The state of Florida is suffering from one crisis after another, and residents of The Sunshine State are paying the price. The state is now facing a massive homeowner’s insurance crisis, as top insurers are leaving the state over fears of climate change. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: The state of Florida is suffering from one crisis after another. Residents of the Sunshine State are paying the price. The state’s now facing a massive homeowners insurance crisis as top insurers are leaving the state over fears of climate change. Okay. I know an awful lot about the insurance industry. I’ve been going toe to toe with the insurance industry my entire career, whether it’s massive corporate global insurance, whatever it is. This is really more about interest rates. When you have, you see, what an insurance company does is they say, we have projected this much in loss. Okay? So they take that money and they invest that money. It’s a set aside. They don’t pay taxes on it. Okay. It’s just money that’s set aside. And they make all their money because of the way the stock market allows ’em to make it on that little cash of money. When interest rates are high, they’re not making it. So they coming up with all kinds of problems about why we have to increase insurance rates. But the point to what we’re talking about here, leadership in Florida is not tough enough to say. We know what you’re doing. This has nothing, very little to do with climate change. This has to do with the fact that your investment portfolio is not doing well because insurance rates are up. I mean, because the interest rates are up, right?

Farron Cousins: Yeah, absolutely. And that is of course, something that’s not mentioned in any of this stuff that you see about these stories. So we do have two crises really with the insurance companies. The first one is the companies who say, we’re done. We are leaving Florida. Farmers Insurance was the most recent to do that. So a lack of available alternatives is hurting Florida consumers. And that’s not much that any of us can do anything about. So when you have that lack of supply, suddenly those few that are left can do exactly that. They can say, okay, I know your insurance rate last year was $1,200 a year. Uh, now it’s $4,800 a year. And we can do that to recoup our losses from the stock market. And we can do it because we can. Because who else are you gonna go to? Everybody left.

Mike Papantonio: And your position is, that’s mine, there’s no leadership in this state. There’s nobody that’s gonna stand up to the insurance company. Look what happened to consumers in the last legislative cycle. There was no leadership by DeSantis. No leadership in Tallahassee. Consumers got cremated on things like auto crash. You’re killed in an auto crash, your case now is worth about 25% of what it used to be. The value of your life is diminished to where, it’s, it’s almost unspeakable the way that they handled that. But they did it all for the insurance industry. They made it difficult for you to even sue your insurance company when the insurance company does wrong. That was the kinda legislation that came outta Tallahassee under the leadership of DeSantis. So if we believe that this is going to change, because we have great leaders here. We’re in La La Land. Right now, I think the average in Florida, I think the average is over $4,000 for home insurance. And it’s almost three times what the national average is, if my memory’s right. Is that right?

Farron Cousins: It is. And we have, you know, struggling residents here that are now saying, listen, I’m hitting a point where if this happens one more time, one more increase, I’m priced out of this state. You know, I’m priced outta my hometown. I’m priced out of all of this. I will have to leave. Now, I don’t think we’re looking at anything, you know.

Mike Papantonio: Mass exodus.

Farron Cousins: Tens of thousands of people leave, but every individual person, you know, contributes here. These are local people. They go out, they go to local restaurants, they buy local, they contribute to these economies. We lose five or six here and there. That does hurt. And that hurts these people. They shouldn’t be in this situation because the insurance companies.

Mike Papantonio: Look what’s happening in California. Have you followed that story? They’re losing billions in tax base because there’s a mass exodus from the place. The crime issue’s a problem. The housing issue’s a problem. The cost just to live there is a problem. The tax issue’s a problem. The fire issue’s a problem. Their tax base is disappearing. Newsom is actually panicking over it. He’s trying to figure out a way to keep people there. It’s like, we’re gonna keep you prisoner here whether you like it or not. But you’re right. That same thing could happen to Florida if somebody doesn’t step up and show some leadership and this is a perfect story. Tell the insurance company, hell no. What you’re saying is nonsense. We know why you’re losing money because interest rates are high right now.

Farron Cousins: Well, it’s leadership that we’re lacking on really any of the issues facing Florida. I actually did a segment recently just talking about the laundry list of crises that we’ve got. We’ve got leprosy spreading around the state. We’ve got malaria. We have the water temperatures off of the Keys to the point where we’ve got coral bleaching, which is going to kill the reefs. Kill the islands, kill the tourism. We’ve got the insurance crisis. We’ve got the immigrant crisis where everybody’s leaving and construction sites are barren because there’s no workers. Not once have we had any of these crises addressed. All we hear occasionally is DeSantis say, I’m gonna stick it to Disney one more time. Even his own Republicans are now saying, shut up about Disney. Because our constituents are yelling at us because we’ve got real problems here. And Tallahassee is silent. You’re off in Iowa making weird faces.

Mike Papantonio: I have a prediction though, and you might not like the prediction. The prediction right now is DeSantis is having a hard time getting his legs under him. But he’s got a lot of time. I think the prosecutions of Trump, you can say what you want to say, it’s inevitably gonna interfere with his ability to be president of the United States. To even run for president. DeSantis, I think is a real possibility. I mean, I think that’s what’s developing. His numbers, you know, the press, all his numbers are depleting. Trump talks about his numbers are depleting. He’s finding his equilibrium. That’s my prediction. And he’ll continue to find his equilibrium. And the difficulty is, we know, because he’s been our governor now for so long, what he’s capable of, and it’s not a pretty story. But this guy could certainly be the next president of the United States, regardless of what the media’s saying. Like he’s, you know, he can’t find his footing. He can’t get money in. All that is is passing. I think it’s a transient issue. He’s got plenty of time to recover.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.