Insurance

Courts need a better appreciation of the principles of depreciation

Post-World War II, the United States experienced a simultaneous boom of babies and buildings. To keep pace with the need for new development, homes literally could be ordered …

Florida insurance chief calls on NFIP to hand over its data

In his ongoing efforts to foster a competitive private flood insurance market in Florida, state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, recently requested help from the state's Office of …

California Earthquake Authority prepares to go into ‘hyperspace’

The California Earthquake Authority – the state's quasi-public earthquake insurance pool – long has had a problem with take-up. Only about 10 percent of homeowners in this most …

Fracking drives NAIC earthquake conversation

Hydraulic fracturing – the process of extracting oil and gas resources that requires breaking rock through the high-pressured injection of liquid into the ground, popularly known as "fracking" …

TWIA raises rates ahead of board restructuring

Now that we're a good two-and-half months into hurricane season, it would be a good time to check in on the financial situation of the Texas Windstorm Insurance …

It’s time for dialogue, not demagoguery, on price optimization

Social activist Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals" was written as a how-to guide for community activists looking to compel political change. Yet …

And then there were three: Obamacare forces health insurer consolidation

In the latest in what has become a roller coaster of mergers and acquisitions in the health insurance sector this month, No. 2 insurer Anthem Inc. announced this …

Letter to Congress: Support the PREPARE Act

On behalf of the undersigned free-market and taxpayer organizations, we urge you to join Reps. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., and Leonard Lance, R-N.J., in supporting the Preparedness and Risk …

TNCs, price optimization and roofing fraud top agenda at NCOIL

Model legislation governing insurance for transportation network companies may have headlined the summer meeting of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators, but other topics – from "price optimization" …

TNC rain dance shows how NCOIL is all wet

"Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance." – Unknown Cowboy aphorisms have a lot to offer contemporary culture, in spite of their dubious …

There’s no good reason to delay conservation compliance

Even as the U.S. Department of Agriculture was reporting a record 98.2 percent of farmers and ranchers have met new "conservation compliance" guidelines required to qualify for federally …

Letter supporting S.B. 602, California seismic retrofit financing

The R Street Institute is a nonprofit think tank headquartered in Washington. Our mission is to engage in policy research and outreach to promote free markets and limited, …

In midst of drought, Sacramento needs to prepare for flood

In the midst of a serious drought, it's time to become concerned about a coming flood. Orbiting high above the Pacific Ocean, a Japanese weather satellite has spied …

Texas’ risky decision on multiproperty insurance

Fifteen years ago, Texas faced a mold crisis. The crisis was caused not just by the fungus itself, but by ambiguous provisions in many homeowners insurance contracts that …

Airbnb faces trouble at home

Airbnb’s fate in San Francisco may soon be up for a vote. While the village that raised the 7-year-old company is not yet ready to abolish it completely, …

Health-care premiums about to spike again

The Affordable Care Act is about to get a little less affordable. Again. Health insurers have petitioned for rate hikes of 20 percent or more, because all the people who've …

California committee stands up to the fourth branch of government

Like other myths and fairy-tales meant to conceal and excite, California's school children are taught to believe that there are three branches of government. In fact, there clearly are …

Nikki Haley signs bill legalizing TNCs in South Carolina

While the country was focused this past week on the flag that flies above the South Carolina statehouse, important work was being done inside its doors. In a major …

John Roberts and the long con

Conservatives and libertarians aren't very happy with John Roberts right now, and for good reason. For the second time, the Bush-appointed chief justice has handed down a decision …

Obamacare’s CO-OPs proving to be one big money pit

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the IRS' decision to provide health insurance subsidies through the federal exchanges, it's important to analyze whether these subsidies …

Avoiding protectionist reinsurance tax key to ensuring low-cost insurance

As proposals are floated both in Congress and in the White House's budget plan to change the tax treatment of reinsurance purchased by U.S. insurers from offshore affiliates, …

R Street welcomes bipartisan bills to encourage private flood insurance

WASHINGTON (June 25, 2015) — The R Street Institute welcomed today's introduction of bipartisan legislation streamlining the process for private companies to begin offering, and states to begin regulating, …

Letter to California Legislature supporting S.B. 602

The R Street Institute is a nonprofit, free-market think tank based in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to engage in policy research and outreach to promote free markets …

Wharton study finds disaster aid displaces property insurance

Federal disaster aid granted to communities hit by natural catastrophes causes demand for property insurance to fall by six times as much, according to a new issue briefing …

Utah TNC bill makes optional coverages mandatory

When Utah's brief legislative session came to a close in March, proponents of ridesharing services offered by transportation network companies rejoiced. The state had passed S.B. 294, sponsored …

CBO confirms private insurers could take on way more terrorism risk

I hate to say I told you so. Actually, scratch that. I love to say I told you so. I just wish it weren't necessary in this case. Back …

Lehrer talks climate change and insurance on the Weather Channel

On the Weather Channel recently, R Street President Eli Lehrer explained the most straightforward reason why those who believe in a free market ought to accept the reality …

How EPA’s ethanol cut could hurt taxpayers

Last Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed cutting the Renewable Fuel Standard's corn-ethanol mandate by 3.75 billion gallons from 2014 to 2016. This naturally prompted pushback from the …

Can ‘The Rock’ rescue the CEA?

The California Earthquake Authority long has had trouble getting Golden Staters to buy protection for the most devastating natural disaster most of them face. Indeed, if anything, California's …

R Street commends Gov. Scott for signing coastal preservation bill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (June 3, 2015) – The R Street Institute today congratulated Florida Gov. Rick Scott for signing H.B. 715, legislation that clarifies provisions of a key coastal preservation …

R Street urges veto of SB 900

R Street is a free-market think tank dedicated to limited, effective government, free markets and responsible environmental stewardship. One of R Street’s core focus areas is insurance reform …

D.C. Circuit strikes down ‘cascading’ retrocession excise taxes

The federal excise tax does not apply to reinsurance or retrocession transactions between foreign insurers, even if the transaction covers U.S. risks, according to a May 26 decision …

The Rock won’t save you from earthquakes; retrofitting might

It has been a big week for earthquake news in California. Hollywood gave us “San Andreas,” a thrill a minute dystopian drama starring Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) as …

Comments to Federal Trade Commission on the sharing economy

Thank you for the opportunity to take part in the Federal Trade Commission's Sharing Economy Workshop. I offer the following comments on behalf of the R Street Institute, …

R Street urges Texas Legislature to oppose S.B. 900

R Street is a free-market think tank dedicated to limited, effective government, free markets and responsible environmental stewardship. One of R Street’s core focus areas is insurance reform, …

Federal storm policies put Florida in danger

The following piece was co-authored by Jay Liles, a policy consultant with the Florida Wildlife Federation, and Gary Appelson, policy coordinator of the Sea Turtle Conservancy. Andrew. Charley. Wilma. …

Shelby’s financial reforms could face problems on the floor

The Hill is reporting that the Senate Banking Committee's more moderate Democrats intend to vote against the financial services reform package put together by Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., …

Insurance bills could have a big impact on Texas

Most people find insurance regulation boring, and maybe that’s understandable. But in a state with some of the highest home insurance rates in the nation, Texans have good …

Laffer: Keep protectionist reinsurance tax out of tax reform

A proposal to bar insurers from claiming a tax deduction for premiums ceded to offshore affiliates would cost the U.S. economy $1.35 billion in gross domestic product, with …

New study shows how Florida Citizens subsidizes the rich

The policy subsidies offered by Florida's state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. flow disproportionately to the wealthy and, in concert with similarly regressive subsidies from the National Flood Insurance …

‘Beach Plan’ insurance needs to do no further harm

When he was speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, now-U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis was fond of pointing to “the conservative revolution” that has taken hold in …

Legal ridesharing comes to Portland…sort of

Uber is operating legally in Portland, for now. A pilot program adopted by the Portland City Council has given transportation network companies the green light to operate for …

IRS created tool to calculate Obamacare repayments, didn’t share with public

The Internal Revenue Service developed an online tool that would have helped Americans who received health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act to better calculate their tax …

TNC bills could be on agenda for Florida’s special session

One of the consequences of the Florida House of Representatives' decision last week to commence an abrupt sine die adjournment, rather than play out an intractable battle with …

Uber’s not in Kansas anymore; will New Jersey be next?

The decision by the Kansas Legislature earlier this week to override Gov. Sam Brownback's veto of onerous ridesharing legislation already is yielding its inevitable consequence. Transportation network company …

Signs of hope in North Carolina

The North Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill 119-1 Monday which, for the first time, would disclose to North Carolina drivers what they pay in surcharges to …

Kansas overrides Brownback veto on TNC bill

In a disappointing development, the Kansas Legislature has overturned Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of S.B. 117, the so-called “Uber bill.” While S.B. 117 is not without redeeming qualities – …

California is learning to pay its own way

California is a land of calamity. The ground shakes, it runs dry and, with underappreciated frequency, it catches fire. Surprisingly, the cost of modern life in the Golden State …

We can’t stop the rain, but we can build smarter

This piece was co-authored by Peter Lehner, executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. It’s troubling to see images of American families assessing the soggy aftermath of a …

Texas moves closer to hail insurance reform

There’s one month left to go in the Texas legislative session, and things are starting to get interesting. On Wednesday, the Texas Senate passed S.B. 1628, a bill designed …

Detroit mayor’s insurance plan crashes head-on into reality

We have seen over and over the folly of government-run insurance schemes. Whether it's the National Flood Insurance Program, the Federal Crop Insurance Corp., the Texas Windstorm Insurance …

Risk transfer success leads to ratings upgrades for Florida Citizens

It's an exceedingly rare thing that I'd ever point to anything my adoptive state of Florida does in the area of insurance markets as an example that others …

More oversight needed of conservation compliance, R Street study claims

WASHINGTON (April 28, 2015) – Conservatives in Congress should take great interest in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's conservation compliance rules, particularly as new regulations are implemented to …

Oversight needed to get conservation compliance right

Ever since they were first signed into law by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1985, the so-called “conservation compliance” provisions of America’s agricultural support programs have stood as prime …

Michigan House could vote this week on auto insurance reforms

For a brief moment early this year, social media made James Robertson an international celebrity. The story of the 56–year-old Detroit man whose commute involved both an arduous …

Testimony on fraud in Texas hail claims

Chairman Frullo, members, my name is Josiah Neeley and I am Texas director of the R Street Institute. R Street is a nonprofit, free-market think tank that specializes …

Testimony on Texas Windstorm Insurance Authority reform

Chairman Frullo, members, my name is Josiah Neeley and I am Texas director of the R Street Institute. R Street is a nonprofit, free-market think tank that specializes …

R Street praises Florida Legislature for limiting exposure faced by Citizens

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 23, 2015) – The R Street Institute praised the Florida Legislature today for its unanimous passage of H.B. 715, sponsored by Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo. The …

SmarterSafer letter on federal flood standards

To Whom It May Concern: SmarterSafer, a coalition of environmental organizations, taxpayer advocates, insurance representatives, housing and mitigation groups is pleased to submit comments on the Federal Flood Risk …

Why disaster policy matters

A major plot point of the most recent season of Netflix's House of Cards saw fictional President Frank Underwood try to exploit the Stafford Act's vague definition of …

Bracing for the storm

The attached report was co-authored jointly by members of the SmarterSafer Coalition. Hurricanes, floods, fires, and heat waves resulting in millions of dollars of damage are no longer unusual …

R Street praises Michigan Senate for tackling reforms to the auto insurance system

LANSING, Mich. (April 17, 2015) – The R Street Institute welcomes last night's 21 to 17 vote by the Michigan state Senate to adopt significant reforms that would …

A TWIA by any other name

As I’ve written ppreviously, Texas’ market for coastal windstorm insurance is in dire need of reform. Insurance rates for the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, a state-run agency that …

R Street congratulates Florida Cabinet for approving transfer of Cat Fund risk

TALLAHASSEE (April 14, 2015) – The R Street Institute praised today’s Florida Cabinet decision to allow the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund to purchase $1 billion of retrocessional coverage. The …

R Street, ATR urge Gov. Brownback to veto anti-competitive ridesharing legislation

Dear Gov. Brownback, On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform and the R Street Institute, we urge you to veto S.B. 117, which would burden ridesharing services with hostile …

R Street congratulates Gov. Herbert on signing insurance modernization bill  

SALT LAKE CITY (April 13, 2015) – The R Street Institute congratulated Utah Gov. Gary Herbert for today's signing of H.B. 141, which will modernize arcane insurance terms …

Fracking and quakes

Over the past decade, huge improvements in hydraulic fracturing techniques used to unlock natural gas deposits have lowered energy prices and boosted the economy. They’ve been great for …

Hawaii considers bill to regulate ride-sharing…in 2112

No two states are the same. What passes for polite in New England may be considered downright abrasive in the Pacific Northwest. What a Californian finds politically correct, …

Testimony on California Earthquake Authority resolution

Chairman Daly, ladies and gentlemen of the committee, my name is Ian Adams and I am the Western region director of the R Street Institute. R Street is …

CEA says it’s seen no fracking-related earthquake claims

The California Earthquake Authority, the state-run insurance pool that is the primary source of residential earthquake coverage in the Golden State, says it hasn't received any claims that …

Top 5 findings on the environmental harms of crop insurance subsidies

We at R Street do a lot of warning that our nation’s misguided crop insurance supports, in combination with the disastrous Renewable Fuel Standard, are distorting land and …

Kansas City could make terrible ridesharing market even worse

I was in Dallas last week and used my Uber account to hire rides from Love Field to the hotel, and then back again when I was finished …

The West not yet fully won for ridesharing

On the heels of last week’s cross-industry compromise on insurance requirements for ride-sharing drivers, and with some legislative sessions drawing to a close, it's a good time to …

It’s time for open data in insurance

The National Association of Police Organizations is a non-profit group that represents and serves police officers, police unions and local police associations. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners …

Lehrer talks flood insurance on Morning Edition

R Street President Eli Lehrer joined reporter Charles Lane recently to discuss pending flood insurance rate increases on National Public Radio's Morning Edition program. The full audio of …

NAIC rises above ‘No Action Is Contemplated’ on ride-sharing

Regular attendees of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' thrice-yearly meetings are known to joke that NAIC actually stands for “No Action Is Contemplated.” At the group’s latest meeting …

Tempest brewing around California uninsured motorist coverage

A tempest is brewing around California’s otherwise functional system of uninsured and underinsured automobile insurance. At an informational hearing held in the great Shakespearian tradition of dialogue capped …

Florida Cat Fund cleared to buy $2.2B of reinsurance

In what counts as excellent news both for Florida taxpayers and the private insurance market, Gov. Rick Scott and the State Board of Administration have approved a request …

Transferring risk is good for Citizens

Claiming that the purchase of private reinsurance is a “gift” to offshore reinsurers that somehow harms Florida consumers is wrong (“Foes see ‘gift’ to reinsurers in plan for …

Head of womens health conglomerate unsure how insurance works

This week marked the fifth anniversary of Obamacare, and while some of us celebrated by spending hours on the phone with an insurance company rectifying a double charge …

Prop 103’s authors argue for changing Prop 103

Scottish poets from the 18th Century are rarely credited for their insights into California politics. Yet the architects of Proposition103, California’s 25-year-old attempt to rigidly control prices in …

Major insurers to strike deal to support compromise TNC language

For much of the past year, we at R Street have been active in trying to promote reasonable, effective compromise on ride-sharing regulations. The goal all along has …

Letter to SBA on Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund

Ash Williams Executive Director Florida State Board of Administration Jack Nicholson Chief Operating Officer Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund Dear Mr. Williams and Dr. Nicholson: We the undersigned represent a diverse coalition that is concerned about …

Letter to Minnesota House Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee

Rep. Joe Hoppe, Chair Rep. Tim O'Driscoll, Vice Chair Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL Lead Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee Minnesota House of Representatives 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint Paul, MN …

Are casinos the solution to TWIA’s woes?

When it comes to hurricane insurance, Texas is in trouble. The state-run Texas Windstorm Insurance Association has more than $77 billion in potential liabilities, but only a few …

It’s time for insurance reform in Louisiana

Louisiana is vulnerable to extreme weather and natural catastrophes in ways only a few other states experience. By all indications, that exposure will only grow worse, as a …

New Orleans takes step in right direction on ridesharing

New Orleans has traditionally been hostile to the sharing economy. Airbnb and other room-sharing services are still effectively outlawed in the Crescent City. Ridesharing companies have not had …

Progressive is rolling out TNC coverage in Pennsylvania

Slowly but surely, more of the major U.S. auto insurers are rolling out custom products designed to cover the unique risks presented by the emerging market of transportation …

R Street alarmed by North Carolina property insurance bill

WASHINGTON (March 11, 2015) – The R Street Institute expressed deep concern today over the introduction of S. 208 in the North Carolina State Senate. The measure, aimed at …

Earthquake risks are rising, but take-up isn’t

The West Coast's risk of ruin is even greater than we previously feared. According to the just-released Third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, the likelihood that California could …

Missouri considers overly prescriptive TNC law

Governments are having a difficult time keeping up with changes in the culture and in the economy these days. One of the top issues for governments everywhere is …

San Antonio must continue to revisit rideshare ordinance

Ridesharing reform is coming to San Antonio, but so far it’s been a bumpy road. In December, the San Antonio City Council voted 7-2 to impose a set of …

TNCs, state flood insurance among hot topics at NCOIL spring meeting

For those whose travel plans weren't interrupted by the inclement weather, the spring meeting of the tri-annually convened National Conference of Insurance Legislators – held in Charleston, S.C. …

Building houses on sandy ground

In the summer of 2004, I packed all of my worldly belongings into a small U-Haul trailer and made the trek from Central Texas to the Florida Panhandle. …

A rose ceremony we should tune out

Prime-time television is rarely, if ever, conducive to serious debates about public policy. Yet a recent article by Danielle Paquette on the Washington Post's Wonkblog manages to do …

The worst sort of crony capitalism

"There ain't no such thing as a free lunch," the science fiction writer Robert Heinlein wrote in his 1966 libertarian classic The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. But …

Testimony to Utah House Business and Labor Committee

Chair Peterson, ladies and gentlemen of the committee, my name is Ian Adams and I am the Western region director of the R Street Institute. Thank you for …

Insurance industry needs better arguments for ‘price optimization’

Back in her high school days, my daughter got to be a pretty darned good field hockey player, eventually became the captain of her team. But in her …

Letter to NAIC Sharing Economy Working Group

The attached comments were sent to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' Sharing Economy Working Group in response to the group's draft white paper TNC Insurance Principles for …

Lehmann talks extreme weather on NPR’s On Point

With record snowstorms crippling New England, R Street Institute Senior Fellow and Editor-in-Chief R.J. Lehmann was a guest this week on the nationally syndicated public radio program On …

Rocking homeowners

“California Rocks.” That’s the clever slogan for a new advertising campaign by the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), the state’s privately funded, publicly managed earthquake insurance fund. The message is …

Anti-rebating laws and the Utah experience

Most free-market proponents recognize there can be a productive role for sensible regulation, but the bar is relatively high. First, one must identify some clear and compelling consumer …

Geico goes end-to-end with Virginia ridesharing product

In a continuation of the encouraging trend of personal insurers embracing innovation as a way to deal with the increased popularity of "sharing economy" services, auto insurance giant …

Utah struggles to stay in tune

Legislators in Utah have responded quickly to concerns expressed by technology leaders that the state’s insurance department has struck a dissonant chord. Now they have an opportunity to …

Before the Flood: Reducing Louisiana’s vulnerability to severe weather through market-based insurance reforms

This paper will examine Louisiana's vulnerability to severe weather and suggest market-based reforms to adapt to extreme inherent risks, which could be exacerbated by a changing climate. It is …

Free-market reforms could save Louisiana from catastrophe, Pelican Institute paper finds

BATON ROUGE, La. (Feb. 5, 2015) – Louisiana's unique coastal vulnerabilities will require the state to pursue sensible free-market reforms to its insurance markets and built environment to …

R Street concerned about protectionist reinsurance tax

WASHINGTON (Feb. 2, 2015) – The R Street Institute today expressed concern about a plank in the White House’s proposed 2016 budget that would impose protectionist taxes on legitimate reinsurance …

California opens fast lane to approve TNC insurance products

The California Department of Insurance has approved the state's first private passenger auto policy endorsement specifically crafted to cover drivers for transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. …

R Street outlines solutions for reforming Florida’s property insurance market

ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 27, 2015) – The Florida Legislature should consider steps to make the state’s insurance market more solvent and competitive, according to a new paper released …

Lasting reforms for Florida’s property insurance market

With the 2014 Hurricane Season having drawn to an unremarkable close, Florida has now gone nine years without a hurricane making landfall. This represents the longest such “drought” …

NAIC seeks input on TNC white paper

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has begun a 30-day comment period on a draft white paper (available here) that no doubt will shape the development in states …

Personal auto insurers wade cautiously into ridesharing waters

In recent months, controversy over the potential "uninsured" status of drivers for app-based transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft has finally started to settle down. Those two …

R Street study outlines ways to expand number of Californians who purchase earthquake insurance

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Jan. 22, 2015) – Lawmakers need to find ways to expand the number of Californians who purchase earthquake insurance, given the extremely low take-up rate in …

Insuring a way out: Modernizing the California Earthquake Authority

California faces severe earthquake risk, yet consumers routinely choose not to purchase insurance products to cover this risk. Low earthquake insurance take-up rates create a scenario in which …

McCarty deserves some credit for stabilizing Florida market

Testifying this week before the Florida House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee, Office of Insurance Regulation Deputy Chief of Staff Monte Stevens echoed much of what has been reported …

R Street disappointed by Hunter bill to reform TWIA

AUSTIN, Texas (January 15, 2015) – New legislation introduced by state Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, would take the wrong approach to reforming the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, …

Texas Legislature should address hail litigation, R Street study finds

AUSTIN, Texas (Jan. 15, 2015) – With insurance claim litigation over hail damage at an all-time high in Texas, the Legislature should make tort reform a priority in …

Come hail or high water: Texas’ litigation explosion

Texas is known for its extreme weather. From hurricanes along the coast to wildfires in Bastrop, the state has absorbed more than its share of weather-related property damage. …

Politics, regulations are ruining state insurance market

Much has been made of the so-called California comeback, and it’s certainly true that the state’s economy is beginning to show signs of life. But in some ways, …

Harvard professors shocked at Obamacare rate hike

While we wait for the results in the Great House Republican Insurgency of 2015 (John Boehner looks to have dialed up the orange in his spray tan just …

Market fine after Congress fails to reauthorize fed-backed terrorism risk insurance

When Congress headed home for the year last week without renewing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) many in the real estate, tourism and insurance business predicted disaster. …

You say ‘po-tay-toh,’ I say massive spud fraud

A pair of Cooperstown, N.D. brothers have been convicted in a $2 million scheme to defraud the federal crop insurance program with false claims of loss on their …

What if they threw a market panic and nobody came?

The news last week that Congress would adjourn without extending the $100 billion federal backstop offered by the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act was greeted with howls of shock …

Seeking common sense in 2015

I was going to try to write something positive at the end of the year, to balance out what a scold I’ve been almost all year long about …

Big SIFI news: MetLife is designated, Obama signs insurance capital standards bill

This week brought big news on two fronts in the world of allegedly "too big to fail" insurers. By a nine to one vote, with former Kentucky Insurance Commissioner …

Two steps forward, one step back

When news broke that the Utah Department of Insurance found that popular new benefits company Zenefits was not in compliance with state insurance law, and would have to …

The CEA considers a tax by any other name

The California Earthquake Authority has a heady legislative agenda on-tap for 2015, and Californians without earthquake insurance coverage could be made to foot the bill. The CEA’s CEO, Glenn …

Vermont leads nation in effective insurance regulation, California least effective, R Street study finds

WASHINGTON (Dec. 17, 2014) – The R Street Institute has released its annual report card on insurance regulation, awarding Vermont with a grade of “A+” and California and …

2014 Insurance Regulation Report Card

Since it opened its doors two years ago, R Street has issued an annual Insurance Regulation Report Card. This is the third edition of our annual examination of …

Did Tom Coburn just cancel the Super Bowl?

No, is the short answer. The longer answer is more complicated. As has now been widely reported, it appears the U.S. Senate will not, after all, pass legislation extending …

Revealed: Little-known Mississippi attorney general go-to man for Hollywood

It’s easy to see how Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood—a Bible-reading, pro-gun, pro-life Democrat—has survived in statewide office even as his already conservative state has turned a deeper …

Fannie and Freddie: Proving that insanity is good for business

Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. Even a casual observer of the U.S. economy since its collapse in 2008 is …

R Street congratulates Citizens on lowering reliance on taxpayers

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Dec. 12, 2014) – The R Street Institute welcomed this week’s news that Florida's state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is prepared to enter the 2015 hurricane …

San Antonio goes too far with ridesharing insurance requirements

San Antonio, Texas appears to be on the verge of implementing one of America’s worst laws to regulate transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. The current San Antonio …

Will San Antonio welcome or reject ridesharing?

When talk turns to cultivating a local high-tech economy, Internet companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and other Silicon Valley giants tend to come to mind. Certainly these companies …

R Street says House terror insurance bill is short on reform

WASHINGTON (Dec. 9, 2014) – The R Street Institute expressed disappointment at newly introduced U.S. House legislation that would extend the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Program for six …

New portal will help alleviate Texas’ unfunded storm liability

Gulf coast states have long struggled to deal with the increased risk of property damage in hurricane-prone coastal areas. In Texas, we have increasingly relied on TWIA (the …

Rounding up NCOIL’s San Francisco meeting

The National Conference of Insurance Legislators is an organization founded with the goal of helping legislators make informed policy decisions. Over the course of three yearly meetings, members …

U.S. regulators, insurers skeptical of global capital standards

A new report commissioned by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America and the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies has found there would be significant economic costs …

Testimony to House Subcommittee on Housing & Insurance

R Street Senior Fellow Don Brown testified today before a House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing & Insurance hearing on "Opportunities for a Private and Competitive Sustainable Flood …

CDI ready to review ride-sharing insurance

Reasonable observers of California government must give credit when credit is due. In this case, the good news is that the California Department of Insurance reports it is …

Ridescore 2014: Hired driver rules in U.S. cities

The attached paper was co-authored by Ryan Xue, Evan Engstrom and Zach Graves. Visit R Street's companion website, www.ridescore.org, for an interactive visual presentation of our regulatory scorecard. Over the past several …

Why are Louisiana’s auto insurance rates so darn high?

As a Louisiana resident, I paraphrase Jimmy McMillan when I say “car insurance in Louisiana is too damn high.” While Louisiana only has the seventh most expensive car …

Will TDI hold the line on TWIA liability expansion?

The Texas Department of Insurance met Wednesday to consider whether to expand liability for the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). State law caps the amount that TWIA can …

Redefining ‘public interest’

For decades, trial lawyers, the insurance industry, and health-care providers have battled over how to set insurance rates and adjudicate medical-liability claims. In California this year, two ballot …

Earthquakes and home mortgage risk

The United States faces severe earthquake risk in many areas of the country, yet consumers routinely choose not to purchase insurance products to cover this risk. Low earthquake …

With Texas windstorm insurance, what you don’t pay for, you won’t get

There’s an old saying in business: you get what you pay for. Yet all too often, government policy seems based on the hope that you can make costs …

Does Prop 103 violate itself?

The history of the American administrative state has been filled with attempts to introduce “rationality” and “discipline” to circumstances in which markets, left to their own devices, allegedly …

Mandates, subsidies and political semantics

When the U.S. Supreme Court decided the fate of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate in 2012, the nation was gripped by an intimate and personal political drama …

Why hasn’t the market for ride-sharing insurance taken off?

As ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft continue to expand in cities around the country, the services have been dogged by questions about whether their drivers are fully …

Gov. Brown forces AB 2616 to walk the plank

California’s workers’ compensation system is a political flashpoint that attracts the interest of labor, management, attorneys and insurers. Last session, a skirmish about expanding the scope of workers’ …

Five ideas to put taxis, limos and ride-sharing companies on equal footing

Recent polling by the University of Chicago’s Initiative on Global Markets find that economists overwhelmingly agree that the rise of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft is good …

Florida’s insurance industry a big contributor to state economy

Its status as a low-lying peninsula jutting 500 miles into the warmest, most hurricane-active waters in the world makes Florida one of the riskiest places to live. So …

Detroit enables ‘prison guards of the past’

"There you go again..." exclaimed  Ronald Reagan famously, as he claimed the debate audience and eventually the White House.  The City of Detroit is once more eschewing hospitable …

Emerging markets create need for innovative insurance products, R Street study finds

WASHINGTON (October 7, 2014) - Emerging markets in the ride-sharing industry have created an opportunity for new insurance products that encompass both personal and commercial lines, according to …

Blurred Lines: Insurance challenges in the ride-sharing market

The world of property/casualty insurance long has been divided into two separate and entirely circumscribed hemispheres: the personal and the commercial. Personal lines policies – primarily home and …

Earthquake coverage should be standard for mortgage loans

When it comes to California earthquake insurance, affordability is in the eye of the beholder. Californians are not convinced that earthquake risk is sufficient to warrant the purchase …

‘Ike contingent’ pounding insurers with Texas hail claims

Insurance availability crises are nothing new. Nor is finger-pointing about what exactly causes them. In Texas, a red state that is nonetheless home to a robust plaintiffs' bar, …

Rob Schneider: Makin’ enemies

In a decision that had to be as awkward as it was necessary, State Farm has cut ties with pitchman Rob Schneider, following a social media campaign to …

Nashville regulators seek to bring Airbnb into the fold

On its face, Airbnb would seem to violate Nashville laws against short-term rentals of any sort, other than licensed hotels and historic bed-and-breakfast inns. And so, lawmakers are …

Embracing the peer-production economy

(The attached paper, co-authored by R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan, appear in the Fall 2014 edition of National Affairs.) Enthusiasts of the growing "peer-production" or "sharing" economy are …

TNC battle ends with Gov. Brown’s signature

Gov. Jerry Brown has lent his signature to compromise legislation that clarifies how and when transportation network companies are commercially insured. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, A.B. 2293, …

Fraud costs Michigan drivers $220M a year

Auto insurance fraud costs Michigan drivers more than $220 million a year, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced while unveiling a set of 17 legislative and regulatory anti-fraud …

Think back to 2004

A record four major hurricanes struck Florida in late 2004, meaning we are in the midst of commemorating the 10-year anniversaries of their landfalls. Former Gov. Jeb Bush …

Self-driving cars could require overhaul of insurance regulation

What is an autonomous vehicle? As demonstrated in a Sept. 15 California Department of Insurance informational hearing, that's a misleadingly simple question. Regulators' attempt to stay in front of …

Detroit takes another title: highest car insurance in America

The Detroit-Warren-Ann Arbor metropolitan area has higher auto insurance rates than any other top 25 metro area in the United States. It wasn’t even close, according to the …

Reform and renew terrorism risk insurance

With Congress returning from its August recess this week for an abbreviated two-week session, one of the lingering bits of unresolved business is the fate of the 12-year-old …

The inequality of unisex pricing

Equality before the law is a foundational principle of American democracy. Many policymakers are proud to pursue efforts to realize that principle. Perhaps that is why, cloaked by …

California state funds continue to shake up cat bond market

California's recent "Winequake" brought the public's focus back to the state's significant vulnerability to seismic events. Fortunately, the tremors, while costly, did not tally a high human score. …

Slowing the rise of the oceans

From Al Gore to the leadership of groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists, environmentalists long have warned that global disaster is certain unless we do something about …

Can Prop 103 handle driverless cars?

Earlier this year, Google announced the introduction of a completely driverless car. On this blog, Eli Lehrer took time to discuss the insurance implications of such a development. …

Lessons from Napa’s ‘winequake’

In the early hours Sunday morning, Northern California shook with the largest earthquake it has experienced since 1989. The South Napa Earthquake, as it is being referred to …

For insurers, California’s ‘diverse procurement’ is well-meaning and wrong

Under Section 927.2 of the California Insurance Code, insurers writing $100 million or more in annual premiums in the state are required to submit reports to the Department …

Fla Citizens’ business travel saves Florida money

A recent article by the Palm Beach Post blasting Citizens Property Insurance Corp. executives for traveling overseas casts a negative image onto the state-owned and operated insurer. However, …

A decade after Charley, Florida’s still paying the bill

Tomorrow, Aug. 9, marks the ten-year anniversary of the formation of Hurricane Charley. The third named storm of the 2004 hurricane season, Charley did $13 billion of damage, …

California’s incomplete prescription for reducing climate risk

The California Natural Resources Agency has just released its Final Safeguarding California Plan for Reducing Climate Risk. The roughly 350-page plan is designed to provide policymakers with recommendations …

Portable persistency and the Prop 103 roadblock

The emerging need to develop new insurance products to cover California's Transportation Network Company operators has spurred a reexamination of the nature of Proposition 103's quasi-constitutional status. In …

Five principles for regulating the peer production economy

The attached paper was co-authored by R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan. Economic history over the last 200 years is largely the story of the industrial move from small-scale …

Address flood insurance and the environment with RESTORE Act funding

Many Alabamians may find it hard to believe that July 15 of this year marked four years since the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill was capped in the Gulf …

Anatomy of a Trojan Horse: California’s permissive single-subject rule

When it comes to winning at the polls, hoodwinking voters by confusing the issues is a strategy that has stood the test of time. This November, Propositions 45 …

Market freedom paying off in South Carolina

Maintaining pricing freedom and a light regulatory touch is paying major dividends in South Carolina's property insurance market, where the state is reaping the benefits of the ongoing …

Senate terrorism insurance bill fails to make appropriate reforms

WASHINGTON (July 17, 2014) – The R Street Institute today urged members of Congress to commit to sensible reforms to the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, as called …

Lyft’s insurance move a first step toward regular TNC coverage

Even as it faces new regulatory headaches in New York, transportation network company Lyft is making news this week with a major announcement today that should quiet at …

R Street’s Adams on flood insurance in Sacramento

R Street Associate Policy Analyst Ian Adams joined host Bruce Maiman yesterday on KFBK radio in  Sacramento, Calif. to discuss the National Flood Insurance Program. In particular, Ian …

Hobby Lobby and the hobbling law

Last week's Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell predictably unleashed a firestorm of controversy that has burned through every sector of the press. If nothing else, …

R Street to host extreme weather event with Rep. Cartwright

Come see R Street's president Eli Lehrer on extreme weather events and disaster policy Wednesday at noon. Full details below. No RSVP required. Washington, DC –On Wednesday, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright, in …

Prop 45: An internecine fight on the regulatory left

Ominously, Proposition 45, the "Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act," is heading for California's November ballot. If voters approve the Consumer Watchdog-sponsored initiative, health insurers would be …

It’s time for a conservative global-warming agenda

Conservatives should adopt a new strategy in the battle over global warming. Rather than falling back on the claim that global warming isn’t a problem, conservatives should take …

Arthur could strike around the Fourth in Morehead City

Ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend, the U.S. East Coast is preparing for Tropical Storm Arthur, the first named storm of the 2014 season. Formed yesterday off the …

Reinsurers starting to drop their terrorism exclusions

As property insurers lock up their July 1 reinsurance renewals, many are finding a bonus surprise above and beyond the soft pricing environment – the terrorism exclusions that …

California Senate panel lowers insurance requirement for TNCs

California's A.B. 2293 – sponsored by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, D-Concord – crossed another hurdle Wednesday by earning approval of the state Senate Insurance Committee. Having earlier been amended …

No easy fix for California’s replacement parts regs

Henry Ford would be gratified to see how far mass production has come. Entire cars are constructed in a matter of hours. He would be somewhat less impressed …

Don’t take the Texas GOP’s crazy platform too seriously

In recent weeks, more than a few groups – including one on whose board I serve – have denounced various aspects of the Texas Republican Party's platform. Indeed, there's …

Insurance by/at the pound?

It has never been more of a dog's world. Consider, 45 percent of households own dogs. With such a high rate of cohabitation, insurers have seen dog-related claims rise. …

The fight over TNCs in California

Legislation regulating so-called "transportation network companies" in California passed the state Senate Energy, Utilities and Commerce Committee by a unanimous 8-0 vote earlier this week, amid a row …

R Street encouraged by House bill on terrorism insurance

WASHINGTON (June 12, 2014) - The R Street Institute welcomes today's introduction of the TRIA Reform Act of 2014, legislation that would make significant, positive changes to the federal …

Sacramento’s soggy redevelopment plan

Those unfortunate enough to have attended California Gov. Leland Stanford's 1862 inauguration likely had to commute to the Capitol Building as he did – by boat. Sacramento is, if …

The reinsurance tax and TRIA: A recipe for massive taxpayer liabilities

Proposed taxes on "affiliated reinsurance" transactions sought by the Obama administration and some members of Congress would restrict trade and could make it impossible to transfer the costs …

R Street praises Gov. Rick Scott for signing private insurance marketplace bill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (June 16, 2014) - The R Street Institute welcomed Friday's signing of SB 542 by Gov. Rick Scott, approving rules guiding the state's emerging private flood insurance market that …

The California Earthquake Authority: A confused success story

This year, the California Senate Insurance Committee has hosted two informational hearings on earthquake risk, bringing together stakeholders, regulators and thought-leaders. The fact is that Californians are overexposed and …

Open letter to Congress: Support amendments to reform crop insurance

June 11, 2014 An Open Letter to the United States Congress: Support Amendments to Reform Crop Insurance Dear Representative, On behalf of the millions of members of the undersigned organizations, we urge …

In memoriam, Sean Carr

Sean P. Carr, one of the best reporters covering the insurance industry here in the nation's capital, died suddenly last night from complications during emergency surgery, just a …

Join R Street’s Christian Camara in Pembroke Pines

R Street State Affairs Director Christian Camara will take part this Thursday in a forum sponsored by Florida International University's Metropolitan Center on “The Hurricane Threat: Issues in …

Moylan on hurricane season

R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan joined David Williams of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance on TPA's "Taxpayer Watch Podcast" to discuss the June 1 start of the Atlantic …

Will the NFIP survive this year’s hurricane season?

This Sunday, June 1, marks the start of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season. And though experts are predicting a relatively quiet one this year, our dutiful representatives in …

N.C. auto insurance price controls stifle innovation

There has been a great deal of heated discussion in North Carolina regarding auto insurance reform during the past several years. The insurance industry is divided and parties …

The insurance implications of Google’s self-driving car

Google has announced a truly "driverless" car that lacks a steering wheel, brakes or anything else that allows a driver to control its movements. This actually strikes me as a …

Rate Bureau protects vested interests, not consumers

A recent Star News editorial on auto insurance reform in North Carolina ("Don't let companies wreck state's auto insurance system," May 24) argues that allowing companies to opt …

Prop 103’s troublesome legacy

It's been more than a quarter-century since California voters passed Proposition 103. Spurred on by questionable analysis of the causes of high auto insurance premiums, five competing insurance-regulation …

Africa can tap global reinsurance markets; why not Florida?

In what can only be taken as an exceedingly encouraging sign for emerging markets around the world, an African Union-created agency has established the continent's first-ever catastrophe insurance …

TNCs fight for footing in California’s legislature

A recent R Street post by Zachary Cohn laid out three steps that transportation network companies like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar should take to solidify their place in …

House Republicans offer road map for the future of terrorism insurance

Having previously played (and arguably, lost) two prior rounds of legislative "chicken" with the insurance industry, congressional conservatives are making it known that, this time around, they're quite …

R Street praises Florida Gov. Scott for signing hurricane legislation

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (May 13, 2014) - The R Street Institute praised Florida Gov. Rick Scott for signing H.B. 5061 yesterday, which creates a sales tax holiday for hurricane …

Conservatives coalescing against TRIA, Ex-Im

It has been the general Washington consensus of recent years – voiced, most recently, by my colleague Reihan Salam – that the conservative movement is inalterably riven between …

R Street welcomes passage of private flood insurance bill in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (May 1, 2014) – The R Street Institute today welcomed the vote by the Florida Legislature to approve rules guiding the Sunshine State's emerging private flood …

R Street applauds reinsurance package from Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 24, 2014) - The R Street institute applauded today’s announcement from Citizens Property Insurance Corp. of a $3.1 billion risk transfer program for the 2014 …

Congress should help, not hinder, private terror insurance markets

Earlier this week, I took part in what I found to be a lively and enlightening panel discussion on the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, the now-12-year-old federal program …

R Street’s Lehmann on terrorism insurance

R Street Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann participated in a panel organized by National Journal magazine and hosted at Chicago's Soldier Field by Zurich North America …

Ridesharing, insurance and regulation

ALEC's Cara Sullivan had a good post earlier this week on the American Legislator blog about the importance of balancing consumer protection with innovation in the ride-on-demand services …

R Street argues for keeping Coastal Barrier Resources System intact

WASHINGTON (April 8, 2014) - Removing units from the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CRBS) will have the adverse effect of raising taxes and forcing more customers into Florida’s …

Testimony to U.S. House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs

Chairman Fleming, Ranking Member Sablan, and distinguished subcommittee members, My name is Christian Camara and I am the Florida director and a co-founder of the R Street Institute.  We …

R Street advocates investment in new coastal mitigation program

WASHINGTON (April 1, 2014) – The R Street Institute today called on Congress to make a major public commitment to fund research into alternative technologies to aid citizens …

Fla Cat Fund missing out on best reinsurance market ever

Coming into 2014, we had modest expectations of the potential for significant property insurance reform in Florida. Given that it is an election year – and one featuring …

R Street concerned about protectionist reinsurance tax

WASHINGTON (March 4, 2014) - The R Street Institute today expressed concern about a plank in the White House's proposed 2015 budget that would impose protectionist taxes on …

The limits of consumer choice

Most conservatives, and even some liberals of the dwindling "New Democrat" variety, put near-religious faith in the maxim that greater consumer choice would improve nearly every heavily regulated …

R Street warns time is short to consider TRIA reforms

WASHINGTON (Feb. 25, 2014) – With the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Program set to expire at year's end, the R Street Institute urged members of Congress to act …

R Street Institute applauds efforts to depopulate Texas Windstorm Insurance Association

AUSTIN, Tex. (Feb. 17, 2014) -- The R Street Institute welcomed news of a study to examine the benefits of enabling private insurers to voluntarily take homeowners policies …

R Street applauds shrinking Fla Citizens policies

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (February 12, 2014) - The R Street Institute welcomed today's news that Florida's state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has seen its policy count fall to under 1 …

The Obamacare trap

Last week's release of Congressional Budget Office numbers showing that Obamacare is projected to decrease employment by 2.5 million jobs has, by now, been litigated almost to the …

Don’t encourage risky development

The Jan. 30 editorial, Mapping our future, is right to commend South Florida’s governments for doing more to “tackle the threat of climate change” and rising sea levels. …

R Street welcomes vote to right-size Fla Cat Fund

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Feb. 4, 2014) – The R Street Institute welcomed today's unanimous vote by the Florida Senate Community Affairs Committee approving S.B. 482, a measure to scale …

Hurricane mitigation sales tax holiday would be nice

Gov. Rick Scott's announcement that he will pursue legislative action to grant a 15-day sales-tax holiday for hurricane preparedness is a big win for Florida. The tax incentive …

Flood insurance and the phantom real estate crash

To hear proponents tell the tale, the reason the U.S. Senate voted yesterday to gut reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program that it had approved overwhelmingly just …

Flood-bill vote could put lives, careers at risk

If a plan to delay the phase-out of some federal flood insurance subsidies is successful, Congress could be setting itself up for a nasty pre-election “October surprise.” Should …

SmarterSafer letter to Speaker Boehner on flood insurance reform

The Honorable John Boehner Speaker U.S. House of Representatives H-232 The Capitol Washington, DC 20515 January 23, 2014 Dear Speaker Boehner, In light of your comments last week about the need to modify the Biggert-Waters …

Free-market groups express concern over offshore reinsurance tax

Jan. 17, 2014 Dear Sen. Baucus: On behalf of a broad spectrum of groups supporting free markets and sound tax policy, we write to express our deep concern regarding proposals …

Fannie, Freddie and the big one

Twenty years ago today, the 6.7-magnitude Northridge Earthquake struck the San Fernando Valley 20 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, killing 60, injuring 7,000, and damaging more than …

R Street welcomes private reinsurance plan for Florida Cat Fund

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Jan. 16, 2013) – The R Street Institute welcomed news that the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund is working on a plan to buy private reinsurance, reducing …

A sad day at National Underwriter

Before jumping into think tank life in late 2011 (technically speaking, jumping back into think tank life, as I did have a brief spell with the Independent Institute …

SAVE THE DATE: Florida Chamber’s 7th Annual Insurance Summit

Those interested in the future of insurance in the Sunshine State should register for the Florida Chamber of Commerce's Seventh Annual Insurance Summit, set for Jan. 15-17 at …

Letter to the Tampa Bay Times: Sifting flood program data

"Flood insurance rhetoric ignores reality," Dec. 15 This column on the National Flood Insurance Program's subsidized properties takes my organization, the R Street Institute, to task for asserting that …

Missing the point on ‘Pajama Boy’

Like every conservative, when I saw the recent Obamacare ads featuring the by-this-point infamous "Pajama Boy," my first reaction was near-instant derision, and not just because of unpleasant …

Sanders on the farm bill

R Street Senior Fellow Lori Sanders discusses the farm bill on 1070 AM WINA in Charlottesville, Va. Click here to download the podcast. …

Virginia ranks first, New York last, in R Street’s 2013 Insurance Regulation Report Card

WASHINGTON (Dec. 18, 2013) -- Virginia and Vermont had the best insurance regulatory environments in the United States this year, while New York had the worst, according to …

2013 Insurance Regulation Report Card

Welcome to the R Street Institute's 2013 Insurance Regulation Report Card, our annual examination of which states are doing the best job of regulating the business of insurance. …

Shining a light on federal advertising

News broke this week that insurers plan to spend more than $500 million in coming months to market the healthcare plans available on the Obamacare exchanges. This will …

R Street welcomes Florida bill to authorize private flood insurance

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Dec. 17, 2013) – The R Street Institute welcomed today's introduction of legislation creating a statutory definition of private flood insurance that may be written by …

R Street applauds Florida for fast-tracking private flood insurance

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Dec. 16, 2013) – The R Street Institute applauded the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation's timely approval of a request by Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty …

Wisconsin workers’ comp insurers propose to rein in costs

States once again show the way to management and reform of public systems by having affected interests sit down together to work out a plan. In Wisconsin, the …

Bill takes wrong approach on earthquake insurance

WASHINGTON (Dec. 13, 2013) – Research from the R Street Institute suggests new legislation introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both D-Calif., offers the wrong approach …

Insurance shows that federalism works

Fifty-four years ago, the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations was established by statute to examine the best or most logical accommodations of federalism. For many years, it held …

Good news from Florida

Good news from Florida on the insurance front: the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corporation has shrunk their exposure by some 35 percent. This is a win for competitive insurance …

R Street applauds successful efforts to shrink Fla Citizens

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Dec. 10, 2013) – The R Street Institute welcomed today's news that Florida's state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has seen its policy count fall to just …

Taxpayers still face storm threats

Last Saturday, the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season came to a close, not with a bang but with a whimper. While in the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan was responsible for …

Doing the wrong thing

After a decade-long run of bad weather that included Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, and Ike, and a host of other river valley and storm-surge floods, the 45-year-old National Flood …

Government sources of systemic insurable risk

In mid-2013, three years after the Dodd-Frank Act's passage, American International Group Inc. and Prudential Financial Inc. became the first insurance companies to be designated by the Financial …

R Street paper looks at government sources of systemic insurable risk

WASHINGTON (Dec. 3, 2013) – Natural disasters pose significant threats to taxpayers and the economy at-large, thanks to trillions of dollars of insurable risk concentrated on the balance …

Letter to federal banking regulators on flood insurance

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency 12 CFR Parts 22, 172 [Docket ID OCC-2013-0015] RIN 1557-AD67 And FDIC, NCUA, Farm Credit Administration and Federal Reserve Board Re: Comments on "Loans in Areas …

Free-market groups urge banking regulators to accept private flood insurance

WASHINGTON (Dec. 2, 2013) -- Federal rules requiring flood insurance coverage to secure certain mortgaged loans should include a safe harbor for equivalent coverage offered by private excess …

Salam on the Obamacare delay for small business

R Street Senior Fellow Reihan Salam joined CNN's Erin Burnett and Democratic Strategist Chris Kofinis to discuss the latest announced Obamacare delay, as the portion of the federal …

Another flood insurance canard washed away

When the cause of flood insurance reform is advanced, one immediate bit of pushback that one tends to hear is that reform is unfair. The reasoning usually goes …

Did Obamacare reveal its own alternative?

When it comes to Obamacare's current problems, there is a story often told at libertarian seminars that springs to mind. The story tells of a town that, plagued …

R Street concerned by protectionist reinsurance tax proposal

WASHINGTON (Nov. 19, 2013) – A new proposal from the Senate Finance Committee would raise catastrophe insurance rates by limiting the ability of foreign-based insurers and reinsurers to …

Another reason to defend the fraternal tax exemption

The Roman politician, general and renowned orator, Marcus Tullius Cicero, once wrote that "custom is the best interpreter of the law."  Even today, his observations are relevant to …

Doubling down on dishonesty

"Somebody is on the wrong side of history," said Joe Trippi, the "netroots" guru and former campaign manager for Howard Dean's presidential quest, on a recent TV news …

Testimony to the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance

The attached testimony was delivered by R Street Institute Associate Fellow Ernst Csiszar to the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance at a Nov. 13, 2013 …

Words alone won’t draw foreign investment

At least when it suits him, President Barack Obama proves himself more than willing to welcome international business to the United States. In late October, for example, he …

JMI and the R Street Institute recommend ten reforms to fix Florida’s property insurance marketplace without raising rates

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Nov. 7, 2013) – On the heels of certain reforms in Florida's 2013 Legislative Session, the James Madison Institute and the R Street Institute today released …

Ten reforms to fix Florida’s property insurance marketplace — without raising rates

Florida's property insurance system remains broken and need of significant changes. Past studies from the James Madison Institute have demonstrated the challenges that Florida's unstable property insurance market …

Florida should encourage private flood insurance market

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Nov. 5, 2013) -– As Florida lawmakers ponder potential legislative responses to rising flood insurance rates, it is crucial no additional catastrophe risk burdens be placed …

A state approach to flood insurance reform in Florida

With various provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 taking effect this year, there is growing concern that scheduled rate increases by the National Flood …

Noonan: Insurers can cover terrorism privately

A poll released last week by the Risk and Insurance Management Society -- the trade association for risk managers of corporations, non-profits and local government agencies, who together …

About those ‘huge’ flood insurance rate increases

Recent news reports on the roll-out of reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program have focused on astronomical increases in rates faced by some home and business owners. …

The GOP’s insurance hypocrisy

For most of last month, a group of committed tea party Republicans helped shut down the government to hold back a wave of subsidies and regulations set to …

Letter to farm bill conferees

Oct. 28, 2013 Dear Farm Bill Conferee, I write on behalf of the R Street Institute to urge your support for two important crop insurance reforms in any farm bill …

UK market offers hints on how insurers may treat e-cigarettes

For several years now now, a lot of people involved with insurance—me included —have been puzzling out the ways that new tobacco products like e-cigarettes and snus might impact …

Don’t let them delay it

What did I tell you? Barely a week after the most pointless show of political muscle since 1995, Democrats are now starting to think about delaying Obamacare, after …

Changes to property insurance are welcome

While politicians have repeatedly tinkered around the edges of true Citizens Property Insurance Corp. reform, this session, legislators are looking to place substantial focus on the property insurance …

‘Moral hazard’ isn’t a good reason to end TRIA

My friend Mark Calabria at the Cato Institute has a good piece in Roll Call that makes the case for allowing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program to lapse. …

Don’t subsidize Citizens’ out-of-state policyholders

While politicians repeatedly have tinkered around the edges of true Citizens Property Insurance Corp. reform, this session, state legislators are looking to place substantial focus on the property …

Report shows bad hurricane season could knock Florida Cat Fund for a loop

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Oct. 15, 2013) -- One bad hurricane season would leave the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund in precarious financial condition, raising the specter of huge hurricane taxes …

An open letter to the United States Congress: Support efforts to curb crop insurance subsidies!

Dear Representative, On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the undersigned organizations, we write in strong support of a Sense of the House of Representatives instructing farm …

Charge out-of-state residents more

While politicians have repeatedly tinkered around the edges of true Citizens Property Insurance Corp. reform, this session legislators are looking to place substantial focus on the property insurance …

Gilles and Lund on firearm liability insurance mandates

The cover story in this quarter's edition of Regulation is a fascinating article by Stephen G. Gilles and Nelson Lund looking at the possible constitutional ramifications of mandatory …

Keep act on course

Tribune columnist Joe Henderson is wrong to call for delays in changes to the National Flood Insurance Program ("Fair play needed in flood insurance debate," Oct. 1). Although …

Bill would take the Florida Cat Fund in the wrong direction

Florida state Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, has filed Senate Bill 228 to maintain the current statutory requirement that the state-run Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, better known as the …

Stop trying to fix Obamacare

Yesterday, the Twitter feed of fictional House of Cards main character (and House Majority Whip) Francis Underwood offered this gem of wisdom: Never interrupt your enemies when they are …

Sept. 24 telepresser on flood insurance

Our friends at the Union of Concerned Scientists, who recently published a fascinating report on how climate change and rising sea levels could impact the flood insurance, held …

Groups oppose delaying flood reforms for commercial properties, real estate sales

WASHINGTON (Sept. 26, 2013) -- A proposal forwarded by the Massachusetts congressional delegation to delay phasing out federal flood insurance subsidies for commercial properties and properties that are …

Poll shows Florida voters oppose subsidizing out-of-state Citizens policyholders

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Sept. 25, 2013) – A new poll released today by the Stronger Safer Florida coalition concluded that 77 percent of Floridians oppose paying taxes to subsidize …

The conservative case against flood insurance

In the recent Hammer Horror film The Woman in Black, lawyer Arthur Kipps (played by erstwhile Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe) undertakes the project of sorting through the possessions of …

Needed insurance reform

The following letter to the Tampa Bay Times was written in response to the editorial "Slow down flood insurance rate hikes" that appeared in the Sept. 17 edition. The …

A Royall legacy

Two hundred and twenty-six years ago this week, two prominent citizens and a 30-year-old represented the people of North Carolina by signing what has come to be the …

The value of conservation compliance to hunters and anglers

In recent years, free-market groups and environmental activists have demonstrated they can work together effectively to root out wasteful federal subsidies that benefit environmentally destructive development. As such …

TRIA: To extend or not to extend

Just in time for the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, our friends at the Cato Institute have published an interesting new report that calls for …

Michigan bill says no credit score should be no factor in insurance discounts

The use of credit scores for insurance purposes has been a controversy for years in Michigan. The debate appeared to be settled in 2010 when the Michigan Supreme …

North Carolina consumers confronted with ‘Consent to Rate’

WFMY-TV in Greensboro, N.C. reports on a common problem facing North Carolina consumers: the arrival of letters from one's home or auto insurer requesting to raise rates above …

Flood insurance cost starts to reflect risks

Flood-insurance rates are indeed rising for some ("Flood Insurance Prices Surge," U.S. News, Aug. 13), but only because rates are finally reflecting risks that the rest of the …

Pociask on Florida’s missed opportunity

Writing at the Sun-Sentinel, our friend Steve Pociask of the American Consumer Institute reminds Florida lawmakers of the opportunity they missed out on during this past legislative session …

States urged to restore Glass-Steagall

“The moment of truth has arrived. It is literally a choice between Glass-Steagall and mass starvation and death.”  This got my attention, and even though I thought I knew …

What Jeff Atwater gets wrong, and right, about Florida reinsurance

Yesterday, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater penned a letter to Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty inquiring why property insurance rates continue to rise even as the cost of …

Sen. Landrieu’s plan: Handouts for vacation homes

No matter their stated ideologies, overwhelming majorities of Americans would agree in principle that the government should try to help the vulnerable and poor before it lifts a …

Bill would raise flood insurance for some and subsidize others

This piece was co-authored by Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense. Tucked into the Department of Homeland Security spending bill the Senate Appropriations Committee approved this …

Gov. Scott asks congressman to oppose protectionist reinsurance tax

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is taking a firm stance against proposals floated in Congress and by the White House that would raise catastrophe insurance rates by limiting the …

An open letter to the House of Representatives: Farm Bill is bad process, worse policy

July 12, 2013 Dear Representative, On behalf of the R Street Institute, I write today to urge your opposition to H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act. …

Climate change for the GOP

It’s time for a conservative alternative to liberal alarmism. President Barack Obama’s climate agenda announced last week represents the latest of many Democratic party efforts to address climate change. …

Comments to Federal Insurance Office on natural catastrophes

June 21, 2013 Director McRaith, The R Street Institute welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Federal Insurance Office’s study of natural catastrophes and insurance. R Street is a non-partisan, …

North Carolina amendment would allow auto insurers to compete

RALEIGH, N.C. (June 20, 2013) – An amendment proposed to a North Carolina auto insurance modernization bill would introduce a modicum of competition to the market and begin …

Texas wind pool wants $500 million in pre-event notes

On Tuesday, the board of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association agreed to explore additional funding options, after the Legislature was unable to pass any reforms during the recent …

Fiscal conservative organizations outraged at Farm Bill process

June 19, 2013 Dear Representative: On behalf of the millions of members our organizations represent, we are outraged at the process surrounding the consideration of the Federal Agriculture Reform and …

Florida taxpayers owe Binnun a debt of gratitude

Florida's state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. announced earlier this week that Chief Financial Officer Sharron Binnun has resigned to take a job in the private sector. Her departure from …

Letter to House Rules Committee on Farm Bill

June 17, 2013 The Honorable Pete Sessions Chairman, Committee on Rules United States House of Representatives H-312 The Capitol Washington, DC 20515 Dear Chairman Sessions, On behalf of the R Street …

Whom does the beach house bailout benefit? Hedge funds, Venezuelan expats, Russian oligarchs

With Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., expected any day now to reintroduce his proposal to have federal taxpayers backstop the risk of state catastrophe funds, it bears examining just …

Reagan’s free-market environmentalism

Nearly a quarter century after he left the White House, President Ronald Reagan’s legacy still looms large in many areas. His successful effort to win the Cold War …

The myopia of insurance regulation

Mary Williams Walsh of The New York Times’ DealBook blog has an interesting post today on New York regulators’ expansive investigation of captive reinsurance transactions by life insurers, …

Strange bedfellows: SmarterSafer.org and the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012

  PDF Download Text This paper by R Street President Eli Lehrer, which originally appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum,  focuses …

Oppose Landrieu Farm Bill Amendment #1113: Gutting flood insurance reforms

June 3, 2013 Dear Senator, On the heels of increasing the insolvent National Flood Insurance Program’s borrowing authority by $9.7 billion as part of the Superstorm Sandy supplemental spending package, …

Florida senator announces plans to reintroduce ‘beach house bailout’ bill

WASHINGTON (June 3, 2013) – The R Street Institute today warned that legislation set to be reintroduced by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.,  would encourage development in risky and …

Gov. Scott signs bill to shrink Citizens, end subsidies to coastal construction

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (May 29, 2013) – The R Street Institute today commended Florida Gov. Rick Scott for signing S.B. 1770, legislation that will implement key reforms to the …

Spotlight on NC’s auto insurance system: Seven things to understand

Authored by R Street Senior Fellows R.J. Lehmann and Alan Smith, this paper outlines how the North Carolina Rate Bureau works and how it stifles competition and innovation. …

R Street welcomes appointment of Texas insurance commissioner

AUSTIN, Texas (May 28, 2013) -- The R Street Institute today welcomed Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s appointment of Julia Rathgeber as commissioner of the Texas Department of Insurance. Rathgeber …

Insurers and climate change: The truth is more complicated than the sound bytes

As an insurance guy who has been on both sides of the climate change debate (I’ve worked for organizations full of climate change skeptics and now head one …

No one has a ‘right’ to be subsidized

In a new blog post, our friend Daren Bakst at the Heritage Foundation argues against returning to the Reagan administration policy of linking federally subsidized crop insurance to …

Nobody’s fault in Michigan

There are two schools of thought about how to analyze a benefits system. The first is to look at its overall function and how the various parts interrelate. …

Neal/Menendez reinsurance tax would cost U.S. consumers billions

WASHINGTON (May 21, 2013) – The R Street Institute today warned that new legislation introduced by Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., would do serious …

When insurance, politics collide

When government and commerce collide, it can leave behind sticky residue that economists call inefficiency. Decades of academic studies pose theories and parse terabytes of data to determine …

The Florida Cat Fund’s low bar for fiscal ‘health’

The headlines blaring from the Sunshine State today are unambiguous. The state-run Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund is “in good shape”  Indeed, its latest report card shows it is …

Support the bipartisan Assisting Family Farmers through Insurance Reform Measures Act (AFFIRM)

May 15, 2013 Dear Representative, The undersigned organizations urge you to support the Assisting Family Farmers through Insurance Reform Measures (AFFIRM) Act recently introduced by Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI) and …

Farm policy: The “terrible twelve” (that actually relate to farming)

Washington’s Farm Policy is a nearly trillion dollar tangle of agriculture subsidies, welfare payments and environmental patronage. There is tremendous need for reform. Current subsidy programs are rooted …

In N.C., chairman’s auto insurance bills don’t even meet his own standards

As the push for modernization and consumer choice in North Carolina's auto insurance system moves from the state Senate to the House, it's worth going back to examine …

Going green, shrinking the state: Florida leads the way

With the stroke of his pen on a piece of insurance reform legislation, Florida Gov. Rick Scott will soon have the opportunity to begin writing another chapter to …

R Street welcomes committee vote on Michigan auto insurance reform

LANSING, Mich.  (May 3, 2013) – Legislation approved last night by the Michigan House Insurance Committee will help tame out-of-control claims costs that have led the state's drivers …

Gov. Scott receives bill to end subsidies to mansions, new coastal development

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (May 2, 2013) – The R Street Institute today commended the Florida Legislature for approving significant reforms to the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp., including provisions …

R Street policy statement on crop insurance reform

As Congress returns for a second attempt at crafting fiscally responsible food and farm policy, it should ensure that basic limitations to taxpayer liability are applied to federally …

R Street commends Florida House for passing Citizens reform

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 30, 2013) – The R Street Institute welcomes today’s vote by the Florida House of Representatives approving legislation to reform Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the …

Florida Senate passes needed reforms to Citizens Property Insurance

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 25, 2013) – The R Street Institute today commended the Florida Senate for passing by a 24-15 margin legislation to promote depopulation of the state-run …

Fraud is Michigan’s ‘other’ auto insurance problem

As legislative work picks up in earnest on Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s plan to reform the state’s woeful no-fault auto insurance system, we wanted to call attention to …

Texas House passes ban on texting

Rarely do Texas trial lawyers and "red mea"t Republicans find common ground. But they did this week on the Texas House floor during the statewide texting-while-driving ban debate. A …

Could this be the year for no-fault reform in Michigan?

Maybe the Michigan auto insurance law was "essential" when it became law, but in the last four decades it has become luxurious compared to all other states. Gov. …

R Street welcomes Michigan governor’s no-fault reform plan

LANSING, Mich. (April 18, 2013 — The R Street Institute welcomed today’s announcement by Gov. Rick Snyder that he will seek legislation to end the state’s unique requirement …

North Carolina’s auto insurance system badly needs an upgrade

It’s easy to understand why many North Carolinians are skeptical of proposals to change how the state regulates auto insurance. In a state where homeowners insurance rates are …

ERM offers something for everyone

Enterprise risk management has been steadily evolving since James Lam coined the term circa 1993. At first, ERM was hard to define, even by high-level practitioners. At a …

Florida Cat Fund reform passes second state House committee

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 10, 2013) – The R Street Institute commended today’s bipartisan passage by the state House Government Appropriations Subcommittee of H.B. 1107, calling for reforms to …

Obama budget would raise insurance costs, violate trade agreements

WASHINGTON (April 10, 2013) – A provision in the White House’s newly released Fiscal Year 2014 budget would drive up the cost of property insurance across the country, …

Reinsurance collateral modernization in Texas

The Texas Legislature is considering changes to its reinsurance collateral rules based on the updated Credit for Reinsurance Model Law promulgated by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. …

Witt and Loy are dead wrong

James Lee Witt and James Loy are dead wrong to pretend that a national catastrophe fund would be anything other than a bailout for wealthy beach homeowners. Although they …

R Street urges Texas to adopt tough conflict of interest standards

AUSTIN, Texas (April 2, 2013) –- Financial advisers that work with Texas state agencies to place bonds should be held to the same conflict of interest standards that …

R Street fellows offer primer on N.C. auto insurance reform

RALEIGH, N.C. (March 28, 2013) -- North Carolina’s outdated “rate bureau” auto insurance system imposes hidden taxes to subsidize the coverage of risky drivers, while making it difficult …

R Street welcomes bill to scale back Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (March 28, 2013) –- The R Street Institute today welcomed approval by the Florida House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee of H.B. 1107, legislation that will reduce …

North Carolina’s ‘other’ auto insurance market

I've already covered in these pages some of the things the editorial pages of North Carolina's leading newspapers are getting wrong about S.B. 154, legislation to modernize the …

FIGA reforms should increase flexibility, not eliminate it

When it comes to property insurance reform in Florida, everyone is basically focused on proposals that deal with the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and …

Support Begich-Flake Amendment #254

Dear Senator, The undersigned organizations urge you to support Begich-Flake amendment #254 to the Senate Budget Resolution to bring transparency to the federally subsidized crop insurance program. Federal taxpayers spent …

Meredith’s insurance proposal has merit

The Citizen-Times is wrong to dismiss Sen. Wesley Meredith’s automobile insurance reform proposals out of hand (“Apodaca has a better idea on auto insurance,” March 8). Fundamentally the bill …

With rates expected to drop, Cat Fund reform a no-brainer

For four out of the last seven years, the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund has been projected to have a shortfall should a major hurricane impact the state and …

Extremism is OK, thoughtlessness isn’t

Even in their "best" years -- the times when they manage to convince their colleagues to support measures that benefit their districts, themselves, and their values -- members …

Fla. Consumer Advocate confirms Cat Fund reform won’t cost homeowners

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (March 13, 2013) -- Analysis by actuaries from the Florida Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate confirms that proposed reforms to right-size the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe …

R Street urges Congress not to support ‘beach house bailout’

WASHINGTON (March 12, 2013) -- The R Street Institute today expressed concerns about the reintroduction by Rep. Albio Sires, D-N.J., of legislation establishing a pre-packaged federal bailout system …

AIF map confirms Citizens not the leading writer in most Florida districts

The debate over how to reform Florida's Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has been a years-long and arduous political battle. Despite its original mission to act as Florida's insurer-of-last-resort, …

Breaking up North Carolina’s auto insurance cartel

Legislation to break up North Carolina’s rate bureau cartel and bring the state’s auto insurance market into the 21st Century has now been introduced in both houses of …

Should the National Flood Insurance Program be privatized?

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), in a sense, is responsible for the modern American suburb. Construction of the Interstate Highway System, easy mortgage insurance from the Veterans …

R Street welcomes bill to reform Michigan no-fault auto insurance

LANSING, Mich. (March 7, 2013) – The R Street Institute today welcomed the introduction of bipartisan legislation to cap Michigan’s system of unlimited personal injury protection benefits, a …

Statement by StrongerSafer Florida regarding Senate Banking & Insurance Committee voting in favor of S.B. 7018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (March 7, 2013)  – Today representatives from StrongerSafer Florida expressed their enthusiasm after the state Senate Banking & Insurance Committee voted in favor of S.B. 7018. Christian …

House panel includes coastal preservation in Fla. Citizens reform

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (March 6, 2013) – The R Street Institute today commended the Florida House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee for approving legislation that would significantly scale back the …

R Street paper shows South Carolina at low risk of post-storm ‘hurricane taxes’

COLUMBIA, S.C. (March 5, 2013) -- While a state Senate subcommittee has been appointed to study home insurance rates in South Carolina, new research from the R Street …

Analysis of the South Carolina coastal property insurance market

PDF Download Text This paper aims to clarify the debate over property insurance rates and provide a basis for rational discussion of the current situation in South Carolina’s …

Disaster aid: Federal proposal might help Florida but not California

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., recently introduced the Homeowners' Defense Act of 2013, which would create a semi-private federal pooling mechanism to help states deal with large-scale natural …

R Street welcomes efforts to modernize N.C. auto insurance

RALEIGH, N.C. (Feb. 28, 2013) –- The R Street Institute today welcomed new legislation that would reform North Carolina’s outdated and inefficient price controls for auto insurance. Under the …

Texas bills look to address mitigation, wind pool

This week, two important pieces of legislation began moving through the Texas Legislature. H.B. 1890 was filed by Rep. Phil Stephenson, R-Wharton, and S.B. 784 by Sen. Juan …

Texas lawmaker calls for tough conflict of interest standards for wind pool

AUSTIN, Texas (Feb. 27, 2013) –- The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association and Texas Public Finance Authority would be subject to stringent conflict of interests standards under new legislation …

More good news/bad news for Florida insurance market

Floridians would face about $7.19 billion in post-hurricane taxes to make up the funding shortfalls of state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund should …

Good news now, question marks later, for Fla. Citizens

Coming on the heels of a major deal that transferred 31,000 coastal policies and $30 billion in gross exposure to private start-up Weston Insurance Co., Florida’s state-run Citizens …

Michigan’s unlimited auto insurance, revisited

Most of the attempts to fix Michigan’s long-time Essential Insurance Act have ended as spectacularly as the meteor which exploded over the Ural Mountains town of Chelyabinsk a …

Ghost of Charlie Crist haunts insurance reform

It has been more than two years since the adults regained control of Florida, yet the specter of the Charlie Crist days of demagoguery, populism-at-any-cost and overall political …

Harvest real savings by reforming agricultural policy

February 14, 2013 Dear Representative, On behalf of the millions of Americans represented by the undersigned organizations, we write urging you to take common sense steps to reform federal supports …

No federal bailouts for government-run property insurance plans

Dear Representative, On behalf of the millions of citizens represented by the undersigned groups, we write in strong opposition to any legislation to establish a so-called “national catastrophe fund.” …

Texas panel gives insurers more time to answer regulatory requests

The Texas Senate Business and Commerce Committee heard testimony on S.B. 183 this morning.  The bill establishes a more reasonable period of time for private insurance companies to …

R Street welcomes major deal to shrink Florida Citizens

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2013) --  The R Street Institute today welcomed the vote by the board of governors of Florida's Citizens Property Insurance Corp. transferring $30 billion …

Chamber poll suggests Floridians want their state out of the insurance business

Floridians believe their state should stay out of the insurance business, rather than supporting a state-run insurance company, according to a recent poll sponsored by the Florida Chamber …

R Street urges Congress to explore alternatives to TRIA

WASHINGTON (Feb. 5, 2013) -- As Congress prepares to consider the fate of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program – the $100 billion federal reinsurance backstop set to expire …

Federal bailout of Florida is far from a sure thing

As Florida’s 2013 legislative session draws near, state lawmakers once again are preparing to examine reforms to the Sunshine State’s property insurance system. Most notable, of course, are …

Florida Senate committee hears property insurance reform proposals

The Florida Legislature ended two weeks of interim committee hearings this today with various hot-button issues addressed.  One that we at R Street follow very closely is the …

Consumer choice key to Mich. auto insurance reform, R Street finds

LANSING, Mich. (Jan. 22, 2013) -- With no-fault auto insurance premiums that are among the highest in the nation, Michigan lawmakers should act to grant consumers more choice …

Reforming Michigan’s auto insurance market

PDF Download Text Michigan’s unaffordably high auto insurance premiums result in large part from its unique requirement granting all policyholders unlimited lifetime medical benefits. Higher rates of medical …

Dead in the water

Of course, the same can be said for dozens of other federal efforts. What sets the NFIP apart is that, in looking to address what was at the …

Public adjuster threatens lawsuit against Florida blogger

As our regular readers may recall, last month we reported a revealing set of findings by a Florida blog that connected a handful of plaintiffs' law firms to the vast majority …

R Street welcomes Gov. Snyder’s call for no-fault reform

LANSING, Mich. (Jan. 17, 2013) – The R Street Institute today welcomed Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s call in his State of the State address for reforms to the …

R Street report proposes ending insurance subsidies in Florida’s coastal wetlands

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Jan. 16, 2013) -- As Florida lawmakers once again prepare to take up property insurance reform in the upcoming legislative session,  a new report from the …

Coastal preservation through Citizens reform

PDF Download Text The 30-year-old federal Coastal Barrier Resources Act has been successful in promoting conservation of natural resources, fiscal responsibility, and the reduction of inappropriate high-risk coastal …

Florida members introduce two bills seeking ‘beach house bailout

WASHINGTON (Jan. 15, 2013) -- The R Street Institute today expressed strong opposition to the recent introduction of H.R. 240, the Homeowners' Insurance Protection Act, and the pending …

Federal judge dismisses lawsuit to block Florida PIP reform

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Jan. 15, 2012) — The R Street Institute today welcomed the recent order by U.S. District Judge Richard Lazzara dismissing a lawsuit by chiropractors, acupuncturists and …

Beware of storm signals by insurers

In arguing that he and his cohorts are being overcharged on homeowners insurance for their coastal South Carolina properties, Daryl Ferguson notes the southernmost part of his state …

Something for everybody (to hate): Rep. Wilson’s beach house bailout

If nothing else, Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., has learned how to bring people together: by proposing to resuscitate a zombie-like bill called the Homeowners Defense Act, the U.S. …

Fla. state Rep. Wood: Fix Citizens now!

Florida state Rep. John Wood, R-Winter Haven, notes in today's edition of the Sun-Sentinel that the feds aren't the only ones dealing with a "fiscal cliff." So long …

Panel offers plan for New York to prepare for catastrophes

New York State's NYS 2100 Commission, created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to offer recommendations on ways to better prepare for natural disasters, …

Letter to the Los Angeles Times

In its editorial urging greater federal preparedness for natural disasters ("Washington should prepare for disasters, not just react," Jan. 4) the Times offers support for "the California Earthquake …

Letter to the Wall Street Journal

In response to "Coastal Residents Knock Insurers" by Valerie Bauerlein and Leslie Scism (A3, Jan. 4): In arguing that he and his cohorts are being overcharged on homeowners insurance …

Usage-based auto insurance

If you have been watching any of the bowl ads on TV recently, you may have seen a push for usage-based auto insurance. Voluntary data collection is the …

Funds needed for a rainy day

Though Texas escaped another hurricane season without a catastrophic event, a big storm is brewing at the Capitol over how to fund the state’s windstorm pool. The current funding …

Cat fund disaster

Advocates of expanding or retaining the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund at its current level are either misguided or knowingly peddling false coverage. Allstate's Florida unit, Castle Key Insurance, serves …

Follow the money on opponents of Citizens reform

We at R Street recently came across a blog post by Johnson Strategies, LLC that sheds light on the apparent motivations of many opponents to property insurance reform …

R Street offers suggestions to fix Florida’s broken insurance system

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Dec. 19, 2012) -- Efforts to shrink Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp. will be futile unless the state takes steps to close the door to new …

R Street proposes international monitoring of state-controlled insurers

WASHINGTON (Dec. 17, 2012) -- State-controlled insurers and reinsurers represent potentially significant sources of systemic risk and should be monitored as such, R Street Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann …

In its unreformed state, Cat Fund bad for stability of Florida economy

Advocates of expanding or retaining the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund at its current level are either misguided or knowingly peddling false coverage. Allstate’s Florida unit, Castle Key Insurance, serves …

Federal judge denies injunction to block Florida PIP reform

TAMPA, Fla. (Dec. 12, 2012) -– In the first big win for Florida auto insurance consumers since passage of reforms to the state’s personal injury protection system earlier …

Medical cost containment in the Wisconsin workers’ compensation market

Wisconsin’s 20-year-old certified database system, used to resolve disputes about the reasonableness of medical reimbursements paid by workers’ compensation carriers, has failed to control costs and should be …

Taxpayers won’t harvest farm bill savings

December 7, 2012 Dear Member of Congress, It is the height of fiscal irresponsibility to include a five-year reauthorization of agricultural programs as part of a deficit reduction package to …

Nov. 29 SmarterSafer letter on flood insurance

SmarterSafer.org -- a coalition that includes R Street as well as industry, environmental and taxpayer groups that favor fiscally and environmentally responsible public policy solutions to the problems …

Heartland’s Stanek on the ‘Beach House Bailout’

Our old colleague at the Heartland Institute, Steve Stanek, has a great piece this week in The Washington Times on the laughably named "Taxpayer Protection Act," the latest …

Eli Lehrer featured on the Insurance Journal podcast

R Street President Eli Lehrer was interviewed by Andy Simpson of Insurance Journal for IJ's podcast about the results of the 2012 elections and how they bode for …

Congress should insist on risk transfer before raising NFIP borrowing

WASHINGTON (Nov. 19, 2012) -- As the White House and U.S. Department of Homeland Security prepare to ask Congress to raise the National Flood Insurance Program’s borrowing authority, …

Free-market, taxpayer, environmental groups host Fla. event on insurance reform

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. (Nov. 14, 2012) – Representatives from a broad coalition of taxpayer watchdog groups and free-market and environmental organizations will address how government-subsidized property insurance programs …

Response to The Nation’s Naomi Klein

This letter to The Nation magazine was submitted in response to the Nov. 5 article "Superstorm Sandy—a People's Shock?" by Naomi Klein. Naomi Klein describes me as a …

Free-market, taxpayer, environmental groups hold press event on insurance reform

  TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Nov. 8, 2012) – A broad coalition of free-market organizations, taxpayer watchdog groups, and environmentalists will be hosting a press conference and media availability event on Amelia …

Catastrophe fund risky

Your suggestion that Hurricane Sandy should force lawmakers to reconsider enacting a national catastrophe fund actually helps make the point against one ("Time for national catastrophe fund," Nov. …

After Superstorm Sandy, a national catastrophe fund is still a bad idea

The flood waters from Superstorm Sandy had not yet receded and her winds had not yet calmed before politicians and media types took the opportunity to resume their …

Conflict of interest standards and lowering coverage limits are key to TWIA reform

AUSTIN, Texas (Nov. 1, 2012) – Reform of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association should include tough conflict of interest standards, a roll-back of coverage for high-value properties and …

When does mitigation make sense?

There is little doubt that free, sensibly regulated insurance markets provide the best incentives to encourage people to prepare their properties against nature’s worst. Given limitless resources to …

‘Climate silence': It’s just common sense

As any number of activists and journalists -- nearly all of them on the left -- have noted, the two major party presidential candidates aren't talking much about …

Moylan on the ‘Beach House Bailout’

R Street Outreach Director and Senior Fellow Andrew Moylan recently sat down with the Heartland Institute's Steve Stanek to record a podcast on the ironically titled "Taxpayer Protection …

‘Super Storm’ underscores danger of encouraging people to live in harm’s way

WASHINGTON (Oct. 30, 2012) –- As much of the eastern United States begins the work of assessing the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy –- even as its remnants …

Hurricane Sandy advice from a Floridian

Some tips from a Florida veteran of several storms: Charge all your electronic devices fully (mobile telephones, laptops, etc.). If you're lucky, you may have a cell signal even …

Conservation compliance: The obscure environmental provision key to protecting taxpayers and privatizing crop insurance

The overwhelming majority of American farms receive federal subsidies of some sort. These payments are controversial and, in the opinion of many who favor smaller government, ought not …

Distractions

An internal email sent back in July by Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman is keeping lawmakers from focusing on productive steps to reforming the troubled Texas Windstorm Insurance Association …

Fla. Citizens picks odd moment to sack ‘integrity’ office

Despite headlines being dominated by the ever-tightening presidential election, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. continues to make news in Florida.  Last week, Citizens announced that it was eliminating its …

Testimony to Texas Joint Committee on Oversight of Windstorm Insurance

In testimony scheduled for an Oct. 19 hearing of the Texas Legislature's Joint Committee on Oversight of Windstorm Insurance, R Street Texas Director Julie Drenner proposes lawmakers limit …

R Street marks 30th anniversary of landmark Coastal Barrier Resources Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 18, 2012) –- The R Street Institute today commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act, a landmark piece of legislation that continues …

Open letter to the U.S. House: No federal bailouts for government-run property insurance plans

A coalition of eight free-market and taxpayer groups, including R Street, today sent an open letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives warning that the recently …

SmarterSafer.org letter on the Taxpayer Protection Act

A coalition of leading taxpayer advocates, environmental groups, insurers, reinsurers and others -- including R Street -- submitted the attached letter to every member of Congress, urging them …

Risk-based rates key to shrinking Florida taxpayers’ exposure to hurricane risks

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Oct. 9, 2012) -- As the leaderships of both the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund and Citizens Property Insurance Corp. consider the state-run funds’ exposure to catastrophes, …

Citizens CEO responds to critics of surplus notes plan

Floridians are getting more and more used to seeing Citizens Property Insurance Corp. pop up in the news lately.  This week, Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation granted Citizens …

Fla. Citizens’ surplus note depopulation draws broad coalition support

A coalition of business and consumer interests are pushing for rapid approval of a plan floated by Citizens Property Insurance Corp. to speed its depopulation efforts by offering …

Recommendations for TWIA improvement go unheeded

In response to the question of how to adequately fund the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), the Texas Department of Insurance hired Alvarez & Marsal Insurance Advisory Services …

Rate hikes approved for Florida Citizens

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has approved rate increases for Citizens Property Insurance Corp.’s homeowners policies just slightly below the rates the state-sponsored insurer was seeking. The new …

R Street urges Florida auto insurance consumers to shop around

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Oct. 1, 2012) -- Given today’s deadline for Florida auto insurers to submit personal injury protection rates that reflect PIP market reforms passed by the Legislature …

Newsflash: Consumers prefer free auto insurance (and other stuff too)

Our friends at the Consumer Federation of America have issued yet another shocking new study. This one shows something that’s truly nefarious: that auto insurers use things like …

Property insurance objectives in Texas’ 2013 legislative session

The attached is a preliminary outline of issues the Texas Legislature should address with regard to property insurance and, in particular, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, during the …

Remarks on Florida perspective regarding state insurance pools

This testimony was provided Sept. 12 by R Street Florida Director Christian Cámara to the Texas Legislature's Joint Interim Committee to Study Seacoast Territory Insurance on the State …

Texas seacoast panel finds TWIA solutions hard to find

During the first hearing of Texas' Joint Seacoast Territory Insurance Committee earlier this week, three different insurance-related agencies unequivocally told lawmakers the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association was not …

Better than a stick in the eye, but not by much

A few days back, Florida's troubled Citizens Property Insurance Corp. announced a plan to "depopulate" its book of business through a program of loans to well-capitalized insurers. On its …

Our live-tweeting of today’s hearing on the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act

For those of you who don't yet follow us on Twitter, here is a read-out of our live-feed of today's House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and …

R Street welcomes hearing on private options for terrorism insurance

WASHINGTON (Sept. 11, 2012) -- As Americans today mark the 11th anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the R Street Institute commends the House …

Charlie Crist: A sorry legacy

As a piece of political oratory, the short, upbeat speech that ex-Republican former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist delivered at the Democratic Convention Thursday worked pretty well. The perpetually …

Fla. Citizens posts depopulation plan

The depopulation committee of Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp. unveiled a plan yesterday designed to transfer about a third of the state-run insurer’s 1.4 million policies to …

Criminal investigation launched over Hurricane Ike claim

Texas homeowner Jim Warner has been locked in a legal battle with State Farm over denial of insurance claims for the damages to his home from Hurricane Ike. …

Florida state audit confirms Citizens’ rates are too low

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Sept. 6, 2012) -- A new report from Florida Auditor General David Martin confirms that the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp.’s rates are too low to …

Donelon: La. Citizens’ Isaac claims less than $75M

It appears that Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. may not have to draw on its Pelican Re catastrophe bond, after all. In an interview with The (Baton Rouge) Advocate, …

Democrats’ platform drops support for ‘beach house bailout’

WASHINGTON (Sept. 4, 2012) -- The R Street Institute today noted the Democratic Party has dropped from its 2012 platform language that advocated a federal reinsurance mechanism to …

Isaac could be first storm to trigger a state-run insurer’s cat bond

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 29, 2012) -- Hurricane Isaac, which made landfall as a Category 1 storm in Southeastern Louisiana late Aug. 28 and is expected to weaken as …

Wind-water dispute reform arrives too late for Isaac claims

As the Gulf Coast braces for Hurricane Isaac, one hopes the region will avoid not only the massive destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina eight years ago, but also …

Fla. Citizens dodges Isaac; La. Citizens may not be so lucky

Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp. can now breath a major sigh of relief, as Tropical Storm Isaac delivered just a glancing blow to South Florida and the Keys …

Welfare scheme (Letter to the Tampa Tribune)

Proposals to decrease the size of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. by transferring some of its surplus funds to private insurers in exchange for assuming policies may seem like …

R Street warns FIO against government-run reinsurers

WASHINGTON (Aug. 24, 2012) -- Governments are intrinsically ill-suited to providing property reinsurance, suggesting  that legislative proposals for a federal backstop to state insurance programs should be rejected, …

Comments to Federal Insurance Office on global reinsurance markets

These comments from R Street President Eli Lehrer were offered in response to the Federal Insurance Office's request for input on a forthcoming study of the breadth and …

Let market determine our insurance rates

Twenty years ago today, Hurricane Andrew — at the time, the costliest storm in U.S. history — made landfall near Homestead. Andrew ended a 20-year period of modest Atlantic …

Penny-wise and billion-pound-foolish in Florida

According to its official tourism marketing corporation, the State of Florida welcomed 87.3 million visitors in 2011, whose $67.2 billion of spending generated nearly a quarter of …

On eve of Andrew anniversary, Florida turns eyes to Isaac

This week marks the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, which made landfall Aug. 24 as a Category 5 storm in Elliott Key and Homestead, Fla. At $15.5 billion in …

FLOIR report shows PIP reform will benefit Florida drivers

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Aug. 21, 2012) – Analysis released today by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation demonstrates that the recently passed H.B. 119 should help control runaway personal …

Kitzman gets an earful in Corpus Christi

  Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman is hearing an earful from the coastal community as she listens to residents’ concerns in the Corpus Christi area. Coastal occupants are complaining about …

R Street urges Florida Citizens to remain vigilant on mitigation credits

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Aug. 17, 2012) -- The R Street Institute today encouraged Florida's Citizens Property Insurance Corp. to maintain vigilance in its efforts to ensure that policyholder mitigation …

Will the NAIC’s CIPR survive Terri Vaughan’s departure?

I’ve just returned from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ summer meetings in Atlanta, where the big news was the announcement of NAIC CEO Terri Vaughan’s pending …

Texas commish fires back

Deluged by a mass-email campaign initiated by consumer group Texas Watch, state Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman responded this week with a thorough fisking of the commenters' questions, demands …

Texas wind pool should solve funding problems before making them worse

AUSTIN, Texas (Aug. 8, 2012) -- A decision by the board of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association to raise the policy limits on both residential and commercial policies …

The shifting sands of Galveston Island

The ever-changing coastline on Galveston Island’s West End is creating myriad dilemmas for citizens and government officials. First, beachfront landholders woke up to the fact that their once-public beaches …

R Street finds backstop would have little effect on cost, take-up of earthquake insurance

WASHINGTON (Aug. 6, 2012) -- Legislation that proposes federal debt guarantees for state earthquake insurance facilities like the California Earthquake Authority would not drive down premiums or increase …

Analysis of S. 637, the Earthquake Insurance Affordability Act

PDF Download Text S. 637, introduced by Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., would displace an existing private market by replacing private reinsurance with a federal government …

Actuaries report shows PIP reform will benefit Florida consumers

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Aug. 3, 2012) – The R Street Institute welcomed today’s release of a draft report from Pinnacle Actuarial Resources Inc. that shows the recently passed H.B. …

CEA offering shows enormous private sector interest in earthquake insurance

The California Earthquake Authority, which has been lobbying Congress to establish a federal backstop to its debt financing, is proving once again that it can do plenty fine …

Insurance commissioner’s travel is in Florida’s best interests

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Aug. 1, 2012) – Recent press reports calling Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty to task for his travel schedule misconstrue the value such trips bring to …

Rate reform must be key to shrinking Citizens

Albert Einstein once said "a new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels." Or, as it often paraphrased, we cannot solve …

North Carolina’s antiquated rate bureau system

There was a time, not so far in the distant past, when virtually all property and casualty insurance rates were calculated by industry-owned rate bureaus. It wasn’t necessarily a …

Not so easy

The proposal by Republican candidate for Florida House of Representatives District 106, David Bolduc, to establish a state bank to address the state's property insurance crisis, is interesting. But …

Lying, incompetent or what?

A few years ago following a number of major hurricanes, the public relations staff of the property casualty insurance company I was employed by at the time managed …

R Street Shorts – Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association

Under Michigan’s unique personal injury protection auto insurance system, every insured driver in the state must pay a fee to the state-run Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association and, in …

Harsh medicine in South Florida

The Citizens Property Insurance Corp.’s governing board convened a workshop in Miami this week to address various issues facing the state-run insurer, including its inadequate rates, ballooning book …

R Street hosts Aug. 3 presentation on cost of a federal earthquake fund

WASHINGTON (July 18, 2012) -- Legislation introduced in the 112th Congress by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., proposes to create a …

Yes, of course, we do need a national catastrophe solution

The National Conference of Insurance Legislators has a tendency to be a very deliberative and, yes, dilatory, body. During the July 13 meeting of its Property-Casualty Insurance Committee …

Rep. Royce takes his NAIC questions to Treasury

Dissatisfied with the answers he’s received from the group itself, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., is turning to Federal Insurance Office Director Michael McRaith with a request that …

Gilway’s approach to Citizens reform strikes a good balance

Barry Gilway was appointed president of Florida's Citizens Property Insurance Corp. just a few weeks ago and already he is making public statements about how he intends to …

How should insurers treat tobacco use?: A review of the research

Co-published by R Street and the Heartland Institute, this paper explores a growing body of data, including several studies from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, finding that certain …

Texas should look to building codes, competition to ease property rates

AUSTIN, Texas (July 10, 2012) -- Texas will always face an unusually high concentration of natural catastrophe risks, but there are steps that lawmakers could take to make property insurance …

Testimony to Texas Senate Committee on Business and Commerce

In testimony delivered July 10, 2012 to the Texas Senate Committee on Business and Commerce, R Street President Eli Lehrer discusses the state of the homeowners insurance market …

TDI’s report on insurance rates: You need to go beyond the statutes

Sometime around mid-afternoon on July 10th, Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman will sit down at a witness table before the Texas Senate’s Business and Commerce Committee and launch …

If a divided Congress can do it, why can’t the Florida Legislature?

Last week, Congress came together and passed legislation that will not only extend the National Flood Insurance Program for five more years, but also approved rate hikes to …

Michigan’s credit-scoring law moves closer to the mainstream

The State of Michigan, whose Supreme Court struck down an absolute ban on the use of credit information in insurance underwriting and rate-making decisions, has moved to slightly …

Letter to Sunshine State News, June 27, 2012

Citizens Property Insurance Corp.’s new Chief Executive Officer Barry Gilway deserves credit for his honesty in highlighting the need for higher rates. (“New Citizens Leader Suggests Breaking 10 …

Hager: Florida Cat Fund totally unprepared

Florida state Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, recently sat down with the Florida Channel to record his “Perspectives” interview that most state legislators do every year.  Instead of …

Green Scissors 2012

PDF Download Text Green Scissors 2012 recommends nearly $700 billion in cuts to wasteful and environmentally harmful federal spending. It is produced by Friends of the Earth, Taxpayers for …

Consumer Federation of America’s ‘shocking’ new study

When one strips away the posturing and insinuations of sinister corporate conspiracies contained in the new report on auto insurance rates from the Consumer Federation of America, you're …

R Street Institute welcomes Florida lawmakers’ call for insurance reform

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (June 20, 2012) – The R Street Institute today welcomed a position paper from Florida state Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, and state Rep. Bryan Nelson, R-Apopka, …

TWIA solvency concerns finally on Texas lawmakers’ radar

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association has only about $3.6 billion in claims-paying resources “under a best case scenario,” even though it could face losses of $14.2 billion from …

R Street, Taxpayers for Common Sense urge Senate to learn lessons from Katrina

WASHINGTON (June 18, 2012) -- In a joint letter, the R Street Institute and Taxpayers for Common Sense are warning members of the U.S. Senate not to gut …

Letter to Sen. Tim Johnson and Sen. Richard Shelby on Hagan amendment

Dear Chairman Johnson and Ranking Member Shelby: Thank you for your continued efforts to pass S. 1940, the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2012. As this important …

What Florida conservatives should say about backstopping

It’s pretty clear that Florida’s state-run property insurance system is a total mess in just about every way. As we have previously written, the Legislature–given sufficient political will–could …

Meet Barry Gilway: Florida’s fate is in his hands

Meet Barry Gilway, 66, Florida Citizens Property Insurance Corporation’s new president. Given the challenges ahead, I don’t know whether or not to congratulate him. Gilway has over 40 years …

Blame your Florida legislators; don’t expect to get paid if there’s a really bad hurricane season

Don't expect to get paid if there's a really bad hurricane season Mother Nature didn't get the memo about the official start of hurricane season. Tropical storms Alberto and …

Connecticut reforms reinsurance collateral, California could be next

Connecticut is the latest state to liberalize collateral requirements for foreign-based reinsurers, and California could be next on the list, after a similar bill passed that state’s Senate. Connecticut …

Fla Citizens taps Zurich vet as new president

The board of governors of Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp. pulled off not one, but two shockers in the past 24 hours with respect to its choice of …

Florida can and should fix its own insurance problems

You have to hand it to the Palm Beach Post. First, the paper sends out a reporter to a press conference with Gov. Rick Scott to ask his …

Florida insurance reform push draws strange bedfellows

Tom Grady, interim chief of Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp., has been on a tour of the Sunshine State, trying to defend he and his board’s efforts to …

La. Legislature takes wrong turn on rates

The Louisiana Legislature wrapped up their 2012 session late June 4 by passing S.B. 204 , a bill that would reinstate a partial suspension of the requirement that …

R Street Institute commends Florida lawmakers for standing up for solvency

WASHINGTON (June 5, 2012) – The R Street Institute today welcomed a letter from three Florida state senators and 22 state representatives supporting Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Interim …

Does Rick Scott support the ‘Beach House Bailout?’

Much of Florida Gov. Rick Scott's tenure in office has been consumed with confronting the mistakes his predecessor made in the property insurance market. Charlie Crist left office …

Raise rates, but keep Florida Citizens

The Fort Meade Leader, a smallish Florida Newspaper, has a bang up editorial today about Citizens Property Insurance Corp.'s continuing woes. Despite significant improvements in its management, and …

R Street report card ranks Vermont best, Florida worst regulatory environments for insurance

The R Street Institute published its first research project as an independent institution today, a report card of the insurance regulatory environments in each of the 50 states. …

R Street Institute publishes 2012 Insurance Regulation Report Card

WASHINGTON (June 4, 2012) – The R Street Institute, a new national non-profit public policy think tank dedicated to free markets and real solutions, today released its first …

2012 Insurance Regulation Report Card

PDF Download Text A state-by-state study of the U.S. insurance regulatory system, examining which states are doing the best job of regulating insurance through limited, effective and efficient …

Eli Lehrer: Florida’s lawmakers ignore storm warnings

The official start of the Atlantic hurricane season is always June 1, but Mother Nature apparently didn't get the memo this year. Tropical storms Alberto and Beryl crashed …

Letter to the Miami Herald

In his letter about Citizens Property Insurance Corp.'s $750 million Everglades Re bond issuance, (May 30, "The next Greece" ) John Dasburg misunderstands a key feature of how …

May 9, 2012 testimony to Senate Banking Committee

This written testimony from R Street Public Affairs Director R.J. Lehmann was submitted on behalf of the Heartland Institute to the Senate Banking Committee's Subcommittee on Economic Policy …

Congresswoman presses Geithner on delayed insurance report

Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill., wants to know why the Federal Insurance Office still hasn’t issued its much-awaited report on insurance regulatory modernization. Biggert, who serves as chairwoman of the …

The Royce-NAIC spat heats up

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners is neither a regulator nor a trade association, but an “association of elected and appointed state regulatory officials charged with regulating the …

Letter from Washington: Florida, auto rates, and Tide as a currency

At a conference on insurance near Jacksonville, Fla. this past week, I spoke a bit about Heartland’s 2011 insurance report card— OOTS Managing Editor R.J. Lehmann is taking …

La. Citizens latest state insurer to tap cat bond market

The Louisiana Citizens  Property Insurance Corp. has become the third state-run residual market wind pool to turn to the private insurance-linked securities market, issuing $100 million of catastrophe …

Letter from Tallahassee: Thrilling end to a roller coaster session

Last Friday marked the end of Florida’s 2012 Regular Legislative Session, and what a roller coaster it was, literally to the very end.  When the dust cleared, many …

Letter from Washington: Some Florida reforms pass, but much work left to do

As much of our other coverage shows, the Florida Legislature did pass some substantive insurance reforms during its just-completed 2012 session: a personal injury protection bill that mends …

Proposal for surplus lines take-outs from Fla. Citizens appears DOA

A proposal that would allow surplus lines insurers to take-out blocks of policies from the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. appears to be dead, after the Senate voted …

Letter from Washington: Good news, bad news at AIG

The glacial pace of unwinding American International Group’s mammoth $182 billion federal bailout inched along ever-so-slightly faster this past month. While this is good news, there remain some …

FIRE Podcast- J. Robert Hunter: Insurers’ disappearing cat risk

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/fire022912.mp3[/podcast] It isn’t often that we find ourselves in agreement with J. Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America. The former Texas insurance commissioner and …

P&C trades argue states destroying ‘interstate comity’ with climate survey

A trio of large states that recently banded together to require insurers comply with a climate risk survey process originally developed – but later withdrawn – by the …

Letter from Austin: Kitzman drops bomb on TWIA

Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman dropped a bomb on the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), recommending it be restructured to address the long-term sustainability of the program. As is often …

Congressman asks: ‘what exactly IS the NAIC?’

It’s a fair question, and one I’ve asked myself on a number of occasions. The question keeps coming up, in part, because the NAIC keeps changing its answer. The …

Letter from Washington: Credit-scoring and the downside of market prices

Dealing with insurance-related credit scoring is like playing whack-a-mole: whenever one effort to ban the generally beneficial practice is defeated, another one pops up. At the National Conference …

Citizens reform advances, despite Hurricane Hukill headwinds

The Florida House of Representatives has passed legislation by an 89-25 margin that would limit Citizens Property Insurance Corp.’s ability to assess private insurers’ policyholders to make up …

Telematics are the future of auto insurance

Writing at National Underwriter’s PropertyCasualty360 site, Robert Regis Hyle, editor-in-chief of Tech Decisions magazine, sees the future of auto insurance dominated by “telematics,” those advanced modeling systems that …

Letter from Tallahassee: Property insurance reform gets national spotlight

Greetings from unseasonably warm Florida, where citizens are beginning to petition Al Gore to host a global warming summit to hopefully attract a Nor’easter to cool us off …

Letter from Washington: Homeowners insurance is a crummy business

There’s an elephant in the room I probably should mention:  someone impersonating a Heartland Institute trustee defrauded Heartland last week, stole internal documents and created one outright fake. …

Texas commissioner calls TWIA ‘unsustainable’

Calling the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association’s present structure “unsustainable,” Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman has put forth a proposal to hire consultants to reduce the state-backed insurer’s exposure …

WSJ weighs in on Florida’s Insurance Crisis

Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal weighed-in on Florida’s insurance crisis, shedding light on the concerns economists, actuaries, insurance experts, consumer advocates and Heartland Institute analysts have …

Obama budget would hurt U.S. policyholders

Hidden in President Barack Obama’s newly released $3.8 trillion Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Proposal is a provision that would do serious damage to U.S. property and casualty insurance …

FIRE Podcast- Sean Carr: HUD discrimination rule could hit homeowners insurance

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/fire020912.mp3[/podcast] Homeowners insurers are concerned that a new proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development could subject long-standing rating and underwriting practices to scrutiny under …

‘Beach House Bailout’ author gets new life as Obama fundraiser/lobbyist

The assertion from President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign that it won’t  “take a dime from D.C. lobbyists or special-interest PACs”  has come into question in light of a …

Telemetry-based auto insurance comes to U.K.

Telemetry-based auto insurance is making its way across the pond, as GPS specialist TomTom announced it has signed a deal with Welsh insurance broker Motaquote to begin offering …

Letter from Washington: ‘Hurricane Hukill’ and fixing the University of California

More than one-third of the U.S. Senate has already signed onto a letter that calls on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, …

Waiting game continues for FIO report

Those awaiting delivery of the Federal Insurance Office’s first major report on ways to improve and modernize U.S. insurance regulation will have to wait a bit longer, Insurance …

Beachhouse Bailout backers make pitch to the heartland

The Beachhouse Bailout is back. And this time, its authors are making a desperate pitch to appeal to the Heartland. (The region, not the Institute; Even they aren’t …

FIRE Podcast-Jack Nicholson: Fla. insurers need ‘skin in the game’

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/fire020212.mp3[/podcast] As Florida lawmakers’ 60-day legislative session continues to move forward, there are some unsettling signs that efforts to reform the state’s Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund may be stalled …

Letter from Tallahassee: Post-primaries, fixing on Cat Fund reform

Greetings from the SuperPAC-pillaged state of Florida! All eyes were on the Sunshine State this week to see who Republicans would choose to be their nominee to run against …

Treasury’s AIG pump and dump

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has released new projections that the Troubled Asset Relief Program will cost the federal government $23 billion in 2012, $20 billion more than …

Florida leaders rally for PIP reform

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, among other leaders, held a Jan. 25 rally at the State Capitol in Tallahassee …

New Jersey insurance chief reportedly stepping down

New Jersey Banking and Insurance Commissioner Tom Considine is set to step down next month to return to the private sector, Newark’s Star-Ledger newspaper is reporting. If true, it …

FIRE Podcast-Robert Detlefsen: Litigation finance could impact insurance claims

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/fire011912.mp3[/podcast] Third-party litigation funding, already a regular practice in countries like Australia and the United Kingdom, has seen growing interest in the United States in recent years. Buoyed by …

Letter from Austin: Senate chair wants to bring down rates

With a sigh of relief, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Agency closes out the calendar year absent a major hurricane or other severe weather event. Only a hailstorm in …

Workable solutions for Florida’s challenging insurance problems

PDF Download Text This paper, co-authored by R Street President Eli Lehrer and Public Affairs Director R.J. Lehmann, was published in January 2012 by the James Madison Institute. …

Florida bill orders accident victims report to the emergency room

In an effort to crack down on the potential for auto insurance claims fraud perpetrated by so-called “pain clinics,” a subcommittee of the Florida House of Representatives has …

Letter from Tallahassee: State of the Sunshine State

Aaaand they’re off! The 2012 legislature session was gaveled into regular session this week, and lawmakers have hit the ground running. Gov. Rick Scott gave his State of the …

Letter from Washington: Finance and insurance predictions for 2012

Happy New Year! It’s time to take down the holiday decorations, finish the eggnog, and get back to work. It’s also time for some predictions about what’s going …

‘Poetic Justice’ takes on insurance fraud

Justice J. Michael Eakin, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s notorious “rhyming judge,” has struck again, this time in a majority ruling vacating an insurance fraud conviction. Eakin, who has rankled …

Letter from Austin: TWIA considers alternatives to reinsurance

Four state senators, four representatives and a member of the public have been appointed to Texas’ Joint Interim Committee to Study Seacoast Territory Insurance, charged with examining alternative …

Letter from Washington: Feeling out FIO, government insurers and a farewell to Hitchens

This past week, CFIRE Deputy Director (and OOTS editor) R.J. Lehmann and I met with new director of the Federal Insurance Office: Michael McRaith. I had met him …

FIRE Podcast- Robert Hartwig: Insurers and the Eurozone crisis

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/FIRE121511.mp3[/podcast] Economic problems in Europe, and particularly the sovereign debt problems faced by several members of the Eurozone, pose a serious risk for the U.S. economic outlook, Deputy Assistant …

Letter from Tallahassee: Thoughts turn from holiday tidings to a packed legislative session

Greetings from Florida, where we proudly decorate our palm trees with balls and lights this time of year. Last week marked the final round of interim committee meetings before …

The Insurance Data Protection Act’s hidden sop to the NAIC

I’ve been publicly critical of the Insurance Data Protection Act, which was endorsed yesterday by a 7-5 tally of the House Financial Services Committee’s insurance subcommittee. It’s been interesting …

Letter from Washington: The case for, and against, occupational licensing

Based on the reports I’ve heard in the past week, it strikes me as overwhelmingly likely that the National Flood Insurance Program will lapse again sometime in December. …

A.M. Best: U.S. P&C insurers have $38.6B in cat losses through Q3

The U.S. property and casualty industry incurred $38.6 billion of pre-tax catastrophe losses through the first nine months of 2011, nearly doubling the full-year total of $19.6 billion …

FIRE Podcast- Ted Frank: Fighting abusive class action settlements

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/FIRE113011.mp3[/podcast] Since its founding two years ago, the non-profit Center for Class Action Fairness LLC has stepped in to object to 30 class action settlements on behalf of consumers …

November 2011 comments to Federal Insurance Office

These comments were submitted in November 2011 by R Street President Eli Lehrer and Public Affairs Director R.J. Lehmann to the U.S. Treasury Department's Federal Insurance Office in response …

FIRE Podcast- Daniel Schwarcz: Insurers should publish their policies on-line

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/FIRE112111.mp3[/podcast] Electronic commerce presents consumers with choices never before imagined. But in the world of insurance, despite an expanding array of coverage options, few consumers are able to take …

FIRE Podcast- R.J. Lehmann: Capitol Hill update

[podcast]/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/FIRE111711.mp3[/podcast] In this week’s edition of the FIRE Podcast, I offer updates on major insurance issues brewing on Capitol Hill, including delays in getting a Senate floor vote on …

The case for creating a Michigan auto insurance fraud prevention agency

PDF Download Text This report, authored by R Street President Eli Lehrer, was issued by the Heartland Institute in November 2011. It recommends the State of Michigan, which …

Letter from Washington: Why we’re no longer supporting optional federal charter

Some forthcoming comments from the Center on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate to the newly created Federal Insurance Office are going to include a public reconsideration of a …

FIRE Podcast- Robert Gordon: Insurers aren’t ‘too big to fail’

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/FIRE111011.mp3[/podcast] The Financial Stability Oversight Council – the college of regulators established by the Dodd-Frank Act as the ultimate overseers of systemic financial risk – last month reissued proposed …

AIG, Met and Pru all could be ‘too big to fail’

MetLife Inc., American International Group, Prudential Financial and possibly Berkshire Hathaway all could be designated as systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs) by the Financial Stability Oversight Council, according …

Reinsurance collateral and the ‘giant sucking sound’

At their national meeting this past weekend, the full National Association of Insurance Commissioners formally adopted a long-awaited (and much needed) overhaul of the group’s model law and …

FIRE Podcast- Joseph Annotti: Fraternal insurers could see new ‘renaissance’

[podcast]http://redesign.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/FIRE102511a.mp3[/podcast] Alexis de Tocqueville, in his masterpiece Democracy in America, marveled at how the American people of the 1830s were the most fraternal he had ever encountered. In addition …

Letter from Austin: TWIA more transparent on legal costs

Earlier this month, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association’s management offered an update on implementation of the reform legislation passed in June. The report displayed an overall commitment to …

A SIFI warning shot from Snoopy?

The announcement by MetLife Inc., the only major U.S. insurance group currently organized as a bank holding company, that it has been ordered by the Federal Reserve to …

Michigan PIP reform faces pushback

Efforts to reform Michigan’s unique auto insurance law, which ensures costly coverage by requiring essentially uncapped medical benefits, are facing some resistance in the state’s House of Representatives. A …

Homeowners rates won’t cover insurers’ capital costs

Homeowners insurance rates nationwide are projected to produce after-tax returns on equity of just 4.8% over the next year, which may not be enough to cover the industry’s …

McRaith to tell House panel his plans for Federal Insurance Office

Former Illinois Insurance Director Michael McRaith will appear before Congress for the first time since stepping into his new role as the first-ever director of the Federal Insurance …

Crist’s legacy: Fla. Cat Fund faces $3.2B shortfall

The Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, the state-run reinsurance facility from which all property insurers in the state are required to purchase coverage, would not be able to borrow …

Lawmakers reintroduce protectionist offshore reinsurance bill

Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., have reintroduced protectionist legislation that would raise costs for U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-based insurers and reinsurers, costs that ultimately …

Earthquake bailouts, D.C. as tax haven and corporate personhood

Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., has introduced a bill—which I write about at FrumForum —that would put taxpayers around the country on the hook for earthquake insurance in California …

Campbell earthquake plan no better than Feinstein’s

Perhaps this is what had California Earthquake Authority CEO Glenn Pomeroy so optimistic last week. News came down today that Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., has introduced the Earthquake …

Norton bill would make D.C. catastrophe insurance capital

“Taxation without representation” reads the District of Columbia’s official license plate design, a slogan aimed at raising awareness of district residents’ lack of voting representation in Congress. But new …

Shaking up the earthquake insurance market

Does Glenn Pomeroy know something the rest of us don’t? Pomeroy, a former North Dakota insurance commissioner and brother to former U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, currently serves as CEO …

Green Scissors 2011

PDF Download Text This report, co-authored by R Street President Eli Lehrer, was issued in August 2011 as a joint project of the Heartland Institute, Friends of the …

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