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Honorable State Representatives,
Florida’s property owners are still waiting desperately for relief from high property insurance premiums. So far, the rate cuts come up seriously short. Many families are being priced out of their homes.
The lack of affordable property insurance threatens public health, safety, the financial welfare of Florida’s citizens and even the economic health of our state. We envision a financially viable insurance market that will honor the best interests of both the property owners and the insurance industry.
Citizens Insurance was created to cover those risks that the insurance industry wouldn’t cover. The insurance industry dumped all their risky customers into Citizens and kept the best customers for itself. This is not a good way to run a business on behalf of taxpayers. You wisely opened the door to allow Citizens to compete a little, but the insurance industry slipped in a provision that bars meaningful competition, the “25% rule.”
Citizens should be able to offer policies at actuarially sound rates, with no restrictions. We think the insurance industry is forcing Florida into the insurance business. If that is the case, then we should do it right.
If the insurance industry wants the business back, then it will have to lower its prices and offer better customer service, which shouldn’t be that hard to do. We encourage the insurance industry to offer its best products in a competitive marketplace.
However, the insurance industry seems to want only our money, but is not willing to take our risks! Under these circumstances, it seems prudent that we must keep our money in our state, where we will need it in case of emergencies.
House bill 1267 (companion bill S 2498) – sponsored by Representative Julio Robaina and co-sponsored by 17 (seventeen) of your colleagues -- will comply with the intent of the Special Session. Consumers ask you to vote favorably on this bill, when it comes up on the House floor. (See below explanation with two proposed amendments.)
The insurance industry continues to post record profits, as usual. We don’t object to profits, but it must provide a product of value to justify those profits. You are simply challenging the insurance industry to do its job.
Our coalition of consumers is opposed to HB 1223 which would create a task force to dissolve Citizens. While we agree that restoring a competitive, affordable and stable insurance market is in everyone’s best interest, this task force would be too heavily weighted toward industry interests. We believe that a robust Citizens Insurance will help rebalance the market, provide impetus to lower rates, and encourage insurers to compete for Florida’s business. We also feel that the Special Session took much of the risk off insurers and that measures should be given time to work before additional measures are implemented.
Please understand that we consumers are at our wits’ end, unable to afford the ever-increasing cost of living that is driving us out of our homes! We just can’t afford legislative debates that endanger our financial welfare.
We need you to vote YEA on House bill 1267 with the two proposed amendments, as explained below. This will comply with the intent of the Special Session, provide relief to homeowners, and encourage a financially sound insurance market.
Thank you for listening to our concerns.
THIS IS THE VERSION WE CONSUMERS WANT!
Amends legislative findings for Citizens Property Insurance Corporation to protect its tax-exempt status.
- Allows a homeowner to obtain property insurance in Citizens even if the homeowner has an offer from the private market, if the private market premium is 15% more than the Citizens’ premium.
- Extends the Citizens’ rate freeze for another year (until January 1, 2009).
- Starting January 1, 2008, prohibits the formation of new “pup companies” for the transaction of residential property insurance.
- Requires the rate filings of “pup companies” to include information about the profits of the parent insurer that is located out of state.
Amendment # 1
- Prevents insurers from circumventing the prohibition on new pup companies by creating holding companies to hold the Florida subsidiary insurer.
- Gives the OIR authority to disapprove a pup company's rate filing based on the profits of the parent company (if the parent insurer returned profits of more than 15% to investors, the OIR can disapprove the pup company's rate filing).
Amendment # 2
- Changes the Citizens’ Board from 8 members to 9 members.
- Gives the Governor 3 Board appointments instead of 2.
- Maintains all other appointing entities (CFO, Senate President, and House Speaker) at 2 appointments.
- Changes the appointment of the Chair of the Board from the CFO to the Governor.
- Requires all Board members to have insurance, bond financing, business management or corporate board expertise.
- Repeals the requirement that Board members reside in different geographical areas of Florida.
- Abolishes the Citizens technical advisory group (appointed by the CFO) which was charged with providing advice and information to the Board about the Board’s duties.
- Requires the executive director of Citizens to have substantial insurance and managerial expertise.
Please send an e-mail to the Florida House Representatives to support H1267. Please click here for the complete e-mail addresses.
Don't forget to type H 1267 in the subject line!
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