Florida Gubernatorial Candidates Sink, Scott Address Citizens, Safety in the AAA Auto Club South Questionnaire

Oct 28, 2010

This article was published in the the Insurance Journal on October 28, 2010: 

Florida Gubernatorial Candidates Sink, Scott, Address Citizens, Safety in the AAA Auto Club South Questionnaire


Florida Republican Rick Scott says that if he is elected governor he will require state-backed Citizens Property Insurance to stop offering multi-peril policies in order to bring its costs in line with premiums, while Alex Sink, Democratic candidate, supports moving gradually toward actuarial sound rates for Citizens on the current so-called glidepath.

The two candidates revealed their views on the state’s home insurance market and road safety issues in a recent questionnaire from AAA Auto Club South. AAA does not endorse candidates.

The following exchange is reprinted with permission from AAA Auto Club South:

AAA: How do you plan to address the crisis that exists with regard to homeowners insurance in Florida? Are you willing to let Citizens’ rates become actuarially sound? Do you want the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (FHCF) to take more or less risk? What role do you believe the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) should play in setting homeowners rates in Florida?

Rick Scott: My plan to address the homeowners insurance crisis in Florida is to re-invigorate the private insurance market and let it work. To do this, I would reverse the policies that have expanded Citizens’ product offerings to include multi-peril policies, thus keeping Citizens’ premiums artificially low.

Alex Sink: Since I was elected CFO, I have been calling for responsible, comprehensive steps for our property insurance situation that reduce the exposure in our state and bring more companies in. I pushed in 2009 for a glide path for Citizens. The OIR should play a big role, working to achieve a balance that meets the needs of our consumers while encouraging companies to insure more Floridians.

As CFO, I have led programs like the My Safe Florida Home program, which made sure that more than 30,000 homes in Florida were strengthened against hurricanes, plus offered free wind inspections for over 400,000 homeowners, often resulting in lower insurance rates. I also strongly support a national catastrophe fund, which just makes sense for reducing the risk in our state.

On the subject of traffic safety including texting while driving and the lack of a booster seat law, Sink committed to a proactive agenda. “Instead of lagging behind other states when it comes to safety precautions for motorists, Florida should take the lead. I support laws that would prohibit sending text messages while driving,” she told AAA Auto Club South.

Regarding booster seats, Sink replied, “It is unacceptable that, despite the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recommendation, Florida is one of only three states that does not mandate booster seats for children ages 4 to 8. As governor, I will change that.”

Scott said he supports changes in traffic safety policy for which there is a demonstrated need. “Distracted driving of any kind has to be discouraged. We need to get people to realize that when they aren’t concentrating on driving, they pose a risk to themselves and everyone else with whom they are sharing the road,” he said.

On the topic of booster seats Scott commented, “If the legislature passes a law that strengthens child passenger safety standards, and there is adequate data to support the need to do so as well as the proposed solution to the problem, I would support the change.”

“Whoever is elected governor, we hope they will put their words into action so that we can save lives on Florida’s roadways and promptly address these other pressing concerns,” said Kevin Bakewell, senior vice president, AAA Auto Club South.

The full written responses from the two candidates, along with a videotaped interview with Sink, can be found at www.AAA.com/GetInvolved.