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Statement By:
Barney Bishop III, President and CEO, Associated Industries of Florida

Regarding Citizens’ Five Percent Rate Increase for High-Risk Accounts

November 23, 2009

“It seems Christmas has come early for those Citizens’ policyholders living in high-risk areas of the state. Not only did the Office of Insurance Regulation fail to impose an across-the-board 10-percent rate increase on all Citizens’ policies, it did not even accept the 7.5-percent increase Citizens filed for policyholders living along the coast. Citizens’ rates have been frozen for the past five years and the nominal 10-percent increase called for in this year’s legislation was a fair and reasonable first step toward Citizens becoming actuarially sound.

Five percent is not enough to put Citizens on a path to solvency or to incentivize people to harden their homes and mitigate potential damage. While it will still take many years to get Citizens where it needs to be, the 10-percent increase provided a good balance between the interests of Florida businesses and the homeowners covered by Citizens. This past Friday, Insurance Commissioner McCarty once again showed that he clearly has no regard for the potential impacts on the Florida businesses that will be forced to cover the cost of Citizens’ claims should a major storm hit our state.”