The governor and Cabinet took action Tuesday to create a state-run fund to shore up the commercial property insurance market.
One out of every six employers in Florida says they can’t even get insurance coverage any more. Others are screaming about double and triple-digit premium increases that could put them out of business. The commercial insurance crisis has the full attention of the state’s leaders.
Charles Bronson, Florida Agriculture Commissioner, said, "The domino effect of this could be pretty bad if we don’t get a solid solution."
The governor and Cabinet are moving ahead with one potential solution to reactivate the commercial Joint Underwriting Association the state operated back in the 1990’s. The JUA could provide what’s called reinsurance, insurance to back up insurance companies, so more of them would be willing to write policies.
The JUA could also provide commercial coverage for businesses that don’t have any other options. Florida Insurance Council spokesman Sam Miller called the move a step in the right direction.
Sam Miller said, "One way or another, businesses that can’t get wind insurance now will get it, so sure, that’s encouraging."
But in the wake of the $38 billion in insured losses Florida suffered over the past two hurricane seasons, Jeb Bush acknowledges long-term solutions are going to be harder to find.
Gov. Jeb Bush said, "There is no magic wand that will draw in the billions of dollars to provide reinsurance for all the insurers on the planet. That’s the problem we face."
In the short-term, many of Florida’s small businesses are just hoping the state will help them keep their doors open.
The earliest the state Office of Insurance Regulation could have the Joint Underwriting Association up and running to assist businesses would be mid-September.