Senate Democrats call for making ‘trade secret’ insurance data public

Finding out the particulars could be key to cracking the code that's driving the highest insurance rates in the country, two top Senate Democrats said.


Color Senate Democrats skeptical of the oft-repeated claim that Florida is the source of 77 to 79% of all insurance litigation even though it accounts for just 8% of the entire U.S. insurance market.

Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book and Senate Democratic Leader-Designate Jason Pizzo held a town meeting with Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) Commissioner Michael Yaworsky Wednesday night on an issue that is top of mind for many Floridians as hurricane season kicks into high gear: the cost of insuring property in Florida.

“Floridians are upset, concerned and worried because it is something that they have to rely on to preserve their most valuable possession,” Book said.

Yaworsky said that Florida is home to the “most complicated, sophisticated insurance market in the world” and has been since Hurricane Andrew struck and sent all assumptions about liability and exposure tumbling, Yaworsky said.

Still, Pizzo roasted Yaworsky over the claim that Florida accounts for most of the country’s lawsuits about insurance claims compared to its tiny share of the U.S. insurance market. He said he voted for legislation he was told would address that situation years ago, but nothing’s changed. And he and other lawmakers can’t see the data that adds up to that claim.

“We’ve been getting more information from the federal government on UFOs in the past year than we have on the current insurance data from the state of Florida,” Pizzo said.

Yaworsky said that the data behind that assertion is a trade secret. In a 2016 case, OIR wanted to release the data but was prevented by a judge’s ruling, Yaworsky said.

“I think it’s a fair question that the Legislature can look at (changing the laws about) to be honest with you,” Yaworsky said.

Later, Pizzo said he would be introducing legislation make the data more transparent.

Yaworsky, who started as the insurance regulation chief in March, said the insurance market is getting better.

“I’ve approved five companies this year to come into the marketplace, which is more than last year,” Yaworsky said.

Later, Pizzo said it’s not surprising that more insurance companies want a piece of the Florida insurance market, given recent legislation Gov. Ron DeSantis backed. The new law made it so that insurance companies would no longer be required to pay plaintiffs’ attorney fees, even if they improperly denied the claim.

“The insurance companies are realizing they’re not going to have litigation anymore because all the Fords and Chevys — smaller claims — have been eliminated,” Pizzo said. “If they have a $20,000 property damage claim, people are going to find out real soon they can’t hire an attorney for less than that.”

Pizzo said he would also like to file legislation that will flag companies that are denying a high percentage of smaller claims and also allow multiple buildings to leverage better rates by negotiating insurance coverage and rates as a collective.

There was some good news on the horizon. Last week’s Hurricane Idalia only had a fraction of the property damage that Hurricane Ian had last year, Yaworsky said.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Andrew

    September 7, 2023 at 9:16 am

    It’s time to expose how much control the Insurance industry has on Florida State Government, and how the government of the people, for the people, and by the people, is controlled by the very high insurance premiums, all Florida citizens and businesses pay, without consent. The industry donates to the point of eroding citizens voices, and votes, to all three branches, the executive (book tours, p`residential campaigns, private militia, called ‘security’), the legislature, and the courts. Then we have ex-public officials continuing and sustaining the corruption by working for high profile lobbying firms, that secretly charge even more money from the insurance industry, hidden from all of us. The Governor labels anything he opposes as ‘politicized’ but Florida is the Country’s example of the ‘Politicization’ of the insurance industry and it should scare the hell out of the rest of the nation!

    • Rick Whitaker

      September 8, 2023 at 8:16 pm

      it does scare the hell out of us

  • Rick Whitaker

    September 8, 2023 at 8:14 pm

    i hope the florida journalist’s find out which politicians are colluding with the insurance companies. bribes are being offered when the money is that big. dig in and let us know who to bust.

Comments are closed.


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