Opinion By Jan Bergemann
September 25, 2006
the sake of Florida’s citizens many of us still hope that the Florida
Property and Casualty Insurance Reform Committee doesn’t fit the profile
of the classic definition of a committee: “A group of
the inept appointed by the unwilling to do the unnecessary.”
question all of us owners are asking is very simple. It was already asked
by St. Petersburg Times reporter, Tom Zuccho, in his article published on
September 18, 2006: “Who's
looking out for us?”
explained in that article, the committee is comprised of politicians with
ties to the insurance industry, so-called experts, and business leaders! Actual
homeowners who are committee members? ZERO!
face it: The people, who are paying the price – some by losing their
homes – are not represented on this committee. And public input?
Considering the attitude of the committee members: As Little As
Possible! Who cares what the tax-paying citizen wants?
don’t think there is any doubt that the owners in the so-called
Tri-County Area (Miami/Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties) have been
hit hardest by the outrageous increases of property insurance premiums.
But the committee paid a token visit to Miami last Thursday, and then
changed public input from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. instead of the pre-announced
time of 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
make it very clear: By September 13, 2006, the committee still had no
official website. More than two months after its creation by Governor Bush
and after holding three meetings, the committee still had not published
its agenda for the Miami meeting. I finally called the Governor’s office
and got a telephone number to call. I explained the lack of information
and agenda in regard to the Miami meeting. A nice lady told me that there
is a website “in the making,” but then she told me that public input
for the Miami meeting was planned for the afternoon, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
As advised to do, I called again the next morning to confirm and
got the same information.
when owners showed up to make their presentations at 1 p.m. they were
told: “Sorry, too late! We changed times and public input was only
from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.” People came from as far as Palm Beach
County, only to be told: “Sorry, too late!”
seems obvious that common courtesy has no more room in our society – and
that the interest of the tax-paying citizens is left behind in the wake of
In the meanwhile the Florida Property and Casualty Insurance Reform Committee has a website: http://www.myfloridainsurancereform.com/default.htm
suspiciously missing: Any contact information or e-mail addresses. Looks
like the members don’t want to be bothered by Joe or Jane Homeowner!
received my insurance renewal notice this summer, the premium had nearly
doubled! So much for discounts!
if you haven’t realized it yet: WAKE UP! Property insurance
premiums and property taxes are destroying our finances, families are
losing their homes and many retirees are forced to move back up North,
where they can still afford the cost of living!
many owners quickly discover another serious problem when they try to sell
their former retirement “dream home.”
The real estate market has dried up.
It’s a buyer’s market now and the real estate prices are
going down even faster than the insurance premiums are going up!
Word gets around – and who wants to buy a house or condo in
Florida where the daily headlines in the media grumble about the problems
with property insurance, property taxes and association lawsuits?
owners need real changes with reasonable premiums, premiums we can afford!
And if the insurance industry can’t supply these kind of policies, a
“socialized” insurance company run by the state has to be established,
but providing insurance for all risks, not only the bad risks the
insurance companies don’t like! Despite the huge losses they claimed
from the hurricanes, insurance companies paid out record amounts to their
shareholders! And we owners paid
us citizens the time has come to take a stand: ALL OR NOTHING!
Insurance companies need to know: If you don’t want to underwrite our
bad risks, please don’t offer anything else! And for the big condo
associations we should look into creating a secure way of self-insuring!
(Enforced by strict government regulation, of course.)
Here in Florida we already see enough scam artists, who fleece the
widely unprotected citizens.
is no more time for fun and games: When people are losing their homes,
it’s time to do something about it! When we followed the discussions of
the Destination Florida
Commission, we could still laugh and joke about it. We had fun
quoting: “Anybody who makes the decision to create a commission
sounds a lot like what Congress routinely does to make a hot issue go away
-- appoint a commission to study the problem to death and then ignore its
we should now form a commission called “Destination North – Where
property insurance and taxes are still affordable”? Because
up North we can still find many places with an affordable cost of living,
reasonable insurance premiums, equitable property taxes for our homes --
and pleasant communities without mandatory associations. Here in Florida
we are being priced out of our homes – but so far our elected government
officials are not looking out for us!
The People" need to look out for ourselves and make sure that our
elected officials know:
WHATEVER YOU DO, STOP THIS FINANCIAL DISASTER!
Insurance Premiums and Property Taxes are killing us!