Top Three Takeaways For October 18th, 2021

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1. The militancy of our school districts continues

The Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach County School Districts continue their unlawful school mask mandate policies. The eight remaining school districts in Florida continuing to flout the law by imposing mask mandates without parental opt-outs are now seemingly doing it out of sheer militancy. The weekly statewide average for cases on August 10th was 20,561. That was the first day of school for Palm Beach County when they allowed for parental opt-outs for mask mandates. The daily average for new cases when PBC’s school district mandated mask policy was 21,265. The current daily average for new COVID-19 cases is 2,683. 

That’s right, cases have declined by 87% since the mandate went into effect which is also about the time Broward and Miami-Dade's school years began. There’s never a time breaking the law is acceptable for South Florida’s school districts but the continued indignance to deny parental rights regarding the school mask issue is now clearly nothing more than lawless militancy. 

2. A staggering crisis.

That’s the characterization used by one Florida CEO to describe what’s happening in the industry with which he operates. It’s something that 57% of Florida’s homeowners must-have. By now you’re probably aware that tens of thousands of Floridians are being dropped by their property insurance companies upon renewal, fewer companies are choosing to underwrite policies in our state generally and those who do are seeking huge increases in policy premiums to offset reinsurance costs which have spiked in recent years along with natural disasters. All of that leads to Florida’s insurer of last resort.

A staggering crisis is a staggering characterization and that is exactly what Citizens CEO Barry Gilway had to say about the current state of Florida’s property insurance market. Over the past year, over 200,000 homeowners have been pushed onto Citizens and the speed with which it’s happening is rapidly rising. Staggering wasn’t the only adjective offered up by Citizen’s CEO either. Others describing Florida’s property insurance market included, “dire” and “not sustainable”.

First, if you carry property insurance you need to be aware of what’s happening and inform yourself as to what this may mean to you upon renewal. Double-digit premium increases are common, at a minimum which you need to account for and there’s a chance that if you’re not on Citizens already you might be left with no other options. Especially if your home is a little older. Second, the good news is 43% of Florida homeowners don’t carry mortgages. If you carry insurance but your home is paid off, are you potentially in a position to self-insure, or create your own investment fund with money that can grow but which could be used to pay for damages if they were to ever occur? The risk-reward spectrum for self-insuring is rapidly moving in favor of those who can. If you do carry a mortgage, prioritizing paying it off as quickly as possible might be a good idea for you as you have the option to carry whatever level of insurance you want as opposed to what a mortgage company mandates. The third is that clearly more needs to be done legislatively to address the litigation issues which plague Florida’s market and are contributing significantly to all of these issues. 

3. He loves to criticize Florida. He loves to criticize me.

On Saturday night in Sarasota, Governor DeSantis said, "we are going to fight Biden on every single thing he’s doing that’s violating the Constitution, we’re not going to lay down and take it". That’s especially important to the greater than 700,000 Floridians in the workforce whose jobs might hang in the balance of how successful Governor DeSantis’ efforts are to reign in Biden’s mandates. Unlike Biden’s tactics in which he’s offered to take Trump out behind a barn and challenged his own supporter, DeSantis is most certainly a fighter but his battles will take place in the courtroom. 

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