Insurance company decline in Florida signals crisis without easy solution

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the industry lobby group and property and casualty insurance companies have not, as a whole, made underwriting profits — or as a result of their overall business activities — in Florida since 2016. They have not exceeded $1 billion in the past three years. The institute said that the cumulative net income losses of insurance companies in the state last year amounted to $ 900 million.

“While some states are having very bad fiscal years, like Louisiana in 2020 and 2021 due to the record level of hurricanes, no other state has reported losses to property insurers like Florida since its last profitable year in 2016,” said Mark Friedlander. , a spokesperson for the institute representing consumer insurance companies.

“The problem is that there is denial among people who live in Florida and people who live in California — and frankly the American population — about the risks we face,” Mr. Schwartz said.

for him Proposal Solution: Let insurance companies charge what they want for policies in disaster-prone areas. Ultimately, this will cause people to stop building homes and businesses that are very likely to be destroyed by natural disasters. “It will actually lead to infrastructure that is more resilient and more adapted to climate change.”

Bernie Birnbaum, an insurance expert and executive director of the Center for Economic Justice, a nonprofit organization that works for equal access to economic opportunity, said Mr. Schwartz’s idea — letting market forces dictate how homeowners respond to the risks of climate change — won’t fly.

“It’s like saying, ‘As long as I can keep paying more and more each year,’ Mr. Birnbaum said, ‘I don’t care if my house burns down because there will always be more to pay for.'” “This is madness.”

Birnbaum said insurers in Florida and other states where catastrophe risks are higher, like California, are struggling because the reinsurers they turn to to help manage their risks charge large fees, and no one regulates them.