Jimmy Patronis, other officials urge patience as property insurance rates continue to rise
In this photo made in a flight provided by mediccorps.org, receding storm waters surround homes in a community near Keaton Beach, Fla., following the passage of Hurricane Idalia, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Tropical Weather Florida
'We tell them we’ve done these reforms, we start to get into the weeds — they don’t want to hear that because their premiums are still increasing.'

Florida’s homeowner insurance crisis is turning a corner with “light at the end of the tunnel” and “good news” as a slate of new companies come into the market and put downward pressure on rates. But homeowners, still facing price hikes, aren’t seeing it yet.

That was the message from most officials at an insurance panel convened by Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. He and other lawmakers and regulators touted changes enacted by the Legislature to reduce lawsuits as having the intended effect.

Reinsurance costs, a key component of costly rate hikes in recent years, are expected to stay flat. Lawsuits have dropped significantly. Outside carriers are more interested in the Florida market. At least two companies, Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky said, have filed for statewide average rate decreases.

“This downward trend is a good thing, it’s showing that we’re trying to turn the corner where it’ll ultimately help create stabilization in the market,” Patronis said.

Patronis also emphasized that other states are suffering from large rate hikes, a result of inflation and more damaging natural disasters. Nationwide, rates climbed 21% last year and there were high profile instances of carriers pulling back from a state, such as when State Farm said earlier this month it wouldn’t renew 30,000 homeowners policies in California

In contrast, Florida’s underlying data means it’s already turning a corner on large spikes in rates, Patronis said.

But those positive indicators belie the rate hikes most homeowners continue to experience. For example, Castle Key, an Allstate subsidiary, asked the Office of Insurance Regulation for a 53.5% statewide average rate hike on its condo policies in February, which regulators are still considering.

Rates shot up significantly in the last three years as seven companies went bankrupt in an 18-month span. Lawmakers acted in December 2022 to eliminate assignment of benefits contracts and one-way attorneys fees, which insurers said created an incentive to file frivolous lawsuits over dubious property damage claims.

Those changes need time to play out in the marketplace, lawmakers on the panel said, even if homeowners aren’t experiencing rate relief.

“We want to make sure this thing gets fixed but the worst thing we can do is enact all of this quality legislation and not give it the time, that 12 to 18 months to bake in,” said Sen. Jay Collins, a Tampa Republican. “Many of us have been preaching strategy and patience.”

Sen. Nick DiCeglie, an Indian Rocks Beach Republican, echoed those comments but also acknowledged that constituents may not understand or be interested in the nuances and history of Florida’s property insurance market.

“We tell them we’ve done these reforms, we start to get into the weeds — they don’t want to hear that because their premiums are still increasing in a way that is being incredibly negative on their financial situation especially our seniors who are on fixed incomes,” DiCeglie said. “Many times they don’t know that we’ve done anything. Sometimes they act like we haven’t done anything.”

Despite the panel’s assurances, the council of patience could wear thin on residents being priced out of their homes.

Cassie Brewer, who bought her Yacht Club Estates home in St. Petersburg five years ago with her husband, a retired Air Force colonel, said her insurance, including flood coverage, was now at $14,000 per year. She told the panel that the property insurance crisis wasn’t their fault, but higher rates mean she’ll have to move.

“Where does it stop? We’ve worked hard,” Brewer said. “If it goes any higher we’re probably going to have to sell as well.”

Gray Rohrer


  • Dont Say FLA

    April 25, 2024 at 2:49 pm

    Be patient. Just make sure to keep voting G0P. We promise the trickle down’s gonna start ANY DAY NOW

  • Julia

    April 25, 2024 at 3:55 pm

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  • tom palmer

    April 25, 2024 at 5:03 pm

    I do not have a policy with the Acme insurance Company of Maildrop Minnesota, but the rates have gone up beyond anything i have experienced in the last 30 years even though I live well inland. Something is wrong.

  • Marvin M.

    April 25, 2024 at 5:25 pm

    If you don’t like how things are now in Florida, you might want to try voting for something else, something new, rather than the same thing that’s been governing in Florida for the last 30 years.
    But if you like stifling insurance rates, crappy schools, smelly algae blooms, and government forms with questions that make no sense and answer choices that make even less sense, then by all means, keep voting for the status quo here in Florida.

  • George

    April 25, 2024 at 6:33 pm

    These legislators will continue to pass industry friendly legislation as long as they continue taking insurance industry campaign contributions.

  • Richard D

    April 25, 2024 at 8:44 pm

    Most articles about the house insurance problem in Florida blame what they call “excessive” litigation. “Excessive” is a value judgment which indicates that insurance companies are influencing public perceptions by way of these articles. They also call it “frivolous” litigation, another insurance industry identifier. None of the articles I’ve seen so far mention the fact that house prices have been rising faster than incomes for years, making them too expensive for many prospective buyers. For the same reason, insurance companies are having to pay more to repair or replace houses, but this is missing from most articles. And, of course, there is the problem of insured houses built in high-risk areas where there should be no insured structures at all. Insurers, in collaboration with the state insurance commissioner, have “spread the risk” of catastrophic storm destruction to combine relatively safe mainland areas with barrier islands and beachfront properties to keep premiums unfairly low in the high-risk areas. In most cases, due to “spreading the risk” onto the mainland, property owners in the highest-risk areas are not paying premiums commensurate with the extra-high risk associated with their endangered property locations. In those instances, mainland property owners are subsidizing the high-risk properties.

    • Dont Say FLA

      April 26, 2024 at 7:36 am

      Ambulance chasing attorneys are real. They’re just more middlemen, like insurance industry and its CEOs, in what ought to be a government program: insurance.

      Governments permit our homes, and governments build our roads, so when our houses and cars get broken, why isn’t it on the government to pay?

      Let’s just do that, public-ize the home & auto insurance industry, and get the middlemen out the dang way since they have proven themselves incapable of keeping their grubby hands out of all the money from premiums that’s supposed to go for paying claim but instead goes to CEOs and attorneys for being such good, good boys and doing such a good, good job in the eyes of the board and the stockholders while the customers, forced by law and/or contract be customers of the insurance industry, can go eff themselves.

      • Dont Say FLA

        April 26, 2024 at 7:41 am

        And, of course, payouts should diminish relative to property values being beyond two standard deviations more expensive than the local market’s mean property value.

        IOW if somebody buys a Bugatti and chooses to put it on public roads, let them be compensated for damages as if their Bugatti were a Camry XLS.

        And if the residence known as Maga Lardo got destroyed by a hurricane, compensate its owner maybe $750,000 or whatever the average price of a home in South Florida might be.

        Let people who needlessly pay very high prices, just because they want the fanciest such and such, let them carry their own risk. Leave the rest of us out of their risk calculation, please.

      • Ocean Joe

        April 26, 2024 at 2:19 pm

        When you have a legitimate claim and your insurance company low balls you with half of what they owe you under law by the terms of the contract you hold with them, or delays and causes even more damage, or rejects your claim you will be the first in line to call the lawyer.

        Reforms enacted to reduce litigation need to be balanced, otherwise those reforms are just another set of industry favoring paybacks at the expense of consumers.

        • Ocean Joe

          April 26, 2024 at 2:28 pm

          If you were smart, and you are, and you own an insured property, you should research attorneys who specialize in insurance and construction law, create a relationship, and be ready. As Morgan and Morgan say, the insurance companies know which lawyers know how to try a case and which ones jump at that low ball offer ‘because they need the money more than you do.” Don’t rely on a referral or a billboard. Research trial experience, verdicts recovered, disciplinary records. Research the use of private adjusters. Don’t take a squirt gun to a gunfight.

          And now…. you can get back to bashing lawyers.

  • WGD

    April 26, 2024 at 5:29 pm

    Insurance reform in FL – let insurance companies charge whatever they want and make it harder to sue them when they don’t pay. Brought to you by Republicans. But have patience.

    • Monday news

      April 26, 2024 at 9:19 pm

      They complain about the overpriced homes they build. And I complain about the pollution they drove in my drinking water and the higher medical bills I am paying and guess what I have a big big deductible

Comments are closed.


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