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Statement By:
Jose Gonzalez, Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Associated Industries of Florida

Regarding the Passage of HB 245

February 7, 2012

TALLAHASSEE — Leaders of Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) today commended the Florida House of Representatives for approving HB 245 related to Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Rep. Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton) and many other members worked diligently to craft a reasonable legislative solution to reduce the size of the state’s largest insurer, Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

“We applaud Rep. Boyd for his work this session to reduce the size and risk associated with Citizens Property Insurance Corp., and thank the members of the Florida House for supporting this bill. HB 245 will allow surplus lines carriers who meet a certain criteria to take over some Citizens policies – a much-needed step to better protecting all Floridians, including Florida businesses, from the risk associated with the overgrown state insurer.

“Supported by both the Office of Insurance Regulation and the Citizens Board, this legislation was crafted with several safeguards to ensure current Citizens policyholders will benefit from coverage options offered by the private market. Additionally, because this legislation will reduce the overall size of Citizens, the next time a major storm or series of storms inevitably hits the state, the amount of ‘hurricane tax’ assessments that will be tacked on all of our insurance policies will be reduced. Another added benefit to this bill is that surplus lines insurers do not participate in the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, so this legislation eliminates the double taxes to all Floridians from both the Cat Fund and Citizens Property Insurance Corporation for the policies removed.

“Over the past few years our elected officials have taken incremental steps to reform our state’s property insurance market. This is another important step which we believe is critical to bringing national insurance companies back to the Florida market in order to begin the process of lowering the cost of insurance for consumers. We urge the Florida Senate to adopt this important bill as soon as possible.”