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Jimmy Patronis says state 'morally obligated' to help struggling homeowners

WPTV's Matt Sczesny in attendance during Florida CFO's roundtable discussion on property insurance
Posted at 9:07 AM, Apr 25, 2024

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis hosted a roundtable discussion Thursday morning centered around the state's home insurance crisis.

Patronis was joined by state legislators, industry leaders, regulators and other stakeholders.

WPTV's Matt Sczesny, who has been extensively covering the crisis, was also in attendance.

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Patronis' office called the discussion a "putting policyholders first insurance roundtable."

Patronis said he feels the state is "morally obligated" to help homeowners through an infusion of money into the My Safe Florida Home program.

"With Hurricane Ian, people don't realize, the state actually made money," Patronis said. "It's crazy. The state makes money off of hurricanes."

Among those who spoke were Mike Yarowsky, commissioner for the Office of Insurance Regulation.

Tim Cerio, president and CEO of Citizens Property Insurance, said that "litigation almost buried the Florida property insurance market."

CFO Jimmy Patronis roundtable discussion on property insurance April 25 2024.png
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis during the roundtable discussion on property insurance on April 25, 2024.

"There is more litigation pending from (Hurricane) Ian for Citizens in Miami-Dade County than in Charlotte, Lee and Collier combined," Cerio said. "That makes absolutely no sense."

After the roundtable, Patronis revealed that more insurers are seeking some small rate reductions.

"I understand there’s more than four," he said. "The insurance companies in the state of Florida are securing their reinsurance and what’s happening is, all reports are the reinsurance market has gotten soft, that means it is favorable."

Still, some in the audience shared stories not seeing any improvements with steep premium increases during renewals.

Kassy Brewer of St Petersburg told the panel the insurance on her home is now 14000 a year April 25 2024.png
Kassy Brewer of St. Petersburg tells panel how much the insurance is on her home.

Kassy Brewer of St. Petersburg told the panel the insurance on her home is now $14,000 a year.

"I guess my point is when does this stop?" Brewer said.

"You’ve heard multiple times we talked about patience," Patronis said.

Later, Sczesny asked Patronis about the impatience building among Floridians with homeowners insurance.

"It never comes quick enough," Patronis said. "Some people live week to week, some live month to month. If you’re on a fixed income and your insurance rate doubled, that’s not a recipe that’s not going to land easily."