Across Florida
What's happening on other political blogs?

insurance’

House reduces motorist tax cut and creates new clash with Senate

Friday, April 26th, 2013 by John Kennedy

Already deadlocked on health insurance and a pension overhaul, Florida lawmakers added another bit of tension to the Legislature’s homestretch, with the House budget panel Friday opening the session’s final week by breaking ranks with the Senate on a plan to cut vehicle tag and title fees.

The House Appropriations Committee rejected the Senate’s proposal to eliminate a 26-year-old tax break for the insurance industry to cut $220 million in motorist fees paid by Floridians. The Senate’s plan would erase half the 2009 increases that had been imposed by lawmakers hustling to patch a recession-drive budget hole.

Instead, the House would phase-in the reductions over five years, starting by a modest $44 million cut next year. Drivers would save about $2.40 next year on vehicle registrations, under the House plan — which leaves the tax credit untouched for the powerful insurance industry.

Rep. Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, defended the House stance, saying it was important to not eliminate anything that could hurt job creators in Florida. Since 1987, the insurers have drawn a 15 percent tax credit on the insurance premium tax as an incentive to open offices in Florida.

Senate Budget Chief Joe Negron, R-Stuart, said the industry now looks “robust” and the tax break is no longer needed.

Senate rolls back vehicle fees, nixes insurance industry tax break

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 by Dara Kam

Florida vehicle registration renewal fees would be rolled back – a savings of about $12 for drivers – under a measure unanimously approved by the state Senate this morning.

The state would make up the lost money – between $220 million and $230 million – by doing away with a decades-old tax break to insurance companies. Insurers who pay a state tax on insurance premiums get a rebate worth 15 percent of the salary paid to their workers.

Senate budget chief Joe Negron, who hatched the plan, told the chamber that insurance companies have prospered in Florida since the 1987 tax break went into effect. Lawmakers hiked the vehicle fees in 2009 as part of a budget-cutting exercise prompted by a prolonged dip in the state’s revenue collections. But the state’s financial situation is more robust this year, and lawmakers for the first time in several years have more money to spend.

The proposal makes a number of reductions in fees or taxes on vehicles, including:
_ Cuts $5 tax on new vehicle registrations in half to $2.50;
_ Decreases from $1.50 to $.50 fee charged for reflective material on tags and stickers;
_ Cuts in half the $4 “surcharge” on licenses.

Negron’s proposal, which doesn’t have a House companion yet, reduces the fee increases by 55 percent and would result in about $250 million going from insurance companies “into the pockets of hardworking Floridians,” he said.

The tax break has saved insurance companies more than $3.4 billion since it went into effect, Negron argued.

“I want them to be prosperous so they can collect premiums and pay claims,” Negron, R-Stuart, said. “But in looking at this tax break, from 1989 through today that has been worth $3.34 billion that we have subsidized the labor costs of the insurance industry…But as we sit here in 2013, I personally believe…we should take this opportunity..to do something for the men and women we represent.”

Insurance and business lobbyists opposed the measure, suggesting that doing away with the tax break could chase companies away or keep others from relocating in the state.

But Sen. Jeremy Ring, a Margate Democrat, who described lobbyists’ rhetoric as “there’d be Armageddon if this passed,” said “it’s nice to finally call a bluff.”

But Sam Miller, executive director of the Florida Insurance Council, said the tax credit has helped produce jobs.

“It is not clear that repeal of the credit won’t endanger job creation. The state should move cautiously and be sure,” Miller said.

- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

PIP: Scott ‘arm bending’ works. DLP ‘phoney-baloney’ rant. Negron ‘not a home-and-away’ game.

Friday, March 9th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Gov. Rick Scott scored a huge victory late Friday night when the Florida Senate signed off on a last-ditch effort to crack down on personal injury protection fraud.

By a narrow 21-19 vote, the once-again divided Senate agreed to the compromise language passed earlier this evening by the House, and then passed the measure (HB 119) 22-17.

But the vote elicited rebukes from some senators who wanted the upper chamber to stand its ground and refuse to concur with the proposal – crafted largely by insurance industry lobbyists – in a debate highlighted by a stemwinder by Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami.

Diaz de la Portilla, a lawyer, repeatedly called the deal a “phoney baloney” attempt to combat fraud and pilloried the House for bowing to powerful insurance lobbyists and the governor, who made PIP reform his top priority this legislative session. Diaz de la Portilla had convinced the Senate in its version of the PIP reform to keep intact “multipliers” allowing lawyers to be paid escalated fees. The compromise did away with that but, in a concession to the Senate, did not cap attorneys’ fees or set an hourly rate.

Growing more incensed as his rant went on, Diaz de la Portilla said that PIP scams aren’t the real fraud.

“I think the House measure that’s been sent over to us and that we’re being asked to concede to, that’s the fraud. It’s a fraud on the consumers of the state of Florida. It’s a fraud on the people who have to buy these policies by law. It’s a fraud on those who are injured in accidents. It’s a fraud because it basically is the Insurance Company Relief Act of 2012. That’s what it is. That’s exactly what we’re talking about,” Diaz de la Portilla said, referring to the package as “phoney-baloney” at least three times to the delight of a bipartisan group of senators surrounding him.

The compromise does not require a set rate reduction, as the Senate plan did, but requires an actuarial analysis by an independent party to back up a detailed explanation of insurers’ rates if they do not roll back by 10 percent by October and 25 percent by 2014.
Sen. Dennis Jones, a Seminole chiropractor who said he is probably the only senator who actually treated a PIP patient, called the bill a “very, very punitive” measure for chiropractors. Patients will now be limited to $2,500 worth of chiropractic treatment, a change from the 24 visits over three months now allowed.

Gov. Rick Scott scored a huge victory late Friday night when the Florida Senate signed off on a last-ditch effort to crack down on personal injury protection fraud.

By a narrow 21-19 vote, the once-again divided Senate agreed to the compromise language passed earlier this evening by the House, and then passed the measure (HB 119) 22-17.

But the vote elicited rebukes from some senators who wanted the upper chamber to stand its ground and refuse to concur with the proposal – crafted largely by insurance industry lobbyists – in a debate highlighted by a stemwinder by Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami.

Diaz de la Portilla, a lawyer, repeatedly called the deal a “phoney baloney” attempt to combat fraud and pilloried the House for bowing to powerful insurance lobbyists and the governor, who made PIP reform his top priority this legislative session. Diaz de la Portilla convinced the Senate in its version of the PIP reform to keep intact “multipliers” allowing lawyers to be paid escalated fees. The compromise did away with that but, in a concession to the Senate, did not cap attorneys’ fees or set an hourly rate.

Growing more incensed as his rant went on, Diaz de la Portilla said that PIP scams aren’t the real fraud.

“I think the House measure that’s been sent over to us and that we’re being asked to concede to, that’s the fraud. It’s a fraud on the consumers of the state of Florida. It’s a fraud on the people who have to buy these policies by law. It’s a fraud on those who are injured in accidents. It’s a fraud because it basically is the Insurance Company Relief Act of 2012. That’s what it is. That’s exactly what we’re talking about,” Diaz de la Portilla said, referring to the package as “phoney-baloney” at least three times to the delight of a bipartisan group of senators surrounding him.

Sen. Dennis Jones, a chiropractor who said he is probably the only senator who actually treated a PIP patient, called the bill a “very, very punitive” measure for chiropractors. Patients will now be limited to $2,500 worth of chiropractic treatment, a change from who will now be limited to $2,500 worth of treatment. The House originally wanted to cut chiros out from PIP treatment altogether.

“I know it’s late and I know you all just want to flush something out and go home,” Jones, R-Seminole, said, adding “You’re making a major, major mistake.”

Scott worked lawmakers especially hard on PIP, stepping up pressure as the clock wound down toward the session end Friday. The governor gave hand-written thank you notes to House and Senate members who voted “yes” on the bill.

But Jones wasn’t on that list, especially after calling out Scott before the vote.

“Most people have had their arms bent or twisted or been down to the governors office two or three times,” Jones said.

Sen. Joe Negron, the Stuart Republican who brokered the deal for the Senate and sponsored the chamber’s trial lawyer-friendlier proposal, rejected his colleague’s criticism that the Senate would be giving up too much by taking the House offer.

It isn’t true “that somehow we’ve been run out of the gym by the House and we shouldn’t concur on their message because we passed our bill and by God our bill is better than their bill,” Negron said. “Anytime you have a bill of this magnitude, you’ve got to make principled compromises and find a middle ground.”

Negron then defended his efforts to keep chiropractors in the mix at all.

“The House wanted to take chiropractors, tie two 50-pound cement blocks to their ankles and drop them over the boat into the bottom of the ocean. And they were never going to be heard from in PIP again. I found that very offensive,” Negron, a lawyer, said.

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a former Senate president who pushed alongside Scott for the overhaul, called Senate critics “dead wrong” about the deal.

“The Senate got all its fraud language. The Senate got all its licensure language. The Senate got room for chiropractic care. The Senate did not cap attorneys fees. The Senate did a fine job. The House was very firm on driving the cost drivers of utilization down. They came together with a really solid compromise,” Atwater said.

Atwater said he’s certain premiums will decrease although the bill does not require it.

“I think they’re going to see when that independent study comes down that they’re going to indicate rates need to be coming down. They need to come down now,” he said.

House approves compromise PIP package

Friday, March 9th, 2012 by Dara Kam

The House has signed off on a last-ditch effort to close out a deal with the Senate on personal injury protection reform, one of Gov. Rick Scott’s top priorities.

But despite frenzied lobbying by insurance company representatives and Scott, it remains unclear whether the deal has enough support in the Senate to get the 21 votes needed to pass. Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater have made PIP fraud one of their primary focuses of the legislative session.

The compromise, passed with a party-line 80-34 vote late this evening, would require patients to seek care within two weeks of a crash, a concession from the House’s original seven day requirement.

The House also agreed to allow up to $10,000 for emergency service coverage as determined by a physician, osteopath, dentist, physician’s assistant or registered nurse practitioner. Of that, $2,500 could be used for non-emergency medical care. Visits to chiropractors would be covered up to $2,500 for certain types of injuries, but would require a referral from one of the other health care providers for others. Acupuncturists and massage therapists would no longer be covered by PIP.

The deal also did away with the House’s original proposal that would have required initial care to take place only at a hospital or emergency room. Instead, injured patients would also be allowed to be seen by private physicians.

And the compromise would require insurance companies to notify claimants within 30 days if they suspect fraud, and gives another 60 days to investigate. One of the more controversial parts of the deal would require those whose claims are being investigated to submit to examinations under oath if their insurance companies ask.

And, in what could be a sticking point for the Senate, the deal would require insurers to roll back rates 10 percent by October and 25 percent by Jan. 1. 2014, or else give a “detailed explanation” to insurance regulators for why the rates were not reduced. The Senate had sought a 25 percent rate reduction.

House Democrats blasted the last-minute amendments, accusing the GOP sponsors of the measure (HB 119) of being pusillanimous and caving to insurance industry pressure, especially over the rate roll-back, which critics said has no teeth.

The measure includes no penalties for insurers who fail to meet the rate reductions, Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, objected.

“The fraudsters are the big insurance companies that wrote this amendment and that are continuing to say now, give us more profit and we’ll give you a Post-it note at the end of the day explaining why we can’t reduce rates,” Randolph said.

Insurance lobbyists huddled into the wee hours Friday morning crafting the measure and were back at it early the same day, with time running out to seal a deal with the Senate that Scott would approve.

With hours until the 60-day session was scheduled to end, Scott stepped up pressure on lawmakers, calling them and ordering them into his office. Scott also pleaded his case through the media with appearances on at least seven radio talk shows before 8:30 a.m. Friday morning.

Scott pushed lawmakers to “get it done” and threatened to call a special session if they did not pass a comprehensive PIP reform.

“If I had to I would (call a special session later on the issue) but there’s no reason we can’t get it done today,” Scott said on WFLA 540 AM in Orlando. “I’m very comfortable they’ll do the right thing.”

Scott’s advisors have said the House would not pass a package the governor did not approve.

“The House has some good provisions,” Scott said. He said he hoped they would “send it back to the Senate and I hope we get it passed today.”
- The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

House ‘opts in’ to Citizens surplus lines, killing bill

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 by Dara Kam

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.

PIP overhaul looks like a longshot

Friday, February 24th, 2012 by John Kennedy

The Legislature’s latest bid to revamp personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance looks like it could collapse amid the same intra-industry squabbles that killed previous efforts over much of the past decade.

Gov. Rick Scott is an ardent advocate for reform — tucking the demand for action into his State of the State address in January.

Now, Capitol hall talk is swirling about the idea of a special session on the subject –that amounts to a rhetorical surrender on the idea of any deal being reached before the Legislature’s scheduled March 9 finish.

But House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, said Friday that a special session isn’t part of his plans. Prospects for consensus also looks tough, he conceded.

“I don’t know whether we’ll be able to bring the House and Senate positions together before the end of session,” Cannon said. “But I’m not contemplating a special session on the issue.”

Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, whose district includes parts of northern Palm Beach County, is sponsoring a bill (SB 1860) that would  enact a series of  reforms, including implementing medical fee schedules, licensing medical clinics that provide personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, and requiring insurers to promptly pay claims.

Negron says his approach is closest to that pitched by Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who are pushing hard to rid the system of fraudulent claims and shady clinics who operate to draw on the $10,000 insurance coverage every Florida motorist is supposed to carry.

The House proposal (CS/HB 119)  by Rep. John Boyd, R-Bradenton, would scrap the state’s PIP law, replacing it with a proposed emergency care insurance that maintains the $10,000 medical coverage, but would require all accident victims to be treated in emergency rooms or by their personal physicians — not clinics — within 72 hours.

Massage therapists, accupuncturists and chiropractors would be from receiving PIP payments for medical treatments, under the House proposal.

The two sides are also split over attorneys fees.

 

Fired-up Scott champions House PIP reform critics call anti-consumer

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 by Dara Kam

A fired-up Gov. Rick Scott gave proponents of changes to the state’s no-fault insurance laws a lesson in politics, urging them to knock on lawmakers’ doors and let them have it.

Scott joined a crusade led by business industry leaders and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater pushing legislation intended to crack down on personal injury protection insurance fraud the governor said is costing Floridians $1 billion a year.

And today Scott came out in favor of the House’s PIP fix, that would require people injured in auto accidents to be treated in emergency rooms within 72 hours, cap attorneys’ fees and prohibit chiropractors or massage therapists from providing follow-up care.

“This is how laws get changed. Show up and let your legislators know what you want. You’re sick and tired of this $1 billion a year of fraud. You’re tired of it. You’re tired of scammers taking advantage of you. You’re tired of attorneys taking advantage of you. Enough is enough. We need to change this,” Scott told dozens of PIP reform advocates at a press conference on the fourth-floor rotunda in the Capitol. “Now. How do you do it? You do exactly what you’re doing here. You show up and then you go to everybody’s office.”

The press conference came on the heels of a House committee’s approval of HB 119. Proponents of the changes – including Scott – say they’re needed to cut back on fraud like staged auto accidents that are causing auto insurance premiums in some areas to skyrocket.

But critics of the House measure who favor a Senate version sponsored by Stuart Republican Joe Negron say the bill is anti-consumer because it limits consumers’ choices.

“This bill is the thing of consumers’ nightmares and of insurance bigwigs’ dreams,” Bill Newton, executive director of Florida Consumer Action Network, said in a statement.

Even with Scott’s support, the House bill, passed by the House Civil Justice Committee along partisan lines this morning, is in trouble, however. Even some GOP committee members said they can’t support the measure in its current form, setting the stage for an ongoing battle between doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists, insurers and attorneys.

Atwater round-up: CFO gives thanks, seeks more control over state contracts and goes after lawyers

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 by Dara Kam

Times may be tough but there’s still plenty to be grateful for, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater tells Floridians in a Thanksgiving video message released today.

Atwater, a North Palm Beach banker and former Senate president, says he’s thankful for his “exciting year” as the executive in charge of the state’s checkbook and he’s appreciative of the country’s military serving overseas, who “risk their lives every day so that we can enjoy the blessings that we have been afforded: our safety, our security, the ability just to spend time with our families, our friends.”

Read about Atwater’s possible face-offs with Gov. Rick Scott over state contracting and The Florida Bar over PIP after the jump.
(more…)

Immigration tops Rick Scott’s legislative priority list

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Immigration is at the top of Gov. Rick Scott’s legislative priorities when lawmakers reconvene in January, the first-term governor told Northwest Florida conservative radio talk show host Burnie Thompson today.

Lawmakers failed to reach agreement on any immigration proposals during the session that ended in May.

“We should have done an immigration bill. The federal government should be securing our borders. They should have a logical, national immigration policy, a good work visa program policy. But if people are in our state illegally we should be able to ask them if they’re legal or not if they’re doing something wrong and violating our laws. That’s one thing we ought to be doing,” Scott told Thompson, a talk show host on Panama City Beach’s WYOO 101.1 FM.

Other Scott priorities include property and auto insurance reform and restricting how school districts spend money, he said.

Scott, who spends part of his days reaching out to corporate leaders and encouraging them to set up shop in the Sunshine State, challenged all Floridians to follow his lead. Scott has pledged to create 700,000 in seven years.

“I want everybody in this state to call somebody and say, ‘Look why don’t you move your company here?’ Any feelers they get give my office a call because I’ll make the phone call with them to make it happen. We have 19 million people in our state. If all of us get active on economic development, everybody in this state will have an opportunity for a job,” he said.

Read what Scott said about insurance and education after the jump.
(more…)

New Scott ad fries felon-friendly Sink

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 by Dara Kam

GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott released a new ad attacking Democratic opponent Alex Sink for licensing felons as insurance agents although a recent court ruling found Sink, the state’s chief financial officer, is too harsh on the ex-criminals.

Scott’s campaign released the ad the day of the duo’s first live televised debate set to begin at 7 p.m tonight. His campaign staff first handed out information about Sink licensing felons at their first match-up in Miami at a taped Univision debate on Oct. 8.

The ad claims that Sink “had broad discretion to withhold a license…but after 3 days of searching could not name one case in which she used that authority.”

But civil rights experts and Sink’s staff insist that she has limited authority to withhold the licenses and a judge decided that Sink’s waiting periods before felons are eligible to get licenses is too long. Her office has appealed that ruling.

Read The Palm Beach Post story about the licenses here.

CFO Sink stumps for seniors in Palm Beach County on Friday

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink will be in Palm Beach County on Friday to promote her proposed legislation stiffening penalties for crooks who scam senior citizens.
It’s the third year in a row Sink, a Democrat who is running for governor, has backed legislation to crack down on investor fraud schemes targeting the elderly.

The Senate passed her bill last year but it never got heard in a House committee.
Sink’s office has had 800 complaints from seniors this year.

Rep. Maria Sachs, a Delray Beach Democrat, is sponsoring Sink’s bill this year.

Sink’s proposal would increase penalties for “churning” – turning an existing life insurance policy or annuity from one company to another – annuities to senior citizens and for other annuity or insurance-related schemes.

Friday’s event will be held at 10 a.m. at The Church of Bethesda in Palm Beach.

Those interested in attending should pre-register by calling 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236) or (850) 413-3089.

Health reform Halloween scary for seniors?

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 by Dara Kam

Backers of President Barack Obama’s health care reforms unleashed a television ad in Orlando, Louisville and Washington pillorying Humana’s scare tactics targeting seniors and the plan’s impact on Medicare.

Americans United for Change, Obama’s campaign organization-turned unofficial presidential PR machine, is running the ad and also staging a protest at Humana headquarters in West Palm Beach today at noon.

Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services launched an investigation into Humana Inc.’s possible misuse of beneficiary information to send anti-health care mailers to its Medicare gap coverage enrollees. The Louisville-based insurer is one of the largest Medicare supplemental insurance providers.

Humana sent mailers to seniors in several states, including Florida, containing what could be misleading information about Obama’s plan, warning of cuts to benefits and increases in costs to the popular government-backed insurance plan for seniors.

According to the AARP’s web site, “None of the health care reform proposals being considered by Congress would cut Medicare benefits or increase your out-of-pocket costs for Medicare services.”

Crist likely to veto insurance bill

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 by Dara Kam

Gov. Charlie Crist said today he will likely veto an insurance deregulation bill that consumer advocates charge will lead to rate increases.

Crist said he will probably not sign HB 1171 that would give carte blanche to insurers with more than $200 million in surplus to raise rates.

“The odds are not. But I haven’t made a final decision,” he said.

Department of Insurance Regulation chief Kevin McCarty urged Crist to veto the bill in a letter sent last month and last week saying that it would unfairly benefit large insurers and destabilize the insurance market.

It would also give a leg up to State Farm, the insurer that is canceling its Florida homeowners policies because McCarty rejected its rate increase requests, McCarty said.

State Farm was overexposed in Florida and would likely have canceled the policies regardless of how much they were allowed to charge, McCarty said.

“In fact, State Farm and other companies may actually use excessive rates to effectively non-renew policyholders under the ruse of consumer choice,” McCarty wrote.

Senate prez gets earful from State Farm agent

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009 by Dara Kam

Senate President Jeff Atwater got an earful from a combative State Farm agent at what was supposed to be a routine Q and A with T-Coast leaders.

State Farm agent Bill Knight peppered Atwater, who has been on the warpath against property insurers for what he believes are excessive rates, with questions about the state CAT fund and other insurance questions, often interrupting the president and ultimately shutting down the session.

State Farm recently announced it was leaving the state and canceling its 1.2 million clients over the next two years after state insurance officials turned down its request for a 47 percent rate hike.

The state’s catastrophe fund has about $8 billion in cash on hand, but needs to cover about $28 billion in losses if a major storm occurs.

“We are heading out and there’s no turning around at this point. Where are the dollars going to come from if we were to have a Category 4 or 5 storm hitting Tampa or Pinellas County or anyone else in the state?” Knight wanted to know.

“We would be in a world of hurt if this occurred,” Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, said.

But that didn’t stop Knight.

(more…)

Crist not so open about prop tax reform

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007 by Dara Kam

Gov. Charlie Crist continues to playing his property tax cards close to his vest, giving away little about what he hopes lawmakers will achieve in a yet-to-be scheduled special session revisiting the issue.

071003%20Charlie%20Crist.jpg

A Leon County judge threw a constitutional amendment placed there by the legislature off the Jan. 29 ballot because it was misleading and deceptive.

(more…)

Jeb Bush takes on Crist

Friday, September 21st, 2007 by Palm Beach Post Staff

The Wall Street Journal’s opinion page sharply criticized Gov. Crist today with a little help from former Gov. Jeb Bush.

The Journal is unhappy with Florida taking on much of the insurance risk in the event of a major hurricane.

Using the headline – Hurricane Jeb

From the Journal: Mr. Bush criticizing states that are crafting disaster insurance plans “that are as bad as the natural disasters themselves.” Which states? “My beloved state of Florida has taken steps along that path.” Ouch.

(more…)

CRIST: Insurance Industry Not Following Law

Thursday, September 20th, 2007 by Palm Beach Post Staff

Gov. Charlie Crist again lashed out at insurers today and encouraged directors of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. to keep up the good work.

“(Citizens) used to be the dumping ground for the insurance industry of Florida,” Crist told the Citizens Board of Governors early this morning.

“Some in the private sector are afraid of competition. That is not the American way. Competition is the American way. And if they don’t want to compete, Florida will,” he went on.

(more…)

Crist: I won’t back down

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007 by Dara Kam

Although he is an avid angler, Gov. Charlie Crist said he and Office of Insurance Regulation Commissioner Kevin McCarty are not on a fishing expedition to snag insurers, as some industry representatives have charged.

McCarty was right to postpone a State Farm rate hike hearing, previously scheduled for today, because industry insiders were not forthcoming in their responses to McCarty’s subpoenas, Crist said.

“The commissioner’s opportunity with the subpoena power will give him a greater chance to have some straight answers about what the industry is doing with the huge profits that they’re making,” Crist said.

(more…)

No-fault survival chances bleak

Monday, August 13th, 2007 by Dara Kam

Florida’s no-fault insurance law, which includes personal injury protection, or PIP, will likely expire before lawmakers come to an agreement on how to revamp it or replace it, according to Gov. Charlie Crist, who also said he prefers to keep the law on the books.

The legislature returns to Tallahassee on Sept. 18 to slash the budget, and those on both sides of the PIP fence hoped the insurance issue would be added to the special session.

Don’t bank on it, Crist said today.

“There is still the opportunity for personal injury protection to be provided for. I don’t know if I’m terribly optimistic about that notion, to be candid with you. But, you know, it still could happen,” he said, because House and Senate leaders can’t agree on what to do.

(more…)

Crist May Take Legal Action Against Property Insurers Who Fail To Lower Rates

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007 by Palm Beach Post Staff

Gov. Charlie Crist said today he is considering taking legal action against Florida property insurers who he believes have not cut insurance rates as required by state law.

His lawyers are also looking into possible violations of anti-trust laws, Crist said.

Office of Insurance Regulation chief Kevin McCarty backed up Crist, saying his office has rejected insurers’ rate filings because they do not reflect the savings required by a state law passed during a special session in January.

Insurers are able to buy reinsurance from the state at a fraction of the cost in the commercial market and then are required to pass the savings on to consumers.

“It’s the law. And there are consequences for not complying with the law,” Crist said.

Florida political tweeters
Video: Politics stories
Categories
Archives