Democrats: Republican policies haven’t abated Florida’s insurance ‘crisis’
Nikki Fried wants to ensure qualified female candidates are not left behind. Image via AP.

Republicans are 'playing fast and loose with the American dream. They're playing fast and loose with the people of Florida.'

Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried blamed Republicans for Farmers Insurance’s decision to discontinue its policies in the state, saying leaders focused their efforts on limiting lawsuits against insurance companies instead of making the changes necessary to stabilize a market that one former insurance commissioner described as a “crisis.”

“The Democratic leadership in the House and Senate have been proposing ideas and solutions which have gone completely unheard. So now we’re in a situation here in the state of Florida where people can’t afford to live here,” Fried said. “If they are even able to find property insurance, the premiums are through the roof, you’re seeing in some areas 40, 50, 60% increases in their premiums. And that is completely unacceptable.”

Farmers told state regulators earlier this week that it would no longer sell homeowners, auto or umbrella policies in Florida, although it said that other insurance brands owned by the company would continue to be sold. The decision is expected to affect about 100,000 policies overall.

The decision by Farmers — a well-known national carrier — to withdraw from Florida put the state’s tumultuous property insurance market back in the spotlight. Farmers also is withdrawing from California.

Republicans have contended a slew of recent changes should stabilize the market at some point, but Democrats said there’s no evidence it’s working so far.

Some of Florida’s top Democrats also criticized Gov. Ron DeSantis for vetoing budget projects they said would have helped mitigate risk in hopes of reducing future insured losses.

Democrats also chastised Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis for remarks he made to Farmers Insurance on social media.

Patronis announced he was directing the Division of Consumer Services to “take a deeper dive” into the complaints filed against the company by its policyholders. Patronis said the review could trigger a market conduct investigation which could lead to fines. Patronis also has asked Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Tasha Carte to “engage with Farmers Insurance policyholders who may be affected by this action to assess their involvement by the carrier.”

Orlando Democrat Rep. Anna Eskamani said she was surprised Patronis used social media to comment on Farmer’s departure and said she was embarrassed by some of his comments. “I would also argue that threatening an insurance company, it’s not a good way to attract more insurance companies to Florida, which is what we need right now.”

Broward County Democrat Rep. Hillary Cassel also criticized former Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier by saying he failed to follow through on the Legislature’s mandate for him to provide lawmakers data to review the market and better examine what’s going on. Lawmakers last December met in a Special Session to pass long-sought statutory changes advocated by the insurance industry without having the benefit of the data. Altmaier announced his resignation soon afterward.

“So, what we’ve done is we’ve been trying to solve a problem without the actual data to support the information,” she said, noting that Republican legislative leaders downplayed Altmaier’s failure to provide the information.

Cassel noted that Farmers cited historically high catastrophic losses and the soaring costs of reinsurance, which gives insurance companies additional protection. Cassel said reinsurance accounts for 49% of homeowners’ premiums and is “what is keeping insurance companies from being able to stay in the state.”

The Legislature has appropriated $3 billion for reinsurance in the last two years to abate the “crisis” in the property market. Democrats at the time criticized it as a bailout.

Cassel on Wednesday repeated the criticism and asserted that using taxpayer money to lower the costs of reinsurance had the opposite effect, disqualifying carriers from getting the ratings necessary to qualify for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“So, we passed a $2 billion package that at the end of the day, only six out of 165 insurance companies took advantage of because we actually increased the cost of reinsurance. And that just goes to show once again, the Republicans have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to insurance,” she said.

Meanwhile, House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell of Tampa said Republicans are “playing fast and loose with the American dream. They’re playing fast and loose with the people of Florida.”

Driskell added that ideas to help stabilize the market promoted by Democrats have been ignored. She was the primary sponsor of the Democratic caucus’s bill (HB 1477). Among other things, the bill would have made Florida’s Insurance Commissioner a statewide elected post and not an appointee who answers to the Governor and CFO.

“These are the real solutions that we need to be talking about and how to provide people with great relief and provide real accountability in this market,” she said.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


  • Earl Pitts American

    July 12, 2023 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you Nikki for bringing that up,
    Just imagine how screwed we would have been if we came out of Covid with Gillum in The Florida Govornor’s Mansion.
    Florida would have been flat broke prior to Hurricane Ian. Even if Christ would have won he still had time to squander (in the leftist way) Florida’s financial surplus prior to Hurricane Ian devistation.
    Thanks again for bringing that up Nikki.
    You make my, Earl Pitts American’s. job so easy,
    Earl Pitts “The Real Mayor of Real-Ville” American

    • Silly Wabbit

      July 12, 2023 at 3:49 pm

      You kwazy.

    • Elliott Offen

      July 12, 2023 at 11:28 pm

      👆 Terrorist supporter, anti-government bomber, neo nazi propagandist, crook, and pedo..Earl Pitts spent many years behind bars for pedo.

      • Earl Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

        July 13, 2023 at 8:18 am

        Thank you Smelliott,
        My, Earl Pitts American’s, greatness is totally built upon your hard work ethic and your strong iniate proclivity to back me, Earl Pitts American, up with your wacky lefty sounding commentary to gin up all the other readership here at our benevolant host F. P.
        I, Earl Pitts American, thank you and our benevolant host, F. P , thanks you, Smelliott, for all you have done to build us up to the true media giant we have become.
        Thanks Smelliott you are truly “the wind beneith our wings”,
        Earl Pitts “The Real Mayor of Real-ville” American

    • Cheesy Floridan

      July 13, 2023 at 5:34 pm

      who knows, ron only won by about 34000 votes when Gillum ran. Gillum was also aquited on his charges. and Ron desantis isn’t squandering away the surplus by using millions upon millions of tax dollars we pay to fight his lawsuits and fly people around the country?

  • My Take

    July 12, 2023 at 3:34 pm

    There must be nothing woke there.
    Doesn’t really need attention.

  • TJC

    July 12, 2023 at 3:47 pm

    Poor Republicans of Tallahassee, getting blamed for not fixing one little problem. Just look at all the really big problems they were working on: drag queens, children’s books, making sure more people have access to more guns and without any pesky oversight, more taxpayers’ money to profit unaccountable charter schools, all manner of anti-LGBTQ hatred, and smacking private company Disney for speaking its mind. Yep, that’s really getting important things done for the average Floridian.
    Vote them all in again and expect more of the same. It reminds me of the old saying: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is a clear sign of crazy.

  • Dont Say FLA

    July 12, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    If you look at problem the way the GOP looks at it, as in “Insurance company profits are not nearly high enough,” well, it’s fixed! GOP slogan: “There I fixed it.”

  • Jane

    July 12, 2023 at 7:05 pm

    Florida passed a $1 billion reinsurance bill last year exactly for this reason. Typical Democrats making a mountain out of a mole hill.

    • Impeach Biden

      July 13, 2023 at 7:27 am

      That’s how Nikki “Drama Queen” Fried rolls. She still fuming by getting rolled by flip flopper Crist and of course DeSantis would crush her too.

    • Cheesy Floridan

      July 13, 2023 at 5:32 pm

      and yet my home owners insurance is still going up up up. and according to the people who passed that law and others it will take time for the insurance issue to be better. maybe years. and yet my mortgage payment will go up and that gives me less money to buy food for my kids and pay for daycare. so i can continue working and hopefully be able to afford things and buy things from publix that will generate tax income for the state of florida to use for stupid lawsuits. yay!

  • Impeach Biden

    July 13, 2023 at 6:12 am

    So the most insignificant politician in the state of Florida, Nikki Fried, blames the Republicans for Farmers Insurance leaving the state. Is she aware that Farmers is also leaving Kalifornia? Now who runs that State?

    • Tjb

      July 13, 2023 at 4:53 pm

      Since DeSantis became governor property insurance rates has increases 206%. Desantis is also, saying that the insurance companies that have left our state will return after the hurricane season. If we can blame Biden for inflation, we should be able to blame DeSantis and the Florida Republican leader for the huge increases for property insurance.

      • Cheesy Floridan

        July 13, 2023 at 5:32 pm

        knock on wood we dont get a big storm and our Supreme Leader, the great God sent DeSantis says he THINKS they will come back.

    • joey

      July 14, 2023 at 5:16 pm

      Abd who to blame Biden? This is a mess thanks to Repudicans.

  • Majic Draggin'

    July 13, 2023 at 6:55 am

    Have a puff or five, Nikki. You’ve earned it for the day.

  • JD

    July 14, 2023 at 6:19 am

    Florida is Kalifornia now due to 25+ years of Republican policies without the high wage economy and now sans mask the immigrant labor. People don’t have to move. Those assh0les brought all they griped about here.

    Hold a special session and stop campaigning Ronald McDonald to fix the insurance. You clowns.

  • Blusky

    July 14, 2023 at 8:36 am

    “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his political action committee have received millions of dollars from insurance stakeholders as he has overseen massive giveaways to the insurance industry, according to a new report.” Link to the facts:
    No matter how you slice it… FL Republicans are crooks and liars…

  • James

    July 16, 2023 at 9:44 pm

    Florida windstorm insurance is too risky. Besides the actual potential of loss, as demonstrated by Hurricane Ian, there are millions spent every year on water damage claims, many of which involve lawyers and assignment of benefits to attorneys. The patient (florida homeowners) is bleeding to death slowly.
    Meanwhile, some insurance carriers gave out big bonuses from years when a terrible storm did not hit. TIme to make Citizens the only windstorm carrier in the state, then set higher deductibles (not 2%) and limit claims to catastrophic events and not pay for new kitchens cabinets just for leaking toilet or ice makers.

Comments are closed.


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