CEI to Florida Legislature: Despite Politicians’ Claims, Insurers Continue to Flee the State

Dear Senator,
Attached you will find five editorials that have been published in recent weeks by newspapers around the state.  These editorials were written in response to figures claimed by Governor Crist and Insurance Commissioner McCarty as proof that Florida’s property insurance market is healthy.

As the editorials point out, the figures touted by the governor and insurance commissioner do not reflect the realities of the state’s homeowners’ insurance market.  The overwhelming majority of those numbers are based upon the activities of unregulated surplus lines carriers that average homes and businesses are unable to procure coverage from. Yet, those were exactly the figures trumpeted to discourage the passage of legislation that actually dealt with typical property insurance.

CEI was the first to question these figures earlier this year in a report released in conjunction with the James Madison Institute titled “Restoring the Private Property Insurance Market to Reduce Florida’s Risk of Financial Insolvency.”  Your office should have received a copy of the report, which can be accessed at www.cei.org/florida.

Although some positive steps were taken during this year’s regular session, more needs to be done. Florida remains unwelcome territory for private insurance carriers and their much-needed outside capital. Large, stable companies and their capital continue to flee the state, and the result is less availability, higher insurance premiums, a bloated Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, and the potential for enormous post-hurricane taxes through assessments.

As you approach next year’s regular session, I look forward to working with you on developing some commonsense, market-freeing reforms that will make Florida safer and more financially secure.

Christian R. Cámara
Director of Florida Insurance Project
Competitve Enterprise Institute

Editorials Available in PDF