Gov. DeSantis won’t press insurers for lower rates ahead of 2024 storm season

Article Courtesy of Florida Politics

By A.G. Gancarski

Published March 18, 2024



Florida’s Governor is urging residents worried about the state’s homeowners’ insurance market to relax and trust reforms already passed to work, as he sidestepped a question about if he had plans to sit down with the “insurance industry” and push for lower rates.

Gov. Ron DeSantis joked that if he could “wave a magic wand,” he’d “love for them (the insurance companies) to offer you a dollar a year or whatever,” but added that’s “not how a market works.”

Rather, he noted that seven new private insurers have come into Florida recently, helping to “depopulate” Citizens Property Insurance, which is the state’s insurer of last resort. He also said there are “other companies that are looking to enter Florida’s market,” but didn’t offer examples.

“Ultimately, you’ve got to have people that want to come in and do business in the state. They didn’t really want to do that as much prior to these reforms. I think those reforms have seen more capital come in, but it’s ultimately a private market and you’ve got to do that.”

DeSantis made the comments in Winter Haven on Friday, in his latest attempt to reassure Floridians that the shaky insurance market isn’t poised for collapse.

His comments have run the gamut on property insurance, including an observation last month that Citizens was “not solvent.”

“We can’t have millions of people on that because if a storm hits, it’s going to cause problems for the state,” DeSantis said on CNBC’s “Last Call.”

Other eyebrow raising remarks include how he last year blamed the Legislature for not implementing insurance reforms he wanted, then refused to say what those reforms were when asked directly.

DeSantis also made news during a 2023 radio interview with a Boston host as part of his presidential campaign, when he suggested homeowners should “knock on wood” and hope the state didn’t get hit by a storm.

Meanwhile, forecasters foretell problems, given the Atlantic already has heat more typical of May than late Winter.

Accuweather predicts a “blockbuster” storm season, especially given the fading El Nino pattern that insulated Florida from storms in 2023.