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Jimmy Patronis latest Republican to admit that his own insurance rates are spiking

A.G. Gancarski | March 18, 2024

Another prominent Florida Republican is discussing his struggles dealing with surging property insurance rates in the Sunshine State.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis detailed the issue in a piece for the Florida Daily.

“For all of Florida’s many blessings, however, you don’t have to be an actuary to know that when it came to our property insurance market, Florida had its issues,” the second-term Republican from the Panhandle wrote.

“I love Florida, but my own premiums have gone up 50 percent. This isn’t a new issue despite what you hear in the news.”

Patronis isn’t dealing with a problem quite as acute as that faced by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, the South Florida Republican who said his own rates recently tripled. Patronis also seemed more willing to advance historical and structural explanations for pressures in the market.

“Florida’s vulnerability to storms goes back to its land mass formation somewhere around 530 million years ago. Storms are a part of what it means to be a Floridian. We are a giant peninsula that sticks hundreds of miles out into the ocean,” Patronis wrote.

“In fact, other than Hawaii, we’re the only state with a good chunk of its population in the tropical zone. For anyone who’s ever listened to a Jimmy Buffett track (God rest his soul), that’s where the waters are really hot, which generates storms. But hurricane season wasn’t the only reason premiums were out of control.”

Patronis added that the “insurance market was worse than it needed to be because we had bad laws that encouraged and rewarded litigation.” But once Gov. Ron DeSantis “entered the picture,” the state has seen “monumental” reforms that have brought new carriers into the market that have taken pressures off of Citizens Property Insurance, Patronis said.

Meanwhile, insurance rates in other states are a “disaster,” Patronis notes, with 20% increases year over year in numerous states.

Patronis’ optimism contrasts to DeSantis’ recent statements to some degree. The Governor recently said Citizens was “not solvent,” a pessimistic phrasing that Patronis avoided. But it’s clear that both men see the salvation of Florida’s market as being in competition between private carriers.

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