In recent years Floridians have seen the worst of the insurance industry. From lousy hurricane claims handling to price gouging, dumping customers and defiance of state orders. It got so bad with Allstate, that the company was barred from doing business by the state insurance commissioner for a time last year.
So what does the state legislature do? Pass a bill to deregulate homeowners insurance. I have not had the opportunity to review insurance industry campaign donations to members of that august legislative body, but my guess is that insurance money is the real Florida juice.
In the letter that we sent (along with Consumer Federation, United Policyholders and Center for Economic Justice) asking Governor Crist to veto the bill, we explain that deregulation will only make things worse:
This bill is an invitation for insurers to game the Florida regulatory system and abuse consumers. No price can be too high, no discrimination can be found unfair if a policy is issued under these terms. The regulator can only come in and raise prices if an insurer goes too low, which is extremely unlikely...
You have seen the way they dumped your citizens after aggressively writing insurance for them for many years before abandoning them. For treating Floridians so outrageously, the insurers get a gift like this bill?
You can help stop this bill by e-mailing your comments to Governor Crist.
For a little background on the bill here's the Legislature's official summar:
This bill permits insurers meeting certain criteria to sell a new type of property insurance policy, a “nonassessable residential property insurance policy.” This type of policy is not subject to a determination by the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) that the rate is excessive or unfairly discriminatory. The OIR is
only authorized to disapprove a rate for this type of policy if the rate is inadequate
or contains rating factors contrary to the unfair trade practices statute. The policy is not subject to assessments by Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens). The bill also requires notice to the consumer before the policy is issued or renewed that the policy’s rate is not regulated by the OIR and a policy with a rate regulated by the OIR may be available to the consumer.