Of course he did! Gov. Rick Scott signs SB 408, controversial property insurance bill

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Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday signed into law a bill (SB408) backed by the insurance industry aimed at making it harder for homeowners to collect on sinkhole and hurricane claims.

Reactions:

From Senator Mike Fasano, who has been a vocal opponent of Senate Bill 408:

?n behalf of the constituents I represent, and all homeowners in Florida, I am disappointed that this bad piece of legislation has been signed into law,?Senator Fasano states. ?or an administration which vowed not to support new taxes or fees, this bill virtually guarantees a 15% premium ?einsurance?increase for Florida policy holders. This is a backdoor tax and fee increase that will hurt most homeowners with a mortgage, consumers and small business owners at a time with very high foreclosure and unemployment rates, all during a fragile economic recovery.?/span>

The legislation requires that for people who pay for replacement cost insurance, in cases of hurricane repairs, homeowners will have to pay for some repairs in advance and hope to be reimbursed by the insurance companies. Many families simply can? afford this burden.

?t is unfortunate that the homeowners, mobile home owners and business people who held out hope that the governor would veto this bill were left holding the bag,?Senator Fasano states. ?ig business has triumphed over the needs of the consumer. Insurance companies will only get richer because of this legislation while policyholders will have to pay more of their hard earned money for what will amount to less coverage.?/span>

From Senator Garrett Richter, R-Naples:

? commend Governor Scott for signing SB 408 this afternoon as we continue to promote a competitive market with solvent companies that our policyholders can rely on. SB 408 is a result of a collaborative effort among regulators, insurers and consumer advocates.?

?his bill will strengthen the marketplace by requiring insurers to maintain higher levels of capital surplus. It closes loopholes that invite fraudulent claims by restricting misleading advertising and misleading solicitations. It also attacks cost drivers in an effort to responsibly lower insurance premiums. With hurricane season quickly approaching, this legislation is critical to ensure a solvent industry that policyholders can rely on.?/blockquote>

From Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce:

?oday Governor Scott put Florida? broken property insurance market on the road to recovery.

?espite what the critics say, signing this bill into law is the first step toward stabilizing Florida? property insurance market. It will increase competition by attracting insurance companies that currently do not write property insurance policies in Florida.

?overnor Scott has paved the way for reducing unnecessary costs for insurers that drive up the price of insurance for homeowners and businesses. By reducing the uncertainty in the property insurance market, it will help ensure prices will begin to stabilize and will encourage private capital to return to Florida ?a big win for Florida.?/blockquote>
From Allan Bense, Chair, Florida Chamber of Commerce:

?oday Governor Scott showed leadership and focus by putting the long-term interest of Floridians over short-term special interest. His focus on fixing what? broken, despite the objections of plaintiff trial lawyers and others, will make Florida more competitive and our insurance industry more stable.

?or far too long, Florida has been only one major hurricane away from fiscal crisis. Florida? volatile property insurance market has created an unstable business climate for insurance companies to want to do business in our state. A competitive, market-driven industry benefits consumers and businesses alike, which is a primary reason property insurance reform is a top priority for the Florida Chamber.

?oday, Governor Scott took bold steps toward establishing much needed financial stability and market predictability within Florida? property insurance market by signing this Florida Chamber-backed insurance reform bill into law.

?n behalf of Florida? business community, I commend Governor Scott for making good on his campaign promise to reform the state? property insurance market and for helping to create the type of business-friendly climate desperately needed to foster job creation and economic growth.?/blockquote>
Statement from Associated Industries Jose Gonzalez:

?ssociated Industries of Florida applauds Gov. Scott for signing SB 408 into law and recognizing that we must make incremental steps in order to stabilize Florida? property insurance market and put it on the path to fiscal responsibility.

We are grateful to Gov. Scott for his leadership and for supporting good, free market reforms and rejecting arguments of special interests like trial lawyers and public adjusters. It is reassuring to know that our top state official understands that by implementing a thoughtful, long-term strategy under SB 408, we can help bring national insurance companies back to the Florida market and begin the process of lowering premiums to consumers.

We should not be requiring all Floridians including businesses, charities, homeowners, churches and automobile policyholders to pay hurricane taxes, we should not be subsidizing million dollar beach homes on Florida? coast and we should not be going into every hurricane season hoping for a miracle. SB 408 is just the first step, but we look forward to working with Gov. Scott in the coming years to make the insurance system more fiscally sound.?/blockquote>
Former Insurance Consumer Advocate and current Merlin Law Group AttorneySean Shaw today released the following statement:

“No one is shocked that Governor Rick Scott would sign an anti-consumer bill that raises rates and hurts our economy, but his eagerness is telling,” said Shaw. “There was growing and overwhelming opposition to this bill, which is probably why the Governor rushed to sign it into law, to avoid more bad press about impending rate hikes.”

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.