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Sen. Jeff Brandes, a Republican from St. Petersburg who has advocated for aggressive action to deal with Florida‘s property insurance woes, intends to sue poll lawmakers over holding a session Special Legislature if House and Senate leaders do not call a session on the insurance issue.

In a letter Wednesday to Senate Speaker Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, and House Speaker Chris Sprows, R-Palm Harbor, Brandes said “Floridans are suffering from sky-high rate increases” and that he could use a provision of state law to try to stimulate a special session.

“If you do not wish to call for a special session on property insurance and the House and Senate decline to issue a joint proclamation, I plan to pursue Section 11.011, Florida Statutes, and d ‘question my legislative colleagues for their support for a special session on property insurance to avoid another meltdown,’ Brandes wrote.

Under the law, Brandes would first have to get 20 percent of the legislature to file support for a special session with the State Department. If the 20% mark is reached, the department would have seven days to question lawmakers. A session would take place if supported by three-fifths of the House and three-fifths of the Senate.

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Attempts in recent years to use the process on other issues have not resulted in special sessions.

The possibility of holding a special session on property insurance has sparked speculation after the House and Senate failed to reach an / Aagreement on an insurance invoice during the ordinary session that ended to March 14.

Gov. Ron DeSantis did not include the issue in a special session he called April 19-22 to redraw congressional districts. DeSantis said he expects lawmakers to address insurance changes this year, most likely after new House and Senate leaders are sworn in following the November election.

Legislative leaders did not seek to add insurance issues to the special redistricting session. On Friday, Sprows said more time needs to be given to property insurance changes made in the 2021 session.

“If you’re talking about the special session, the proclamation is about redistricting,” Sprows said when asked about the issue at an event in Winter Haven.

“We’ve passed one of the most sweeping insurance industry reforms ever in Florida,” Sprows said, referring to the 2021 legislation. is that it takes 18 months to see these (changes) reflected in rates. We’re about six months away from that.”

In 2021, lawmakers approved changes that included a new formula to limit fees for attorneys who represent homeowners in lawsuits against insurers and a reduction from three to two years in the time limit for filing claims. They also passed a proposal to block roofing contractors from advertising to entice homeowners to file claims, though a federal court blocked that part of the law on free speech grounds.

The law also authorized larger rate increases for customers of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp., which often charges less than private carriers.

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But many private insurers have asked for big rate increases in recent months and dropped customers to reduce financial risk. This has led to thousands of homeowners turning to Citizens for cover every week, with the total number of Citizens policies expected to top one million by the end of the year.

Brandes wants a special session to address issues such as citizens, the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund and providing a “funding mechanism that insurers can access if capital markets are not an option.” He called for “significant property insurance reforms to create a sustainable environment for Florida homeowners.”

“The private property insurance market in Florida has collapsed, and it is evident that we must call a special session to deal with this dire situation,” wrote Brandes, who will leave office this fall due to term limits. “In the past 30 days, thousands of Floridians have seen their homeowners insurance company leave Florida. Over 800,000 homeowners cannot find insurance outside of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. With the hurricane season of With 2022 fast approaching and a volatile market, the Legislature has chosen to leave homeowners exposed to a perfect storm of rising rates, limited coverage and shrinking options.”