As Hurricane Ian barreled toward Florida, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist again attacked Gov. Ron DeSantis on insurance market failures.
“Ron DeSantis is the worst property insurance Governor in Florida history, period,” Crist contended Monday.
“Gov. DeSantis let these insurance companies double Floridians’ rates and they’re still going belly up when homeowners need them most. You pay and pay and pay, and the insurance company isn’t there for you in the end anyway.”
“This weekend, I demanded that the Governor provide emergency, 90-day coverage for homeowners who were dropped by their failing companies,” Crist asserted, saying it was “more important than ever that this Governor steps up and acts like he cares about Floridians.”
The latest Crist blast comes as FedNat is set to become the sixth Florida company to leave customers in the lurch, due to unresolved solvency issues. Florida’s Department of Financial Services filed a petition to put the company into receivership.
DeSantis defended his record on insurance during a press conference in Tallahassee.
“And this is a problem that we’re going to continue to tackle,” DeSantis said. “Clearly, there’s other things legislatively that I’d like to see done. I think we will get that done soon, but this is something that we will respond to.”
“First of all, we’re a strong state. We’ve got a huge amount of financial wherewithal right now so we’ll be able to get through it,” DeSantis added.
“But if you’re asking would I rather not have had a storm hit us, then the answer is yes.”
On Saturday, Crist called on DeSantis to require Citizens Insurance to assume all policies for homeowners that have been dropped by their failed insurance company for the next 90 days in response to the upcoming storm. With the storm bearing down, he repeated the attack against DeSantis’ management of the troubled property assurance sector, expanding an argument he began weeks ago.
In Jacksonville, outside the headquarters for Citizens Insurance, Crist called on DeSantis to address the “emergency,” saying the Special Session was only “really special for the insurance industry” as he contrasted his record as a Governor to that of the incumbent.
“I called for a property insurance Special Session and we lowered rates,” Crist said. “When I was Governor, the insurance companies knew that the people were in charge. Sadly, things are truly different now.”
“DeSantis has taken millions from insurance companies, and in return he does whatever they tell them to,” DeSantis said.
Pressed on issues with insolvency among insurers, Crist said the solution was “to do what’s right.”
“Allow insurance companies to have a profit. Insurance needs to make a profit. I get that. But we can’t let them gouge our fellow citizens in the process, and double their rates in just a four-year period,” Crist said.
“Insurance companies should pay what they owe to their customers,” he added when asked about the issues of litigation in the market. “Otherwise, they wouldn’t be in court in the first place. If they would just do the right thing they wouldn’t have that problem.”