Florida’s Insurance Commissioner says property insurance rates will drop eventually—but he doesn’t know when.
Channel 9 spoke to Michael Yaworksy as homeowners across our area and the state continue to struggle to find and afford property insurance. Fitch ratings say Florida has the highest homeowners’ insurance premiums in the entire country.
Yaworsky says Florida will see a drop in insurance costs once there’s a decrease in litigation.
The commissioner spoke to a crowd at the Florida Chamber’s Future of Florida Panel Tuesday saying the problems the state’s facing now are in response to an explosion of litigation after Hurricane Irma in 2017.
As a result, lawmakers passed changes to shield property insurers from costly lawsuits last session, including cutting the fees attorneys can get and the time a homeowner has to file a claim from three years to one year. The state found that in 2019, Florida made up just 8 percent of the nation’s homeowners’ claims but over 76 percent of its lawsuits.
Recent reports have said there’s little evidence the “excessive” lawsuits drove rates up and pushed insurance companies out of Florida.
“Litigation was absolutely an effect of the increase of the cost of insurance in the state. There’s plenty of data points you can look to that support that conclusion,” Yaworksy told Channel 9.
Yaworsky said his office is seeing improvements in the market like the state-backed insurer, Citizens, handing off policies to private insurers, State Farm committing to expanding in the state, and at least five new insurance companies moving to Florida.
He said they’re still working to recruit more. “We have to convince them that the rules are fair and that insurance companies are not subject to the whims of third parties attempting to get every last dime they can,” Yaworksy said.
Yaworsky said he’s not expecting lawmakers to introduce major legislation this upcoming session but he said he does want to see legislation concerning more transparency from insurers.
“When consumers see their bill, that I think they should be able to understand why that change has taken place, what their insurance money where that those premium dollars are going to actually pay for,” Yaworsky said, adding that upwards of 60 to 80% of what your premium is going to pay claims.