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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

A final fight on insurance



Lawmakers plans to allow Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-backed insurer of last resort, to compete more head to head with private insurers doesn't go far enough, Gov. Charlie Crist told legislative leadership this morning in a move further frustrating industry advocates.

The specific beef: New Citizens customers wouldn't be admitted to the state carrier unless they can show a private insurer's premium is 25 percent higher than a Citizens policy would be. Low Citizens rates are still unlikely under the new bill -- because the insurer still insures the worst risk in Florida -- but will be legal because it removes the requirement that Citizens charges the highest rates in the market. (Current law prohibits most customers from coming to Citizens at all as long as any private insurer will cover them.)

But Crist wants no 25-percent threshold. He wants homeowners to have the sole power to decide if they go in or out of Citizens. Buzz is hearing the Senate is amenable, but the House is not. Is it enough to lead to a stalemate? Stay tuned.

Reporters asked Crist Monday afternoon if he has thought of vetoing the bill if the 25-percent threshhold language isn't changed. Crist's indirect confirmation: "I think about everything." 

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:26pm]


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