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Today's newsletter is 769 words, a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: A "more stable" insurance market

The line chart shows the number of Citizens policies in force from April 2023 to April 2024. The chart shows a decline beginning in October 2023, due to a state law requiring homeowners to accept private insurance offers no more than 20% higher than their current policy.
Data: Citizens Property Insurance Corporation; Chart: Axios Visuals

Florida's insurance market is in a "much stronger place" ahead of this year's hurricane season, industry experts tell Axios.

Why it matters: The market, says Mark Friedlander with the Insurance Information Institute, is "well-prepared" to support claims should consumers see damage during what's expected to be an extraordinarily busy storm season.

Zoom in: The state Office of Insurance Regulation reports that at least eight insurance companies in Florida have filed for a rate decrease this year, and 10 have not requested an increase.

  • Meanwhile, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. (the bloated, state-backed insurer) saw a net drop of about 200,000 policies since October, when private insurers began to assume some.
  • All of which are signs of a "more stable market," says Friedlander, who credits the state's legislative reforms for thrusting more consumers out of Citizens and into the private market.

Yes, but: Florida homeowners are still on the hook for the nation's highest average premium, according to Insurify, a digital insurance agent and comparison platform.

Friction point: The outlook for this hurricane season is ominous, with between 17 to 25 named storms forecast. A large volume of losses could disrupt the positive momentum.

  • Citizens held over 1.2 million policies as of April, with about 310,000 from Tampa Bay's homeowners. It shed about 400,000 policies last year, but it added about 200,000 over the same period.
  • Friedlander tells Axios the insurer is "overexposed" and an ideal number of policies would be around 400,000.

Context: Florida lawmakers created Citizens in 2002 as an insurer of last resort β€” a backstop when residents can't find coverage in the private market. Now, it's the state's largest property insurer.

  • Experts warned that its claims-paying funds could be exhausted if the state gets hit by a major hurricane. Florida law enables the state insurer to collect additional funds via an emergency surcharge on both Citizens and non-Citizens policyholders.

The bottom line: Florida's insurance market shows signs of improvement, but a major hurricane could erase that progress.

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2. πŸ’… We're so popular

The bar chart ranks U.S. cities with at least 250k people by change in population from 2022 to 2023. Atlanta, Fort Worth, Texas, and Raleigh, N.C., experienced the most growth, while New Orleans, St. Louis, and Philadelphia saw the largest declines. The population of Tampa, Fla. increased by 1.3%.
Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Tampa is one of America's fastest-growing major cities, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data.

Why it matters: Late-pandemic shifts in where Americans live are still shaking out β€” with big implications for cities seeing massive growth or rapid decline.

By the numbers: Among cities with at least a quarter million residents, Tampa is the 11th fastest growing. Its population rose by 1.27% between 2022 and 2023 to 403,364 residents.

  • Orlando (#7) grew by 1.55% to 320,742 residents, Jacksonville (#9) grew by 1.45% with 985,843 residents and Miami (#10) grew by 1.31% to 455,924 residents.

Fun fact: Among smaller cities, Haines City in Polk County was the seventh fastest growing. The enclave about 25 miles east of Lakeland saw a 10.8% rise to 37,272 people, per Census data.

Losers: New Orleans (-1.56%, to 364,136 residents), St. Louis (-1.55%, to 281,754) and Philadelphia (-1.04%, to 1.55 million).

The big picture: Southern cities dominate the list of the fastest-growing big metros, with Florida and Texas alone accounting for eight of the top 20.

  • That reflects a continued trend of Americans flocking to parts of the country that face some of the greatest climate risks.

Between the lines: Some of the fastest-growing places are not cities themselves, but their outer suburbs, or "exurbs."

  • "Fewer of the fastest-growing places between 2022 and 2023 were inner suburbs than in 2019 ... and more were on the far outskirts of metro areas β€” 30, 40 and even more than 60 miles away from the largest city's downtown," according to a Census Bureau analysis.

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3. The Pulp: Drunk driving crackdown

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

🚨 St. Pete Police are looking for the second person who defaced the Pride rainbow crosswalk. (WFLA)

πŸš” Police in Tampa and Hillsborough County cracked down on drunk driving and boating over Memorial Day weekend, pulling over hundreds and arresting dozens of drivers. (Tampa Bay Times)

πŸ₯“ Bacon Bitch, a controversial downtown St. Pete restaurant, closed after four years. (Creative Loafing)

4. β˜•οΈ Coffee with a mission

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

A Tampa coffee shop recently got a shout-out in the Washington Post β€” but not for its coffee.

State of play: CUP, which stands for Coffee Uniting People, employs folks with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

  • It opened last year and has locations downtown and in South Tampa, per the story, written beautifully by multiplatform editor (and Tampa Bay Times alum) Jim Webster.

Why it matters: The piece puts CUP's unique and important mission on the national stage.

Worthy of your time: Read the full story.

5. πŸ€” 1 can of confusion to go

Photo: Selene San Felice/Axios

Recognize this can of crabs? Hit reply to tell us where in Tampa Bay this is.

  • If you're right, you'll be entered into a drawing to win some sweet Axios swag.

😭 Kathryn is missing her baby nephew already.

πŸ›Ά Yacob is sore from kayaking on Weeki Wachee.

πŸ“˜ Selene is listening to "The Boy with a Bird in His Chest."

This newsletter was edited by Jeff Weiner and copy edited by Art MacMillan.