A state senator wants Florida’s insurance commissioner to resign, calling him “duplicitous and untrustworty” last week in a letter to Gov. Charlie Crist.
Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, wrote Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty a lengthy letter demanding that he resign because lawmakers can no longer trust his word. That’s after McCarty wrote a letter to Crist “essentially asking the governor to veto” a bill, which could result in higher property insurance rates for consumers who are willing to pay more, Bennett wrote.
Bennett, the bill’s Senate sponsor, wrote that McCarty had told him he would neither oppose the measure nor ask Crist to veto it. He also complained McCarty earlier sent out a news release opposing the bill although his staff members testified to the Legislature that it was a public policy issue for lawmakers to decide.
“I find your professional behavior reprehensible,” Bennett wrote.
Ed Domansky, a spokesman for McCarty, declined comment.
In his letter to Crist, Bennett asked him to fire McCarty if he refuses to resign. Crist spokesman Sterling Ivey said the governor’s office was reviewing the letter but pointed out Crist cannot dismiss McCarty on his own. The commissioner is jointly appointed by the governor and Florida Cabinet.
The bill (HB 1171) that Crist has not yet acted on would allow homeowners and businesses, it they choose, to pay unregulated rates to get coverage for hurricanes and other hazards from highly capitalized national insurers.
It’s partly a response to a decision by State Farm Florida to withdraw from the state after McCarty denied a rate increase company officials said they needed to remain financially viable.
The company is a Florida-only property insurance subsidiary of Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm Insurance, which intends to continue selling auto and life insurance in the state.
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