Homeowners Group Taking Insurance Fight To Streets

Article Courtesy of The Tampa Tribune

Published  October 2, 2006

NEW PORT RICHEY - They've packed town hall meetings and traveled to Tallahassee to protest on the capitol steps, barraged politicians with e-mail and phone calls and gathered thousands of signatures on a petition from outraged homeowners.

But little has changed.

Insurance premiums are still rising; private insurers continue to pull out of Florida and reform of Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the main target of homeowners' scorn, remains elusive.

So Homeowners Against Citizens, the Pasco County-based nonprofit group that sparked a statewide insurance revolt against Florida's insurer of last resort, is taking its fight to the streets.

They're planning a local protest Saturday to renew calls for reforming the state's troubled insurance industry.

"Reforms need to start on a county level," said Nicole Deg, a New Port Richey-based activist who founded the homeowners group. "We need to keep the pressure on county officials to find solutions to the insurance crisis."

The group formed earlier this year out of a grass-roots movement by property owners in Pasco and Hernando counties, where bills charged by the state-run company have doubled, even tripled, in recent years.

The Legislature created Citizens in 2002 as a safety net for homeowners unable to purchase coverage from private insurers.

Citizens is now the state's largest insurer with more than 1.2 million policies.

The protest will be from 2 to 4 p.m. at the West Pasco Government Center, 7530 Little Road, New Port Richey.

For information, call (727) 863-7073 or visit the Web site at www.hacfl.org.