Florida Chamber Says Poll Numbers Support Insurance Deregulation
June 9, 2009
The Florida Chamber of Commerce released a poll it says shows that 60 percent of Florida voters believe Governor Charlie Crist should sign HB 1171, a bill which deregulates pricing for some large property insurers, while 24 percent disagree.
This legislation is supported by the Florida Chamber. It would allow State Farm and other large, well-capitalized insurers to charge rates without approval from state regulators. Rates for smaller, domestic insurers would still be regulated.
HB 1171 passed the Florida Senate by a vote of 27 to 9 and the Florida House 105 to 13; however it must be approved by the governor before it can become law.
Crist has indicated he may veto the bill, which Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty opposes. McCarty has argued that the measure will not have the positive effects on the marketplace its supporters claim.
In other Chamber poll results:
• 62 percent believe consumers should be allowed to choose their property insurance provider "even if the prices are not fully regulated by the state" rather than to be limited to purchasing insurance from a provider whose prices are fully regulated.
• 60 percent of Florida voters are either "very" or "somewhat" worried that their insurance company may not be able to pay their claim if the state is hit with more hurricanes this summer, like in 2004 and 2005.
"Clearly Florida’s voters not only support increasing consumer’s property insurance options in the marketplace, they believe Governor Crist should sign it in order to ease concerns about the current insurance market," said Marian Johnson, vice president for political affairs at the Florida Chamber of Commerce. "This poll shows Florida voters are paying close attention to this issue as we move into the 2010 elections."
The poll shows that Crist continues to earn high marks from Florida voters, with a 70 percent job approval rating.
According to the poll, 58 percent of Republican respondents indicated
their support for Crist in the U.S. Senate race, compared to 17 percent for former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio.
Also, 36 percent believe Florida is going in the right direction, compared to 53 percent who believe the state is heading off track.
The statewide telephone poll of 800 registered Florida voters was conducted May 27-29 by Public Opinion Strategies. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 3.46 percent.