Florida's insurance woes threaten Republican votes, says Trump ex-official

Insurance a 'wedge issue' for voters

Florida's insurance woes threaten Republican votes, says Trump ex-official

Insurance News

By Mika Pangilinan

The precarious state of Florida’s insurance market could cause the Republican Party to lose votes in the next election, a Trump ex-official has warned.

Michael Caputo, who served as the assistant secretary of public affairs under former President Donald Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services, took to Twitter to highlight the significance of hurricane insurance costs in Florida and how they can influence voting behavior.

“I keep saying hurricane insurance costs are a vital issue in Florida - a truly fundamental kitchen table concern,” he said. “It changes votes, for real.

Caputo made the tweet after Farmers Insurance announced that it was officially pulling out of Florida, making it the fourth insurer to exit the state’s weather-worn market in the past year.

Farmers said the decision was “necessary to effectively manage risk exposure” and that it will only impact policies issued through the company’s exclusive agency distribution channel.

“There is no impact to 70% of policies currently in force for customers in the state, including Bristol West, Foremost SignatureSM, Farmers GroupSelectSM, Foremost Choice and Foremost-branded policies,” the insurer said in a statement. “Such policies will continue to be available to serve the insurance needs of Floridians.”

Even with these assurances, Caputo said homeowners insurance is enough of a “wedge issue” that could sway political campaigns.

“Florida is a must-win battleground for the GOP nomination,” the former Trump official wrote on Twitter. “Will hurricane insurance decide it?”

Political consultant Jay Townsend agreed with Caputo’s assessment, telling Newsweek that insurance cost pressures would likely lead Floridians to seek someone to blame, potentially affecting Governor Ron DeSantis’ standing.

“Even if he did nothing wrong, they'll ask why he didn't do something to stop it,” said Townsend.

Farmers criticized for ‘irresponsible and dangerous’ exit

The timing of Farmers’ decision has also drawn criticism from Florida minority leader Lauren Book, who said it was “irresponsible and dangerous” for the insurer to leave the state amid the current hurricane season.

Book voiced her criticism in a tweet, stating: “For Farmers to exit FL in the middle of hurricane season — leaving policyholders high & dry, searching for replacement coverage that is both unaffordable & hard to come by — is irresponsible & dangerous. The state must do more to solve this quality-of-life issue for Floridians. Costs keep rising & insurers keep fleeing, but there’s no relief in sight.”

Farmers’ decision to reduce its exposure in high-risk markets is not limited to Florida, with the company recently limiting new homeowners insurance policies in California due to “record-breaking inflation, severe weather events, and reconstruction costs continuing to climb.”

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