SENATOR JEFF BRANDES, who represents St. Petersburg was one of the loudest advocates for an insurance-focused special session. When the session was announced Brandes was hopeful it meant meaningful legislation was ahead — Senator Jeff Brandes, who represents St. Petersburg was one of the loudest advocates for an insurance-focused special session. When the session was announced Brandes was hopeful it meant meaningful legislation was ahead, but as he said some of the changes that are coming are too little, too late.
“You’ve been sounding the alarm for years. How do you think it’s going right now? Well I think the legislature has to do more,” explained Senator Brandes
The senator warned that the part of the bill that prohibits insurance companies from not covering older roofs is not all that great for homeowners.
“When you restrict the company’s ability to actually manage their book. What they are likely to do is just pull back more not to engage more. So, if we want more competition in the marketplace, we have to allow this flexibility. And frankly, we need to allow companies to survive. But ultimately while this looks like a consumer-friendly provision, it ultimately hurt consumers in the end because they are going to have less competition in the marketplace,” said Brandes.
He added that it often takes a crisis in the legislature to move on certain issues. The other cold reality is any impact from whatever bill they pass won’t be felt by homeowners for at least a year.
“What could happen is June 1 could come and you could have 20% of your companies are not able to close their reinsurance. If that happens, they effectively cannot write more business in the state of Florida. They will lose their ratings and not be able to sell products that are federal backed mortgages, which is most of their products. And then be placed essentially into receivership or runoff,” explained Senator Brandes.
He added that this crisis could get a lot worse.
“You could see a million to potentially 2 million policies being dropped just as hurricane season starts,” Brandes said.
ABC Action News also asked Senator Brandes about the rising rents in the Tampa Bay area. When asked if the state government should step in, Senator Brandes said emphatically no.