Crist blames DeSantis for the property insurance crisis, saying he is eliminating the insurance industry

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s been two months since Florida held a special meeting to address the state’s property insurance crisis, when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation aimed at strengthening the market. But homeowners remain in limbo and the two top Democrats running for governor say more needs to be done.

Florida narrowly avoided a new insurance crisis on Monday when the financial regulator delayed downgrading more than 20 companies. Although Demotech stopped the recent downgrade of more than 20 insurers this week, downgrades — which experts say could cause financial turmoil — are still possible.

The close call prompted one person to hold a press conference late Tuesday.

“Ron DeSantis is the worst governor,” said Rep. Charlie Crist at his press conference.

Crist, a Democrat who represents Tampa Bay in the US House and a former Republican who served as governor of Florida in 2007, is running for office again. He stopped in Tampa on Tuesday to address the ongoing home insurance crisis — as homeowners are seeing double payments and insurance companies are failing or going out of business.

8 On Your Side Researcher Mahsa Saeidi asked Mr. Crist that he believes that soon the proposed solution to the problem will bring relief to homeowners.

“Oh, quick – you know, I’ve got experience in this area,” he said.

Crist pointed to his history of dealing with a market that has struggled in recent years.

“We did it during the week, this session, and we were able to lower the prices by 10 percent,” Crist said. If you have insurance companies that don’t want to help people, tell them to get out of here.

Crist also called for Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier to step in. He added that if homeowners lose support, Citizens Property Insurance – a government-backed insurance policy of last resort, should be forced to offer them a policy at the same price for 12 months.

Nationals is expected to hit 1.2 million points by the end of the year. Crist said the company can take on more policies because it has done it before.

“Charlie’s attack is shocking coming from a man who single-handedly took over the insurance industry from Florida with his attempt to deregulate the market in 2007,” a campaign spokesman for Gov. DeSantis said. “Governor DeSantis is fighting hard to help Florida homeowners and work to fix the mess that Charlie has created.”

Meanwhile, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, another Democrat seeking to replace DeSantis, brought up home insurance last week during a debate with Crist. It was the only tie between the two candidates before the Democratic primary in August.

“Day one, I’m declaring a housing crisis because that’s what it is,” Fried said during the debate.

Fried said he will appoint a team to come up with creative ideas to lower prices and recruit new donors. He also said that he will also add the post of Advocate for Government Insurance.

At a press conference in Clearwater in May, Gov. DeSantis vowed the change would come at a special meeting later that month.

“We have problems with this system and you have to deal with them. So, we are moving forward,” said DeSantis.

Soon after, DeSantis signed the amendments into law. Homeowners can now get government dollars for hurricane-proof homes. They cannot be denied coverage just because they have an old roof. And attorney fees for frivolous cases have been reduced.

Economists say the change, under DeSantis, will lower rates in 12 to 18 months. Citizens CEO Barry Gilway said he’s seeing fewer lawsuits.

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