EDITORIAL: Our view: Well done, please

Feb 5, 2008

State lawmakers should turn up heat while grilling insurance industry bosses today

February 5, 2008–Florida Today

How would you like your insurance company executive served?

Rare, medium rare or well done?

We’ll take ours well done, thank you, and urge state lawmakers to turn up the heat and grill the big shots today when they testify under oath before the Legislature’s Select Committee on Property Insurance Accountability.

We all know why:

Lawmakers agreed last year to have the state — using more of your money — assume additional risk for hurricane coverage in exchange for the companies lowering rates to affordable levels.

Instead, hundreds of thousands of policies were dropped while the rates of spared homeowners went through the roof.

The insurance industry is now reaping record profits while Florida consumers suffer.

Committee members need straight answers, including a close look at industry books and whether the companies conspired to increase rates. We don’t expect the executives to ‘fess up, but putting them in the public spotlight under sworn testimony is an overdue step in the right direction.

Another necessary step is Gov. Charlie Crist following through on his threat to file a civil suit against the companies for violating last year’s rate reduction pact.

The companies understand just one game — hardball.

It’s time the state start playing it.