Florida’s chief financial officer is threatening to investigate and even fine Farmers Insurance for pulling out of the state—which he insists is due to wokeness, not climate change.
Farmers announced Tuesday that it will stop issuing new policies in Florida, and will not renew certain existing home, automobile, and umbrella policies throughout the state. The move will affect about 100,000 policies, nearly a third of Farmers’ business in Florida. The company explained that the decision was “necessary to effectively manage risk exposure.”
Floridians have seen their insurance costs skyrocket as the state gets hammered by climate change. A longer and stronger hurricane season has flooded the Sunshine State and destroyed homes and businesses. It’s quickly getting too expensive for insurance companies to keep reimbursing people for damages.
But Florida’s CFO Jimmy Patronis, a Republican, doesn’t think climate change is the problem.
“I sincerely believe that with today’s actions, Farmers Insurance is well on its way to becoming the Bud Light of insurance,” he said in a statement posted to Twitter, seemingly blaming the insurance company for being too woke.
“I have asked my team to put their heads together in holding Farmers Insurance accountable to Florida policy holders,” Patronis said. “I want additional scrutiny on this company.”
He said that his team would begin reviewing complaints against Farmers, which he threatened could result in a government investigation and even fines unless the carrier reverses course and stays in Florida.
Patronis was referring to Bud Light’s campaign with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The business partnership infuriated people on the far right, who accused the beer maker of going “woke” and said they would switch to drinking other beers. Mulvaney revealed earlier this week that she has left the U.S., because she no longer feels safe in the country due to the right-wing backlash and the lack of support from Bud Light.
But Farmers is not the first insurance carrier to leave Florida. Bankers Insurance, and Lexington Insurance both withdrew from the state since last year.* Governor Ron DeSantis and state lawmakers tried to make their state more appealing to carriers by passing a law that makes it harder to sue insurance companies and budgeting $3 billion to help with hurricane season. However, DeSantis separately vetoed funding for infrastructure and drainage improvements in areas that experienced heavy flooding during Hurricane Ian in 2022.
Farmers made no mention of lawsuits in its decision to leave Florida. Republicans “need to own this failure,” Florida House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell said Wednesday.
* This piece originally misstated the insurance companies that have already exited Florida.