Running against an opponent who is rapidly consolidating establishment support for his candidacy, State Senate aspirant Rob Wallace may be facing a more detrimental issue on the campaign trail: His record while serving on the board of Citizens Property Insurance.
Appointed to the board by CFO Jeff Atwater in 2011, Wallace voted to approve a 2000 percent increase for sinkhole coverage in Hillsbourgh and 350 percent increase in Pasco. The rate hike — which could cost some customers an additional $4,000 per year — was reportedly necessary because current premiums won’t cover payouts for sinkhole claims, according to Citizens Property Insurance actuaries.
More than 94,400 property owners in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties have sinkhole insurance through Citizens. Many of them live in the State Senate district Wallace now seeks to represent.
Wallace also voted in favor of a plan which increased every Citizens policy holder’s home replacement value by tens of thousands of dollars above the true value. The result, said former Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Sean Shaw, is that homeowners with Citizens are paying “out of whack” rates.
Issues with Wallace’s record at Citizens do not end there. He voted to do away with coverage on screen porches, carports, pool enclosures but no reduction in premiums. He voted to require those on fixed incomes to replace their roofs if the home is more than 25 years old. He voted for a scheme that finds a way to take away the windstorm mitigation discount many Citizens homeowners have enjoyed over the years because they mitigated their home.
It’s Wallace’s votes which are part of what has created a crisis among those homeowners who have no other choice for insurance but Citizens.
And its these votes which may come back to haunt Rob Wallace’s campaign.