Editor, The Beacon:
In the form of Hurricane Ian, the State of Florida has been pummeled and flooded. It is probably the worst storm to have ever hit our state, at least in predicted monetary costs.
Many are left with damaged homes or no homes at all. Thousands of vehicles destroyed. And worst of all, many lives lost.
Now we await the next wave of terror to arrive upon our residents: the fallout that will occur upon our already disastrous property-insurance situation. Rates have been skyrocketing; policies are being canceled, and companies are just up and leaving Florida.
Homeowners are being forced to replace perfectly good roofs because the insurance companies will not insure a roof that’s more than 10 years old. The insurer of last resort, Citizens, is becoming the primary insurer in Florida, which puts more burden on taxpayers.
What has our state government done about this dangerous and potentially catastrophic financial situation? Not much!
The Beacon has published previous articles concerning the shock and horror our West Volusia property owners have experienced when receiving cancellation or renewal notices.
What lies ahead is as scary as anticipating the next hurricane. We are going to get hit and hit big by the insurance companies.
The Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis have given lots of lip service and little positive action. The regular sessions of the past few years produced paltry ideas or help for this growing problem.
So, lawmakers held not one, but two, special sessions this year (at taxpayer expense) to offer only these basic solutions: that roofs under 15 years old cannot be a reason for denial (though companies can just find another reason to deny), companies can keep rates down by putting a roof deductible in the policy of up to 50 percent of the repair costs, and that the multibillion-dollar insurance companies will have billions more in taxpayer-supported backup called reinsurance.
Our local legislative representatives, Elizabeth Fetterhoff and Webster Barnaby, were in lockstep behind the GOP leadership in producing these non-solutions.
Fetterhoff replied to a Beacon inquiry last spring with the comment “people will just have to deal with it.” Barnaby barely beat out Fetterhoff for the GOP nomination to run for our newly formed District 29. Incredibly, Barnaby sits on the Insurance and Banking Committee in the House, and is therefore part of the problem. His campaign website does not mention the insurance crisis, and in the aftermath of Ian, his social-media offers damage updates and the recommendation that people with damage apply for FEMA assistance (federal help through the Biden administration).
Having my home insurance policy rate double this year, so then being forced into Citizens coverage, and having another property I own whose insurer notified me that they are leaving Florida, I am looking for help elsewhere.
I have talked to the Democratic candidate for District 29, Rick Karl, and I am very impressed with his concern and ideas regarding the insurance situation and, frankly, every issue that he is addressing.
His website, RickKarl.com, is the most comprehensive and promising platform I have seen in many years.
We Floridians desperately need help and need it now. I will be voting for Rick Karl for state representative in District 29. I strongly urge all property owners, renters and business owners to also vote for Rick Karl! We need a Voice of Reason!