Gov. Ron DeSantis is rolling out his budget proposal, and it includes $431 million in breaks for people who have struggled with property insurance costs in recent years that the Governor’s Office says will save policyholders 6% on their premiums.
The plan includes a one-year holiday from taxes, fees and assessments affecting homeowners insurance policyholders, with $409 million allocated for these costs for policies of up to $750,000 written between July 1, 2024, and June 30, 2025. The insurance premium tax, the Fire Marshal assessment and the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association assessment are all under this umbrella.
Additionally, the DeSantis plan contemplates a permanent insurance premium tax exemption on flood insurance policies for $22 million for policies effective on or after July 1, 2024.
“We’re trying to make it for middle- and low-income people,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis argues that the goal is to stabilize the insurance sector to give private companies confidence so Floridians “see more capital come online,” as “ultimately, this is not something that’s run by the government.”
“I mean, it’s private companies that have to want to come into the market and have confidence that they’re in an environment that makes sense. We have done a lot to increase that. We don’t have the runaway lawsuits anymore like we used to, which drove up premiums a lot. So it’s feasible to come in and offer premiums that are competitive and yet still make money,” DeSantis said.
The Governor’s moves to shore up confidence in the flagging insurance market come just days after the U.S. Senate Budget Committee began a probe of Citizens Property Insurance and its ability to handle underwriting losses, including the question as to whether the state insurer might need a federal bailout. That did not come up in Tuesday’s press conference.
DeSantis on Tuesday described his administration as “ready, willing and able” to work with the Legislature on more insurance changes, an issue that has been front of mind in recent years. It’s worth noting that he recently blamed the Legislature for not implementing insurance reforms he wanted, then refused to say what those reforms were when asked directly.
DeSantis hasn’t suffered much political blowback from challenges in the insurance market, at least from his own party. A recent poll from the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab shows just 3% of Republicans primarily blame the Governor, though Democrats and independents are more likely to blame him.
That said, insurance has been a major issue for Floridians’ pocketbooks. A Cygnal survey last month showed 91% of voters are “concerned” about higher rates, with just 0.5% of all respondents saying their rates have decreased in the last year.