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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Democratic caucus wants Rick Scott to seek regional compact for insurance



The sweeping Senate proposal to reduce the state’s liability under Citizens Property Insurance by raising the cost to consumers is going to lead to skyrocketing rates across the state, state Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, told his Democratic colleagues Tuesday.

That will undoubtedly lead to political repercussions in an election year, he said. “If this bill passes, my question is, will the governor have the guts to sign it?,’’ Ring asked. “It’s going to increase everyone’s [insurance rates] dramatically.”

He said he has concluded the issue is too big for Florida and instead wants the governor to take the lead and seek out a regional compact with other Gulf and Atlantic states. The Senate Democratic caucus then voted to draft a resolution to the governor seeking his attention.

“The only answer, and we can look at all the financial models in the world, is some compact across gulf states and Atlantic states,’’ he said, in which the region most vulnerable to wind storms share the risk. “This is not something the legislature can do other than some weak resolution.”

He said the only one who can resolve this is the governor, in conjuction with governors of other states. Florida may have the biggest risk but the northeastern states, after Hurricane Sandy, will soon understand the impacts.

“I do not believe there is a single piece of legislation that can come out of the State of Florida that will help this problem,’’ he said. “It will either exacerbate rates, or exacerbate risks.”

Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, said the bill does more than just reduce the coastal policies, including the reduction of the catastrophe fund. He noted that the 12-member committee is evenly represented with coastal members and non-coastal and it may be difficult to get this bill through. “They may be break it into pieces,”  he said.

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 1:36pm]


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