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DeSantis sets dates for session on rising property insurance rates

He has tasked lawmakers with considering legislation on property insurance, reinsurance and building code changes during the session, set for May 23-27.
This Oct. 11, 2018, photo shows the coastal township of Mexico Beach after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle.
This Oct. 11, 2018, photo shows the coastal township of Mexico Beach after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle. [ DOUGLAS CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Apr. 26|Updated Apr. 27

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday called Florida legislators back into a special session to address Florida’s failing property insurance market, an issue that was left unresolved during the regular legislative session earlier this year.

The session, which is set for May 23-27, marks the second special session called by DeSantis in the past two months.

Last week, lawmakers wrapped up a contentious special session on congressional redistricting maps and a last-minute bill to strip The Walt Disney Co. of its special taxing district and governing body.

The upcoming special session will focus on property insurance, reinsurance and changes to the Florida building code “to improve the affordability of property insurance,” and other related issues.

It comes as DeSantis and Republican lawmakers have come under scrutiny for failing to stabilize the property insurance industry in Florida.

In recent years, homeowners’ rates have spiked by double digits in some cases, and some companies have canceled policies or suspended business in the state. Legislators were unable to pass any reform efforts on the issue during their regular session earlier this year.

Related: Florida Legislature leaves without addressing property insurance crisis

In response to the call, House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, said in a statement that the Legislature “made great strides on meaningful property insurance reforms in 2021, and we are already seeing the positive impacts of that work.”

“We look forward to working with our partners to evaluate whether there is more we can do to address the availability and affordability of property insurance,” he said. “The Florida House will remain primarily focused on addressing the needs of the policyholders of Florida.”

Florida has accounted for 79 percent of the nation’s homeowner’s insurance lawsuits over claims filed while making up only 9 percent of the nation’s homeowners insurance claims, DeSantis said.

“Florida citizens are seeing the effects of this higher litigation in their rising premiums,” he said.

The governor added, “It is necessary for the state of Florida to act to stabilize the insurance market for Florida policyholders before the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins on June 1st, 2022, and ends on November 30th, 2022.”

DeSantis announced last week that a special session would take place in May, but he had not offered a date or specifics.

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