ICLE’s R.J. Lehmann Available to Discuss Hurricane Ian

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Sept. 26, 2022) — As Hurricane Ian appears likely to intensify to a major hurricane of Category 3 or higher before making landfall somewhere on the Florida Peninsula or Panhandle later this week, International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE) Editor-in-Chief and Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann is available to discuss the storm’s potential impact on the deeply indebted National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the already-fragile Florida homeowners insurance market.

“Lawmakers both in Congress and the Florida Legislature have been warned for years that this day was coming, but have failed to muster the political will needed to adopt reforms,” Lehmann said. “In the case of the NFIP, Congress repeatedly has kicked the can down the road for five years with a series of short-term extensions. In the meantime, the program has made no progress on paying down the $20.5 billion it still owes the Treasury after having $16 billion of debt forgiven in 2017.”

“In Florida, the litigation crisis has left the market in a state of full-blown collapse, with a string of domestic insurers either having ceased writing new business or been taken into receivership, while a decade of efforts to shrink the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. are now almost completely reversed,” added Lehmann, a resident of St. Petersburg, Fla. “Lawmakers had ample warning about the need to act during the legislative session earlier this year, but they displayed more interest in waging culture-war battles than in helping Floridians to secure their lives and their property.”

For more on the Florida insurance crisis, see this piece R.J. wrote in March for Insurance Journal.  For more on proposals to reform the NFIP, see his May 2021 testimony to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. Journalists interested in interviewing R.J. can contact him at [email protected] or 1-908-265-5272.