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Charlie Crist vetoes sweeping property insurance bill

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From Julie Patel: Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed a broad property insurance bill, SB 2044, late Tuesday that would have made it easier for insurers to raise rates and reduce claims costs.

Crist, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat, said in a memo about the veto that he’s concerned about the bill’s potential impact on policyholders.

“I am most concerned about the expansion of the current expedited rate filing procedure for property insurers that makes it easier to increase Floridians’ premiums. During these very difficult economic times, Florida consumers should not have to be concerned with an additional premium increase to their policy,” he said. “Additionally, the bill makes troubling changes to the way mitigation discounts are applied. Specifically, responsible Floridians who have already made investments to harden their homes could be unfairly penalized.”

But legislators and insurance industry officials backed the bill because they said it would strengthen property insurers battered in recent years by more frequent and severe non-catastrophe claims and higher discounts to policyholders who fortify their homes against hurricanes.

“This legislation would have been a step toward bringing private marketplace solutions to Florida. Without the bill, we continue to confront the problem of a huge and growing financial risk that Floridians face from the next storm,” said William Stander, assistant vice president and regional manager for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. Continue reading here.

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.

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