Letters: Crist was wrong to veto property insurance bill
Florida’s property insurance system continues to confront the problem of a huge and growing financial risk that all residents face from the next storm.
Home, auto and business insurers understand the concerns of consumers and public policymakers about the cost of property insurance in Florida, and we want to work to develop effective, long-term solutions that will stabilize the state’s insurance market. Legislative approaches such as those in Senate Bill 2044, which Gov. Crist vetoed, would have been a positive step toward bringing private solutions to this problem.
There were many misconceptions about what was really in SB 2044. The legislation easily passed both houses of the Legislature, because it would have protected customers and helped to control rates by addressing the cost drivers associated with increased premiums.
The bill would have made it an unfair and deceptive trade practice for public adjusters to make misleading statements, so that people would not be taken advantage of when they need help the most. It also would have capped public adjuster fees – meaning more settlement money in the hands of consumers – while cracking down on wind inspector fraud, creating a transparency website for consumers to shop and compare rates and products, and taking measures to ensure that properties are properly repaired, meaning safer homes and better resale values.
Eighty percent of all the insured property in the state, worth approximately $2 trillion, is vulnerable to storm losses. And this number grows as development in the highest-risk areas continues.
Hurricane season is upon us, and now is the time for home and business owners to prepare, before a storm is churning. Likewise, we urge elected officials to prepare our state and start addressing the state’s real hurricane exposure. We need solutions that bring the private market back in Florida and lead to stronger homes and safer families. We remain committed to working with the state toward that end.
Editor’s note: William Stander is assistant vice president for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.