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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist to State Farm: Bu-bye!

27

January

Gov. Charlie Crist effectively said good riddance when asked to react to State Farm's announcement.

"They probably charge the highest rates in the state anyway. Floridians will be much better off without them."

UPDATE: Read the story here. UPDATE2: Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink weighs in: “It is unfortunate and disappointing that State Farm Florida has decided to move out of the neighborhood," Sink said. “My concern goes out to the more than one million Floridians who will need to transition to a new insurance company during the next two years. We will assemble a team of trained consumer specialists within my department to assist Floridians who might have questions about finding a new insurance policy."

When asked if State Farm was posturing, Crist said, "I don't know and I don't really care." Crist also said he'd support any effort to strengthen the Legislature's attempts in 2007 to prevent property insurers that drop homeowners' policies from writing more profitable lines in Florida, like auto insurance.

By contrast, Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, was adamant that government must get involved to stop State Farm from dropping policies, especially riskier ones in the Tampa Bay area, which could be forced on to Citizens insurance.

"We must stop this from happening. The Legislature has a duty to stop State Farm from dropping customers. That is unconscionable what they’re doing. There’s no way that we as a legislative body and Cabinet as a whole can accept this," said Fasano, who plans to push hard to pass a law that would prevent private property insurers from dropping more than 2 percent of their policyholders in a given year. "That would stop them dead in their tracks," Fasano said.

House Speaker Ray Sansom also signaled concern in a letter he sent to lawmakers, especially noting the impact on State Farm agents and employees. He said he planned to invite State Farm to next Tuesday's House insurance committee meeting to present the plan for dropping customers. Read the letter here.

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[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 4:15pm]

    

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