Florida Governor Rick Scott has been the subject of public scorn recently after pressuring the state’s lawmakers to form a bill that would significantly cut the number of policies that could be written by Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Scott has voiced his determination to reduce Citizens’ role in the state’s insurance industry for some time. He denies that his goal is the closure of the insurer, however. The Governor says that he recognizes the value of the insurer but insists that some changes need to be made to justify its position in the market.
Citizens insures more than 1.3 million property owners throughout the state. First formed in 2002 by the government to bear the brunt of coastal hurricane risks, it has grown to become the most affordable option for homeowner’s insurance. The rates available through the program are far lower than those offered by private insurance companies.
A recent report from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune accused Scott of working behind-the-scenes to eliminate the program. The report suggests that the Governor and his staff held meetings with insurance lobbyists in February, in which he would discuss his plans to phase out the program within the next four years. Scott, however, denies these accusations outright. To date, the Governor has only ever made public his desire to reduce Citizens’ role in the industry, nothing more.
Lawmakers still try to rein in the program as it continues to grow. Citizens has reached a point in which is far surpasses its original purpose, putting a heavy financial burden on the state.