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Florida aims to fix troubled insurance industry; Gov. DeSantis calls for COVID vaccine investigation

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks on Nov. 19, 2022, in Las Vegas. Gov. DeSantis said Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022 that he plans to petition the state's Supreme Court to convene a grand jury to investigate “any and all wrongdoing” with respect to the COVID-19 vaccines.
John Locher
Associated Press
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks Nov. 19, 2022, in Las Vegas.

Homeowners in Florida have seen their premiums go up and up. Some have even been dumped by their insurer or had to wait for claims to be paid out.

Meanwhile, insurance companies have been leaving the Sunshine State or going insolvent, leaving Florida’s insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance Corp., as the only option for some homeowners.

This week, the state Legislature met in special session for the second time to try to fix these problems. Lawmakers have rushed through changes to the troubled insurance market, including a $1 billion program to help struggling insurance companies.

The new law also discourages lawsuits against insurance companies that deny claims, including the removal of so-called “one way attorney fees.” That’s where policyholders can make the company pay their attorneys’ fees if they win the lawsuit.

One thing the new laws don’t appear to do: give Florida homeowners relief from skyrocketing insurance premiums.

Guest: Jason Garcia, investigative reporter and publisher of "Seeking Rents"

DeSantis calls for grand jury investigation of COVID vaccines

Gov. Ron DeSantis waged a successful reelection campaign based on the notion of what he calls the “free state of Florida.” At the center of that is the governor’s approach to COVID-19, touting Florida as anti-lockdown and open for business.

DeSantis also took on vaccine mandates last year, signing bills to limit vaccine mandates and suing the federal government over requirements for federal contractors to be vaccinated. Meanwhile, DeSantis’ surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo, has questioned the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and the mRNA technology used in them.

Now DeSantis is taking that a step further, calling for a grand jury to investigate “crimes and wrongs” in connection with the vaccines.


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Special Projects Producer Brendan Rivers joined WJCT News in August of 2018 after several years as a reporter and then News Director at Southern Stone Communications, which owns and operates several radio stations in the Daytona Beach area.