April 3, 2009
Tallahassee, Fla. –Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) today participated in a press conference at the State Capitol to discuss the state’s property insurance crisis. Reps. Alan Hays (R-Umatilla), Janet Long (D-Seminole), Pat Patterson (R-Deland) and William Proctor (R-St. Augustine) hosted the press conference to address the crisis and discuss solutions and legislation dealing with the Florida insurance market. The 2009 property insurance reform is a bi-partisan effort, with the support of a diverse group of stakeholders united in the need to support insurance reform.
“On behalf of AIF, I applaud House legislators for taking the time to explain to the public the crisis our state is facing and what they are doing to reset Florida’s property insurance market, ” said Barney Bishop III, President and CEO of AIF. “We hope that over the next few weeks the Florida Legislature will reduce the current CAT Fund and embrace a long-term strategy that will stabilize the property insurance markets in order to protect the people of this great state.”
Representing AIF, Vice President of Governmental Affairs Jose Gonzalez discussed what the current situation means for Florida businesses and the economy, and why not-for-profits and other groups are demanding change from our elected officials. As a long-time supporter of implementing solutions to help return Florida’s property insurance market to a healthy state, AIF has worked closely with concerned not for-profits and businesses throughout the state, to listen to their needs and develop alternatives. Together they have been promoting the idea that a thoughtful strategy must underscore the importance of taking action to protect homes and property against hurricane damage and the continuation of the My Safe Florida Home program.
“For years, AIF has advocated for changes and we believe the time to stabilize the property insurance market in Florida and put it on a path to fiscal responsibility is now,” said Jose Gonzalez, Vice President of AIF. “Businesses and organizations, including not-for-profits, face an overwhelming threat of financial calamity not just from the hurricane taxes to pay off bond debt, but from the potential for unpaid claims due under financed and outsized nature of Citizens and the Catastrophe Fund. Governments that are created to serve people, will be providing a disservice if these programs are not ‘right sized.’ ”
Rep. Bryan Nelson(R-Orlando) is expected to amend HB1495 to strengthen Florida’s hurricane insurance market by reducing the state’s exposure in the CAT Fund by $12 billion over six years, allowing the state to borrow $2 billion from the state pension fund to back up the catastrophe fund in event of a hurricane and using $26 million from the proposed Citizens increases to pay for My Safe Home Florida, which helps homeowners finance new storm windows and fortified roofs. Additionally, legislation sponsored by Rep. Proctor (R-St. Augustine), HB 1171, would allow insurers to bypass the state's current rate regulation process and protect them from emergency assessments that could arise if the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is unable to pay claims following a major hurricane strike.