Hurricane Ian Claims Could Plunge Florida Home Insurance Market: Analysts

After Hurricane Ian carves its destructive path through Florida, it could wreak fatal havoc on the state’s home insurance market — potentially giving Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis a political headache.

Long before the storm, Florida’s property insurance system was a mess. Hundreds of thousands of Florida homeowners lost their home insurance policies over the past two years after a dozen companies exited the market amid billions of dollars in annual losses, including several that went bust.

Now the damage done by Ian could be the breaking point of the industry in the state.

More than a million Florida homeowners have been forced to turn to Citizens Property Insurance, the state’s publicly funded “insurer of last resort” — meaning state taxpayers could be on the hook for billions of dollars in hurricane damage. According to early estimates, the storm caused at least $63 billion in damage to privately insured properties alone, not including flood damage covered by the National Flood Insurance Program, which offers most flood insurance.

In addition to the physical damage, Hurricane Ian could also do fatal damage to the state's home insurance market.
In addition to the physical damage, Hurricane Ian could also do fatal damage to the state’s home insurance market.
Photo by RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP via Getty Images

Annual premiums already cost Florida homeowners an average of $4,200, three times the national average.

The protracted crisis has made home insurance a campaign issue for Democrat Charlie Crist, DeSantis’ challenger in November’s gubernatorial election, who on Monday called the incumbent “the worst property insurance governor in Florida history, period.”


Here’s everything you need to know about Hurricane Ian:


Florida’s geography, which regularly puts it in the path of severe storms, adds to its insurance woes. But its unusually high number of lawsuits is making the situation worse, state officials say.

A lawyer-friendly environment means Florida sees 79% of the nation’s homeowners insurance claims, the Financial Times reported — but only 9% of all claims.

“With Ian, especially if this storm leads to litigation, I wonder if the market can take it,” said Nancy Watkins of Milliman, an international actuarial consultancy.

Dan Beazley rolls a cross through an area where homes were destroyed when Hurricane Ian swept through the area October 1, 2022 in Fort Myers, Florida.

The damage caused by Hurricane Ian could be the breaking point for the Florida insurance industry.


An aerial photo taken on Sept. 30, 2022 shows the only access to the Matlacha neighborhood destroyed after Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, Florida.

Annual insurance premiums cost Florida homeowners an average of $4,200, which is three times the national average.


More than a million Florida homeowners were forced to turn to Citizens Property Insurance because of Hurricane Ian.

More than a million Florida homeowners were forced to turn to Citizens Property Insurance because of Hurricane Ian.


A member of the Indiana Task Force 1 search and rescue team searches for people in need of assistance after Hurricane Ian hit the area October 1, 2022 in Fort Myers, Florida.

Florida’s location, which regularly puts it in the path of severe storms, is a factor in its insurance woes.


DeSantis, who called a special session of the Legislature in May to address the insurance problem, acknowledged that the resulting short-term solution — a $2 billion reinsurance backstop for Citizens Property Insurance — is far from enough.

“This is an issue that we will continue to address,” DeSantis said Monday, hours before the hurricane hit. “Of course there are other legal things I would like to see done.

“But if you’re asking if I’d rather not have been hit by a storm, the answer is yes.”

https://nypost.com/2022/10/01/hurricane-ian-claims-could-topple-florida-home-insurance-market-analysts/ Hurricane Ian Claims Could Plunge Florida Home Insurance Market: Analysts

JACLYN DIAZ

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