Brandes files ‘bold’ bill to reduce exposure of Citizens Insurance

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Today, Senator Jeff Brandes filed SB 724 – Citizen’s Property Insurance Corporation, designed to reduce the size of Citizens and to bring additional stability to the Florida insurance market. 

“After working with insurers, consumer advocates, and other stakeholders I’m proud to sponsor this reform package,” said Brandes. “Most Floridians are unaware that they could be assessed up to 45% of their policy in the event of a catastrophic storm. Citizens is just too large, but with these reforms I’m confident that we will reduce the size and scope of Citizens.” 

This bill adds the concept of an insurance clearinghouse as a method of keeping new policies from entering Citizen’s,” Brandes continued. “I believe that with the combination of an insurance clearinghouse to keep new policies out of Citizen’s and expanded options to reduce policies already in Citizen’s we will bring some comprehensive reform to Florida’s property insurance marketplace.” 

“I appreciate Senator Brandes’ commitment to finding creative ways to help Citizens’ achieve its depopulation goals and look forward to working with him further on this issue,” said Citizens President and CEO Barry Gilway. 

“I applaud Senator Brandes for working with consumer advocates as he crafted this legislation,” stated Jay Neal, Executive Director of the Florida Association for Insurance Reform, a consumer group that advocates for property insurance reform in Tallahassee. “I believe that this legislation is good for business and good for the consumer and I look forward to working with Senator Brandes on his proposal.” 

The bill provides greater flexibility for Citizen’s Property Insurance Corporation to enter into agreements with private insurers to share portions of hurricane risk. Under the proposal, Citizen’s would shift many of its current policyholders to private insurers without any increase in policy premiums. The concept has been discussed before the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, where Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty stated that private insurers would likely participate in an expanded depopulation system in Florida if it were available.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.