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CRIST SIGNS CITIZENS RATE HIKE

Published May 28, 2009

Gov. Charlie Crist has signed legislation that boosts property insurance rates by 10 percent on customers of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp., but said that he has concerns about the property insurance bill (HB 1171) that would allow large, well-capitalized companies like State Farm to go unregulated.

"To have that industry unregulated in essence is not something that is appealing to me, nor is it fair to the customer," Crist said.

The Consumer Federation of the Southeast and the Florida Public Interest Research Group called on himto veto the bill. "This should be a no-brainer veto," said Walter Dartland, director of the Consumer Federation.

"It will allow the major property insurers to raise rates any way they want."

Insurers say their regulated rates make it impossible for them to stay in the black if a major hurricane were to slam Florida.