As yet another insurance company is pulling back from issuing policies in Florida following a string of natural disasters, the state’s chief financial officer has accused the industry of pulling out not because of losses, but due to wokeness.
Jimmy Patronis, CFO of the state, lit into Farmers Insurance for its plans to leave the state on CNBC recently, saying “if they would just leave ESG [environmental, social, and corporate governance ] and put it away, and focus on the bottom line, they may not have made this decision to leave the state of Florida with the tail between their legs.”
“I do say they’re too woke,” he added. “I do call them the Bud Light of the insurance industry. I do feel like they have chaos in their C-suite.”
“@WeAreFarmers is the @budlight of insurance,” says Florida State CFO @JimmyPatronis, alleging the insurer is prioritizing ESG over policyholders after the company partially pulled out of the Sunshine state. pic.twitter.com/Lx9mBgCccs
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) July 17, 2023
The accusations aren’t helping the state hang onto insurers, though. This week, AAA announced it would not renew the auto or homeowners policies of some customers in Florida, making it the fourth insurer in the past year to back away from the state. (Bankers Insurance and Lexington Insurance, a subsidiary of AIG, left Florida last year.)
All of the companies that have reduced or eliminated their presence in the state have said the string of local hurricanes, including last year’s catastrophic Hurricane Ian, have made it too expensive to cover residents of the state.
The shrinking number of insurance options and the growing number of disasters is hitting Floridians in the wallet. The average homeowner’s premium in the state costs over $4,000, compared to the U.S. average of $1,544, according to E&E News, a division of Politico that focuses on environmental and energy news.
The companies are leaving the state despite legislation meant to encourage them to stay. Last year, Florida created a $1 billion reinsurance fund and set up laws meant to prevent frivolous lawsuits.
Insurance companies have also stepped back from California, with AIG, Allstate and State Farm no longer taking new customers, as wildfires in that state have driven up costs.