About 400 property owners took part Thursday evening in a lively town hall discussion on finding solutions to Florida's insurance crisis. Among the ideas suggested by five panelists and speakers from the audience at the Hilton Hotel at Carillon Park in St. Petersburg: adopting a penny sales tax dedicated to relief from high insurance premiums; imposing a state income tax; prohibiting insurers from cherry-picking where they write insurance in Florida; capping rate increases; supervising insurers' profits funneled to out-of-state parent companies; and regulating reinsurance agreements that can mask profits between insurers and their parent companies. The event was sponsored by the St. Petersburg Times and Bay News 9.
Coming Sunday: A look at solutions.
"Consider a 1-cent hurricane sales tax to go to the hurricane catastrophe fund."
BRUCE DOUGLAS, Citizens Property Insurance
"It's all about finding another way to finance the losses that are out there."
SAM MILLER, Florida Insurance Council
"Build better buildings. Retrofit housing stock. Help people through low-cost loans."
Kevin McCarty, Florida Insurance Commissioner
"I'd like consumer participation in the rate process. Like we have setting utility rates."
BILL NEWTON, Florida Consumer Action Network
"For retirees earning $13,000 to $20,000, mitigation won't work."
GINNY STEVANS, Home-owners Against Citizens