R Street commends Florida House for passing Citizens reform
By a 111-6 tally, the House approved an amended version of S.B. 1770, which passed the state Senate last week, including strong language proposed by R Street to bar coverage for newly constructed properties in environmentally sensitive coastal areas. The Senate’s version of the bill included a loophole that would have exempted properties built to so-called “code-plus” building standards from the prohibition.
R Street Florida Director Christian R. Cámara called the bill “a bipartisan, measured piece of legislation that does not raise rates on consumers and puts Citizens on the right track.”
“With thousands of policies flowing into it every month, Citizens has been the insurer of first-resort for far too long at great risk to taxpayers. SB 1770 will not stop the bleeding, but is a good start in slowing it down,” Cámara said.
Like the original measure passed by the Senate, the House-passed bill would create a clearinghouse to verify the eligibility of policies coming in to Citizens. The company currently has 1.3 million policies.
Among other provisions, the House bill would bar Citizens, starting in 2014, from insuring structures valued at more than $1 million. That cap would be lowered gradually until it reached $700,000 in 2017.
“The reforms in the bill will end taxpayer-subsidized insurance for the wealthy; decrease the likelihood or severity of post-hurricane assessments on every Florida resident, business and charity; and protect Florida’s coastal environment from the risky, new overdevelopment that taxpayers should not be covering,” Cámara said. “The Senate would do well to concur quickly and send the bill to Gov. Scott’s desk.”