Hurricane Ian Could Smash Florida’s Fragile Property Insurance Market

 Tuesday, September 27, 2022

 Orlando Sentinel

A massive, deadly hurricane like Ian could topple the state’s already unstable property insurance market, some lawmakers and industry experts said Tuesday, as the storm took aim at Florida.

‘If insurance companies needed a year without a storm, this would be it,’ said state Sen. Jeff Brandes, a Pinellas County Republican and extremely loud critic of the Legislature’s failure to fix a major problem it’s known about for years.

Even before the impending storm, industry analysts were predicting the demise of the state’s insurance industry. If they have to pay out claims that exhaust their existing resources and force them to dip into more costly reinsurance, things could get dicey, he said.

‘The property insurance industry was going to lose $1 billion pre-storm,’ Brandes said Tuesday. ‘And no one is coming into Florida until the Legislature fixes it. .. You can only blame the rising cost of insurance on the Legislature.’

Kevin McCarty, the previous commissioner of the state Office of Insurance Regulation, said a storm like Ian would ‘have a major impact on an already destabilized market.’

The failure of the insurance market would place even more of a burden on the state-run, taxpayer-subsidized Citizens Property Insurance Corp., which has grown from 700,000 policies to more than 1 million in the past year. Its rates are about 50% of the private insurance market for Tampa Bay, Brandes said.
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