Legislators Nearing Insurance Answers; Risk to Industry and Taxpayers Still an Issue

By Rushing, J. Taylor | The Florida Times Union, January 21, 2007 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Legislators Nearing Insurance Answers; Risk to Industry and Taxpayers Still an Issue


Rushing, J. Taylor, The Florida Times Union


Byline: J. TAYLOR RUSHING

TALLAHASSEE - A rare weekend at work brought the Legislature a near-breakthrough on solutions to Florida's insurance crisis Saturday, as lawmakers prepared to expand the government's role - and risk - in safeguarding properties.

A core group of 30 lawmakers donned jeans, clutched coffee cups and rolled up their sleeves for a full day of horse-trading between the House and Senate. The Legislature has been holding a weeklong special session on the insurance quandary created by the 2004 and 2005 hurricanes, with talks taken over by top negotiators in recent days.

Both chambers are scheduled to reconvene Monday to consider final approval. Gov. Charlie Crist has ultimate approval authority because his signature is required on the Legislature's finished product.

As of late Saturday, the only outstanding issue appeared to be how much risk taxpayers should shoulder for catastrophic hurricane costs. While legislators agree on that goal, they differ on how to structure a complicated fund that will give the industry stability on how much risk it is exposed to. For now, that issue has been left to House Speaker Marco Rubio and Senate President Ken Pruitt to work out.

"There's no such thing as a free roof, and you've got 160 people trying to figure out how to pay for one," said House Democratic Leader Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach. "The issue also has everything to do with how much risk the state takes on, which is why it's been so hard to resolve."

Currently, when catastrophic costs occur, the industry is liable for the first $6 billion in losses, then the state covers losses up to a damage cap of $16 billion. Insurers use the state-backed funds as a way to offer lower rates through less risk.

Saturday produced consensus on expanding Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-run insurer of last resort that covers 1.3 million high-risk, mostly-coastal properties against wind damage, by allowing it to write multi-peril policies such as fire, theft and liability coverage. That would put the government-run company directly up against private insurers, which the industry firmly opposes, but lawmakers say the company should be able to subsidize its losses.

"I want Citizens to be able to hold its own. That's all," said Bill Posey, chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee. "I don't expect them to be a big money-maker. But I don't want them to bleed tax dollars, either.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Legislators Nearing Insurance Answers; Risk to Industry and Taxpayers Still an Issue
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?