Insurance regulators outline cuts, hope they won’t come

Oct 15, 2012

The following article was published in The Florida Current on October 15, 2012:

Insurance Regulators Outline Cuts, Hope They Won’t Come

By Gray Rohrer

The Florida agency which oversees insurance, already hit with large cuts and a backlog in providing services, submitted a 2013-2014 fiscal year budget request Monday that sheds 10 positions and reduces spending by more than $1 million.

The cuts will fall mainly on the Office of Insurance Regulation’s travel and administrative expenses, as well as its funding of the Florida Public Hurricane Model, but the agency doesn’t want the cuts to occur.

Gov. Rick Scott ordered agencies to conduct a budget exercise that trims their budgets by five percent. He made a similar request last year, asking agencies to cut 10 percent in their initial requests, but most of the cuts were never incorporated into the final budget.

“I want to make it clear that the Office is not advocating these cuts, in fact, these cuts could be detrimental to the Office fulfilling its statutorily mandated regulatory oversight,” OIR spokesman Jack McDermott wrote in an email.

OIR has already seen the impact of budget cuts during the deep recession, losing 10 percent of its workforce in recent years.

This year, those cuts were felt when a backlog in filings from insurance companies looking to alter their coverage or rates developed. Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty issued executive orders offering an expedited review of most filings that has lessened much of the backlog, but OIR staffers also blamed the backlog in part on insufficient resources to attract insurance analysts. Six years and counting without a raise for state workers means the private market is much more attractive to potential analyst candidates.

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