Amid the allure of Florida’s eternal sunshine and sweeping ocean vistas lies a stark challenge: a collapsing insurance market, which urgently demands creative, long-term solutions. Originated by Governor Jeb Bush after the devastating 2004-2005 hurricane seasons, the ‘My Safe Florida Home’ (MSFH) program received initial funding of $250 million. Its objective was simple: offer financial support to homeowners to bolster their homes against storms. However, the program’s long-term potential has been thwarted by inconsistent funding, an oversight our state leaders must address to ensure a stable and thriving future for Florida.
Funding for the program ended in 2007, only to be revived again in 2022. In 2022, the state rejuvenated the MSFH program with a fresh $150 million investment, focusing on coastal homeowners. The 2023 legislative session witnessed a further bolstering of the program adding another $100 million and extending its reach statewide. While this program holds immense promise for Florida’s long-term strategy to stabilize the insurance market and reduce claims through hurricane protection measures, its potential remains hamstrung by inconsistent funding.
Other property insurance reforms have clearly failed to address the property insurance crisis in Florida. We urge our state leaders to provide consistent annual funding for MSFH. Consistent annual funding for MSFH will allow homeowners to plan strategically and invest in critical mitigation measures, and it will make Florida a more attractive market for insurers. It’s about building resilient communities that will ensure a stable insurance market for Florida and its residents.
Balancing the Scales: Investment Equity
Florida lawmakers have recognized the challenges faced by the insurance industry, investing a whopping $3 billion into property insurers and passing tort reforms meant to give the insurance industry stability. However, these reforms have not done the job. Florida homeowners continue to face some of the largest property insurance rates in the country, even as we see headlines of insurers continuing the flee the state It’s crucial, then, to examine the lack of consistent funding for MSFH. Consistent and permanent funding for the program isn’t just an expense; it’s an equitable investment mirroring the support given to the industry. It’s about balancing the scales and ensuring that homeowners, the backbone of our communities, receive the same level of support and backing as large insurers.
Fortified Homes Lower Recovery Costs
While the ‘My Safe Florida Home’ (MSFH) program provides homeowners with grants to reinforce their homes is a boon to insurers, it is also a win-win for state and federal agencies, which are increasingly bearing the highest recovery costs after major disasters. The added hurricane protection measures offer physical protection which lowers state and federal recovery costs.
A Market Less Costly for Insurers
Homeowners aren’t the only beneficiaries. Insurers, which have been fleeing the state in recent years, should see a market of fortified homes resulting in fewer claims and lower payouts. The strengthened homes make the state a more attractive prospect for the insurance industry, and it’s clear that the program can be a catalyst for this transformation.
Consistent Funding: An Imperative for the Future
The sporadic funding of the MSFH program, with a substantial $250 million allocation in 2006 and then a long wait until 2022 for another $250 million, was a misstep. Instead, a steady, annual commitment would ensure continuous benefits for homeowners, and by extension, for insurers, creating a sustainable and resilient Florida.
Homeowners Demand Equitable Action
State leaders, the path forward is clear. The MSFH program, with its unparalleled potential, deserves a consistent, annual financial commitment. As significant interventions have been made for the insurance industry, it’s time homeowners are granted the same priority. With balanced investment, we can usher Florida into an era of unparalleled safety, growth, and fairness.
Add Your Name: Fully Fund the “My Safe Florida Home” Program
A popular program from the state of Florida could help ease the property insurance crisis — but it’s not fully funded. Add your name to this email campaign from our partners at Opportunity For All Floridians to tell our state leaders to fully fund the My Safe Florida Home Program.