Governor-elect Crist and Legislative Leaders Announce Special Session on Property and Casualty Insurance Reform

November 29, 2006
The Florida Legislature

Tallahassee, FL -- Governor-elect Charlie Crist, Senate President Ken Pruitt (R-St. Lucie), and House Speaker Marco Rubio (R-Miami) announced today that they will call a Special Session of the Florida Legislature starting January 16, 2007 to begin an effort to restructure Florida’s property insurance market and provide relief to Florida residents and businesses.

The Senate, House, and Governor-elect will work with Governor Bush and Chief Financial Officer-elect Alex Sink to develop a comprehensive reform plan with the goal of increasing competition, lowering rates, providing incentives for preparedness, and creating greater transparency for consumers.

“The lack of available and affordable property insurance is the biggest threat to our economy – we cannot wait until the 2007 Legislative Session to find the solutions that our families and businesses need,” said Governor Bush. “I know the Legislature will benefit from the research and proposals of the Property and Casualty Insurance Reform Committee, led by Lt. Governor Jennings. Tremendous groundwork has been laid to position the Legislature to have a productive Special Session.”

Florida families are suffering from the devastating effects of skyrocketing rates and cancelled insurance policies, and they desperately need relief,” said Governor-elect Crist. “I am optimistic that we can find solutions that will address not only our immediate needs, but will also yield a better system to address future storms that are predicted to make landfall in Florida.”

“We have some of the brightest and best minds in the Florida Legislature, and we will need every member pulling together,” said President Pruitt. “It is now time to roll up our sleeves and tackle the pressing problems that voters have sent us here to solve.”

“Working together, I know we can find comprehensive solutions for Florida’s families, businesses, and property owners,” said Speaker Rubio. “Any solution we propose must include savings for all insurance consumers and an expansion of the current private insurance market. We will consider any and all ideas that will improve affordability, quality, and availability of insurance.”

Statement by: GOVERNOR JEB BUSH Regarding Special Session

“I applaud the decision reached by Senate President Ken Pruitt and House Speaker Marco Rubio, and Governor-Elect Charlie Crist to call a Special Session in January focused on the insurance dilemma facing thousands in Florida.

“Although the 2006 Hurricane Season comes to a quiet close later this week, many Floridians are still feeling the brutal unprecedented effects of eight named storms in 2004 and 2005.  Skyrocketing homeowners insurance premiums and lack of coverage threaten to cripple Florida’s economy and no time should be lost in stabilizing the marketplace for consumers. 

“To assist lawmakers, my office has drafted legislation based on more than 50 recommendations put forward by the Property and Casualty Insurance Reform Committee.  Floridians can see the Committee’s report and recommendations by visiting the same website thousands used to contribute ideas and suggestions over the past three months: www.myfloridainsurancereform.com

“I hope the report and draft legislation will serve as a starting point for consensus and swift action in January.”