Governor Ron DeSantis’ Re-Open Florida Task Force Addresses Insurance Issues

Apr 25, 2020

On Friday, April 24, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis’ Re-Open Florida Task Force met in various working groups and then presented their findings to the Executive Committee. The first Industry Working Group chaired by Senate President Designate Wilton Simpson, included industries such as: Agriculture, Finance, Government, Healthcare, Management, and Professional Services. 

Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier presented to the working group to discuss The Office of Insurance Regulation’s actions regarding COVID-19. Altmaier discussed the increased focus on business interruption insurance. The Commissioner explained that, while every policy has unique language, the majority of policies exclude pandemics and viruses. Altmaier also stated there are seven other states that have introduced legislation to address business interruption coverage along with a number of lawsuits all over the world. Altmaier discussed preparedness for the 2020 Hurricane Season. The OIR has asked insurance companies to prepare for virtual claims handling. Altmaier also discussed the potential for litigation issues arising regarding COVID-19 and asked the task force executive committee members to take that into consideration moving forward. 

Representative Travis Cummings asked Commissioner Altmaier about rate increases and expressed his concern about the possibility of a rate increase for policyholders right now. Cummings also praised insurance companies that are offering discounts for policyholders during these challenging times. 

The second Industry Working Group was chaired by Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. The discussion focused on Administrative, Education, Information and Technology, Manufacturing, Utilities, and Wholesale. The group began their discussion with an overview of Hurricane Preparedness from Jared Moskowitz, Director, Florida Division of Emergency Management. Moskowitz has been working with supply chains such as Publix and Walmart to ensure they have the supplies necessary for Hurricane season. The Director has also assured the Industry Working Group that the Department of Emergency Management has spent countless hours preparing for hurricane season and the various scenarios that the state could face, including the challenges associated with COVID-19. 

President and CEO of Visit Florida, Dana Young, chaired the third Industry Working Group. This group included Accommodation, Food & Tourism, Construction, Real Estate, Recreation, Retail, and Transportation. 

Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez Chaired the Executive Committee for the Governor’s Task Force to Re-Open Florida. The Executive Committee met to discuss the various topics reviewed in the three Industry Working Groups today. The Lieutenant Governor was presented with an overview by the various Chairs, President Designate Wilton Simpson, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and CEO of Visit Florida Dana Young. Overall there is a huge concern over COVID-19 liability issues and litigation issues. Speaker Jose Oliva addressed liability issues and suggested the importance of protecting people that are following the guidelines.