By Rob Bradley
Jacksonville Today
May 30, 2022

There is a reason why very few people lived in Florida until the middle of the 20th Century. It’s often intolerably hot, thunderstorms come out of nowhere and cause flooding, and periodically a hurricane will wipe out large swaths of whatever is in the mighty storm’s path.

It’s risky to live in Florida. Therefore, it is no surprise that insurance companies charge a lot of money to insure Florida homes and businesses against damage.

The Florida Legislature, which regulates insurance companies, is always struggling with what to do about rising property insurance rates. The Legislature passed a bill in 2021 to “reform” property insurance, and this week the Legislature met in a special session to pass yet another bill.

You will hear some blame rising rates on greedy trial lawyers filing too many lawsuits, and others blame insurance companies for mismanaging their finances.

What history tells us, though, is that Mother Nature shoulders the most responsibility for instability in the insurance marketplace. If Florida can avoid hurricanes and other major weather events for a few years, insurance companies will make money and build up reserves. If there are a bunch of damage and claims, the opposite will occur.

Unless the weather cooperates, the Legislature probably won’t be successful in keeping property insurance rates stable, regardless of what it does to modify the property insurance system.

In the long term, what our leaders can do to help the situation is continue to invest in infrastructure that protects people and property from the inevitable ravages of nature. This infrastructure includes the preservation of wetlands and other undeveloped property from development so that said lands can receive water that would otherwise damage homes and businesses and risk lives.

Fortunately, over the past few years, Governor DeSantis and the Legislature have invested record amounts of taxpayer dollars in such resiliency efforts.

Florida is a swamp. Therefore, it will always be wet, windy and, at times, inhospitable to man. It is also true that people will continue to move here.

It’s folly to try to wrestle with Mother Nature. Storms will come, seas will rise. Being clear eyed about the challenges to a growing population that are presented by these inevitabilities will be the ongoing challenge facing our state leaders.

If you really want to stabilize property insurance rates, focus on investments in resilience.


Rob Bradley is an attorney and current chairman of the governing board of the St. Johns River Water Management District. Rob is managing partner of Bradley, Garrison & Komando, P.A., an Orange Park law firm. He represented the north Florida region in the Florida Senate from 2012-2020, serving as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations from 2017-2020, where he crafted three state budgets, each in excess of $90 billion. Rob has been married to Senator Jennifer Bradley, R-Fleming Island, for 26 years. They have three children, Connor, Stephanie and Caroline.

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Robert Warner
Robert Warner
1 month ago

FEMA has dealt with this in great detail. But Florida developers don’t seem to care. And it seems more difficult every day for local communities to regulate development in flood hazard areas. https://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/consumers/understandingcoverage/floodinsoverview.htm

Mark Tomes
Mark Tomes
1 month ago

The “market stabilization program“ who is basically a giveaway to insurance companies. Resiliency will help, no doubt, but it is not a panacea for recovering damages from mother nature‘s destructive forces. For-profit insurance companies, and their owners and executives who skim megabucks off the top of premiums and donate millions to our politicians for their support, are easily half the problem. A nonprofit statewide insurance fund would spread out the costs and keep us adequately insured.

Ben Martin
Ben Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Tomes

Mark, you are right about one thing for sure. Insurance companies and Banks are some of our political leaders biggest funders. I understand Insurance Companies tend to be subsidiaries of Banks. All voters need to learn how to use……. http://www.FollowTheMoney.org

Dennis Jay
Dennis Jay
1 month ago

Florida has done little to curtail climate change. The increasing severity of weather events is what’s driving insurers out of Florida.

Barnes Moore
Barnes Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Dennis Jay

You might want to consult actual data and ignore headlines in the MSM – increasing frequency and severity are myths as evidenced when you look at the actual data instead of the models used by activists with PhD’s who call themselves scientists. While China and India continue to invest heavily in coal power plants, the US and most of the West continue their war on fossil fuels and promote the use of weather dependent, intermittent, variable, and therefore unreliable wind and solar – which by the way, are 100% reliant on fossil fuels from cradle to grave – from the mining of raw materials (requiring heavy machinery along with child labor in the Congo for Cobalt), to the processing, transport, manufacture, site prep, ongoing maintenance, and ultimate decommissioning. Fossil fuels, not wind trubines and solar panels, will be the energy source used to help build resilience and will continue to be the energy source to power the machinery that helps us recover from the damages caused by nature.

Joe Blanchard
Joe Blanchard
1 month ago
Reply to  Dennis Jay

I have been a professional Meteorologist/Oceanographer for 40 years. During that time, I was deeply involved in computer modeling of the atmosphere and oceans. The “climate change” fears due essentially to the human impact is totally false. We have an impact but it is minimal except in the removal of forestry in sensitive areas. Our planets temperature budget is in constant flux and has been throughout history. The current craze about going totally green is being funded by extremists that want to economically destroy various countries. A little history: At one time Greenland was warmer than it is today and the sunken cities in the Mediterranean Sea were above water. Just ask the Vikings and the Romans. The Romans and the Spaniards removed the forests in North Africa and Spain and now those areas are very arid.

Ben Martin
Ben Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Dennis Jay

Science is all about verifying one’s theories with observations in the real world. If you can use your smart phone weather application and show us anywhere in the world where the current temperature is 120 deg F or more please do so. This CO2 / Fossil Fuel warming scare has been part of the legacy media’s narrative for some 20 years now. It has to be burning up somewhere right?

Robert Prager
Robert Prager
1 month ago
Reply to  Ben Martin

India reach 49 degrees Centigrade recently, 120;degree Fahrenheit. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/climate-and-people/delhi-records-highest-ever-temperature-49c/ People died. I did a web search rather than an app. Climate isn’t weather.

Ben Martin
Ben Martin
29 days ago
Reply to  Robert Prager

Right now, real time, 120 F, you probably can find it anywhere on the planet. Weather isn’t climate.

Ben Martin
Ben Martin
29 days ago
Reply to  Robert Prager

But can you find anywhere on the planet, anywhere at all, where it is 120F right now?

Robert Warner
Robert Warner
1 month ago

Climate change – from NASA and the EPA. It’s not the science, rather those who are invested in maintaining the status quo. The Navy is very concerned with what’s happening, as well.

https://climate.nasa.gov/,
https://www.epa.gov/climatechange-science,
https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2022/05/27/in-the-crosshairs-department-of-navy-releases-climate-change-strategy/

Rich Polk
Rich Polk
28 days ago

During the 18th, 19th and, most of the 20th century it was considered immoral to profit from another man’s misery. Therefore, all insurance providers in the US were required by law to be not for profit companies. Well guess what. During the Nixon administration starting back in 1969 federal law regulating insurance companies was overturned. Beginning in the early 1970’s US Congress allowed insurance companies to become for profit based companies. We have suffered as a nation ever since.

Ben Martin
Ben Martin
28 days ago
Reply to  Rich Polk

The law got overturned? Did that result from the actions of political leaders who are under the influence of the financial services industry? After labor unions the financial services industry is the largest contributor to political campaigns and they donate to both sides of the fence. This is why Wells Fargo can have employees create a million or more false accounts – and no one goes to jail. This is why taxpayers bail out bankers for their failed private business enterprise.

Robert S. Warner, Jr.
Robert S. Warner, Jr.
28 days ago
Reply to  Ben Martin

Yep. See also our own Arron Bean.

Ben Martin
Ben Martin
28 days ago

Don’t forget CFO Jimmy Patronis.

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