Happy New Year!
Radey wishes all of our friends a happy and prosperous new year. As 2019 begins, Florida’s capital city will be embarking on a new era. Governor-elect Ron DeSantis will take office next week, succeeding Rick Scott who was Governor for eight years. Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis returns, having been elected to the Cabinet office to which he initially was appointed by Governor Scott.
As with the Governor’s office, the Attorney General and Commissioner of Agriculture will be new members of the Cabinet. Ashley Moody succeeds Pam Bondi as Attorney General, while Nikki Fried becomes the Commissioner of Agriculture following Adam Putman. Commissioner Fried is the only Democrat elected to statewide office this cycle.
Activity will heat up early in the new year as Florida’s annual legislative session approaches. Many of the issues discussed in past legislative sessions will resurface this year. Among these, the legislature will be faced with continuing debate about how to curtail problems with “assignments of benefits” driving up insurance claims costs, and ultimately rates. The legislature also will be presented with similar concerns in the auto insurance market relating to replacement auto glass.
Although workers’ compensation rates were the subject of a recent rate reduction filing, some members of the legislature have indicated that workers’ comp issues should be revisited in the upcoming session to stem potential problems that could lead to higher rates on the horizon.
Of course, the health insurance market also sees its share of annual issues, which are particularly complex due to the interplay between federal programs and state-based regulation.
Many of the issues arising in 2019 will be similar to those in prior sessions, but the key policymakers have changed. This leads to potentially differing priorities and viewpoints on potential solutions. Entering 2019, we are reminded of the old adage that the only thing constant is change….