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Insurance panel members are named, told to work fast

Gov. Lawton Chiles has appointed a 13-member panel to recommend a long-term solution to Florida's property insurance crisis.

"I want you to determine the steps we need to take to ensure that property insurance coverage is available and that insurers do not become fair-weather friends to Florida policyholders," Chiles told the 13 appointments to the study commission on property insurance and reinsurance.

Chiles said he wants a report from the group by Sept. 15 to give the Legislature time to consider possible action. A state-imposed moratorium on insurance will expire Nov. 15.

Co-chairmen will be state Rep. John Cosgrove, D-Miami, chairman of the House Insurance Committee, and Sen. John Grant, R-Tampa, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

The other members are Florida Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher; Sen. Betty Holzendorf, D-Jacksonville; Rep. John Morroni, R-Clearwater; consumer representatives John Schawaroch, Gabriele Marewski, Norm Ostrau and Lynn Washington; Ralph Justice of Nationwide Insurance; Alex Soto, vice chairman of the Florida Association of Insurance Agents; Frank Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America, Washington, D.C.; and Pat Taylor of Barnett Mortgage Co.