Senate’s Citizens overhaul put on temporary hold

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A massive effort to overhaul the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance may not have the votes to advance out of the Senate. Senate President Don Gaetz temporarily postponed the wide-ranging proposal before his chamber could take a final vote on the measure (SB 1770) Tuesday morning.

No reason for the delay was given.

The proposal is intended to quickly shift more than one-seventh of Citizens’1.3 million policies into the hands of private insurers, reduce the maximum value of properties that could be covered, impose higher rates on new policies, and make the company’s executive director an appointee of the governor and state’s chief financial officer.

Proponents, including the Florida Chamber of Commerce, say the fixes are needed to reduce the size and financial risk the state-backed agency places on all policy holders in Florida and hope to make the company once again the insurer of last resort. Opponents, which include consumer advocates including the Florida Association for Insurance Reform, and Policyholders of Florida, spent Monday lobbying members to reject the proposal. They claim the measure could hinder the recovery of Florida’s real estate market by raising costs on homebuyers and homeowners, with new rates up to 90 percent higher in some parts of the state.

Sen. David Simmons, the sponsor of the bill, had hoped his proposal would be taken up by the House, which has been advancing only certain portions of the Senate package through a number of individual bills.

Via  the News Service of Florida.

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.