the bills would do
Reduce the matching grants residents can get from the state to
harden their homes against hurricanes from $5,000, or half of
what they spend, to $2,500, or one-fourth of what they spend.
Limit grants to pay only for roof replacement and shutters.
Shutters include anything that covers openings.
Prohibit subsidiaries of insurance companies that are not
headquartered in Florida (called pups) from getting licensed
to sell property insurance here. Currently licensed pups would
not be able to renew their licenses.
Expand the pool of homeowners eligible for coverage by
Citizens. If the rate offered by a commercial insurer is at
least 15 percent more than Citizens' rate, a client in the
high-risk area could switch to Citizens. The rate offered by a
commercial insurer now must be at least 25 percent higher than
Charlie Crist pushed one of the bills (SB 2498) after lawmakers
failed to include some of his recommendations during a property
insurance reform special session.
wants to prohibit insurers headquartered outside of Florida from
setting up subsidiaries - called pups - in the state, because the
pup companies run out of resources quicker than their parent
The likely result, if the bill passes, is that
27 insurers could be affected, including up to 1 million homeowners
currently covered by State Farm's Florida subsidiary.
The panel passed the bill Monday with no
discussion, and testimony from two insurance industry lobbyists was
limited to 60 seconds each.
Crist appeared in the back of the committee
room as the panel took up the measure, and he began to fill out an
appearance card before Committee Chairman Bill Posey, R-Rockledge,
advised him that he was not required to do so.
Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, cast the sole
vote against the bill.
"We debated this issue during special
session, and we recognized that we had some problems with it. Here
we are forced to pass a very critical bill in less than three
minutes. It's just a bad way to do legislation," Bennett said
after the vote, noting that lawmakers had debated and refused to
pass a similar component during the special session.
The bill also would expand the pool of
homeowners eligible for coverage by the state-run Citizens Property
Insurance Corp., but not as much as Crist wanted. He had sought to
allow any resident to opt into Citizens, but he said he realized
that universal availability would have threatened the state-backed
insurer's federal tax-exempt status.
Crist said he was satisfied with the bill's
solution of allowing people in high-risk areas to switch to Citizens
if the rate they received from a commercial insurer was at least 15
percent more than Citizens' rate.