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

Regarding OIR Agreement with State Farm Florida

December 8, 2009

“Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) is pleased State Farm will remain in Florida, which is good news for many State Farm policyholders and a positive step toward rebuilding our state’s troubled private property insurance market. However, this is a temporary reprieve and not a long-term solution.

We continue to be far too reliant on Citizens and the CAT Fund; having done very little to make Citizens’ rates actuarially sound and reduce our state’s exposure. Over-regulation of the industry has wreaked havoc on our ability to maintain a competitive market, stripped consumers of choices and hurt insurance companies’ ability to protect policyholders and get the rate of return
to which they are entitled.

While I appreciate that OIR finally made the right decision and found a way to keep State Farm here in Florida, this is not the time to rest on our laurels. Today’s agreement should be the catalyst for continued change in how we approach our private property insurance problems.

That’s why the 2010 Consumer Choice Act – a bill that will enable Floridians to pick the insurance company and coverage of their choice – will remain AIF’s top priority this upcoming legislative session. This bill had incredible support in both chambers last session passing through with more than 80 percent of members in favor. Now, with the leadership of Sen. Bennett and Rep. Proctor, and some changes that address past concerns, I am confident that we will be able to pass and write into law the Consumer Choice Act.

Today’s announcement puts Florida back on a course that will stabilize our property insurance market, but we must continue to work on this important issue and make 2010 the year Florida consumers see their insurance options open.”