Four consumer advocacy groups implored Gov. Charlie Crist today to veto a
bill that would allow large insurers to charge essentially unregulated
"This bill is an invitation for insurers to game the Florida
regulatory system and abuse consumers," said officials from the
Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Watchdog, Center for Economic
Justice and United Policyholders in a letter to the governor. "No price
can be too high, no discrimination can be found unfair if a policy is
issued under these terms."
Bob Hunter, insurance director for the Federation, said deregulation
failed in Texas where he was the insurance commissioner. Insurers
wouldn’t sell policies or they’d only sell policies "at very excessive
rates," according to the letter.
Florida legislators, who received nearly $2 million in insurance-related contributions since the start of 2008, approved six home insurance measures that were backed by insurers
this year and two that weren’t. Included in the half dozen measures is
the deregulation bill and a broad property insurance package aim to
draw insurers to the state and reduce financial risks for Floridians if
a major hurricane hits.
The bills "recognize that Florida needs to take the first steps
toward market-based pricing and private market solutions," Cecil
Pearce, American Insurance Association’s state affairs vice president,
said in a statement . "Loosening the regulatory chokehold on private
insurers and requiring the residual market to pay its own way are