Florida Senator Mike Fasano: Insurance bill is dangerous to homeowners
Feb 1, 2012
The following article was published in the Tampa Bay Times on February 1, 2012:
Fasano: Insurance bill dangerous to homeowners
Bill dangerous to homeowners
This week the Florida House of Representatives is poised to take up HB 245, which is scheduled to be considered Thursday on the House floor. This bill is intended to remove policyholders from Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and make unregulated surplus lines companies available as an alternative insurance company. This is a dangerous bill to consumers because it will take away many protections that Citizens policyholders currently enjoy.
The Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) was created by the Florida Legislature to handle claims of insurance companies that have become insolvent. This bill could put policyholders into companies that are not members of the FIGA. Without the protections of the FIGA, if a company goes under, the homeowner will be left holding the bag for any outstanding claims.
Surplus lines companies do not need to meet the requirements of the specific documents and forms that regulated companies must meet. This means there could potentially be very bad provisions in policies of which the consumer may not even be aware.
Perhaps most importantly, insurance premiums of surplus line companies are not regulated by the Office of Insurance Regulation. To put it simply, surplus lines companies can raise premiums at will. The state has no ability to stop surplus lines companies from raising rates at any time and by any amount.
I strongly encourage every policyholder who is covered by Citizens, and who does not want to be pushed into a surplus lines company, to contact your House member immediately and tell him or her to vote against HB 245. It is imperative that you act quickly before this bill is passed by the Florida House.
Sen. Mike Fasano, New Port Richey
Find this article here: http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/letters/insurance-bill-is-dangerous-to-homeowners/1213205