Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Editorials

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. floats a terrible pricing idea

The discriminating pricing scheme being considered by Citizens Property Insurance Corp. with the encouragement of Gov. Rick Scott would not be tolerated from private insurers. Yet the state-run insurer's bad idea to jack up the price of policies for new customers by up to 30 percent will get another hearing today by a Citizens Board of Governors committee. That should be its last stop. Such a scheme has no place in a government-backed insurer either.

First floated last year — but never brought before the Legislature for approval — this bad idea turns on Citizens' self-serving claim that a 2009 law capping its rate increases at 10 percent annually was only meant to apply to renewal policies. Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who was Senate president when the legislation passed, has already rejected that interpretation, with little heed.

Scott has encouraged this end run around the Legislature. Convinced that the state's exposure to paying Citizens claims after a major hurricane is too great, the governor has challenged Citizens officials to find new ways to add revenue or reduce liabilities. Nevermind that it's state law, not executive fiat, that has set Citizens' parameters.

Nor does it seem to matter that this will be a double whammy for some Citizens customers who under state law can see their Citizens policy canceled if they live in sinkhole-prone areas. If they pass an inspection they could once again become a customer — but at a higher rate.

The same reasons the Legislature passed that rate increase cap still apply in a state where Scott is supposed to be looking out for average Floridians. Homeowners still need a glide path to higher rates, and unpredictable insurance prices would further stall the state's real estate recovery. Scott should be balancing those real-world consequences with his concern that Citizens has grown too large. The state-run insurer also should be mindful of the state law that caps rates and not circumvent its intent to gouge new customers.

Comments
Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

A substitute teacher at a Plant City elementary school berated a class of fourth graders — and then the school principal. Another compared a student to a stripper. Others were caught napping, hitting children, making sexual remarks, giving students b...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

For the longest time, injured workers in Florida were basically at the mercy of the whims of employers to treat them fairly. A 2003 law aimed at reducing the cost of workers’ compensation coverage for businesses had the desired impact, but it also di...
Published: 01/16/18

Another voice: Why just Florida?

Cynicism has always been a part of politics, but rarely are politicians so brazen and self-serving as President Donald Trump and his interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, have been over the past week. First they announced a new offshore drilling plan that ...
Published: 01/16/18
Editorial: King’s legacy still relevant in digital age

Editorial: King’s legacy still relevant in digital age

Today’s holiday honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. couldn’t be more timely. At a moment when the nation’s civic dialogue is choking on personal and political division, it is hard to remember an earlier time when role models were role m...
Published: 01/15/18

Another voice: 38 minutes of fear in Hawaii

In 1938, Orson Welles panicked the nation with a false alarm about a Martian invasion in the radio broadcast The War of the Worlds. That was farfetched, of course. But what happened on Saturday, sadly, was not so hard to imagine — or believe.Authorit...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Editorial: Florida’s chance to make it easier to restore civil rights

Editorial: Florida’s chance to make it easier to restore civil rights

As it has for decades, Florida stubbornly clings to an inhumane, inefficient and indefensible system of justice that permanently sentences more than 1.5 million residents to second-class citizenship. This state automatically revokes the right to vote...
Published: 01/13/18
Editorial: Speak out against Trump’s vulgar remarks

Editorial: Speak out against Trump’s vulgar remarks

President Donald Trump’s vulgar outbursts during a White House meeting on immigration are racist and indefensible no matter how he parses them. They are not presidential, they undermine U.S. foreign relations and they do not reflect America’s values....
Published: 01/12/18

Editorial: Pinellas commission stands up for accountability

The Pinellas County Commission has gotten the message that it should not be a rubber stamp. Commissioners sent a clear signal this week they will demand more accountability of local agencies by refusing to approve nominees for the board for CareerSou...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18

Editorial: Progress on Tampa Bay graduation rates

Tampa Bay’s four school districts all reached a significant milestone last school year: achieving graduation rates over 80 percent. It’s believed to be the first time Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties all surpassed that threshold, a...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18

Take deal; build wall

President Donald Trump says he is optimistic a deal can be struck to shield "Dreamers," the young undocumented immigrants whose lives he put in jeopardy by stripping them of work permits and deportation protection, beginning March 5. His price, and t...
Published: 01/10/18
Updated: 01/11/18