Property insurance market ‘strengthening,’ claims Office of Insurance Regulation

Are your rates going down?

State leaders continue to insist the state of Florida’s embattled homeowners’ insurance market is improving, offering corrections to lingering public perception to the contrary.

The latest endorsement comes from the Office of Insurance Regulation.

“As Insurance Commissioner, my top priority has been increasing protection for Florida’s consumers and today’s announcement demonstrates Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ongoing commitment to ensuring a strengthened and reliable insurance market for policyholders,” said Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky.

“I want to thank (DeSantis) and bill sponsors Senator Jay Trumbull and Representative Cyndi Stevenson for their continued leadership and support as we work to regulate one of the most complex insurance markets in the world.”

The OIR dispatch hailed HB 1611, sponsored by the two Republicans, as a measure to “ensure OIR has the tools and authority necessary to maintain accountability within the market.” The bill compels insurers to report more data to the Office of Insurance Regulation on a monthly, rather than quarterly, basis.

The “overall market stabilization following the historic legislative reforms of 2022 and 2023 … enhanced protections for consumers, strengthened Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, and encouraged investment by insurers and reinsurers by providing clarity to the market and the risk they underwrite,” the OIR adds.

The messaging joins a similar notice from the Senate President this week.

Though conceding that rates still pose a “major affordability problem” for homeowners, Sen. Kathleen Passidomo said this week 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.”

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.