As Florida lawmakers return to Tallahassee for a special session on property insurance and more, they do so with a pretty clear message from constituents: “Fix it (if you can).”
This is the resounding takeaway from our December 2-5 survey of Florida voters, conducted to get a better sense of how residents – homeowners in particular – feel about the state’s insurance landscape. Here’s what we found:
- Heading into 2023, more than 9 in 10 Florida homeowners (92%) are worried about their property insurance rates, coverage, and benefits. And an even larger portion (96%) cite at least one concern regarding the current status or future of their policies.
- The leading concerns relate to cost: 77% are worried that rates will go up, and 58% say their rates are already far too high.
- About 1 in 3 are also concerned about their policy coverage or benefits being reduced, losing coverage altogether, or not being able to secure certain types of coverage, such as for floods or hurricanes.
For many Floridians, these concerns are grounded in cold, hard experience: 37% of Florida homeowners say they’ve already lost coverage or been forced to switch carriers in the past two years due to things like premium increases, being dropped or having their carrier leave the state, or losing specific types of coverage they want.
Despite strong interest in having Florida lawmakers tackle this problem, fewer than 1 in 3 Floridians feel confident that the Legislature will be able to come up with a solution during either the upcoming special session or the 2023 regular session. Republicans are somewhat more confident – but even there, only half (51%) are actually optimistic.
Perhaps this lack of confidence is rooted in the understanding that property insurance is a particularly complex issue. Indeed, those participating in this survey cited numerous reasons as primarily responsible for Florida’s current crisis – many of which have no clear or easy solution. These include natural disasters and hurricanes (57%), perceived insurance company greed (49%), inadequate regulation of the industry (44%), insurance fraud (31%), lower levels of competition in the state (24%), frivolous lawsuits (24%), certain types of practices by roofing companies (11%), and rising sea levels (11%).
To address these problems, Floridians want to see a few things from lawmakers, yet some of these proposals are at odds with one another. For example, 63% of respondents want policymakers to find a way to get more insurers in the state, but just 6% say they’d want to make it more difficult for homeowners to sue insurers – even if doing so could potentially draw more companies to the state. And, while a majority believe that extreme weather contributes to this crisis, only about 1 in 5 think state policies to mitigate against climate change would make a difference to the property insurance market.
On the regulatory front, 40% want to see increased penalties for fraudulent claims, 30% want stronger Florida building codes, and 14% want to create stricter rules for roofing companies.
Perhaps lawmakers will take some comfort in knowing that their constituents’ expectations are low, and it may be easier to claim success when measured against the status quo: Just 14% of voters believe homeowners policies and rates are better in Florida than in other states, and more than half (53%) believe Florida’s property insurance market is much worse than elsewhere. That’s a fairly grim starting point as far as public perception goes – but in this era where few things are viewed through a common lens, at least there’s agreement on that.