TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Since he took office two months ago, 8 On Your Side has been wanting to hear from Florida’s new insurance commissioner, Michael Yaworsky, about skyrocketing property insurance premiums.
So far, he’s avoided reporters’ questions, but 8 On Your Side Investigator Mahsa Saeidi came across a revealing on-camera conversation Yaworsky had with The Economic Club of Florida last week, in which he addressed the state’s property insurance crisis.
Florida’s insurance troubles are far from over. Just this month, 8 On Your side introduced you to a homeowner dropped after going solar.
“I’m really upset,” said Cathy Taylor.
And another who was hit with a premium spike.
“First thing I thought of is we’re going to have to sell the house,” said Jane Lawson.
The issues were all happening during a shakeup at the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. In December, Commissioner David Altmaier stepped down and took a job as an insurance lobbyist at a big firm. His former chief of staff, Yaworsky, was appointed to take over, and is now responsible for approving premium hikes and policing insurers.
Last week, he talked about the crisis hitting policyholders for the first time.
“When are my rates going down? That is a very good question to ask. The answer is, unfortunately, more complicated,” Yaworsky said during the talk with The Economic Club.
Yaworsky explained that despite recent insurer-friendly reforms, premiums are not going down. Why? Because the future costs for insurance companies remains unknown.
“Right now, we don’t have data that is available to demonstrate what changes in the market these laws have caused,” said Yaworsky.
The new commissioner predicts it’ll take up to two more years to assess the impact of recent legislation, but he did make this promise to Floridians:
“We will do every single thing that we legally can to try and keep an insurer in this marketplace, providing a service to their customers, making sure that they’re paying claims when they’re due and it’s going to be a very difficult time for a little bit longer,” he said.