' TALLAHASSEE — New Gov. Charlie Crist's campaign vow to lower property insurance rates Thursday ran smack into the real world of the insurance lobby.
"If we create more regulations, more mandates, and rate rollbacks, then we will have even fewer companies willing to do business in Florida," said Barney Bishop, president of Associated Industries of Florida, an influential umbrella lobbying group that includes property insurers.
The group staged a news conference Thursday to say it would be following the developments in the special session that is to begin Jan. 16 and would oppose legislation that requires rates to be reduced.
"We believe rates have been suppressed," Bishop said. "And we believe that rates are going to have to rise to the current level to (give incentives to) insurance companies to be in Florida."
Crist, who in his inaugural address Tuesday said that it was time "to rein in overreaching insurance companies," said he was astonished to hear Bishop's assessment.'
Should we be astonished that Charlie is astonished? Hey, here's an idea: let's SUBSIDIZE these poor folks in the IL (insurance lobby)!
'Bishop, speaking for a Florida Hurricane Crisis Coalition made up of Associated Industries members, said past elected insurance commissioners and the current appointed insurance commissioner, who answers to the elected governor and Cabinet, are too sensitive to political pressure.
He and his group instead suggested that Crist and lawmakers should make it easier for insurers to obtain subsidized "reinsurance" - the financial backing to pay for massive claims from a catastrophic storm - from the state; that the state spend $500 million a year to help Floridians harden their homes against storms; and that homeowners be permitted to buy hurricane insurance with 10 percent or even 20 percent deductibles in return for lower premiums.'
A few thoughts:
- I can't believe they have the gall to ask for free money from the state.
- With that outrageous proposal in consideration, enquiring minds want to know how much the IL collected as a whole, from Florida homeowners in 2006.
- The idea for "home hardening" is a great concept, but in reality, it's just another subsidy for the IL.
- The last suggestion is a good one - but how do you prove that granny has $60K in the bank to cover the deductible on her $300k home (the one she bought for $75K back in 1982)?
- If a company doesn't offer home insurance, they shouldn't be allowed to offer any other form of insurance (as in the highly profitable auto insurance), period. The IL's claim of "you'll chase all the insurers out of the state" is anectdotal CRAP. Not based on fact, not based on anything but their collective money-grubbing hive mentality.
- Where are the proposals from Crist to eliminate Citizen's?