Kathleen Passidomo hails ‘beginning of stabilization’ in beleaguered home insurance market

‘Rate filings for 2024 show a slight trend downward for the first time in years.’

It’s unknown what impacts Florida ultimately will face during the upcoming hurricane season. Yet the Senate President is confident that the once-embattled property insurance market can rise to the challenge, with legislative work in recent years paying off.

Though conceding that rates still pose a “major affordability problem” for homeowners, Sen. Kathleen Passidomo said (perhaps contrary to public perception) that people are actually paying less year over year, with an average premium currently of $3,600.

The Naples Republican noted in a memo to Senate colleagues that “rate filings for 2024 show a slight trend downward for the first time in years, indicating the beginning of stabilization of the property insurance market. Ten companies have filed a zero percent increase and at least eight companies have filed a rate decrease to take effect in 2024.”

In contrast to previous years, companies are making money, she noted. And the reinsurance market is taking notice: “Early signs from the 2024 reinsurance purchasing season show further positive indications. Reinsurance is a direct and significant cost to consumers and relief in this area is a significant sign that the reforms are working.”

Depopulation of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the state’s insurer of last resort, has been a priority for policy makers. And Passidomo’s memo suggests that process is working as well, with roughly 389,000 policies taken out of Citizens between January 2023 through March 2024.

This is a good thing given Gov. Ron DeSantis’ warnings earlier this year that the company was “not solvent,” after he noted in 2022 that Citizens was “unfortunately undercapitalized” and that the company could go “belly up” if it actually had to weather a major storm.

The ultimate test of the market’s resilience will be how it handles the next few months.

Accuweather predicts a “blockbuster” storm season, especially given the fading El Nino pattern that insulated Florida from storms in 2023.