House ‘opts in’ to Citizens surplus lines, killing billby Dara Kam | March 6th, 2012
The House sponsor of a bill aimed at reducing the number of homeowners covered by Citizens Property Insurance opted to kill the measure (HB 245) rather than allow the state-run insurers’ customers to “opt in” to switching to unregulated “surplus lines” carriers.
Consumer advocates cheered the apparent death Tuesday of what they called the backdoor deregulation of Florida’s property insurance market.
A bipartisan House coalition voted 63-52 in support of the Senate’s language requiring that Citizens insurance customers have a chance to sign off first before being moved to the “surplus lines” companies with unregulated rates.
The House refusal to strip the Senate’s “opt in” provision inserted a day earlier proved to be a deal-breaker for the bill’s sponsor, who said this year’s effort appears finished. Industry lobbyists preferred a system where customers of the state’s insurer of last resort would be automatically switched unless they took steps to “opt out.”
“We’re finished with it for this year,” sponsor Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, said Tuesday.
- Palm Beach Post staff writer Charles Elmore contributed to this story.