Senate Leaders Establish Select Committee on Property Insurance Accountability

January 10, 2008

The Florida Senate leadership held a press conference Thursday regarding the newly formed Senate Select Committee on Property Insurance Accountability.  The Chairs of this select committee will be Sen. Jeff Atwater (R-North Palm Beach) and Sen. Steven Geller (D-Hallandale Beach)Senators Alex Villalobos (R-Miami) and Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) will serve as Vice-Chairs.  The membership of the Committee will consist of the members of the Banking and Insurance Committee and the Judiciary Committee.  The select committee includes the Banking and Insurance committee because of that committee’s knowledge of the industry and the Judiciary Committee because several of its members are lawyers.

The select committee plans to take testimony and ask questions of company executives under oath regarding the pricing practices and increased profits of the companies following the passage of Special Session bill HB 1A.  Specifically relating to the price of reinsurance, the Senate believes that the savings “agreed” to during last January’s special session should have resulted in approximately 63% savings to policyholders.  In rate filings however, the industry is showing that the savings are approximately 9%.  These hearings will attempt to figure out why there is such a difference between these two figures.

The committee will hear testimony from 3 different types of speakers:

  • The companies that did comply with the law and have rate filings approved.  The committee will ask these companies how they complied.
  • The companies that did not comply with the law and have their completed filings denied, or companies whose filings are pending with intent to deny and have no outstanding documentation requests.
  • The experts.

The hearings will be held in Tallahassee on February 4th and 5th.  Company executives will be invited to testify, if they do not show they will be subpoenaed.  The committee does not want to hear from company lobbyists, but instead wants to hear from the company CEOs.

Below is a sample of some of the statements from today’s press conference:

  • The committee will force the insurance representatives into the room and hold the companies deeply accountable.
  • The companies broke the agreement that was made during the special session with a handshake about decreasing rates.
  • Justice and relief to customers is on the way.  You not only broke promises, but also broke the law.  The day of reckoning is here.
  • If they lie under oath, then its perjury.
  • When the public took on the risk of reinsurance, the public became the companies’ business partners.  The companies have already stated under penalty of perjury that they passed on 100% of the savings, and if they did not, then the legislature has a way to go after the companies.

Statement by Governor Crist on creation of Committee

Statement by Senate President Ken Pruitt on Committee

Select Committee on Property Insurance Accountability

Senator Jeff Atwater (Co-Chair)
Senator Steve Geller (Co-Chair)
Senator Bill Posey (Vice-Chair)
Senator Alex Villalobos (Vice-Chair)
Senator J.D Alexander
Senator Carey Baker
Senator Mike Bennett
Senator Mandy Dawson
Senator Ted Deutch
Senator Alex Diaz de la Portilla
Senator Mike Fasano
Senator Don Gaetz
Senator Arthenia Joyner
Senator Al Lawson
Senator Durell Peaden
Senator Jeremy Ring
Senator Burt Saunders
Senator Ronda Storms
Senator Daniel Webster
Senator Frederica Wilson