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Today, Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried was joined by state and local Democratic leaders, candidates and insurance experts to discuss the affordability crisis and the risk of a major hurricane this season. 

Last year, insurance experts warned that a direct hit from a major hurricane could bankrupt Citizens, the state-run property insurance company that currently holds three times as many policies as it’s designed to safely manage. 

In a press conference hosted today, Florida Democrats sounded the alarm on the property insurance and housing crisis, highlighting that Floridians will be on the hook to pay the “hurricane tax” this season, which will go into effect according to Florida state law if Citizens can’t afford to pay out claims following a major hurricane. 

Key excerpts from the press conference: 

Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried

“We are one bad hurricane away from bankrupting the state and it’s Floridians who will be on the hook to bail us out. A category 4 or 5 hurricane will wipe out Citizens funds and trigger “the hurricane tax”. And guess who pays for that? We do.”

State Rep. Susan Lopez-Valdés

“Although inflation around the nation is coming down, it does not feel that way in Florida…those that are on fixed incomes now all of the sudden, their property taxes and insurance premiums have gone up exponentially.”

Jacksonville City Councilman Rahman Johnson

“When state resources fall short or are delayed, it is our municipalities that bear the immediate burden. We are the ones on the front lines, orchestrating evacuations, setting up shelters, and coordinating rescue operations. Our first responders, public works departments, and local volunteers work tirelessly to save lives and restore normalcy. This work transcends any partisan boundaries; it is about humanity and the resilience of our community.”

Joe Saunders, candidate for House District 106

“State law has allowed a private insurance company to pluck them out of the Citizens’ insurance pool and raise their rates by 20% overnight…Floridians deserve real and lasting property insurance reform. Reform that isn’t just one more bailout of private insurance companies. We deserve a solvent and strong Citizens insurance program and regulators willing to hold private insurance companies accountable.” 

Samantha Herring, insurance expert 

“This is a nonpartisan issue. When you lose your home, no one asks you if you’re a Democrat or a Republican… but we have a partisan nightmare.” 

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