Central Florida lawmakers say Special Session must address homeowners insurance
Kristen Arrington, Anna Eskamani, Jason Brodeur, Keith Truenow, David Smith, Geraldine Thompson at Tiger Bay. Image by Jacob Ogles

Tiger Bay CFL
Legislators from both sides of the aisle agreed that the issue is pressing.

As chatter persists that a Special Session will be called within weeks, Central Florida lawmakers say it must address insurance.

At a legislative update presented at a Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida meeting, Rep. David Smith said lawmakers must address the top issue facing Floridians.

“You’ve probably all heard rumors suggesting a Special Session,” the Winter Springs Republican said. “Homeowners insurance needs to be at the top of the list.”

Talk has generally suggested that Gov. Ron DeSantis and legislative leaders could call lawmakers to Tallahassee before the Governor signs the state budget, leaving significant leverage over members advocating for local projects during an election year.

For Smith, he thinks it’s a given based on history that DeSantis will veto at least $500 million to $600 million from the budget. He’d like lawmakers to direct that among directly to My Safe Florida Home, allowing improvements that will immediately lead to reduced premiums for homeowners.

Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, agreed with Smith that the only reason to call a Special Session would be if it addressed insurance. “The rumors right now are that it would focus on issues impacting immigration, and even efforts to add more initiatives to your ballot to confuse voters on Amendments 3 and 4,” she said. “I hope those are just rumors.”

But she said tax relief passed this year and presented by Smith as relief for homeowners would result in little gain for most residents. Instead, she said the Legislature should look at more bold proposals, such as a bipartisan bill from Reps. Hillary Cassel and Spencer Roach that was workshopped but not advanced in the House. That would effectively create a public option for wind insurance.

Sen. Jason Brodeur, a Lake Mary Republican, discussed the need to create affordable housing, noting that the rising cost of homes is part of the reason for increasing insurance premiums. He noted that lawmakers did pass the Live Local Act, largely preempting local governments from imposing development restrictions that make it difficult to build cheap, dense housing.

“The locals came to the state and said with your Live Local bill, why are you doing this to us,” he said. “We said for 100 years you could always build affordable housing, you just choose not to.”

But Sen. Geraldine Thompson, a Windemere Democrat, said she’s concerned that Tallahassee has too often taken decisions away from local government, and that has hindered a response to economic concerns within communities.

“I believe in home rule,” she said, “and I voted against preemption because I think the local elected officials who are closest to the people should have the right to set laws, ordinances, etc., that work for their district, and it shouldn’t be Tallahassee, 200 miles away.”

Rep. Kristen Arrington, a Kissimmee Democrat, noted that lawmakers returned to Tallahassee for a Special Session on insurance not long ago, and the subject has constantly hung over the Legislature.

“I think we were here last year and the same question happened and we heard the discounts would be coming,” Arrington said. “We’re still waiting on those. I do know we are waiving some of the fees for the taxes on this next bill, but we should have done that a long time ago so consumers could see some instant action.”

Rep. Keith Truenow, a Tavares Republican, said it’s time to re-examine some long-running programs, most notably Citizens Property Insurance, Florida’s state-run insurer of last resort. He said the state needs to find a way to get more homeowners off that insurance and back in the private marketplace.

“Citizens Insurance was a novel idea in the beginning, but I think it’s gone way too far and slowed down the capitalistic market, the free market,” the Senate candidate said. “To adjust and what we need to happen, I mean, depopulating citizens and getting it back to where folks feel like they can come into the state and be profitable.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Michael K

    May 6, 2024 at 12:06 pm

    If our governor hadn’t engaged in those stupid, harmful and divisive culture wars – to feed his failed political ambitions – the legislature would have done their job and taken care of this.

    • Elvis Pitts "AMERICA'S BIG VOICE ON THE RIGHT" American

      May 6, 2024 at 6:42 pm

      Good evening Michael K,
      These LawMakers have no right to tell The Sage Patriot what should be on the Special Session’s Agenda.
      The high home insurance is a function of BidenNomice and the Epic Fail of the entire O8iden Administration.
      These Home Insurance rates will come down within 10 months of Trump taking the office of POTUS.
      So everyone should just “Relax Their Political Sphincters” and quit picking on Ron DeSantis for something so clearly the fault of “The Dook 4 Brains 08iden Administration.
      Thank you Michael K and all my, Elvis Pitts American’s other Besty Leftys out there,
      Elvis Pitts American

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 6, 2024 at 12:26 pm

    If they really have to call a special legislative session just to address the biggest concern for the majority of Floridians, they should take advantage of that special session to rescind all of Rhonda’s exemptions.

    Let Dee’s state funded campaign finances, if any, come out into the Sunshine, and then watch Rhonda resign by sunset.

  • Impeach Biden

    May 6, 2024 at 12:32 pm

    Anna Eskamani is a slice of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz up in Central Florida. So how will the government of the state of Florida force / convince insurers to lower their rates when they pay billions when a hurricane hits. This ain’t “Bidenomics” where you just keep printing money.

  • Richard D

    May 6, 2024 at 1:35 pm

    The main reason for rising house insurance premiums is that house prices have been rising for years. As a result, insurers have to pay more to repair or rebuild a house, so they have to charge higher premiums. In Florida, though, things are different because all homeowners are subsidizing property development in areas, such as beaches and barrier islands, that are known to be at highest risk for hurricane destruction. Lawmakers and insurers could significantly reduce most people’s property insurance premiums by requiring property owners in the highest-risk areas to pay premiums commensurate with the risks they’re choosing to take. Their premiums should be much, much higher than those in lower-risk areas such as on the elevated portions of the mainland. In fairness to all, insurance risk maps need to be changed back to the way they were in the past, that is, to concentrate perceived risk to the highest-risk areas.

    • Debbie B.

      May 6, 2024 at 8:41 pm

      Exactly! I currently reside in a state-defined “condo” in the middle of north-central Florida; however, my insurance rates have risen over 140% in the 15 years I’ve owned my condo, even though we’ve never had a hurricane hit directly. My unit is built more like a house and should be treated as such.

      I’m really tired of paying for the rich people who are living in high rise condos on the beach…that’s not my lifestyle. Something definitely needs to be done at the state level!

  • PeterH

    May 6, 2024 at 1:41 pm

    Florida is high risk. Insurance companies sole interest is to make money.

    • Impeach Biden

      May 6, 2024 at 3:26 pm

      Companies only stay in business if they make money.

      • rick whitaker

        May 7, 2024 at 11:02 pm

        HOWLER MONKEY, you mean i was in business for all those years because i was making money. thanks for clearing that up. of course you missed the point. it’s fair profit, not price gouging, that keeps you in business. excessive profits usually lead to someone doing it better and cheaper unless a bad governor comes along and gums things up with grift. grow up.

  • Elvis Pitts "AMERICA'S BIG VOICE ON THE RIGHT" American

    May 6, 2024 at 6:48 pm

    All Dook 4 Brains Leftist posters are required to read my post above on the complexitys of the Home Insurance Market so you can learn something today rather than spending your entire day 8itching, moaning, and Wanking.
    You are welcome,
    Elvis Pitts American

    • Elvis Pitts "AMERICA'S BIG VOICE ON THE RIGHT" American

      May 6, 2024 at 7:23 pm

      Good evening America,
      My, Elvis Pitts American’s phone has been blowing up, with so many of my Besty Lefty’s complaining that I should not be advising them on how much and how often they should or should not be wanking.
      After I contimplated their advice I, Elvis Pitts American, am lifting all wanking restrictions for the upcoming 6 days. So my Besty Leftys you are free to engage in excessive “Over The Top” “Non-Stop Wanking” thru Sunday at Midnight !!!!!
      So have fun, use lube, and wank on,
      Elvis Pitts American

      • Speedy Gonzalez

        May 6, 2024 at 7:29 pm

        Thanks Senior Elvis for taking my mabey too many phone calls. My Cousin SloPoke was having a fit as you know hes a big time wanker too.
        Have a great week Senior Elvis hold on a minute-“Whats that SloPoke? Your out of lube?
        Anyway thanks a lot Senior Elvis, Speedy

    • rick whitaker

      May 7, 2024 at 9:25 pm

      ELVIS THE WANKER, gary burbank please give up your insanity of acting like rednecks, saying stupid and humorless things. you aren’t being paid and you are looking like a huge 82 year old retired radio clown fool.

  • rick whitaker

    May 7, 2024 at 12:28 am

    on my local news tonight they had a story about florida residents moving to tennessee more than any other state. 14% of tennessee’s new residents came from florida. they interviewed a couple that had moved here and they gave several reasons for moving. high home and insurance prices was the top reason. other reasons they gave were, friendly people here in tennessee and florida’s bad government.

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 7, 2024 at 7:28 am

    Insurance is Socialism. It will never work, as proven by Florida public school curriculum.

    So why are these FLg0P legislators wanting a special session for trying to fix Socialism of the worst kind, privatized Capitalist Socialism?

    Private. Capitalist. Socialist. That’s three kinds of bottom feeders feeding on the insurance premiums that should be paid out to property owners where damage occurred, minus operational expenses for the operation of managing the insurance operation.

    Claims adjusters need to put in charge of insurance industry C-suite compensation.

  • rick whitaker

    May 7, 2024 at 7:58 pm


    • Mike from Florida

      May 7, 2024 at 8:15 pm

      As it should be

  • rick whitaker

    May 7, 2024 at 8:38 pm

    mike from florida, what’s up dude? earl, now elvis, is one of your buds huh? good luck with that. my moderated comment to earl was stating that he is poison. a uber racist can only be described as poison. so are you agreeing with earl-elvis’ racist comments?

  • Phil Morton

    May 8, 2024 at 7:43 am

    Special session you say? Should have been handled in regular session, which just got over.

Comments are closed.


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