has been extremely busy.

  • Daniela Patterson

    October 15, 2022 at 11:38 am

    It would really be nice to see him gone along with big Mouth Trump!

  • Souleater

    October 15, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    I want to eat your soul.

  • Yrral

    October 15, 2022 at 10:22 pm

    The citizens of Florida, should keep their worthless governor, worthless to Florida and worthless to America,think how worthless,he been to you on election day

  • June Fowler

    October 16, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    Perhaps a noose needs to be placed around the necks of insurance companies‼️Enuf is enuf with those corporate kooks and their zillion $ salaries and bonuses. Where would they be today without people needing insurance?

  • Sonja Fitch

    October 17, 2022 at 5:43 am

    Again and again the trump culter’s , Desantis, just BLAMES! Lock up
    Desantis for using Florida tax dollars to fund the Desantis Texas Human trafficking drama bs! Lock up Desantis!

  • arthro

    October 17, 2022 at 11:06 am

    Crist is the one who caused this mess. Just ask Nikki Fried – she actually told the truth during the primary. Even some Democrats have since criticized Crist’s insurance strategy. “He actually destroyed the insurance marketplace,” said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only Democrat elected statewide, in an interview with USA Today Network-Florida during her primary race against Crist, whom she has since endorsed. “What he did was a lot of our insurance carriers left the state, which caused Citizens’ policy numbers to go through the roof … he did a policy position that actually hurt the marketplace and ultimately hurt the consumers.”

    Want to blame someone for the property insurance mess? Blame Charlie Crist.

Comments are closed.


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