With Florida lawmakers expected to consider formal changes to the state’s property insurance market next week, state Democrats are signaling that they will likely oppose any measure that results in higher rates.
Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith (D-Oakland Park) said at a pre-legislative event hosted by The Associated Press that while the Democratic caucus has yet to take a position on property insurance reforms, he expects that many Democrats would not support any proposition that could result in rate increases.
“I think what you will see is a vigorous opposition to raising any rates on homeowners of Florida,” said Smith.
Smith noted that lawmakers have often focused on property taxes, taking the position that they are driving up the cost of owning a home in Florida.
However, he said, that focus has ignored the real reason the cost of homeownership is rising.
Smith said what’s really driving up the cost of owning a home in Florida is not property taxes, but insurance rates. “People are being insured out of their homes,” he said.
Smith said that efforts to depopulate Citizens Property Insurance Corp. have largely failed.
He also said that Sen. David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs) is looking to pass a comprehensive reform bill, but he offered no opinion on its expected contents beyond saying it contained several controversial ideas.
Simmons is expected to unveil a draft of his legislation Feb. 6 when the committee meets.