Dates set for December Special Session on property insurance, Hurricane Ian property tax relief

Article Courtesy of Florida Politics

By Gray Rohrer

Published December 2, 2022


The session will be held Dec. 12-16, 2022.

After being formally sworn in Tuesday, legislative leaders announced their first substantive Session will come Dec. 12-16.

The formal call of the Special Session laying out what issues will be discussed and addressed hasn’t been issued, but Gov. Ron DeSantis said he wants to provide property tax cuts to victims of Hurricane Ian and pass legislation to bolster the beleaguered property insurance industry.

Memos from newly established leaders House Speaker Paul Renner and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo to their members confirmed those dates for the Special Session and said the formal proclamation of the Session will come after Thanksgiving weekend.

Earlier in the day, Renner laid out his goals for the property insurance portion of the Special Session: entice the private market to do business in the state and pass “systemic reforms” that will shore up the market and put downward pressure on premiums over time.

The Palm Coast Republican was careful to say insurance premiums, which have skyrocketed for many homeowners in recent years, are unlikely to drop quickly after the Legislature passes reforms but wants to see legislation that will accomplish that goal over time.

“We’re going to look at the kitchen sink, frankly, of options … and once we do that it’s important for people listening to know that will not result in an overnight drop in insurance rates,” Renner told reporters after he was named as Speaker. “We have to see probably two, three years as those policies turn over and we see a drop in the table of litigation.”

He said his larger aim is to get more private companies to write more business in Florida and reduce the policies in the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, which has seen a ballooning policy count — it has doubled to more than 1.1 million policies in little over two years — as the private market has flagged. Six companies have failed since the start of the year, and that was before Hurricane Ian hit on Sept. 28.

Renner didn’t rule out using more taxpayer funds as reinsurance to prop up the system. Many companies have been unable to buy reinsurance or have been priced out of the reinsurance market as more global reinsurance giants have shied away from the Florida market, which saw $1.5 billion in losses over the last two years. During a Special Session in May, lawmakers passed a $2 billion program using taxpayer money as a reinsurance fund. It’s unclear if the claims from Hurricane Ian will require those funds to be used.