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Florida Lawmakers Hold Special Session On Property Insurance

TALLAHASSEE - Florida lawmakers are holding a special session this week in hopes of tackling the state's troubled property insurance system.

Governor Ron Desantis called the session amid widespread problems including homeowners losing their coverage and large rate hikes.

Many have written to CBS4 regarding rate hikes, cancellations and even paying out of pocket for things like a new roof.

Senator Jeff Brandes, who pushed for this meeting, said we are in a state of crisis as rates continue to rise. Many rates skyrocketing more than 30 percent.

Brandes also pointed to the insurance carriers pulling out of the state.

He spoke to Jim DeFede on Facing South Florida about how this is a major problem with the start of hurricane season right around the corner.

"We've lost three companies in the last three months. We've had a company just in the last few days announce that it's going to drop 70,000 policies just as we enter hurricane season in order to try to stay alive. And we're not even sure that's going to work. So, you know, basically, the Office of Insurance Regulation is pumping the chest of about 6 to 12 companies in the state right now, trying to keep them alive because they're close to death," he said.

WATCH: Sen. Jeff Brandes On Facing South Florida With Jim DeFede

In his proclamation calling lawmakers back to Tallahassee, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis also highlighted several issues that have contributed to rising insurance rates in the state, including high rates of insurance litigation that drive up premiums and massive underwriting losses for insurance companies that have resulted in the insolvency or canceled policies, among other things.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said the state last year accounted for 9% of all claims filed nationally but nearly 80% of all the property insurance lawsuits.

Florida law makes it highly profitable for lawyers to sue insurance companies even if the amount won is relatively small, and previous moves to limit attorney fees have not stopped the crush of legal fees.

"The market right now is experiencing challenges that I don't know if I've ever seen in my 16 years of being in Tallahassee," he said.

It is still unclear exactly how the GOP-controlled statehouse plans to handle the issue legislatively. DeSantis hopes the week-long session will come up with ways to stabilize the market.

The housing crisis is leaving many desperate for help. That's why CBS News Miami wants to share your stories to show the crisis you're in or how you navigated the system. We will highlight these issues and work to get answers and solutions. Send us an email: housing@cbs.com.

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