Florida House Nixes Shifting Citizens Policies to Surplus Lines

May 19, 2014

The Florida House has rejected a proposal that would have shifted some homeowners away from the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance and into private surplus lines insurers.

The Florida Senate narrowly voted for the measure but the House stripped out that provision from its property insurance bill (SB 1672).

Rep. John Wood, R-Winter Haven, said that the issue was dead for this year’s session.

Lawmakers have taken several steps over the last few years to try to steer people away from the state-created Citizens, which was initially to be an insurer of last resort but grew as private insurers sought to limit their exposure in the Sunshine State.

Last year, legislators approved creating a clearinghouse that requires insurance agents to look at offers from private insurers before allowing someone to purchase a Citizens policy. A customer is ineligible for Citizens if one of the insurers charges premiums that are within 15 percent of Citizens rates.

The Senate bill as originally passed would have added surplus line insurers to those that could be offered through the clearinghouse starting in January.

Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, said it would give homeowners another choice for coverage. He said homeowners would be told ahead of time that the surplus line insurers are not regulated the same way as other insurers. He also noted some Floridians already insure their homes with these types of insurers.

But many legislators, especially from those areas with heavy concentrations of Citizens policies, opposed the idea.

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Insurance Journal West May 19, 2014
May 19, 2014
Insurance Journal West Magazine

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