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Florida's Insurance Meltdown

Florida owns a massive property insurance company that’s been gobbling up policies while rates rise and some private insurers leave the state.

Last summer, a story about why Florida’s property insurance market was in shambles grabbed my attention.

The story – “Why Insurance Companies Are Fleeing Florida” – was published by the Heatmap, an independent climate news website and was written by a reporter I’ve known for years, Matthew Zeitlin. What really got me to pay attention was that hurricanes were not really the problem. Not exactly what I expected in a story on a climate news site. 

I sent Zeitlin a message, saying that it was a great piece and he wrote back something like “yeah, and I didn’t even get into the Florida roof scam.” Now I was hooked. Florida... roof... scam?

I had to know more and the more I dug into the Florida roof scam, the more I was convinced this had to be an episode of The Closer.

And that’s what we have for you this week – a look at the meltdown in the Florida property insurance market. It’s a wild story, with shady contractors running amok in subdivisions, unscrupulous trial attorneys, and a state-owned insurer swooping in to clean up the mess by taking on more and more risk.

In the end, through a quirk in how the state-owned insurer operates, every Floridian who has an insurance policy – with a private company, for a house or an auto policy, it doesn’t matter – could end up on the hook if a massive storm hits.

It’s a fascinating, twisting episode. 

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