The union, which advocates for fairness, democracy and quality public education, found that homeowner insurance rates in the Sunshine State are nearly triple the national average.
“Floridians are getting absolutely crushed by insurance rate hikes,” an industry analyst said, pointing to an urgent need for reform.
With Florida having the highest home insurance rates in the country, the costs have led many residents to forego insurance altogether, putting vulnerable communities at even higher risk — especially given Florida’s susceptibility to hurricanes and other severe weather events linked to climate change.
Tracy, a community liaison specialist at Miami-Dade County public schools, serves as an unfortunate example of the crisis and the dangerous risk homeowners assume when they opt to go without insurance. Unable to afford the steep premiums, she discontinued her home insurance and later lost her home to a fire.
“Our governor needs to know that the cost of living we had three years ago is not what we have now,” Tracy said. “For a middle-class person to live effectively, the cost of living has to be lower to live a life and not just live paycheck to paycheck.”
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While it may be tempting to save money through self-insurance or taking risks without coverage, in a state like Florida that frequently faces hurricanes and severe weather, it’s a gamble. Even those who wish to maintain insurance coverage find obstacles in their path. Some insurance companies have stopped writing new policies in disaster-prone states like Florida and California, adding another layer of difficulty for homeowners. Insurers are raising prices or reducing coverage as weather events tied to climate change proliferate, introducing a new economic calculus for homeowners and potential buyers.
The DeSantis administration has not been a passive actor in this saga. In January, insurance prices were projected to rise by an average of 40% this year under its watch. Policy measures include the creation of a $2 billion taxpayer-funded reinsurance fund, a step usually undertaken by insurance companies in the open market.
In addition, Floridians have also lost the ability to recover attorney fees when suing nonpaying insurers, further tilting the scales against homeowners.
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The role of political contributions raises some eyebrows. It’s been reported that Gov. Ron DeSantis and his associated political committee have received nearly $4 million from insurance industry stakeholders, according to the AFT. This figure balloons to nearly $10 million when contributions to the Republican Party of Florida are accounted for. The alignment between these donations and policies that seemingly favor insurers over homeowners has led many to question the motivations behind the administration’s actions.
Florida’s insurance woes stand in contrast to states like Louisiana and Alabama, which boast better-regulated insurance markets and homeowner-friendly policies. For example, Alabama offers incentives for homeowners to make their properties more resistant to wind damage, effectively lowering insurance premiums.
These strategies present viable models for Florida, a state where the escalating costs of insurance are forcing some residents to either leave or go without coverage, contributing to a rise in foreclosures and exacerbating the state’s existing housing crisis.
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