Ron DeSantis to Tackle Florida's Insurance Industry
Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis is easily one of the most polarizing political figures in the nation today. He signed the parental rights law into effect, which gives parents the right to make decisions about what their children learn. His opponents have taken to calling this the "don't say gay" bill. He also came out against children under the age of 18 being able to have gender affirmation surgeries in the state of Florida. As one might imagine, these stances are highly polarizing. Though despite the fact that these things have drawn ire against DeSantis, his latest move might just torpedo his entire political career. In a move unprecedented for modern politicians, DeSantis has decided to attack the entire insurance industry, at least as it operates in Florida. On Thursday, Oct 20, DeSantis announced along with legislature leaders that they will be holding a special session toward year's end in order to hold insurance companies accountable for rebuilding Florida's homes after the devistation of hurricane Ian.
Americans are well acquainted with how homeowners' insurance companies act after a natural disaster. There are still people in New Orleans, going on 20 years after the fact, who are still waiting to for checks for their homes. "What's the point of paying for insurance if the insurance doesn't pay?" thousands of people ask after a natural disaster. And the insurance companies always point to some small-print loophole or clause and they end up getting out of having to pay for the damage to people's homes, even though their insurance claims that they'll do just that. The federal government had to step in with FEMA for a long-term solution after Katrina, and nothing at all happened to the insurance companies. They're allowed to act this way after every natural disaster. They wipe their hands of victims and keep profiting thanks to a government that refuses to hold them accountable.
Ron DeSantis plans to change this. If these insurance companies want to operate in Florida, he mentioned, then they're going to have to live up to their end of the agreement. To be clear, this isn't DeSantis trying to strong-arm the insurance companies into doing the right thing here. He's still being magnanimous and politic about it, offering tax rebates and other incentives. He essentially just wants insurance companies to live up to their end of the agreement, and shockingly he's one of the only politicians in modern American politics to demand even this much from insurance companies.
Insurance companies are claiming poverty, more or less, due to the rising costs in America's economy. So, to put it simply, these insurers are claiming that they're not actually in an "agreement" anymore because the costs to fix a home far exceed what people pay in insurance. DeSantis agreed and claimed that he wants to "fight for a more competitive market where rates are incentivized to go down," speaking about construction materials and labor costs. Though he also mentioned that Florida's insurers have a legal and moral duty to meet their obligations. He plans to make it easier for everyone.
Corporations and Their Unyielding Power
There are a lot of pundits and other politicians who are trying to create a lot of distance between themselves and Ron DeSantis. It's not a popular thing for politicians to go up against multi-billion-dollar corporations because of the fact that the politicians usually lose. That has become an unwritten law of sorts in American politics: You're either on the side of corporations, or you're not in office. Even the likes of Bernie Sanders are corporate stooges. He speaks about taxing the rich and corporations paying their fair share, but when people look into his finances, they find that large corporations like Ben & Jerry's and Starbucks prop him up, which is probably why he never includes those corporations in his "Fight for $15" political campaign. Politicians that don't shill for corporations are replaced by ones that will, as corporations will pay for someone's entire campaign.
DeSantis is currently in the middle of an election with Charlie Crist, and many believe that these insurers are going to throw money behind him in an attempt to oust DeSantis. Though everything DeSantis is planning is set to come before the end of the year, and so it won't much matter if he loses. Crist would have to completely undo everything, and may not be able to.
If DeSantis can achieve a victory against insurers in Florida, other states might start to follow suit.