Solving the state's insurance crisis

Special Session starts -- Videos


Solving the state's insurance crisis

WTSP - Tampa Bay 's 10 News - Tampa / St. Petersburg

By Beau Zimmer

Tampa Bay residents protesting insurance

January 17, 2007

Tampa Bay residents protesting insurance

Hudson , Florida — An estimated 600 Floridians irate over out of control homeowners insurance rates are expected in Tallahassee  today.

Bus loads of protesters from both Pasco and Hernando counties have left for Tallahassee . Organizers say they hope to get the attention of state lawmakers meeting in a special session to address the ever growing issue.

Chris Kowalczyk, PascoCounty Homeowner:

“We're all angry homeowners, but we're going to go up there peacefully and respectfully and let them know we want immediate rate relief.”

Homeowners say they want sinkhole coverage made optional and a bill passed requiring insurance companies to offer homeowners coverage if they decide to officer other types of insurance in the state.

Solving the state's insurance crisis

Tallahassee , Florida -- Florida lawmakers are attempting to tackle perhaps their most challenging problem yet. Florida 's insurance crisis is #1 among home-owners' concerns. A special session is underway to figure out how to lower costs.

A bus full of worried Bay aArea residents made the trek to Tallahassee Tuesday morning. They joined others and held a rally at the Capitol, voicing their concerns about insurance issues.

Meanwhile, lawmakers tackled the state's insurance storm.

“You guys ready to work on insurance, right?” asked House Speaker Marco Rubio as State House and Senate members convened in their designated chambers. There, they reviewed the proposed bills they hope will ultimately lower insurance rates.

“There's a tremendous amount of agreement on the legislation already,” said Rubio.

Now, State Senators and House Representatives must meet with their committees in conference rooms, and decide which bills need to be changed.

“I think the biggest challenge we have right now is looking at the different versions where the Senate versions has the state taking over all loses over a certain level, we (House Representatives) do not have that version in our language right now,” said Representative Ron Reagan.

Some of the biggest issues legislators will be discussing include:

  • Mitigation/building codes

  • Regulation of Citizens, the statewide insurer

  • Establishment of a catastrophic (CAT) fund

“Not having the federal government step forward with their risk-sharing programs to help us with those biblical proportion storms is unexplainable to me,” said Senator JD Alexander.

While lawmakers discuss options to change course in the state's insurance crisis, many of them seem to remain optimistic about reaching an agreement… and ultimately lowering rates for your home.

“The biggest challenge we're gonna have is to craft a solution that we can get consensus on,” said Representative Don Brown.

Florida lawmakers must reach a consensus by next Monday.