Property insurance: An override is needed
Story updated at 11:30 PM on Thursday, Jun. 25, 2009
The Florida Legislature should override the governor’s veto and help revive the property insurance market in Florida.
A bill that originated with Rep. Bill Proctor, R-St. Augustine, would simply have given consumers an option to buy insurance without being forced to use the state-run insurer, Citizens.
Proctor responded to one of his constituents who wanted a choice.
Under this bill, if consumers want to pay higher premiums in return for some peace of mind, they would be free to do so.
At the same time, it could help keep private companies like State Farm in the state.
Those premiums might look big at the moment, but would provide some comfort in the event of a major hurricane hitting the state.
The bill also had some consumer disclosures and protections.
According to the staff review by the House, "The bill has no fiscal impact on state or local government."
The present system is the opposite of insurance. The state’s anti-insurance program uses assessments after a hurricane hits.
The governor’s anti-free market reasons for vetoing the bill included a reference to allowing insurance companies to "cherry pick" which customers they serve. That’s short-term thinking. Citizens is the largest property insurer in the state. With the governor’s approach, there won’t be many property insurance companies left in Florida.
This bill was popular. A poll conducted by the Florida Chamber of Commerce found that two-thirds of Floridians supported it.
It also was passed easily in the House and Senate: 105 to 13 in the House, and 27 to 9 in the Senate.
State Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville, on Thursday called for a special session to address the issue. His colleagues should do it – and a veto override should be on the agenda.
Don’t let the state socialize property insurance.
Let consumers decide.