Sixty Days for 12.13.22 — A prime-time look at the 2022 Legislative Special Session

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Notes and highlights from today in Tallahassee.

Sixty Days — A prime-time look at the 2022 Legislative Special Session:

The Last 24

The Senate passed the three Special Session bills, after nearly 6 hours of floor Session. Across the Rotunda, House panels evaluated and advanced the round of legislation after four laps of committee meetings throughout the day. Meanwhile, Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier may be on his way out. Here’s your nightly rundown.

Property insurance: Some Senators crossed party lines as the chamber passed the property insurance bill. Meanwhile, the House got the bill prepped for a vote on Wednesday.

Hurricanes: The Senate and House panels gave their unanimous support to the hurricane relief bill, but not without amendment proposals from House Democrats.

Tolls: The Senate greenlit Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposal to set up a 50% toll credit for frequent commuters, and the House is next.

Committee reassignments: Rep. Joe Harding’s departure triggered a series of new House committee assignments and leadership changes.

Regulators! Asked by Sen. Lori Berman, Altmaier did not deny he was leaving his post.

Come together: The Legislative Black Caucus declared its opposition to Republicans’ property insurance bill.

Jury’s out: DeSantis asked the Florida Supreme Court to impanel a grand jury to investigate vaccine “wrongdoing” and set up a public health integrity panel.

Quote of the Day

“Is everybody in a rush to go home? My stomach’s getting cut open on Saturday morning to get double disc replacement, but I’ll stay here till Friday if it helps our constituents.”

— Sen. Jason Pizzo pleading for Republicans to accept one of his amendments before voting on the property insurance bill.


Bill Day’s Latest

3 Questions

Sen. Jim Boyd fielded hours of questions from Senators Tuesday before the 27-13 vote on the property insurance bill. But he wasn’t done answering prompts for the day. Boyd joined Senate President Kathleen Passidomo for her new conference after floor Session and took questions from reporters, including Florida Politics.

Q: When can homeowners start to expect to save some money?

Boyd: Homeowners will start to realize that, as we’ve said all along, it takes a bit of time for it to work its way into the rate-making process, but I believe we will see more competition and more market availability when folks that want to come to Florida to invest capital to insure Floridians see what we’ve done today. I think that’s going to be a huge encouragement, as Senator (Jason) Pizzo even said he understands, $2 billion of capital waiting to come to Florida to see what the outcome of this legislation is.

Q: What about the effect that this bill is going to have on reinsurance markets? With (the Florida Optional Reinsurance Assistance program) and that issue, how do you prevent this temporary program from becoming a permanent program, because unless reinsurers come back and provide capacity, you guys are going to be stuck with that layer every year?

Boyd: I think that that’s something perhaps we look at every year. We passed it in Special Session in May with $2 billion of (Reinsurance to Assist Policyholders) program coverage. Now we’re doing this, but it’s a one-year program. It’s an optional program that carriers pay for, much like they’re buying reinsurance in the regular market. They have an opportunity to participate in this program. I wouldn’t expect it to go on for a long period of time because I also believe many of the reforms that we’ve made today will solve many of the problems in the market that are driving rates up, and reinsurers are going to look at Florida as much more of an opportunity for them to bring their reinsurance capital to this market and cover carriers that are participating.

Q: It’s long-term benefit, short-term pain, the way you guys have described this. It’s kind of hard to sell to voters to take your medicine right now. Isn’t this hard to do before the election?

Boyd: I certainly didn’t account to the short-term pain. I think this is long-term gain for everybody, and we’re going to have to take the steps to get there. We’re doing everything we can to help consumers afford their premiums. Somebody talked about their mother-in-law’s 85 years old, can she afford it. Can she afford not to have insurance and lose her home, perhaps, because there’s a mortgage on it? To the point earlier, the crisis is getting worse. It’s not getting better, so we had to do something now, and Special Session was the time to do it. I’m thrilled that all bodies of the Legislature came together to do something good for our constituents.

Lobby Up

The Special Session on property insurance impacts more than the insurance industry — it helps the lobbying corps, too.

While there’s always a bevy of registrations before the Regular Session, insurance companies have been locking down lobbying teams ever since the Governor first floated another Spesh Sesh on property insurance during the election season.

Without further ado, here’s a rundown of some of the latest registrations:

— American Coastal Insurance Company signed with Mark Delegal, Josh Aubuchon and Scott Jenkins of Delegal Aubuchon Consulting. American Coastal is the sister company to UPC Insurance, which is one of the insurance companies exiting the Florida market.

— Cabrillo Coastal General Insurance Agency has signed an agreement with Jack Anderson of Lisa Miller and Associates. The Gainesville-based company has been writing property insurance policies in Florida since 2006 and recently announced it would start offering a flood endorsement product to its policyholders.

— The Travelers Companies has retained solo lobbyist Allison Sitte. Better known as Travelers, the New York-based S&P 500 company is the second-largest writer of commercial property casualty insurance and the sixth-largest writer of personal insurance policies through independent agents in the U.S. 

— The National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters has hired Will McKinley and Angela Dempsey of PooleMcKinley. NAPIA is a trade group that provides ethical, legal and legislative representation for the public adjusting profession.

— Tower Hill Insurance Group has contracted with Robert Henderson of Meenan PA. The Gainesville-based company is one of Florida’s largest residential property insurers, represented by more than 850 insurance agencies throughout the state.

— Bankers Insurance Company and two of its subsidiaries have retained Timothy Stanfield of Greenberg Traurig. The St. Petersburg-based organization is one of several insurers that announced this year it would stop operating in Florida. When it announced the decision in July, it cited fraud and excessive litigation as the cause.

Breakthrough Insights

The Next 24

— The Florida Ethics Commission will meet at 8:30 a.m. to review alleged violations of state law governing ethics and campaign finance. View the full agenda.

The House will hold a floor Session at 10 a.m.

— The State Board of Education will meet at 10 a.m. The call-in number is 800-289-0459. The conference code is 728882. View the full agenda.

Full committee agendas, including bills to be considered, are available on the House and Senate websites.

Staff Reports


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