Governor Rick Scott wants to sharply curtail the amount of business that state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. could write.
The Sarasota Herald Tribune reported Scott is pushing to eliminate Citizens within four years. The newspaper reported that in a February meeting with industry lobbyists, Scott’s staff sought to force Citizen customers back into the private market – making many property owners turn to the surplus lines market, where rates are unchecked and policies are not backed by a state guarantee.
Citizens serves 1.3 million Floridians, with more than half of those policyholders in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Pinellas counties.
State Farm spokesman Chris Neal said Monday it would be impossible to eliminate Citizens. “They have 1.3 million customers,” Neal said. “Where would they go?”
Homeowners Insurance rates in Florida are already exorbitant. Eliminating Citizens and forcing Floridians to purchase coverage from Surplus insurers would decimate the Florida economy and push the housing market into further decline. Of course, the insurance companies would profit from this proposal.
This proposed legislation is only 1 of many anti-consumer measures that Governor Scott and the Florida House and Senate are looking to pass this year. Some of the other reforms include limiting Medical Malpractice awards, eliminating insurance company Bad Faith Practices, and re-shaping the Florida Supreme Court.