Don’t Trust Scientists on Climate Impacts? Maybe You’ll Believe This Real Estate Salesman.

April 1, 2023

File this under Free Market discovers climate anxiety.
For those that don’t trust those pesky, dishonest scientists on the impacts of climate change, here’s someone you know you can believe – a real estate salesman.

Enterprising South Carolina real estate developer has a YouTube informing potential homeowners of the challenges of moving to Florida. Surprise – Myrtle Beach is your better option.


Hundreds of thousands of Florida property owners face requirements to buy flood insurance under a precedent-setting bill approved Wednesday by the state Legislature. It’s the first mandate of its kind in the country. 

The requirement applies to properties across the state, regardless of whether they are in high-risk flood zones and will cost some homeowners thousands of dollars a year. 

The bill was approved two months after Hurricane Ian caused catastrophic damage in parts of Florida where almost no one has flood coverage (Climatewire, Oct. 1). Supporters say the requirement could protect people whose homes are damaged by storms from financial ruin because flood coverage is generally not included in standard homeowners’ insurance policies.

“It’s probably a good idea to mandate people to have flood insurance,” said Paul Handerhan, president of the Florida-based Federal Association for Insurance Reform, a consumer advocacy nonprofit. “It seems like that’s the only mechanism that really drives adoption.”

The requirement comes as federal lawmakers and officials are struggling to get more homeowners across the country to buy flood insurance and protect themselves financially against climate change.

Federal law requires people to have flood insurance on property inside a flood zone if it’s secured by a federally backed mortgage.

Yet many people flout that requirement, and less than 4 percent of households nationwide have flood coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program, which is run by FEMA and is the main provider of U.S. flood coverage.

In Florida, the nation’s most flood-prone state, 19 percent of households have flood insurance. That’s the second-highest rate in the U.S. after Louisiana. Even so, 7 million households in the state don’t have flood coverage.

The Florida flood-insurance requirement was included in an expansive bill approved by the state Legislature during a special session this week to revive the state’s crumbling insurance sector.

Dozens of local insurers have gone bankrupt this year or ceased covering property damage amid mounting losses. That’s forced hundreds of thousands of Floridians to buy policies through the state-run insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance Corp., while making Florida the most expensive state in the country for property coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Climatewire, June 22).

The Florida home insurance market is in crisis, and Hurricane Ian has only made things worse.

Over the past year, many insurers and the reinsurers who back their policies have announced they are either scaling back their business or discontinuing their coverage in Florida entirely. An increasing number of Florida insurers have also fallen into insolvency.

The result has been a sharp escalation in insurance policy rates for many Florida homeowners and uncertainty over the future solvency of more of the state’s providers.

“This is a widespread problem; it’s affecting tens of thousands of homeowners in Florida,” says Danny Sands, owner of Brightway Insurance, an insurance agency based in Jacksonville, Florida.

“We’ve never seen this number of insurance companies go out of business in such a short period of time,” adds Sands. “And when one of the insurance providers goes insolvent, we only have 30 days to rewrite all the policies. Agents end up working around the clock to try to get it done.”

A number of insurers still offer homeowners insurance in the state, including State Farm, Travelers, First Florida, and Nationwide. But news that your homeowners insurance company has pulled out, or said it’s planning to exit, is unsettling. And with the devastation of Ian, there’s good reason for worry.

Below, Miami Television meteorologist John Morales on climate, sea level, and Florida real estate:


3 Responses to “Don’t Trust Scientists on Climate Impacts? Maybe You’ll Believe This Real Estate Salesman.”

  1. Anthony O'Brien Says:

    How do you afford to own a house at $11.00 an hour, even if it was fully paid off.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Along the attractive (and most vulnerable) coastal areas like where Ian made landfall housing is bimodal: Well-built “dream homes” (which are still standing after and disaster but are expensive to repair) and mobile homes tucked further inland on cheap (often low-lying) land that are either blown away in strong winds or even more regularly prone to flooding. The mid-range rental market around there has been eaten away by the fact that recovery costs are so high, and cheap rental housing just isn’t worth repairing any more.

  2. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    I have the personal advantage in being able to afford “flood insurance” by paying more to have a well-built house away from the most flood-prone situations, even avoiding places that historically had low chance of flooding (but are downstream of dams or potentially far enough downhill to suffer from today’s insane rain events). Of course, I’m not in the market for a lot of what I call anti-features, like McMansion size, or manorial lawns, or pools, or gated communities, so that may restrict my choice even more.

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