TALLAHASSEE – Democrat Charlie Crist turned up the heat Tuesday on Gov. Ron DeSantis as the state’s property insurance crisis worsened two months after he signed a legislative package out of a special session of the Legislature.
Crist’s move comes a day after Bankers Insurance Group, based in his hometown of St. from Florida. The company is the 16th insurer to leave the state, declare bankruptcy or stop writing policies in recent months.
About 400,000 Florida homeowners will lose their insurance this year.
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“Despite this, Gov. DeSantis is trying to win,” Crist said Tuesday at a press conference in Tampa, where he was joined by former State Insurance Attorney, Sean Shaw, and a former Democratic state House member and attorney general.
“The working Floridians know he’s left them behind, because the hits just keep coming,” Crist said of DeSantis. “You’re paying more for less.”
Crist is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in the Aug. 23, running against Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. The winner of the tournament will face DeSantis in November.
Fried has said that as governor, he will work to reduce frivolous lawsuits and reduce insurance fraud in order to lower premiums. They will also promote the role of Consumer Insurance Advocate.
Banker’s announcement comes even as 27 companies are operating under the threat that their premiums could be reduced by Ohio-based Demotech, which evaluates insurance companies. Although the download was supposed to take place on Tuesday, the company told the authorities that it will not happen “until further notice.”
The DeSantis campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But the governor’s spokeswoman, Christina Pushaw, said the office is monitoring the situation with Demotech and how to mitigate the impact that could affect millions of Florida law enforcement officers.
Echoing concerns raised by Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, DeSantis’ office criticized Demotech’s “inconsistency in its approach and its sole discretion” regarding Florida insurers.
Crist said DeSantis needs to make sure no homeowner is left uninsured, leading to foreclosure. The Republican governor should also allow anyone who has lost access to the state-sponsored Citizens Property Insurance Corp., at a rate that will not change for a year, and expand its coverage limits.
Citizens has already been flooded with new customers, and is expected to reach 1.2 million points by the end of this year. Citizens President and CEO Barry Gilway this month said the company is experiencing “unprecedented growth.”
The damage to the home insurance market comes even after DeSantis called a special congressional hearing in May that led to $2 billion in taxpayer money in a fund to help insurers pay for hurricane damage, reduce lawsuits against companies and make homeowners pay more for roof replacements. .
But even with the benefit established by the governor, home owner insurance continues to rise. Property insurance premiums in Florida are three times the national average, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Crist, a former Republican governor and a Democratic member of Congress since 2016, was a critic who took on the insurance industry during his time in office.
He managed to lower prices at the beginning of his term, while allowing citizens to follow many policies, but when he left in 2011, the number was rising again and his successor, Gov. Rick Scott, committed to reducing the size of the population. , leading to higher insurance rates.
Citizens’ growth then, however, was about 1.2 million points – a mark expected to be reached this year, despite DeSantis’ changes.
“Companies go to Parliament and say if they let us do whatever we want … then in a few years, the rates will go down,” Shaw said. “This is a promise that the Legislature continues to make.”
John Kennedy is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network’s Florida Capital Bureau. He can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter at @JKennedyReport