After more than six years working as the state’s top insurance regulator David Altmaier is stepping down from his post effective Dec. 28.
Altmaier submitted his resignation to Gov. Ron DeSantis Dec. 15 and sent a copy of the letter to the staff at the Office of Insurance Regulation.
“It is an honor that will be extraordinarily difficult to replicate in my future career aspirations,” Altmaier said of working as Florida’s Insurance Commissioner. “It would be impossible for me to thank you enough for the opportunity, for your support during your term, and for the incredible working relationship myself and my agency have enjoyed with you and your team.”
The resignation comes weeks before a new lobbying ban kicks in and prevents Florida’s top regulators and agency secretaries from lobbying the Florida Legislature, or the offices they once worked at, for six years. Currently Florida law precludes former executives from lobbying the agencies they served and the executive office for two years. The ban doesn’t apply to lobbying the Florida Legislature.
The ban takes effect Jan. 1, 2023.
Altmaier’s departure also comes in the midst of a homeowners insurance “crisis” attempted to be made better by new sweeping legislation (SB 2A) approved a Special Session this week and signed into law by DeSantis.
Six insurers have gone into receivership this year alone, one has been placed under “administrative supervision” by regulators, and dozens more have hiked rates and canceled policies. The Demotech ratings agency in July also threatened to downgrade 17 companies before backing off.
In response, Florida lawmakers are considering a sweeping property insurance bill that eliminates a provision from law that allows plaintiffs who successfully sue their insurance companies to recover their attorneys’ fees. It also removes the ability of a homeowner to assign their policy benefits to a contractor. The assignment of benefits (AOB) is typically done in an emergency to speed repairs, but insurers have long complained contractors abuse the practice by driving up costs through needless fixes. The changes and others are an effort to build up Florida’s ailing insurance market.
Florida Politics reported earlier this week that Altmaier could be resigning after an exchange between the commissioner and state Sen. Lori Berman.
During discussion on SB 2A, Berman said it had come to her attention that Altmaier was “leaving the office very shortly” and asked him about his departure date. But Committee Chairman Travis Hutson told Berman to stick to questions about SB 2A.
She told Hutson that information is relevant because the OIR is slated to be sharing data from an industry data call with the Legislature this spring as part of SB 76, which was passed by the Legislature in 2021.
Altmaier did not deny he was leaving and told Berman the OIR will share the data with the Legislature no matter who is in charge.