Even in New Hampshire, Florida’s Governor is being compelled to defend his home state’s battered homeowners’ insurance market.
During a press conference in Rochester, Ron DeSantis pushed back against the “false premise” that he hadn’t addressed issues in the sector, adding that he would have done even more if the Legislature had been on board.
“We’ve done property insurance for three years. Going back to 2021, we had to get what the Legislature would do. There were other things that I wanted them to do then that they weren’t prepared to,” DeSantis said, though he didn’t specify what those other things were.
“Once the election happened, we had better numbers,” DeSantis added. “We called a Special Session very quickly and got those changes done. So we’ve been working on this for a number of years.”
Despite DeSantis’ narrative of action, he has acknowledged elsewhere that Floridians will need some luck to deal with this storm season, as he urged Florida homeowners to “knock on wood” and wait out the crisis during a radio interview earlier this month.
“I think they’re going to wait through this hurricane season and then I think they’re going to be willing to deploy more capital to Florida,” DeSantis said of insurance companies earlier this month on the Howie Carr Show. “So, knock on wood, we won’t have a big storm this summer. Then I think you’re going to start to see companies see an advantage.”
Those with policies from Citizens Property Insurance may need to knock the loudest. DeSantis noted last year that the state-sponsored insurer of last resort was “unfortunately undercapitalized” and that the company could go “belly up” if it actually had to weather a major storm.
DeSantis purportedly helped to boost the reinsurance market during his stop in England this spring. He met with British reinsurance companies, and “secured a commitment from companies in attendance to increase access for carriers serving Florida policyholders,” according to a media release from the Governor’s Office.
Despite the legislative work and the reassuring words, the perception is that the market is still in trouble. Farmers Insurance, the ninth-largest property insurance company in the U.S., left the state recently. Seven other insurers went insolvent in the last year, an indication to many homeowners and observers that the state’s insurance market is in crisis.